Quick Bio: Age 39 / Belltown, Seattle / Married / Runs a vaccine research lab at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center with a focus on viral diseases of global importance including HIV-1, Epstein-Barr virus, and more recently SARS-CoV-2 / Andy was an avid rock climber earlier in life. Now he loves skiing in the off-season, both downhill and cross-country in the Methow valley.
When did you become a Hi-Laker, and why did you join the club?
I joined in 2019 just before we went virtual, which is kind of a bummer because I have only met a few of the other members in person. Fingers crossed that will change soon.
In my former life I worked as a fishing guide at a remote lodge on a lake in Northern Ontario, Canada. I was incredibly lucky to be able to fish a pristine lake, abundant with native walleye and trophy northern pike for 90+ days a year and hardly ever see another angler, aside from my clients. Some days you could catch 100+ walleyes a day and/or land one or more trophy pike. I was so spoiled. In fact, when I stopped guiding to pursue grad school I didn’t pick up a rod for 8 years.
After I relocated to Washington I decided to pick up a fly rod and start fishing again. The remoteness and serenity of fishing the high lakes has the same appeal of fishing the north country. I joined the club because I am not from around here, and wanted to learn more about the abundance of lakes in Washington and meet other people who share the same passion.
What’s your favorite thing about the club?
That’s easy, the database! What an incredible resource. It was a real game changer for me for knowing which lakes to think about visiting. I also love being able to contribute to the science and management of managing our fantastic resources.
Do you remember what your first high lake experience was like?
I remember the first high lake I visited for sure. It was Ingalls Lake on a backpacking trip. I was on my fishing hiatus at the time but it was definitely memorable for the sheer beauty of the place and it planted the seed for getting out more into the high country.
What’s your favorite setup for fishing high lakes?
I have a Klymit Light Water Dinghy and I love it for backpacking since it’s super light and packs up small. I usually pack in my Echo Base 8-foot 4 weight rod and a Redington Zero reel.
Most of the time I throw a leech pattern on a 3 ips full-sink line, but also carry a spare spool with a floating line if fish are rising. I usually stick to 4 simple imitation patterns on any given lake, black bead-head mohair leech, a gold ribbed hare’s ear, a parachute adams, or a soft hackle.
What do you hope to accomplish in the coming high lakes season?
I have a few trips I really want to do this year. Boulder Lake in Glacier Peaks Wilderness is one, and a multiday trip to the Scottish Lakes is another. Catching a pink salmon on the fly is also a high priority.