35926 N. Conklin Rd.
Elk, WA 99009
I was born in central Iowa on December 19, 1934. At the age of 10 I was introduced to both fly-fishing and fly tying. During this same year I started raising birds. I have come a long way since that date both with my fly fishing, tying and bird propagation.
My fly fishing mentor was an elderly gentleman that was an artist in tying flies. I do not think he ever had a book on tying, he just tied to match the hatch. This is how I was taught. The first thing we did was to go out to a local stream and catch bugs. I can still see him today; holding an insect up and showing how he thought a fish would see the bug. His first question to me was "Kid, do you want to catch fish or a Fishermen?"
I learned to tie from all kinds of "found" materials. The local farmers provided me with hackle from barnyard chickens. Being raised in a rural area and being allowed to hunt, my 22 provided me with a lot of tying material, ringneck pheasants, squirrel, rabbits and water fowl. My first vise was constructed by myself from a spring clothespin and a bolt. It worked fine. Not quite what I use today but I managed to tie flies that caught fish. I saved my paper route money and purchased my first fly tying kit with fancy factory made vise from Herters.
After I graduated from high school I joined the military and spent 12 years jumping out of perfectly good airplanes. I was an Airborne Ranger and at that time enjoyed that way of life. Enough said, all yesterday.
I was married in 1957 and have 4 children, two girls and two boys. All of them enjoy fishing today. They were encouraged to go with Dad. My wife passed away in 1972. I tried the marriage thing two more times and it did not work for me, Yes, I am a slow learner. It is very hard to find that special lady that ties flies and enjoys feeding the birds.
Five years ago I obtained the flock of genetic birds and was joined by my oldest daughter, Liz, in the operation of the Ranch. Liz is a very active partner in the ranch and works in all aspects of the operation, Conranch Hackle. Liz is a very accomplished fly fisherman and does pretty good at tying flies. She is also very good at genetics. I am a master cabinetmaker and have owned my own cabinet shop, building custom one of a kind pieces of furniture. I have also owned and operated my own general construction company, building high end homes.
Today I am semi retired, playing with the birds and making my own bamboo rods. Of course if you do not find me at home, I am on the water someplace fly-fishing. Having a partner that understands my need to be "gone fishing" does make my life one of total relaxation. I live because I fish. And Love it. ~ Denny
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