Ethan Smith: American Reeler
For Idaho Falls’ Ethan Smith (@American.Fisher on Instagram), fishing is a family affair.
“When my daughter Rainey was born, we just decided that she’d come with us whenever we did anything,” he says. “My wife started fly fishing not long after we met, so now all three of us go.”
If you take a peek at Ethan’s Instagram feed, you’ll see plenty of pics of plump brown trout in his hand, while he and his one-and-a-half-year-old fishing buddy pose for the camera. However, that dynamic is set to change pretty soon.
“We’ve got another one on the way — we’re due early next year,” he says. “I guess we’ll have to get a front pack for the baby.”
While Ethan didn’t get started quite as early as his kids, the Midway, Utah native been fishing for quite a while.
“I’ve been fishing pretty much my entire life,” he says. “I started going out with my dad and brothers when I was four or five years old.”
He spent most of his childhood reeling on spinning gear.
“About six years ago, my dad took me out to the Green River and taught me to fly fish,” Ethan says. “And I’ve never looked back.”
The Green River — a renowned trout river — is still his favorite fishery.
“It’s where I learned with my dad and got my first taste of fly fishing,” Ethan says. “So, it’s partly nostalgia, but it’s also a great fishery.”
Now he’s a busy project manager in the healthcare construction industry, as well as a husband and father.
“I have to make time to fish,” Ethan says. “In Utah, I lived really close to the river — the Middle Provo was like two minutes from my house. So, I could get out almost whenever I wanted.”
But work brought Ethan and his family to Idaho Falls, so finding both time and a stream has been a little more challenging.
“The three of us hike out to lakes and rivers,” he says. “It’s a great activity and we get on the trout.”
Brown are his favorites, but Ethan would “like to get on the bull trout one of these days.”
Streamers are his go-to.
“I like sculpins and leeches,” he says. “I’ll usually fish or dead drift them — I like chasing bigger fish, and I get better results with streamers.”
But that doesn’t keep Ethan off dry flies.
“I love fishing dries in the summer,” he says. “You’ve got to check the hatch, check the water — there’s technically a lot that goes into it. And that’s what’s most fun about it: The challenge and the knowledge you need to do it.”
In spite of the challenge, fly fishing is also an escape for Ethan.
“I keep going back to it because I feel like I need it,” he says. “With all that’s going on in the world and my life, I get to go out there, be with my family and my best friend, and just disconnect from everything else.”