Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

May 20, 2021

This week Aaron Reed talks with fly angler and shop owner Chris Johnson of Living Waters fly shop in Round Rock, Texas. 

00:00 Intro

00:58 Shoutout to Real Ale Brewing and Real Spirits Distilling (

01:32 Shoutout to Duck Camp (

02:37 Thanks to our underwriter, The Local Angler series, and Imbrifex Books (

03:25 We join Chris in his office at Living Waters Fly Fishing.

04:00 Chris and Aaron discuss the Baetis hatch at Luna’s Tacos that afternoon.

05:00 We gotta mention Round Rock Donuts (

05:43 Chris stands in line so we don’t have to.

07:30 We discuss the guide service and Chris’s guide line-up. Chris inadvertently gives away his (shockingly young) age.

09:30 Shoutout to OG Texas freshwater guide Marcus Rodriguez.

11:58 We take a Chaco’s detour (

13:10 We introduce the amazing shop staff, all our friends.

15:53 The youngest member of the staff, and Aaron’s small-world connection to the Pafk family.

19:18 Fly fishing as a lifetime sport; does that contribute to the notable “small world” phenomenon we often remark upon?

22:25 By the way, most of the best flies in the shop were designed by people who work (or worked) there.

22:40 Shoutout to Matt Bennett at

23:15 Walk through the doors of LWFF, and you’re family.

24:00 Got any crickets?

24:29 The first shop was a reclaimed cat shelter.

26:50 What’s a “creek shop,” and why is Living Waters Fly Fishing one of them?

28:44 “I was in college and found I couldn’t major in fishing, and that was a real downer.”

34:25 We take a quick Tenkara detour.

35:00 The pandemic year and the shop. Aaron means “March of 2020,” natch.

38:10 How the biggest year began.

40:45 Williamson County declares fly fishing “essential.”

44:20 Building community: weekly fly-tying, and monthly “Intro to Fly Fishing” classes.

45:22 Aaron mispronounces guide Pat Vanek’s last name. Look for Pat at Bosque Valley Fly Fishing.

46:50 Why Chris doesn’t offer free beer at the shop. (Hint: It’s not because he is opposed to a good craft beer.”

51:40 So how did the pandemic year work out for Living Waters?

52:40 The importance of not cutting pre-season orders.

53:45 “Head and shoulders, our best year ever.”

53:49 “We invented ‘social distancing.’”

55:35 “It was a bigger boom than the movie.” (“The movie,” of course, is “A River Runs Through It.”)

56:25 Chris and Aaron discuss home waters and the Central Texas fisheries.

1:00:15 Just how much public water is there in Texas? Aaron runs down the numbers.

1:01:20 Chris is a not-so-closet birder.

1:02:18 Population and development pressures on Central Texas waters, especially Brushy Creek.

1:03:08 “The fight is now over water.”

1:04:10 “All water is connected.”

1:05:16 Last year’s big conservation win on Brushy Creek.

1:07:00 The coming Tesla invasion.

1:09:00 Aaron grasps for an analogy, and inadvertently places Black’s BBQ in Luling (it’s in Lockhart, y’all).

1:09:58 New stickuhs in Chris’s shop, including two natives from Mike Williams.

1:10:37 How the Rio Grande cichlids fared in the historic deep freeze we experienced this year.

1:15:02 Check out the new “Fly Fish the Republic” sticker from our friend Nate Karnes at Remedy Provisions ( That’s the first flag of the Republic, designed by Tejano patriot Lorenzo de Zavala in 1836.

1:16:45 What does “Fly Fish the Republic” mean, anyway?

1:19:00 #flyfishtherepublic actually raises money for native fish conservation within the borders of the historic Republic of Texas (that included some fishy parts of present-day New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming).

1:19:30 What are the similarities between Guadalupe bass and Rio Grande cutthroat, and what can fishing about the former teaches you about the latter?

1:21:35 Here’s a tip: try a size 14 damsel nymph for big Guads.

1:24:20 Where to find Living Waters Fly Fishing in person and online.

1:25:17 Oh yeah, what brands does Living Waters Fly Fishing carry?

1:26:26 Central Texas is Scientific Anglers country. (

1:27:30 Tearful goodbyes.

1:29:02 A final tip: right now, Brushy is on fire from the Dell Diamond west through town. Go fishing!