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Welcome to the Twlefth interview with the author/contributors of the Dec. 1 release anthology, The Water Holds No Scars: Fly Fishing Stories of Rivers & Rejuvenation, published by Tulip Tree Publishing, LLC.

Today’s author/interview is with Lou Phillippe, another writer and fly fishing guru. I first met Lou to coordinate a Platte Rivers PHWFF trip to Crystal Lakes, CO. His event is one of our members favorite to attend.

Lou - Maggie in River (2)


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

My father was a dedicated bait fisher, but at my insistence he purchased for me an 8’ St. Croix fiberglass rod and a horizontal Perrine automatic reel in about 1965.  His work buddies convinced him that the automatic reel was the way to go, though I’m still not sure why since all it did was sometimes cause the line to zip back too fast and foul the leader at the tip.  I grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado and first used it on bluegills and small bass in our local City Park lake.  The epiphany arrived when an elderly friend of my father, who was a legendary (and predictably smelly) old fly fisher on the Cache la Poudre river, took me to the river for an evening and I landed seven browns and a rainbow on a fly I tied myself with from a cheap fly tying kit.  The success that night launched me into a lifelong love affair with the sport.

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 would choose the uninterrupted silence because my writing process is contingent upon continuous flow.  In fact, I don’t think I could write beside a stream or pond at all because I’d continuously be looking up to see what gifts nature has delivered.  My best work comes in hotel rooms, or in my offices at home or in our cabin where there are no distractions for blocks of time.  My cabin office window overlooks a large beaver pond, and it’s all I can to do keep from looking out to watch for rise rings.

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

My favorite fly is the trude-style Hairwing Rio Grande King, tied with a kip tail wing of crinkled white hairs instead of the traditional white mallard wing.  It is an elegant, classic fly with a beautiful profile that presumably represents a minnow or various terrestrials, but it just seems to be something trout like to bite.  The combination of brown, black, white, and orange presents stunning contrasts.  It can be fished dry to represent a caddis or flying ant, dead-drifted, or swung.  I believe it is the best brook trout fly ever devised, and I’ve used it for more than 45 years everywhere from Quebec to Patagonia.  Dick O’Connor, perhaps the nation’s most successful large brown trout slayer during the ‘60s, used only one fly – that one.  He bought so many from Dan Bailey that Bailey renamed it the O’Connor Rio Grande King.  Whenever I’m fishing a small stream, familiar or not, it is the first fly on my tippet, and it almost always produces.

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

When I was 14 my family was on a picnic in Rocky Mountain National Park.  As usual, I was prowling the small streams, and discovered a spot where the stream flowed underground and only a volleyball-sized hole in the earth exposed the water.  I dropped a bug down in that hole and lifted out a monster 14 inch brook trout.  This was back in the day when we kept and ate most everything within the limit.  A Park Ranger stopped by our table and saw the trout.  He complimented me on the prodigious trophy, and suggested the fish was probably 14 years old, since they averaged about an inch a year in that area.  I was 14 and had just killed a peer my age.  It had a profound anthromorphic effect on my teenaged psyche, and to this day when I catch a wary old bull of a brook trout from a small mountain stream I marvel at how he survived for 8, 9, or 10 years in such a harsh environment with so many natural elements trying their best to kill him.

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

A fishing dog dreams
I could catch those damned things too
If I just had thumbs. 

 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 cannot fish anywhere else. Where do you fish and why?

No question it would be the Lago Yelcho in Chilean Patagonia.  There are four different rivers that converge here, along with high-water lagoons that hold huge brown trout.  It features dry, nymph, wet, and streamer fishing for every kind of trout, and an occasional large salmon running up from the sea.  The variety of fish, water, and fishing types is unbelievable, so whenever I tired of swinging huge streamers in the Boca for arm-long rainbows, I would go strip dragonfly nymphs or fish suspended-post adult dragonflies for gator-jawed browns.  Or sight-fish to picky rainbows with dries in glacial-blue slicks.  Or fish minnow streamers tight against the banks for predatory browns lurking beneath undercuts.  Or relax with a foam beetle/nymph dropper combo.  Plus, the food and wines in the region are incomparable, and the people extremely friendly.

Lou-Maggie Beaver Creek 2 (1)



Thanks, Lou for being here today. We look forward to reading your essay The Old Yellow Fishing Dog (A Love Story) along with the other great submissions on December 1, 2015.

Remember to leave a comment to be entered in the free book giveaway!

Monday’s interview, 12/07/15  is with T. M. Aringdale, a true outdoor’s man and collector of many tales, both real and imagined.


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.