We don’t run into them very often here on the Kvichak River, but they stay up this way from time to time. We don’t name names because everybody enjoys their privacy, but we know a few. They might be on this list, and they might not. The next time you’re stalking trout, keep an eye on that angler just upstream. He or she might be on our list of 10 celebrities who really get fly fishing.
1. Harrison Ford
Ford pilots his own de Havilland Beaver up to his Wyoming ranch, but he says that he doesn’t get as much time on the Snake River as he used to. We’re trying to picture a retired Han or Indiana relaxing on the front porch and reading old copies of Fish Alaska Magazine.
2. Jimmy Buffet
You can bet that the original Coral Reefer never misses a shot at serious saltwater fly fishing when he’s at home in Palm Beach. This is a guy who makes casting from a SUP board look easier than sipping margaritas. We cordially invite Buffet to try that technique on Lake Iliamna.
3. Liam Neeson
It’s hard to imagine this Academy-award winning action star fly-fishing without attacking the drift, but his off-screen reputation as a precision angler is well-documented. Neeson credits his success on Canadian rivers to patience, and we aren’t about to argue with him.
4. Reba McEntire
What does an Oklahoma girl do when she wants a new hobby that doesn’t involve making great country music? She learns how to fly fish in Tennessee. Reba fell head over waders for the best outdoor sport on the planet back in 2012. How do we know? We have our sources.
5. Eric Clapton
Sometimes, even rock gods think about retiring, and Clapton makes it clear that he enjoys fly fishing because it’s a little bit quieter than his day job. If we could tune into British TV, we’d sure like to see an episode of “Botham on the Fly” starring Slowhand himself and a nice grayling.
6. Martha Stewart
This one is hard to figure, but Stewart seems serious about fly fishing even though she has a lot to learn. Check out her video of fishing on the Upper Ruby River in Montana with some guy named Ted. She’s put together the perfect gear and wardrobe for a day on the water, and that’s a good thing.
7. Huey Lewis
When he sang about how it was hip to be square back in the ’80s, Lewis hadn’t put together his 500-acre Montana spread. A few rich and famous years later, he’s still fly fishing the rivers in Ravalli County just like his father taught him when he was a kid back in California.
8. Emma Watson
We bet she can out-fish that Potter kid any day. While her character, Hermione, casts some impressive spells, Watson casts her lot with Britain’s conservation charity, the Wild Trout Trust. This young lady ties her own flies and often donates them to WTT auctions to help raise funds for their programs.
9. Gordon Ramsay
This Scottish chef and TV personality swears that he and his brother fly fished the River Tay when they were kids to keep food on the family table. We believe him when he swears. We’d take a chance fishing with Ramsay if he promised to do all the cooking.
10. Henry Winkler
Even if we’d never heard of the Fonz, we’d still buy Winkler’s book. He loves fly fishing as much as we do, and he favors the western Rocky Mountains in Montana. We have to favor a book titled “I’ve Never Met an Idiot on the River.” That’s really optimistic trout-bum spirit.
Don’t think that we spend a lot of time up here trying to spot celebrities. They’re interesting and entertaining, and some of them are really nice folks, but they can’t compare to the stars of our show. Come spend some time at No See Um Lodge soon, and we’ll introduce you to the real celebrities of fly fishing in Alaska. They’re easy to spot, they’re fun to stalk, and they’re always a thrill to catch.