About Alyssa Halls and Neil Strickland
We are the owners, head guides and fly tyers of Owl Creek Flies. Every fly you see on this website was tied by one of us. We believe it should be a pleasure to cast and fish flies, and our patterns are tied with that in mind. They do what they are supposed to do, and are extremely durable. We fish our flies almost exclusively, and use them in all of our guide trips.
We live, fish and guide in Thermopolis, Wyoming year-round, moonlighting as fly tyers.
While our catalog contains a fairly diverse selection of flies for Rocky Mountain trout fishing and West Coast Steelheading, we are always up for following different recipes, duplicating flies from photographs, or modifying our patterns to suit the conditions and gear requirements of the water you need them for.
Prices for custom work vary depending on the difficulty of acquiring the necessary materials, and on the complexity of the fly. Email us at email@example.com for a quote.
We also do custom fly boxes as gifts for the angler. Made to suit the fisherman and can be filled with requested patterns or simply "Chef's Choice".
Because we are such a small operation, orders get backed up from time to time. Most small orders (under $50 in flies) are tied and shipped within 5 business days. Orders of $50-$100 in flies usually ship within 2 weeks, and orders of $100 or more in flies can take up to three weeks.
Neil grew up in Arizona, moved to Jackson Hole as a teenager and - surrounded by rivers and hungry trout - promptly took up fishing. He moved to Fort Smith, Montana in 2004, got to know the Big Horn River, and began guiding fishing trips. Over the course of the next 7 years, Neil guided hundreds of fly fishermen down the Big Horn, learned to weather the brutal winters of the Montana plains, and started tying flies commercially for the fly shops in town.
In the winter of 2010, he and a handful of friends made the trip West to spend a month fishing for Winter Steelhead on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Changed by the experience, he spent the following summer dreaming of moss-covered rocks and flashes of chrome in glacial-green water...
Alyssa grew up in the coastal hills of Oregon, tromping around the creeks, ponds, and seemingly endless forest surrounding her childhood home. She rode horses and helped take care of her family's small farm. Always attracted to outdoor sports, she started skiing at a young age, then snowboarding, and at 14 took up rock climbing in the summer months.
She is a fiend for culture with a strong passion for portraying the beauty of the world through art. She lived in West Africa for a year at the age of 17. Upon returning to the states, she worked just enough to raise some money, and continued to travel. She worked the Sugar Beet harvest in Montana, and wound up working for a Chocolatier in Guatemala in the Winter of 2010. Looking for a summer job (and, admittedly, an adventure) in 2011, she found herself in Fort Smith, Montana. Fishing and tying came naturally, and soon consumed her thoughts and her free time...
We met in Fort Smith in the Spring of 2011.
Working at separate outfits, we got to know one another through brief encounters walking around town, and while floating and fishing the Big Horn and the lake. Soon we became inseparable, and in the Fall we decided to spend the winter on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. So we packed up our possessions in a ramshackle old dirtbike trailer, topped it off with a two-person pontoon boat we picked up off of Craigslist, and headed for the coast. We had lined up renting a rustic cabin for the next 6 months...
Well, one winter turned into 4 years, our cabin became home to a lively steelhead camp for us and our friends and in 2013 we opened the Hoh Humm Fly Shop to sling flies and some locally made rods and reels. Neil spent winters guiding Steelhead fishing trips and we started tying and selling our own patterns on the website Alyssa built, under the brand of Anadromy Flies, and in a couple fly shops.
Eventually the challenges of running a guide service and fly tying company out of our tiny cabin (and even tinier "fly shop on skids") became too great. We loved our home on the Hoh. It was a difficult decision, leaving a place where we were just beginning to become established... leaving friends, clients, and favorite stretches of river is not an easy thing to do. But we needed to make a change.
We spent the summer of 2014 in one of Neil's old haunts, amongst the hot springs and trout water of Thermopolis, we decided that Wyoming suited us. After one more winter in our little cabin on the coast (an especially rainy one) the dry hills and sparsely treed river valleys, and mostly, the ever-present sun, beckoned fiercely. And here, where the Rockies, the Great Basin, and the Great Plains meet, we got married on the river and started to put down roots.
Alyssa started her guiding career on the Big Horn. We added Neil's favorite trout patterns to our fly catalog, and changed our name from Anadromy Fly Fishing, to Owl Creek Flies, named for the mountains that rise to the south and southwest of Thermopolis. In our time here so far, we've developed several new patterns, gained an intimate knowledge of our local water, and fished with great folks who return to fish with us again and again.
While it is impossible to know what the future holds, we plan to stay in Thermopolis for the long run.
Beyond guiding and tying, we enjoy teaching. Instruction is an integral part of every guide trip, but for those looking for more specific lessons, we also offer:
Private Fly Tying Lessons
Group Tying Nights
Streamer Fishing Clinics
and Spey Casting Clinics
These offerings are available to people of all abilities and skill levels. To inquire about a class or clinic, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (307) 480-8457.
Alyssa also hosts Ladies Steelhead trips on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington through Brazda's Fly Fishing. For information about joining one of these adventures, contact Alyssa:
Check out Ladies Steelhead Fishing on Facebook