Mark Martin - Tier | Guide

Mark Martin

I was born and raised (I wouldn't exactly say "grew up") in a no-stoplight town in the rural and beautiful Katahdin country of northern Maine.  Around the fifth grade, the allure of its many rivers, streams, and ponds got the best of an adventurist 10 year old boy and I soon found myself chasing native brookies and landlocked salmon. I actually started tying a year before I took up fly fishing and I remember fondly the first fly I tied; a grossly proportioned brown hackle that most likely, to this day, can be found in dad's fly box and has never gotten wet. 


Maine was, and still is, a multidimensional fly angler’s dream state.  I can’t think of a place I’d rather have grown up.  In addition to those landlocks and brookies, I got to chase after stripers on the coast and smallmouth bass in some very memorable rivers.  But something kept calling me west… I would eventually realize that it was the call of the Rocky Mountain trout waters that was speaking to my heart and soul.


After college, I immediately emigrated to the headwaters of the Green River in Wyoming and have never left the west. Lifestyles, jobs, loves, and unique places often fall into one's lap with no warning and life had taught me that a wise man allows things to unfold in their natural order; which is exactly what I did and soon found myself in the Sawtooth Mountains and the Salmon River valley of Idaho.  It was there that I began guiding float-trips for native cutthroat and rainbows.  Like a student of Zen stubbing his toe on enlightenment, I also discovered bull trout and steelhead.  I can't help staying up late trying to invent a better mousetrap for my local waters, so I ended up messing around with flies and styles of tying that would bring cutthroat to the surface.  In addition, I've also always enjoyed being able to tie on a fly for a client that I've designed myself, tested, amended, re-tested, and come to rely on.


My home waters, the Main and Middle Forks of the Salmon and their tributaries offer some of Idaho's best steelhead and native Westslope cutthroat fishing.  On the Main, we chase steelhead in the fall, winter, and early-spring; during summer and fall on the Upper Main and Middle Fork the native Westslope cutthroat are the fish du jour.  On the occasional indulgent afternoon, dredging with huge slinky streamers for bull trout maintains my sense of the absurd.  The South Fork of the Snake, The Teton, The Big Wood, the Big Lost, and the Clearwater are also waters you can find me and my flies on.

For the most part, I fish and guide for wild, enthusiastic trout that respond well to the overall bugginess of flies tied from #20 to #6.   I try to give ‘em what they want.  For steelhead, I fish with a small handful of confidence patterns, including my selections featured on this site.


I keep a quote from Thomas McGuane handy:   “…you can’t properly present something you don’t believe in.”  Thus, I strongly believe in and stand by each and every one of my flies.  I tie and fish flies that walk a line between simplicity and aesthetic appeal.  As a guide and angler, I’m of the attitude that a fish deserves one's best creative effort.


Thanks for checking out my flies, and if you are headed over to central Idaho to fish for steelhead or trout, I would be happy to discuss your trip with you and put together a personalized selection of flies.  Just click here “Custom Fly Order” and I will get a hold of you.


View Mark's Flies.