Chris Niccolls

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If you could never fly fish again, what activity would subsequently take over your life? 

Oh I'd probably devote my fishing time to my rifles and shotguns. Perhaps I'd spend some of that time petitioning for a pelican cull.

How do you take your coffee?

Black, and I have a thing for slumming it with eclectic Diner coffee. It has to come out of a dirty Bunn machine, preferably a few hours past it's prime.  

First fly rod? And a story to go with it/how you broke it.

Like so many others I started with a TFO signature series 5/6 weight kit. I got it from Ribtor back when that was a thing. Put a clouser minnow in my chest the first day I tried to cast. I never broke it but I have no idea where it is now... where is it!?

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First fish you caught on a fly you tied?

Probably a cutty off the highway 40 on some really poor attempt to make an adams. That's cheating though I know. At least it wasn't on a hand tied red wire worm.

What excites you about working in this community? 

I've worked so many retail jobs and this is the only one where I can talk shop all day long, and then want to go out and do it ASAP. Helping beginners get started also has to be the best. There's so much magic to starting a journey in the art of fly fishing and its wonderful to be a small part of that. 

Would you consider any specific water body your ‘home waters’? How have these waters shaped you as fly angler? 

Of course the Bow River is the first watershed I fished. It is and always will be my home waters. I'd say though that "home" feels more like the Highwood tribs. This is where I fell in love with fishing. This is the water you dream about, and the sounds and smells that remind you of the good times.

Beyond simply catching fish, what excites you about fly fishing.

I love the whole idea that success in fly fishing isn't up to us 100%. We can do everything perfectly (highly flawed way more often than not however) and it's still up to that fish to make the call on eating that fly. It takes that connection between you and the fish for the magic to happen. That we can also find joy in watching fish just swim, or rise... or even take satisfaction in the fish we don't catch, the crushing refusals, and the amazing scenery. Meeting some of the other fly fishers are okay too, I guess. 

Dream trip – within Canada and globally

I've always wanted to do a tour of the Caribbean islands. Drink lots of rum. Photograph interesting places and people. Learn some Pirate history. Lots of beach time. This was all before I even started fishing, so now it's a no-brainer. As far as Canada goes, I've always wanted to visit the North West Territories. To chase Arctic Char and huge Lakers. Luckily some dreams do come true, and I'm heading up there this summer!

Number 1 tip for a beginner fly fisherman 

Fly fishing can be expensive. If you know you want something gear wise, take the plunge and go for it. Everytime I've gone the cheaper route I've regretted it. Not at all because cheaper gear is worse, I have lots of affordable rods that I love. It's because fishing gear should be something we covet, something we're proud of and have confidence in. If you just buy what you covet instead of what is more reasonable, I promise you'll save money in the end.