Looking to up your game on caddis hatches? We have Craig Mathews to share his expertise on caddis flies and their history today on the Swing!

Craig also shares some incredible stories from his time as a police officer and his adventures around Yellowstone, including how he co-founded 1% for the Planet with Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard.

Caddis Hatches with Craig Mathews. Hit play below!

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(Read the Full Transcript at the bottom of this Blog Post)


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Caddis Hatches

Caddis Hatches Show Notes with Craig Mathews

1:02 – We just finished the big stillwater school giveaway, and we’ll be announcing the winner soon. We’re headed up to Northern Lights Lodge in Northern BC. If you want to join us for some insane stillwater fishing and epic wilderness lodge experience, head here to grab a slot.

3:47 – Craig has been fly fishing for 68 years, starting in Michigan, where he grew up. He moved to Yellowstone, where he worked as a police chief, and started his fly fishing business, Blue Ribbon Flies, in 1979.

Craig Mathews
Photo via https://www.craigmathewsyellowstone.com

6:29 – Blue Ribbon Flies began as a wholesale fly-tying company that employed disabled fly tiers and grew to over 40 tiers, including federal prisoners. They tied for big brands like L.L. Bean and Orvis and local fly shops.

9:04 – Craig worked as a guide and outfitter while running the business. After retiring as a police chief, he opened a retail store and gave the wholesale business to the fly tyers. He sold Blue Ribbon Flies in 2014 after 35 years.

10:27 – Craig tells us how he met Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard. We’ve done several Patagonia episodes in the past. Check out one with Ted Manning here:
WFS 345 – Patagonia the Company with Ted Manning – Conservation, Home Planet, Yvon Chouinard

12:00 – Craig shares the inspiring story of co-founding 1% for the Planet with Yvon Chouinard, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2022.

20:25 – Craig authored several books, including Fly Patterns of Yellowstone with John Juracek, in the 80s and early 90s. He also wrote Fly Fishing Yellowstone Hatches in 1992, which guides anglers on the major insect hatches in and around Yellowstone and the Mountain West.

caddis hatches
Photo via https://yellowstonenationalpark.com

21:20 – His book Simple Fly Fishing was revised a few years ago. It sold over 30,000 copies and supports conservation efforts.

Craig Mathews

22:08 – Craig also wrote the Western Fly Fishing Strategy in the mid-90s, which he considers his most significant work. He also wrote the Yellowstone Fly Fishing Guide, revised three years ago and published by Lyons Press. We had Nick Lyons on the show before.

23:31 – Craig continues to tie flies and donate them to conservation causes. He and his wife were on the founding board of the Yellowstone Park Foundation for nine years, now known as Yellowstone Forever.

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25:16 – Craig discusses his upcoming book about pheasant tails that he co-wrote with Yvon, which features about 30 patterns. He also shares insights about caddis hatches and other insect emergences in the Yellowstone region.

52:24 – Craig recommends Gary LaFontaine’s book Caddisflies as the best book on caddis. He also shares stories about Gary and their collaboration.

caddis hatches
Photo via https://www.amazon.com

56:40 – Craig talks about how his fly shop, Blue Ribbon Flies, was a hub for fly fishermen where he met many people. He also mentions that Jack Gartside had a room in the shop’s basement.

1:00:24 – Craig mentioned that he is writing a book about his adventures at Yellowstone and shared stories about his friendship with the Gypsy Jokers and Hells Angels.

1:17:49 – We hear stories about his long friendship with Yvon and how he has inspired him and others in the industry.

caddis hatches

You can find Craig on Instagram @craigmathewsyellowstone

Visit his website at craigmathewsyellowstone.com


Caddis Hatches Resources Noted in the Show

Fly Patterns of Yellowstone

caddis hatches

Fly Fishing Yellowstone Hatches

caddis hatches
Photo via https://yellowstonenationalpark.com

Simple Fly Fishing

Related Podcast Episodes

WFS 345 – Patagonia the Company with Ted Manning – Conservation, Home Planet, Yvon Chouinard

WFS 202 – Nick Lyons on Great Fly Fishing Books – Lyons Press Publishing, Tom McGuane, Ted Leeson


Read the Full Podcast Transcript Below

Caddis Hatches Conclusion with Craig Mathews

Craig Mathews shares his passion for fly fishing and conservation. We talked about his early days fishing, founding Blue Ribbon Flies, co-founding 1% for the Planet, and writing numerous books.