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Umpqua Feather Merchants

Shared Experiences

Interview with Russ Miller 

Russ is committed to a life of adventure with a fly rod in hand. When he became obsessed with fishing at a young age, he had no idea where it would take him and who he would meet along the way. After spending nearly two decades working in the industry split between guiding, working at a fly shop, and at the manufacturing level, Russ considers himself to have a lucky life. His kids have brought him back to his beginnings of fishing as they enjoy the outdoors, catching fish, and throwing rocks in the river, which is a far cry from competitive fly fishing for Team USA. Currently, he works for Umpqua Feather Merchants (@umpquafeathermerchants) in Louisville, CO, which keeps him following his passion for fly fishing, chasing stories, and capturing adventures. The idea for Umpqua started back in 1972 to provide the highest quality flies from the country’s best tyers and bring them to your local fly shop and file these unique patterns into your box.

Rapid Fire Questions

What types of fly fishing experiences do you enjoy?

“My favorite experiences are a little bit of solitude, opportunity, and good company while pursuing wild fish in wild places. I appreciate traveling with good friends and having a common goal in mind. Everyone knows what that goal is, and we’re all working hard to achieve it. Goals audibly defined for the group are a big deal, and the expectations and how we go about achieving it.”

If you had a post-fishing cocktail named after you, what would it be? 

“It might be a margarita, but for a drink named after me… the Skagit Mist.”

What are a few pieces of gear that you never leave home without?

“Flies are the one piece of equipment that I carry on with me. Everything else I could care less about. Rods and reels are super critical, but flies are the one piece of equipment I build my whole system around. I have a system which I like to fish and flies are the driver of that system. If I don’t have my flies of choice, then I lose all of my confidence.”

What is one of your greatest fly fishing travel memories?

“I did a bunch of traveling with Fly Fishing Team USA and was able to go to numerous European destinations for trout. One destination that stood out was Bosnia. Their rivers are incredible! It’s ultra-clear, technical, single fly water with trophy-sized grayling (50cm grayling). The water was so clear that what you thought was knee-deep was up to your neck. The people in Bosnia are also incredible – I still message with several of them over Facebook. The twenty-five-cent espresso shots in Bosnia aren’t too bad either!”

Why Fly Fishing Destination Travel?

“Because any time you can go experience something new it makes you a better angler – simple answer! If you want to become a complete angler, new experiences are always going to make you better.”

What's New with Umpqua?

“Our leader and tippet is a significant initiative for us. It’s the best presentation for your fly – confidence from the fly up. Leader and tippet are ultimately what delivers your fly! We have a ton of species and scenario-specific leaders designed to give better energy.”

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