Faces In The Stream November 2014: Ryan & Myles Hartley

I recently had the opportunity to work alongside Ryan and Myles Hartley while they spent a Saturday teaching the Fly Fishing Merit Badge to a group of eager Boy Scouts.  Watching them teach casting and fly tying techniques to young men about their same age, I had to find out what drew them to the sport and what motivated them to take their skills to the next level.  Ryan is 15 and a Sophomore and Myles is in 8th grade at Cherokee County, and when they aren’t fishing their own ties you might find them editing and posting their own videos on YouTube under the moniker “Madfishinskillz”.


How and when did you begin fly fishing?  What was it about the sport that appealed to you?


RYAN: “We began fly fishing when we were actually looking to purchase a jon boat from a local striper fisherman.  We saw that he had fly rods.  After a quick tying demonstration, he took us into his backyard and gave the two of us fly casting lessons.  That got us hooked.  Soon after we both got Bass Pro Shops starter rods."


 RYAN: "I had been spin fishing with spinners for a while.  I saw some guys catching a lot of trout fly fishing, and it really made me want to get into it. I wanted to be a part of this group of fly fisherman. There was definitely a rough time learning the knots and everything, but it was definitely worth it."


MYLES: " I had been spinner fishing my whole life for trout. Seeing that there was another kind of trout fishing was very interesting. Once I had seen a fly tied I was becoming even more curious. Then after having a fly casting lesson, I was determined to learn the art of fly fishing. Soon after, as my brother mentioned, we got our own fly rod combo sets.”


How did you come to find out about Trout Unlimited, and our chapter specifically?  What have you enjoyed about it?  What activities do you enjoy most?


RYAN:  " It was actually me who came to find out about UCCTU.  Wanting to further dive into fly fishing, I googled local fly fishing camps and clinics and found out about the week-long youth fly fishing camp that all the Georgia TU Chapters hold annually.  To attend the camp, I had to be a member of a Trout Unlimited Chapter.  We joined Upper Chattahoochee, attended the meetings, and enjoyed them so much that we just kept coming.  I enjoy meeting the members of our Chapter and hearing the great fishing stories of other members.  Activity wise, I am always willing to participate in the stream restoration projects or river clean-ups. "


MYLES: "I found out about this TU chapter from my brother. I enjoy going to the meetings to be able to share fish stories too and discuss the flies and tactics that have been working each month. I enjoy Fishing Days where I stock the Chattahoochee River and help new people learn how to fly cast and tie flies."


The Julie Stalnaker Memorial Award was created by The Georgia Women Fly Fishers and Trout Unlimited to honor the memory of Julie Stalnaker. For years Julie and her husband Duane were strong supporters of trout fishing in Georgia. Julie passed away suddenly in 2010. Duane continues to be part of trout camp every year.  Each year a camper at the Georgia Trout Camp is chosen to receive the award. An ad hoc committee of camp staff selects a camper who shows the qualities exhibited by Julie…intelligence, positive attitude, helpful spirit and good natured personality.  Ryan won this award in 2012 and Myles won in 2013.  What does winning this award mean to you, and how did you distinguish yourself in order to be selected?


RYAN: " It is incredible to have received this award.  It is a great honor and I am proud to have received it.  I honestly had no idea that it could even be given to youth mentors.  I did my best to teach my campers about fly fishing and tying in a funny way that they could relate to and connect with.  It definitely worked, and my campers caught many fish.  


MYLES: "It is an honor that I had received this award. It's an honor that my peers at the camp believed that I my work and attitude represented the qualities that Julie stood for. I really took an interest in the other campers and really enjoyed talking with the many different people there." 


Do you have a favorite stream?  Favorite fly pattern to fish?  To tie?  


RYAN: "My favorite stream I have fished so far is probably the Nantahala in North Carolina.  Locally, I really enjoy the streams in and around the city of Helen.  There are opportunities for everything there.  My favorite fly to fish is a 6 inch articulated sculpin streamer that I tie.  Although I have only caught several fish with it, the chases and strikes of the fish that hit it really give me an adrenaline rush. My all-time favorite confidence fly is a rubber legged stonefly; also known as a girdle bug.  I have caught fish with it everywhere I have fished. That fly has caught more fish for me than any other in my box. "


MYLES: " My favorite stream to fish is the Soque River in North Georgia. One of my favorite flies to fish is a size 14 gold beaded hares ear. I have caught many different fish of all sizes with this fly. One of my favorite flies to tie is a fly I created that I call a bream bug."


If you could fish any stream, anywhere in the world, what would it be and for what species of fish?  Are there any fly fishing "bucket list" items that you have?


RYAN: " I would love to fish the White River in Arkansas for giant browns.  New Zealand and Alaska are also on the list for me.  Mousing in Alaska, and giant fish stalking in New Zealand. "


MYLES: " I would like to go to Alaska to catch some king salmon. I would also like to go to Yellowstone National Park to catch cutthroats."


Do you have a fly fishing "bloopers" story you might share?


RYAN: "I'm not sure if this counts as a fishing blooper, but it is pretty funny.  After a long day of fishing, my brother is almost always asleep on the way home. My dad and I frequently mess with him: tickling him, scaring him, etc.  So on the one time I fell asleep, my brother had my dad suddenly stop so that my head, which was leaning on the window, would roll and knock against the front console.  Apparently they repeated this several times until I was finally knocked awake.  Suggestions for the next prank are welcome at the next meeting."