03 Jan Guide Profile Eric Leininger
This is a new series we’re starting for 2019, interview our buddies who maybe aren’t from BC but who are guiding somewhere or in the fishing business. First in the series is Eric Leininger, @mykizha on Instagram, who is currently guiding in Oregon and Alaska. I met Eric a bunch of years back and have stayed in touch over the years, sometimes he comes up and kicks it with us in BC. Here’s what he has to say…
Where are you guiding throughout the year and why do you like those fisheries?
My year starts out chasing Winter Steelhead here in Oregon, followed by my summers spent on the Goodnews River in Alaska, and then lastly to help run camp trips on the Grande Ronde. I take December to recharge, and then it starts all over again. All 3 of these fisheries have some commonalities; beautiful scenery and aggressive fish.
What are your biggest challenges while guiding?
Trying to figure out how to transfer my knowledge into a way that’s easily absorbed and can be implemented quickly. If I had a week with every client, that would be great, but for the most part it’s 1-3 days so we need to make stuff happen asap. I’m not trying to turn everyone into a Spey casting, fish hunting animal, but there are some specific things that need to be a fundamental part of your day while on the water.
What kind of changes have you seen in your fisheries in the past five years?
A variety for sure. On my home waters we’ve seen numbers fluctuate as the poor ocean conditions, commercial netting, and sea lion predation have attributed negative effects. Where as in Alaska there has been zero commercial fishing in our bay for the last 5 years, we have a Lodge rule of catch and release on Kings since 2015, and we are also the only full service Lodge on the entire river system. This has led to ridiculous runs of fish the last few years, and extremely happy clients and staff. Bottom line, take care of Mother Nature and she will take care of you.
What makes a good guest? And a bad one?
Pretty simple. Are you happy to be here, yes or no? If you are I can deal with everything else.
What fly gear are you digging right now?
I’m a Loomis guy so you can say I’m biased, but I swear that new Asquith is unbelievable. When I let Dec (Hogan) throw the 7130 last Fall on the GR he said “Ya know Eric, I usually say a rod is only as good as the person casting it. Except that one” I’m no rod designer so I can’t go into the specifics of the spiral x wrap etc. all I know is it absolutely jacks, it’s crazy light, and it’s made fishing even more fun which I thought was impossible.
What makes good flies for what you are doing?
For winter time if it sinks quickly, moves great, and is easy to cast, that’s what I’m aiming for. The color combinations are endless as well as the material you choose to use. If you like it, fish it. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy spinning up winter bugs so much.
What’s one cool fishing trip you’re itching to do?
That’s the hardest question here. There’s so many! I’ve recently been introduced into the whole sight fishing thing down in Louisiana via my buddy Jeff Arnold who guides down there, and I gotta say, from someone who basically blind casts to fish all day doing the whole Believe In The Swing then switching gears to spotting fish, making a cast and watching 5 gallons of water get inhaled alongside your fly, I’m pretty much sold. So Cuba, Christmas Island, or if I win the lottery the Seychelles.
Where to find him…
You can follow Eric Leininger on Instagram and the Goodnews River Lodge Facebook. His home fly shop is Northwest Fly Fishing Outfitters in Portland, Oregon.
About the Author
Yos Gladstone is the owner operator of Chromer Sport Fishing, a guiding company and booking agency based in British Columbia, Canada. A full-time salmon & steelhead guide, Yos spends 200+ days a year on the water fishing, guiding and hosting trips.