Bitten by the Fly-Fishing Bug

Written by: Mariko Izumi

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TV host Mariko Izumi with her first-ever trout on a fly, in Colorado.

photo courtesy Mariko Izumi

The sound of line sweeping the water and the feel of every bite, pull, and twist that comes from a fish being reeled in on an almost weightless fly is relatively new to me. It’s true I’ve been exposed to fishing since I was in diapers, but it’s only recently that I took up fly fishing. I grew up in a bass fishing/spinning-gear family, and while that is fun and has nostalgia attached to it, I am smitten with this very different way of hookin’ up.

My first fly-fishing experience was on the Deschutes River in Oregon, about two hours from Portland. A storm had just passed and the water was murky and not ideal for catching fish, so it was no surprise we didn’t land anything that day. Regardless, I had an eye-opening experience with guide Tom Larimer teaching me the basics of Spey casting. Although I was afraid of hooking myself the entire day, I walked away with a feeling of satisfaction and curiosity.


After a lifetime of spin-fishing, Mariko has been obsessed with fly fishing.

photo courtesy Mariko Izumi

Since then, I’ve been on a few fly-fishing trips, and my interest in the sport has grown. I’ve been fortunate enough to try my hand at both traditional single-hand and the aforementioned Spey casting in places like the South Platte in Colorado (where I caught my very first fish on the fly, an albino/golden rainbow trout), the Miramichi River in New Brunswick, and most recently, a bunch of different rivers in northern Vancouver Island.

While on Vancouver Island, a couple guides took me under their wing(s) and provided me with a super rad all-out adventure. They welcomed me into their homes (thanks Perry and Lee for that delicious home-cooked meal!) and took me to some absolutely gorgeous spots, with various conditions and lots of black bears.


Mariko and her guides with a gorgeous Miramichi Atlantic salmon.

photo courtesy Mariko Izumi

The thing I love about fly fishing is that it’s all about connecting. Connecting with the people you’re fishing with, connecting with the fish that are agitated by or hungry for your fly, and connecting with the surroundings around you. There’s no better way to really feel a part of beautiful Mother Nature than by standing knee- or waist-deep in a river, feeling the rush of the current and hearing only the sounds of water, trees and wildlife. It’s magical.

Mariko Izumi is the host of Hookin’ Up with Mariko Izumi, which airs on WFN: World Fishing Network. WFN is currently looking for the Ultimate Fishing Town, which has a grand prize of a $25,000 community donation. Visit to participate.

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