Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Season: Spring - Autumn
Species: Smallmouth Bass & Northern Pike
Follow Allen on Instagram @amcampbell_flyfishing
Favorite Piece of water to guide/fish and why?
Any type of moving water is my favorite to fish. Whether it’s a river or a tide coming in or out I enjoy reading the currents and depths. For me, it’s like a puzzle. I like to look at all the pieces and try to put together where the fish are and how to get to them. The waters close to home in West Michigan are my favorite to guide because there are so many species to target and there is so much wildlife. On any given trip, we could run into Bald Eagles, deer, otters, beavers, and any other number of animals. Variety is the spice of life!
Why did you get into Fly Tying – What was your motivation?
I love to create and work with my hands. I’ve always had an artist/creative side and fly tying is one of those outlets for me. Additionally, I was attracted to the idea of fooling a fish with something that I crafted myself. It’s more personal and more rewarding when I, or folks who use my flies, catch a fish on something I’ve put together at the vice.
How did you get into spinning deer hair?
I always told myself that I’d never spin or stack deer hair but then one of my mentors inspired me to try. He told me that was his favorite way to fish for bass and he gave me one of his bugs. That sparked an interest and I started tinkering. It was a steep learning curve and I started tying them without the proper materials. I did a lot of “studying” and watching the masters tie online as much as I could.
What fly that you have created or tie are you most proud of?
What I am most proud of is being able to tie with consistency. I do my best to tie each fly the same way and with the same proportions. I want the angler to know how that fly will swim so they can focus on how they want to fish it. It’s important for the angler to know they can pick a fly up that I’ve tied and trust it will fish how they want it. FIshing is all about controlling the variables that can be controlled and then tweaking them to get the end result.
Why do you use Loon tools? – What drew you to Loon?
I use Loon tools because they are reliable, ergonomic, and aesthetically pleasing. I know when I pick up a Loon tool it’s not going to break or be dull. I was drawn to Loon through their culture of responsible fishing practice and the trust anglers in the industry have in their products.
What does “fishing with a conscience” mean to you?
Fishing with a conscience means ensuring that the time I spend enjoying or guiding others does not encroach on someone else's access to the same resource. Leave no trace, keep fish wet, and leave it better/ cleaner than you found it. These are always the goals I have in mind.
What are some of the challenges our fisheries face that are important to you?
Keeping our waters free of man made contaminants is a serious challenge. We, as a species, have a hard time prioritizing our natural resources' health ahead of making a dollar. Whether it’s creating a dam, overfishing, or dumping waste into a nearby watershed we value profit over health. It’s encouraging to see more dams being taken down, Bristol Bay and the Boundary Waters being protected but there are many battles yet to fight.
You are a new dad. How do you plan to introduce your kids to the outdoors
As a new dad, my plan is to model a love and appreciation for the outdoors. My hope is that my daughter will see this and begin to develop her own love. My goal is to aid my daughter in enjoying time spent outside and on the water by allowing her to be herself; whether that's splashing in the water, looking at bugs, or eating a snack. I’m just excited to watch her grow.