Tim Joern fly fishes in places around the world most of us only dream about.
Born in Oklahoma, Joern teaches 8th-grade science at Whitefish Middle School and works part-time at Lakestream Fly Shop.
Fishful Thinking: How did you start fly fishing?
Tim Joern: When we moved to Montana in l984, my brothers arranged a guided trip on Rock Creek.
FT: Where have you fished?
TJ: Mongolia, Kamchatka, Christmas Island, Tanzania, Iceland, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, Bolivia…
FT: I get it! What draws you to fly fish in such exotic locations?
TJ: I love to experience different cultures and landscapes and unique species of fish.
FT: What has been your most memorable trip?
TJ: Africa. Experiencing Tanzania with the elephants and all the wildlife. And catching Tanzanian tigerfish, a fish that grows to over 20 pounds and whose teeth are measured in inches.
My “best catching” trip was Kamchatka, Russia, where rainbow trout, all over 20 inches, relentlessly attacked mouse patterns. Another highlight was scoring a same-day Grand Slam (bonefish, permit and tarpon) in Cuba, before it became so much easier to travel to.
FT: Any real bad experiences?
TJ: Purging all night after eating lionfish tacos in Roatan, Honduras. That really wrecked my permit fishing the next day.
FT: Any scary times?
TJ: In the Amazon in Brazil, I was standing inches away from a 16-foot Anaconda without knowing it, until my guide “emphatically” suggested I move!
FT: Do you tie your own flies for these trips?
TJ: Yes, I actually design custom flies for each species of fish I plan to target.
FT: What are you tying now?
TJ: I’ve tying some big streamers for Arapaima, a huge fish averaging between 100 and 200 pounds which lives in Guyana, South America.
FT: Do you book your trips through a specialty travel agency or by yourself?
TJ: I’ve done both. I mostly book through Yellow Dog Fly fishing Adventures. Do-it-yourself trips are generally less productive, but they are less expensive, offer greater flexibility and usually a higher level of personal satisfaction.
FT: Tim, I speak for the Fishful Faithful in envying your fishing ventures and wishing you continued tight lines in Montana and around the world. Anything else?
TJ: The more I go fishing, the less it’s about the fish and more about connecting with the vibrant native peoples and the fascinating places they live.
Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.