Our Philosophy

Turbo Cone Tube Fly

Aqua Flies is a company committed to tying the finest flies on earth. Only the highest quality fly tying materials are used: Gamakatsu hooks, Whiting Farms feathers, Waddington Shanks. Each fly is hand tied by the most experienced commercial fly tiers in the business and passes through stringent quality inspection.

The people behind Aqua Flies are dedicated fly tiers and fly fishermen who understand how to utilize top-notch materials, correct proportions, and precise tying methods to produce a superior product. We know the difference between a fly that will catch fish and one that just looks good at the vice. We have a history and depth of experience that enables us to combine proven tradition with unequaled innovation.

We take pride in our products and we are eager to share them with you.

Meet the Men Behind the Flies

Doug Brutocao
Doug Brutocao

Doug Brutocao was introduced to fly fishing at the age of 15, when he was given a Fenwick 805 rod and a Pflueger Reel. But fishing was not enough; Doug also wanted to learn the art of fly tying. Spending countless hours at the vise and reading many books, he learned to tie flies for trout, steelhead and shad. After moving to Santa Rosa, California, he met Grant King and a whole new world opened up to him. He was introduced to the concept of commercial fly tying while at the same time maintaining a quality fly.

Through Grant, Doug got to know many talented Northern California fly anglers, including Bill Schaddt, Hal Janssen, Frank Bertaina, and Bob Nauhiem. Over the next 20 to 30 years, Doug had the opportunity to learn from these truly great masters. He honed his skills on the rivers of Northern California — the Gualala, Russian, Eel, Smith and Trinity. It was while fishing these rivers that he found his passion in the pursuit of anadromous fish. This passion has taken him to world class fisheries in Alaska, British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Russia.

Doug’s passion has led to a life in the fly fishing industry. When he was 18 he formed Doug’s Bugs and supplied commercially tied flies to a number of shops in Northern California. Eventually Doug’s Bugs evolved into a distribution company for a wide variety of fly tying materials, tools, fly fishing books, rods, reels, and other fly fishing related products.

After selling Doug’s Bugs and taking some time off to tend the family vineyard, Doug got back into the fly fishing industry. He felt there was a lack of good quality, well tied steelhead flies on the market. Now Aqua Flies fills this void. Other fly companies have let the steelhead angler down, but Aqua Flies is dedicated to producing top quality flies that actually catch fish!

Stuart Foxall
Stuart Foxall

Stuart Foxall started fishing at age 4. By the time he was 8, he was spending every weekend fishing for salmon and trout with his dad in Wales. He tied his first flies with feathers from a pillow and thread from his mother’s sewing kit. A Turrells fly tying kit soon followed, and Stuart has been tying flies ever since.

Stuart caught his first salmon on a prawn from the River Severn when he was 9, and it proved to be a 16lb grilse! Around this time, his father began taking the family up to Scotland on fishing holidays. He caught his first salmon on a fly from the River Avon.

With 5 or 6 trips each year to Scotland, Stuart spent many hours on the Avon, Deveron, and the Upper Oykel, which he describes as a great spate river where the salmon could be stalked. He was quite intrigued with the salmon’s responses to various flies.

As a young man, he pursued a career in football and temporarily set aside the fishing trips. This prompted him to spend even more time tying flies. He wasn’t seeing what other people were using, and constantly invented his own patterns. He would send his flies on trips with his parents, who used them very successfully on many rivers. Stuart’s favorite salmon pattern is Bill’s Bullet, which he named after his dad. It has caught numerous fish from all over Scotland in all conditions and even landed two salmon, over 30 pounds, in a week on the River Nith.

After a tough battle with cancer four years ago, Stuart took the “trip of a lifetime” to Alaska. He has returned every year since. On that first trip he heard about steelhead fishing in Northern British Columbia, and was enthralled by tales of unbelievable takes and fights. To say that he became obsessed with steelhead is an understatement. He travels to North America 2 or 3 times a year to feed his addiction, and is constantly incorporating new tying methods and theories into his own fly designs.

Still an avid fly tyer, he usually ties a few patterns every night to relax after work. If you ask him what he’s thinking about, he’ll tell you “Awww... I wish I was fishing!!!”

John Ryzanych
John Ryzanych

Through his modern approach in the use of fur, feathers and synthetics John Ryzanych has become widely recognized as one of the sports leading creative tiers. His original designs, including the Fat Head bait fish and Air Head top water fly, are used the world over and considered cutting edge for their unique functionality and greater representation of the things sport fish eat.

His company, ICON Products, manufactures and distributes specialized fly fishing products. The body forming material SOFTEX is complimented by a line of market leaders like Fly Stages (fly tyer’s vise mounted organizer), Perfect Loops (“engineered” braid loops for perfect line to backing connections) and The Catch & Release “Zero Limit” line of conservation message apparel and decals.

In addition to managing the operations and development aspects of his company, John regularly performs tying demonstrations at both domestic and international fly fishing venues, and contributes articles to the sport’s leading magazines. He is also a board member of the Northern California FFF, advisor to the California Department of Fish and Game, and recently successful in sponsoring conservation legislation in his home state of California.

When time allows, he pursues his passion for fishing the salt waters of the world!

Jason Hartwick
Jason Hartwick

Jason Hartwick is the owner and head steelhead guide for Steelhead on the Spey Guide Service. Born and raised in Sacramento, CA, where he learned to fly fish 20 years ago, Jason hooked his first steelhead on the nearby American River and has been crazy about steelhead ever since. Although he grew up in Sacramento, Jason considers Northern California’s Trinity River his home river. He has been fly fishing for fall, summer and winter steelhead in the Trinity River watershed for nearly fifteen years — captivated by the variety of steelhead fishing the Trinity provides fly anglers throughout the year.

While Jason has been an avid fly rod steelheader, his interest intensified eleven years ago when he discovered two-handed (spey) rods. He found that the spey rod made steelhead fishing much more enjoyable... and a heck of a lot easier! Increased casting distance came nearly effortlessly and allowed him to cover more water, while the longer rod made mending line a breeze. He embraced the spey casting techniques and with new enthusiasm honed his steelhead fly fishing skills.

As a fly tier with many years of experience on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers, Jason’s fly patterns are influenced by the conditions found there. In the late summer and fall, water levels are often low and clear and floating lines are the norm. The flies used in these conditions are tied with just enough flash to grab the fish's attention. Natural subtle materials, such as peacock, pheasant and wood duck, are blended together to create flies that will entice a steelhead to strike in even the clearest of waters.

When not on the Trinity or Klamath, Jason spends time on the coast of California and Southern Oregon pursuing winter steelhead. His fly tying skills are not limited to subtle summer steelhead flies. For the tougher winter conditions, Jason ties bright marabou tube flies and weighted tube flies designed to fish big, off-color waters.

A natural teacher, Jason’s love for fly fishing finds its highest expression when he instructs others in the art of pursuing steelhead with a two-handed fly rod. Older anglers are amazed at how little effort is required to make casts that cover more water than they ever could with a single-handed rod. They also discover how less effort casting translates into more time on the water. If you have yet to experience the thrill of steelhead fishing with a spey rod, Jason strongly urges you to give it a try!

Brett Jensen
Brett Jensen

It was on the Big Sur River where in 1972 Brett Jensen caught his first fish on a fly. It was more than just a special moment; it is what triggered a lifelong addiction to fly fishing.

With the opening of the Millpond Fly Shop in San Jose, CA, in 1973, Brett quickly became friends with owner Len Bearden, and through Len was exposed to several talented anglers. Exposure to pioneer anglers like Bob Quigley, Hal Janssen, Dave Inks, Dave Whitlock, Bob Edgley, and Lawrence Summers had quite an influence on Brett. But, it was Ed Hamada's influence and mentoring that encouraged Brett “to think outside the box” and approach not only fly tying but fly fishing creatively.

In 1977, Brett left his home town of Los Gatos and moved to Palo Cedro, a small town east of Redding, California. Since then he has guided and photographed his home waters, becoming recognized for his innovative fly patterns for both stillwater and steelhead. He has been a guest speaker for Trout Unlimited and the Federation of Fly Fishers conclave. He has presented numerous slide programs and tying demonstrations for fly clubs in Northern and Southern California, Arizona, Oregon and Nevada. His photographs and articles on fly tying have appeared in several popular fly fishing publications. In 1989, together with lifelong fishing partner Rick Jorgensen, he started Klamath Connections and for several years ran a successful guide service on the Lower Klamath River.

It is the Klamath that Brett considers his home river and the Klamath has been the inspiration for many of his summer and fall steelhead patterns. He ties his patterns with attention to materials that not only give his flies a look but lets them perform as designed when fished.

Since embracing the two-handed rod, Brett's fishing time has been spent pursuing salmon on the rivers of the North Coast, and chasing steelhead in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Northern California, and of course on the Klamath.

Mike McGovney
Mike McGovney

Mike McGovney was born in California and moved to Alaska when at a young age when he first held a rod in his hands. Very quickly, Mike developed an obsession with all types of fishing, and by the age of 11 years old that obsession turned into a lifelong passion for fly fishing. Growing up in Alaska was an ideal place to foster this passion, and Mike soon became knowledgeable about all the spots where the fish were biting and began learning how to tie is own flies. Mike has previously owned his own a fly shop in Anchorage, Alaska known as World Wide Angler, and he ran that shop for 12 years until deciding to move on to his next adventure. Mike now resides in the Pacific Northwest chasing fish year-round. Mike travels all over Northern America, and the world, and is skilled and knowledgeable in both fresh and salt water fishing including, but not limited to: tarpon, bonefish, steelhead, rainbow trout and so much more.