Dennis began fly fishing for steelhead and salmon on the lower Eel River in 1968 while attending Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. After graduation, he began working for the California Department of Fish and Game at the Nimbus Salmon and Steelhead Hatchery on the American River.
His fly tying expertise began while at Humboldt State where he often visited several North Coast steelhead fly fishing and fly tying pioneers’ such as Lloyd Silvius and Art Dedini to purchase materials and hooks, and learn how to tie flies. Latter, he continued to gain knowledge of and dye fly tying materials from Dave Inks while he operated a wholesale fly tying materials business in Fresno, California. Later, when Dave and Andy Puyans opened Creative Sports Enterprises in Walnut Creek, he continued to observe and learn from tying greats such as Polly Rosborough, Dave Whitlock, Will Godfrey, and Andy Puyans, and more recently, at the Fly Tying Expo held annually in Albany, Oregon.
Dennis uses only the best available materials for his flies and prides himself on tying beautifully proportioned flies with small neat heads. He applies apply several coats of head cement to increase the fly’s durability and appearance and will not overdress the fly with an excess of materials. Rather than tie with easier and less expensive chenille, he will twist ostrich, peacock herl, or other feathers on wire or thread to create beautiful and durable bodies.
Ribbings are usually tied in reverse and often comprised of singled strand wire or several strands twisted together to enhance the appearance and durability of the fly. Feather and hair wings are securely attached to ensure that they will not pull out. Moreover, he personally tank tests patterns to ensure they swim correctly and present a life-like appearance.
Dennis has fished throughout the West Coast and Chinook salmon and steelhead flies are his favorites, although he also can tie traditional and contemporary trout patterns. His extensive stock of materials and hooks allows him to duplicate most patterns or create new and unique flies to your specifications.