My earliest fishing experience, at about age 4, is captured in a photo of me with my parents fishing and camping on the Kern River. Another early memory is a fishing trip on still water with my uncle and cousins where I saw fish under the boat. Over the years, my father and grandfather took me on many fishing trips, instilling in me a love for trout fishing in streams.
While in high school I toyed around with a cheap fly-tying kit that someone had given my father. In the fall of 1973 I took a formal fly-tying class offered by the Sierra Pacific Fly Fishers in the San Fernando Valley. This was the start of my life-long pursuit of fly tying and fly fishing.
I remember being in the junior high school library and reading an article in one of the outdoor magazines about a gentleman who made his living as a full-time angler. This became my life-long goal.
I went to college at Humboldt State University, earning a degree in fishery biology. I spent a summer working on the Klamath River studying the habits of adult and juvenile salmon and steelhead. Full-time fisheries jobs were near impossible to find, and I had fallen in love with the Eastern Sierra, particularly the Mammoth Lakes area, after a summer teaching fly fishing and fly tying there. I moved to Mammoth in June of 1981, with my new wife, Cindy, taking a job with Safeway grocery store to pay the bills.
In 1982 I started Sierra Bright Dot the first fly fishing guide service in the Eastern Sierra. I built this into a summer seasonal fly-fishing shop, guide service, and fly-fishing instructional business. I lectured and wrote about the fly-fishing opportunities in the Eastern Sierra.
In May 2016, I retired from Vons grocery store in Bishop. After a year of enjoying the fly-fishing opportunities of the Eastern Sierra I’m back to teaching, guiding, writing and lecturing on fly fishing and fly tying.
I’ve come a long way since that photo with my parents on the Kern River. I have over 40 years of Eastern Sierra fly fishing experience to share with other anglers.
Fred Rowe, a California licensed, bonded, and insured guide. #1000630.