Welcome to our series called “Trout Bum of the Week,” in which we highlight some of the folks living the good life. . .of a sort. (See the bottom of this post for a link to the previous installments.) Most of the subjects are guides who have turned their passion into a vocation, spending their time in an outdoor “office” that may include a drift boat, gorgeous mountain scenery, and crystal clear water. Others do have day jobs but manage to spend every other available minute on the water with a fly rod in hand. Whether you aspire to one lifestyle or the other, it’s illuminating to explore the different paths these men and women have taken on their way to achieving “trout bum” status.
I first came across Malorie Crispo via her Instagram feed, which is chock-full of great fishing images. She clearly spends a ton of time on the water and catches some gorgeous trout and Atlantic salmon. Just 29 years old, Malorie is at the beginning of her Trout Bum career, but she has clearly jumped in with both feet. She lives in the wilderness of a small fishing village on the East Coast of Nova Scotia, not far from the Canso Causeway to Cape Breton, and spends her days as a Service Writer/Advisor at a car dealership. Aside from fly fishing, her interests include hiking, riding her motorcycle, camping, and anything that gets her outdoors with her pup, Zoey.
1. When did you start fly fishing?
I actually started fly fishing about two years ago, a few months after fly tying came into my life. I was bored over the long winter here on the East Coast of Canada, and a friend of mine suggested that I give fly tying a try. So, I started with tying flies, and then after a while, I figured that if I was tying flies then I should probably see if they are good enough to catch fish. I received a fly rod and reel as a gift that same year for Christmas.
It was still a while before I could actually get out fishing, as our season here in Nova Scotia opens in April. So, I began practicing my cast in the middle of frozen lakes every weekend, so that I would at least know how to get my fly out there for when opening day came around. It truly felt like it was never going to come.
Opening day finally came and it was still weeks after that before I caught my first fish on a fly, but it was such a memorable fish: an accidental 20-pound Atlantic salmon. I do not officially count it as my first Atlantic salmon, though, as it was a “by-catch” taken out of season while I was fishing with trout flies. On the other hand, what a fish to get a newbie hooked on the sport! Needless to say, things just snowballed from there.
2. What’s your favorite water?
My favourite water is a small secluded stream with big trout. We have excellent runs of both sea-run brook trout and sea-run brown trout. So, any small stream with log jams or tight and technical spots really gets my heart going!
3. What’s your favorite species to chase with a fly rod?
My absolute favourite is the brook trout. Not only is the brook trout Nova Scotia’s provincial fish, but we have some excellent fishing here, too, with a good chance of hooking into some trophy sized brookies! Nova Scotia is better known for its salmon fishing, but there is a lot to be said for our trout fishery. Who wouldn’t want to fish for 20-inch brookies and 8-pound browns?
4. What’s your most memorable fly fishing moment?
My most memorable fly-fishing moment sticks out in my mind pretty vividly. I had been talking a lot in days previous about tiger trout and how rare it would be for them to occur in the wild. The odds are pretty slim, considering all the factors involved. However, one night after work, I had been talking about them while heading to one of my favourite streams. Not thinking anything of it, I fished that spot like I usually do. Before I knew it I had hooked into what I was sure had to be a small but scrappy brown trout. When my friend Jake scooped the fish up for me in the landing net, we were both extremely surprised to see a 12-inch wild tiger trout.
5. What’s your most forgettable fly fishing moment?
I haven’t really had too many forgettable moments yet while fly fishing. Losing a nice fish is never something you want to spend too much time remembering. I have also set the hook pretty hard into submerged logs that I thought were massive trout. I have gracefully fallen on slimy river rocks and have pulled my fly from the water to recast just as a big trout was about to eat it. I also wouldn’t mind forgetting about that time a very angry gopher cursed, charged at me and told me to get the #@!$ off his lawn.
6. What do you love most about fly fishing?
The thing I love most about fly fishing is that it brings people together, yet, it can also bring me to my quiet place and fulfill my occasional desire for solitude. I love getting out with my buddy, Jake, to spend the weekend on the river. I also love getting out by myself or just with my Golden Retriever, Zoey, She really loves tagging along on any of my adventures that include hiking near water. I love fly fishing for bringing me to the most beautiful places, forcing me to disconnect from everyday life, and reconnect with nature.
7. What is your favorite piece of gear?
My favourite piece of gear would have to be my Orvis Clearwater 7-foot, 6-inch 5-weight. It’s my go-to rod all summer. Versatile and so fun to fish with. Nice for tight spots but still very capable of fishing bigger water, and lots of fun for big trout! Although I have an Orvis Recon 10-foot 4-weight in my arsenal that covers water with ease and is a rod I carry all season.
8. What’s your go-to fly when nothing else is working?
When nothing seems to be working, and I feel like I’ve tried nearly everything, the Black Leech always wins. Tie on one of those, and hold on!
9. What was your favorite fly fishing trip?
I have yet to travel anywhere too outrageous to fly fish. I flew to Newfoundland for a wedding a few summers ago and got to fish a little bit around the city of St. John’s. I caught some small brown trout, and it was fun to be fishing somewhere other than home. Aside from that, I have really only traveled a few hours to fish different places around Nova Scotia. The fishery here keeps me pretty busy. However, with the season closed from November through to the end of March, I have visions of escaping winter and fishing somewhere tropical with an umbrella drink. Bonefish, maybe?
10. How do you define the difference between someone who loves fly fishing and a true trout bum?
Someone who loves fly fishing makes time for fly fishing, but they also make time for other important “adult” things and life in general. Things like going to the bank or a family barbecue, perhaps! A trout bum shows up to the restaurant where her grandmother is celebrating her 87th birthday wearing chest waders and soggy wading boots.