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Angler of the Month - Chris Masterson

We are happy to announce the latest member of the ReelFlyRod Angler of the Month Program, Chris Masterson! ReelFlyRod recognizes Chris as one of the most dedicated and accomplished steelhead anglers that we know. As a resident of Northeast Ohio, Chris is intimately familiar with the lake run trout that come out of the Great Lakes and the ReelFlyRod Pro Staff is always excited to see his latest haul of trophy fish. 

Once again congratulations to Chris and we thank you for taking part in our interview. Continue reading to learn was makes this Great Lakes chrome chaser tick. If you know an angler that you think is worthy of joining the ranks for the ReelFlyRod Angler of the Month Club, feel free to reach out to us here at the shop. 

Chris on the bank with fish

Where are you located and which bodies of water do you fish?

I am located in Northeast Ohio.  I fish many of the Lake Erie tributaries including Rocky River.  I will also travel to Pennsylvania to fish the small streams and other Lake Erie tributaries. 

What Species do you target?  Which do you target most? 

I mainly target Steelhead and other trout species including brook and browns. I also enjoy fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass in the surrounding rivers and lakes. 

Steelhead in net on the bank

What gear is used to pursue that species? 

I fly fish for most everything with the exception of largemouth Bass.  I typically will use a 7wt 9 to 10 ft rod for Steelhead rigged for nymphing or throwing streamers.  For small streams in Pennsylvania where canopy is an obstacle I will use shorter 3-5 wt. 7 to 9 ft rods. I will throw dry flies and nymph rigs.  

Can you tell us how many days you spend on the water?  

I spend as much time as my family will allow.  During steelhead season I will go as often as the water conditions allow which could be a couple times a week. Even If it is for only an hour, I take what I can get. I am lucky to be only 10 minutes to the water from my house, so gear is in the car at all times.

Chris in a Canoe with Brown Trout

When did you start fishing?

I have been fishing since I was probably 5 years old and would fish for bass in every small pond in walking or biking distance. I spent most of my fishing life using spinning and baitcasting reels walking the Rocky River catching smallmouth and finding local ponds for largemouth. I started fly fishing about 8 years ago and absolutely fell in love with it and have not looked back.

Chris at dusk on the bank with a big Brown Trout


Who was it that introduced you to fly fishing? 

 To be honest I had always been interested in fly fishing but no one I fished with did it.  I decided one day to give it a shot and self-taught myself and just figured it out.  I learned most everything from reading books on fly fishing and the internet.  I still consider myself a novice fly fisherman and I have just scratched the surface of all that there is to know.  I make a lot of mistakes and learn something new every time I’m on the water.  As I have met other anglers over the years, I always take something away from them and continue to add to my approach when fishing.  

Can you explain what you get out of fly fishing? 

Fly fishing is the place I go to forget about everything. It provides me with a tremendous amount of therapy and time to just be in the moment.  From the second I step foot in the water to the time I step out I am in a zone that only another fisherman can fully understand.  I recently started tying my own flies which has further grown my passion for this sport.  There is nothing more gratifying than catching fish on something you made.  

Chris' hand with a fingerling

Do you have any tips for new anglers? Any tips for experienced anglers?  

Don’t be afraid to try new things and be your own guide, it’s the best way to learn.  It takes time and that to me is the best part.  And when that time comes when the rod is bent and I figured it out on my own, that’s the best feeling.  I would also encourage new anglers to research the water they are going to fish to understand local regulations.  As a community of anglers, we have a responsibility to protect the waters we are fishing.  With more anglers out fishing I see poor etiquette and little respect for others. While this is not the majority of anglers I do feel there is an opportunity to teach those new to the sport best practices.

Chris riverside

When was your first experience w/ RFR?  

A friend told me he had purchased something from the site and said I should check it out.  I noticed they carried just about all of my favorite brands and they were located in Ohio.  I have been very pleased with the RFR customer service, product offering and expertise of the staff.

Why do you like shopping with us and continue to support RFR?

As I mentioned before, the products they carry are quality brands and products that I trust.  The other reason is the Reelcash Rewards program.  The more I buy the more I earn and that motivates me to continue shopping at RFR.  They have responsive and knowledgeable customer service and the overall experience has been fantastic.  I have and will continue to recommend RFR to friends and fellow anglers.

Tying desk with Fly Tying Vice a red ReelFlyRod cap in the background

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