Anchored Podcast Ep. 188: Fly Tying, Stillwater, and Chironomids with Phil Rowley

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Anchored Podcast:

Phil Rowley is a stillwater icon. Author, presenter, fly tier and instructor, Phil has shared his knowledge and paved the road for countless anglers. In this episode of Anchored, we discuss chironomids, triploids, feeling boxed in, and how he went from working in an insurance office to working full-time in the fishing industry.

I am super excited to let you know that this week we opened the doors to our highly anticipated Chironomid Fishing Masterclass with Brian ChanIf you want to improve your fly fishing performance by using chironomids or learn more about stillwater fly fishing then you won’t want to miss this. Brian uses his vast entomological expertise to teach you how to up your fly fishing game by using chironomids.

Outline of This Episode

  • [8:15] Phil’s first time fishing in canada
  • [17:22] How he started writing fishing articles on the side
  • [24:06] He started taking fly tying courses
  • [34:46] Chironomid fishing in B.C.
  • [42:22] Phil and Brian created Stillwater Solutions
  • [49:15] How did the industry receive the collaboration between Phil and Brian?
  • [53:14] Phil’s experience saltwater fishing
  • [54:52] Does he feel trapped in his niche?
  • [1:02:32] How can a river and lake be that different?

Phil’s backstory 

Phil Rowley was born in Liverpool, England but immigrated to Canada when he was 6. He wanted to be a pilot when he grew up, but instead of flying planes he became a fly fisherman. 

Phil didn’t grow up in a fly fishing family, instead, his earliest fishing memories were created at a local pond with a neighbor back in Liverpool. 

As an adult, Phil settled in B.C. and worked for an insurance company for many years before moving to Alberta and eventually leaving the insurance world behind. 

How Phil got hooked on fly fishing

The first time Phil went fly fishing he was in his early 20s. He became hooked on the sport from his first catch with a dry fly. 

For the first time in his life, Phil felt a total connection with nature. This led him to start learning. Phil started taking fly tying classes at the local continuing education center. Then he dove into learning as much as he could about entomology so that he could improve his own flies. 

After some practice, Phil became a good enough fly-tier that he could give his flies away at fishing club auctions, and eventually those flies began to sell.

How Phil became a fly fishing writer

Phil was still in the insurance business when he wrote his first article for his fishing club. Since that writing gig went over well, he decided to try to write magazine articles. There was a bit of a learning curve at first, but after some time, he got published in many American fishing magazines. 

 When he couldn’t find any resources on tying still water flies, Phil realized he should write a book. He remarks that the hardest part of writing that book in the time before digital photography was learning to take pictures of the flies by using a still camera. 

Check out the Anchored Outdoors masterclass with Brian Chan 

If you want to learn more from Phil’s expertise you’ll have to listen in to hear. Phil continues our conversation to discuss chironomids, still water fishing, and his collaboration with Brian Chan. Brian and Phil have worked together for years after they realized that they were stronger as a team than they were as competitors. Still Water Solutions was their first joint venture. 

If chironomids are your thing then don’t miss out on the Anchored Outdoors masterclass with Brian Chan. This renowned biologist will teach you how to catch more fish by using chironomids. Brian covers entomology, presentation, boat set up, fly tying, and so much more!.

Resources mentioned on this episode

Connect with Phil Rowley 

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Anchored Outdoors

Anchored Outdoors is an ever-growing network of fly fishing experts who’ve been brought together by podcaster and fellow outdoorswoman, April Vokey.

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