John and Elna

Hamilton, Montana. John Faust may not be a German protagonist, but he certainly is a fly-fishing legend. I had the opportunity to spend a morning over coffee with John and his wife, Elna.


Faust FlyJohn had his own fly-fishing shop in Hamilton, MT for years after first being well-known as a fly-tyer. Two of his most famous flies include Freddie (and Freddie Junior) and the “ugly rudimus.” The most unique one of all, though, was the “lady killer.” In the end, John thought the fly turned out to be more of a hassle than it was worth – for all the obvious reasons. I’ll let you judge for your self.

John was also famous for his mechanical trout, a 22-inch rainbow named Fernando, made of lead and Fiberglass. Fernando could be made to roll up to the surface of the water to appear as if it was going after a fly. John and Fernando became famous when Elna received a phone call at the fly shop from Robert Redford. When Redford identified himself, Elna said,”Yeah, right!”  Well, it turned out that Redford needed Fernando for his movie, “A River Runs through It” and wanted to work with John. I can’t wait to go back and watch the movie again to see Fernando.

Faust AwardJohn is also a fly-box maker and champion for the Bitterroot River, which runs through his town. He has been recognized as one of the most innovative guides in the Bitterroot Valley.  I am so fortunate to have met these incredible folks in the land of rivers, the beautiful state of Montana. Thanks for sharing with me, John and Elna.


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