J. Stockard Fly Fishing Blog

Welcome to the J. Stockard Fly Fishing Blog. We’re here to share advice, how-to’s, news and inspiration about fly tying and fly fishing.

Meet Thomas Lamphere of Nature’s Spirit

Recently Julie Weiner co-owner of Nature’s Spirit sent this email about the happenings at Nature’s Spirit.

“As all of you know, Thomas Lamphere has been running the show for the most part here at Nature’s Spirit. That has been by design because we have been grooming him to take over our life. Joel and I are retiring so we can go fishing and Thomas is taking on the huge job of running and owning Nature’s Spirit. Joel and I have greatly enjoyed working with all of you, some of which we feel have become “friends” although we have never seen you face-to-face, which makes turning this page a bit bitter sweet.

But Thomas is a very talented fly tyer and is active on social media, the latter of which Joel and I have no clue about. He is very knowledgeable and eager to answer questions and help dealers build their tying departments. Thomas is young, energetic, sociable and fun to work with.

We want to thank you all for making Nature’s Spirit as successful as it is and making our lives quite fun and adventurous over the last decade.”
How did you get into fly fishing and fly tying?
I got into fly fishing and fly tying at the age of 6 by my father Rueben. He gave me a Cortland GRF 1000 rod reel combo, and a tying kit for my birthday. I still have the rod, thought I do not use it any more. He still has the first dozen flies I tied. more…

Lost My Soul While Fishing

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

This is a tale of failure…like so many are. I desperately wanted to get out of the house and hit the water somewhere, but with so few waters available to me and with logistics as encumbered as they’ve been of late, I decided to try a new place.  And so it became a bit of a scouting trip, with all the chances for failure that that mindset ushers in.

The lower Stanislaus river is said to hold large brown trout, but that’s upstream in the constricted gorge, where wading is utterly impossible and access worse yet. In the half-mile below that, the stream attempts to traverse the wide and warm central valley of California, which means it completely transitions from the tail end of a trout fishery to a smallmouth, then largemouth, then carp bath. And where the transition occurs depends on the time of year–how high is the sun, how warm is the land. As summer warms, a wall of warm water creeps relentlessly upstream to a trout’s detriment, and with it a horde of aggressive warm-water species keen to attack even 10-inch fish and certainly to siphon up the available food. For this outing I chose to see what things looked like for trout at about as downstream a point as one could hope to find them in mid-July, which was as decisions go my own fault, but the access was good and I didn’t have much time on this particular afternoon anyway.

Figure 1.  Lower Stanislaus from the Air


Veterans Day – Celebrate A Veteran

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana, Lieutenant Colonel, US Air Force Retired

As the Veterans Service Coordinator on the board of the Madison-Gallatin Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the summer of 2020 proved to be an impossible challenge. Despite plans for a summer full of TU sponsored veterans fly fishing events, most veterans clubs and groups either shutdown or severely limited activities due to the COVID situation. Fortunately, our chapter’s November meeting fell on Veterans Day and the loosening of meeting restrictions gave us the opportunity to do something veterans related. It fell to me to get something organized and my thoughts immediately went to the few veterans I know here in SW Montana involved in the Fly Fishing industry. One of those veterans is Chris Fleck—guide, outfitter, fly shop owner, active TU member and more importantly a retired U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel of 23 years’ service. Here’s his story.

Born and raised in the San Diego area, he grew up a Boy Scout, experiences he credits a lot for his love of the outdoors. Fortunate to have relatives in SE Wyoming, Chris spent summers on a working ranch and grew to understand and appreciate the wilds of Wyoming and Montana.  After high school he attended and graduated from the University of California Berkley with a degree in Economics. It was the late 1970s and like many graduates, Chris really hadn’t figured out what he wanted to do with his life. After working some on the Wyoming ranch, Chris went out on a limb and began exploring military service.  For a variety of reasons he settled on the Marine Corps and in 1978 was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry.  Over the course of his career, he commanded Headquarters, Rifle and Weapons companies of 125-150 marines and served overseas on sea duty in the Western Pacific, on Okinawa and in Somalia.  He also served as a battalion and regimental operations officer as well as the Commanding Officer of the Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Houston ,Texas. He is a graduate of the Naval War College, receiving a Masters Degree in National Security Strategy. After retiring in 2001, Chris decided to settle in Columbus, Montana along the banks of the Yellowstone and Stillwater rivers. more…