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Welcome to the fifth interview with the author/contributors of the soon-to-be-released anthology, The Water Holds No Scars: Fly Fishing Stories of Rivers & Rejuvenation, published by Tulip Tree Publishing, LLC.

Today’s author/interview is with Thomas Ford  Conlan. Conlan is a retired Coast Guard Cutter Captain and established writer from Northern Michigan. You can connect with him on Facebook HERE.

Thomas’ contribution to the anthology is titled Pigeon River.

Spearfish Creek 2015

1) Tell us about you first fly fishing rod and where you used it.

My first fly rod was/is an LLBean special – still hangs in the garage and is often used on the Hex hatch in the Jordan River. In 1975 I landed a lovely Dolly Varden with an Adams on a rocky stream a few hundred yards upstream from the Bering Sea on the Island of Adak in the Aleutians.

2. You get the chance to write (but no fishing!) near a stream or pond. Your choice: Write with uninterrupted silence wondering if there are fish nearby, or; Write with fish constantly rising, slurping, and popping the surface the entire time. Which do you choose and why?

I don’t often bring paper and pen to the water, rather, I capture a phrase in my mind while enjoying the solitude. I work the phrase over and over in my mind, sometimes for days, until it jells into a scene – a poem or story follows.

3. Do you have a favorite fly and/or a favorite writing pen (or place to write)? Tell us about it/them.

Royal Wulff – works best for Brookies in tight and desolate places.

4. Every fly fisherman/woman has a favorite fishing story (other than the one in the book.) Tell us yours (succinctly as possible.)

Favorite Fishing Story – Undoubtedly – Hemingway’s “Big Two Hearted River” – every real fisherman in these parts knows from the description that Nick Adams hiked the East Branch of the Fox River. A young buddy of mine caught a 24” Brown on light tackle in the myriad of tiny winding channels – on a float from up near Grand Marais to the takeout on Highway 28. I say young – because the swamp is young man’s territory. The Big Two Hearted River is a great place to fish also – and in the sense of poetic license – captures the moment and the imagination of the reader.

5. Let’s test your writing skills. Write a standard haiku about fly fishing.

No Haiku comes to mind.

6. Your final choice: You get to fish one place whenever you want, but only that place for the rest of your fishing days. Friends/family can come to fish with you, but you cannot fish anywhere else. Where do you fish and why?

Tough Question! I’m caught in a warp between “the Big Hole” Brookies only – near my cabin on the West Branch of the Escanaba River in the UP, and Spearfish Creek – Brook, Brown and Rainbow Trout, in the Northwestern Black Hills of South Dakota. I’d better stop at two.



Thanks, Thomas for being here today. If I need a boat trip anywhere, I’m calling on you. We look forward to reading your essay Pigeon River along with the other great submissions on or before December 1, 2015.

Wednesday’s interview, 11/25/15  is with another Colorado native and fly fisherman Vince Puzick. Be sure to visit and comment, which gets you another entry for the book giveaway.


Pre-Release sale is on now. Until December 1, 2015 you can order The Water Holds No Scars: Fly Fishing Stories of Rivers & Rejuvenation for $17.95 + $4.00 shipping. That’s a savings of $7.00 off the cover price. This offer is only valid through Tulip Tree Publishing HERE.