Tom McCoy

Years Fishing?


Who introduced you to fly fishing?

My father, grandfather, and a close family friend

Can you tell us a little about your home waters and the fish you pursue there?

I’m fortunate to live within sight of the Methow River in north central Washington near the Canadian border. This incredibly scenic river flows down the east slope of the Cascade Mountains to the confluence with the Columbia River. It hosts rainbow, cutthroat, and bull trout as well as summer steelhead, chinook and coho salmon. There are also hundreds of alpine wilderness lakes within a day’s ride with horses and pack mules. Steelhead are the marquis fish in the Methow, though it is arguably the premier trout stream in Washington state. I also try to make several trips a year to Idaho’s famous Clearwater River, a spey casters paradise. My family homesteaded that area, so along with the Snake and Grand Ronde, it is my ancestral waters.

What's the height of the season for you? What time of year is your personal favorite?

It’s got to be October, the peak time for summer steelhead fishing throughout the Columbia basin. The weather is usually crisp and clear, the fall colors are on full display and the rivers full of fish. So many great rivers, so little time.

What are your favorite travel destinations? What's on the bucket list?

While the Methow is a glorious little river but my favorite has to be the Clearwater. It’s one of the few places where you can fish as far as you can cast; no rod or line is too long. Plus, the steelhead can get huge! Also love the spring creeks of the northern Rockies. My bucket list includes taiman in Mongolia, Kamchatka steelhead, and roosterfish in the surf.

What you like most about Thomas and Thomas rods? Which rods do you fish?

The impeccable fit, finish and materials of Thomas & Thomas rods go without saying, however there are two additional attributes that make them stand out above the others. First is the deep power in the blanks. These rods are so smooth and comfortable for routine casts, but when the time comes to put the wood to it, send one over the centerfield fence, the rods don’t balk, they ask for more. And second is that ineffable feeling you get when pull you one out of the tube: knowing that you are about to use something that is more than the right tool for the job. The rod is an extension of your consciousness, translating your mental picture of a cast into a perfect presentation on the water. My go-to rods are the DH1307-3 and, my new favorite, the DNA1498-4 though a few others are vying for a spot in the starting lineup.

What's your current go-to fly?

Right now it’s some variation of a soft hackle. Trout = soft hackle, steelhead = soft hackle. I just love the elegant simplicity….and ease of tying!

Other than fly tackle, what piece of gear do you find indispensable?

Without a doubt is would be my Leatherman multi-tool. I believe civilization would collapse without them

What's your ideal lunch when on the water? What do you actually pack?

In the old days it was Cool Ranch Doritos and Rainier Beer. Now that I’ve grown older and more sophisticated it’s extra dry salami, good peanuts, and Rainier Beer.

What fly fishing blogs/magazines do you read regularly?

Speypages, Poppy’s Spey Casting Forum, Steelheader’s Journal and Northwest Flyfishing.

When I'm not fishing you'll find me:

Doing any number of things depending on the season. In the fall I spend considerable time hunting upland birds with my German Wirehaired Pointers; makes for nice cast-and-blast trips. During the dead of winter I’ll be teaching alpine skiing at our local ski hill, or avoiding detection while skiing out of bounds at regional ski resorts. I’m doing more back county skiing as well. And in the spring and summer you’ll find me either on the river practicing spey casting or training horses.

Contact Info


(509) 969-3073



Winthrop, Washington USA

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