Tom Pero, the founder of Wild River Press is on the show today.  Tom published A Passion for Steelhead, one of the greatest steelhead books of all time, as well as many other big time outdoor books.

Tom provides some really amazing stories that I know you’ll love in this one including his take on the publishing of Tying Steelhead Flies with Style.  He goes into the evolution of steelhead flies and how there is a big misnomer about steelhead flies and the relationship to atlantic salmon flies.


Click the link below to listen to the interview with Tom Pero:

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Show Notes with Tom Pero

05:00 – Top Salt Water Flies by Drew Chicone

05:19 – Tying Steelhead Flies with Style by Dec Hogan and Marty Howard

08:20 – Steelhead fly fishing and flies with Trey Combs covers a good history of the connection to Atlantic salmon flies towards the back of this book.

10:00 – The Skykomish Sunrise created by George Mcleod

11:10 – The Bulkley Mouse

13:40 – Pete Soverel and the foamer fly had a huge influence on present day foam flies

14:30 – Ed Ward and the creation of the intruder pattern was one of the most original patterns in steelhead flies.

15:45 – Bill Mcmillan and the steelhead caddis

27:50 – John Shewey was on the show in episode 16

39:15 – Here is the link to Tom’s reply about the big controversy with the publishing of Tying Steelhead Flies with Style.  There are lot’s of emails at this link that describes how it all blew up and went down.

42:40 – Joe Brooks was a mentor for Tom.  Here is a link to the Joe Brooks Documentary that tells Joe’s amazing life story.


44:50 – Here’s a youtube video of Lee Wulff fishing in Minipi for brook trout.

45:20 – Robert Behnke had a quarterly publication in TU’s Trout Magazine for about 20 years.  Here is a link to a book that provides a summary of his best work.

46:30 – Dave Whitlock was a mentor and one of the most creative tyers of the time.

57:12 – Scott Baker McGarva podcast interview in episode 19.  Scott breaks down the Dean River and BC fishing.

1:00:59 – Fly Rod and Reel Magazine was a favorite of Tom’s and is a magazine that has sense been discontinued.

1:02:13 – Robert Traver wrote Trout Madness which was a series of some amazing essays.  Here’s a link to some of his work.  Tom makes a note that you should feel lucky if you haven’t read this yet and now have the opportunity.  Point well taken and excited!


If you want to reach Tom you can find him at


tom pero


Show Highlights

Tom talks about the history and connection of atlantic salmon flies to steelhead flies and how there was a misnomer that steelhead flies came from atlantic salmon flies.  The connection actually came much later in steelhead fly evolution.

Tom clarifies the confusion behind Dec Hogan and the new book that was published recently, Tying Steelhead Flies with Style.  There was a push on social media that some were saying:  “Do Not Buy this book”, including Dec Hogan himself.  Tom goes into depth on where this came from and how the book came to be.

Tom also describes Robert Behnke who had a column in Trout Magazine for Trout Unlimited for 20 years.  There is a link to a summary in the show notes above.

Tom also shares an amazing story of how he became editor of Trout Magazine at only 22 years old.


Conclusion with Tom Pero

I wanted to give a big thank you to Tom for coming on the fly fishing show.  He not only told some amazing stories and helped to connect us with some of the history of steelhead, but also shared a real insight into what it takes to publish fishing and hunting books.

And if you’re interested in the right spey rod for steelhead, Click here to see the Spey Rod that has helped me drastically improve my spey cast and find more steelhead at a super reasonable cost (You also get a free spey line if you pickup the Spey Rod here).  By the way, the link above is an affiliate link, which means I earn a commission if you do end up purchasing through that link.  It’s at no extra cost to you, and please if you have any questions related to this product, please let me know and I’d be happy to answer them for you.

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    • Thanks Dan! I appreciate all of the support. I’ve got some great episodes coming up in the next two months starting with a recent trout trip we went on. Then I’ve got some big name trout experts that are going to provide some great tips. Hopefully a switch to season 2 will be ok for you.