We fish a lot. And we’ve fished for a lot of years. In that time, we have used several nets. Why a post about nets? One word…memories. If nets could talk, what would yours say?

Memorable Nets | www.johnkreft.com

From left to right: Dancingtrout lake net, Steve Stevens, Lyle Hand bamboo handle, Brodin, Snake River Net Co, Fisknat

The image above is of our current net inventory.

Dancingtrout’s lake net

It doesn’t have a name on it and neither of use recall where it was purchased. We both remember it was purchased many years ago when we started lake fishing with pontoon boats. We were unprepared for landing large fish with our short-handled river nets.

Steve Stevens net

I use this Steve Steven’s teardrop net occasionally because it has sentimental value. Steve was a friend of mine who lost his battle with ALS and taught net building at our Central Oregon Flyfishers club. My wife was in his class and came home one day with this beauty. Steve said “take this one home for John to fish”.

Steve Stevens Net | www.johnkreft.com
Lyle Hand bamboo handle net

I received a bamboo rod as a surprise gift from my wife several years ago. We travelled to meet Lyle, the rod maker and ended up purchasing another rod and this net. The handle is wrapped with bamboo. I used it for the lakes, but the basket is very deep and difficult to remove smaller fish.

Brodin net

Dancingtrout’s current river net. The handle includes pearl measure marks to help estimate the length of larger trout. Needless to say, it is well used!

Karen Netting Madison Rainbow Trout | www.riverkeeperflies.com
Snake River Net Co

I purchased this net from my friend Mike Avery, owner. On the opposite side, I had Mike engrave RiverKeeper Flies. While it’s primarily a lake net, I do carry it on occasion when I fish for large fish.

Rainbow Trout and Net | www.johnkreft.com
Fisknat net

This is my current net. I like it because it’s a little bigger and can net fish over 20″. I found it on the river several years ago and it’s provide some good mo-jo for me. It was floating in a very small back-eddy. Obviously, another fly fisher lost it upstream and it floated down the river. I tried to locate the original owner. I stopped in at the Camp Sherman Store and left it there for a couple of weeks hoping someone would claim it. I posted on Westfly (a now-closed fly fishing forum). Lots of people wanted it but couldn’t accurately describe it. Seems like lots of people lose nets on the Metolius! I never found the owner, so I kept it and fish it to this day.

Here are some images of memorable fish that ended up on our nets.

Some nets are large enough for doubles, which happens occasionally!

My first fishing net was aluminum with green knotted material for the basket. Do you remember those?

Bags have changed over the years too. The rubber bags are much easier on the fish, preventing the natural protective slime on the fish from being rubbed away.

Which reminds me…rubber baskets. I call them trampoline nets sometimes. Have you ever landed a nice fish that was on the verge of being too big for the net and when thrashing around they kind of bounce out? It’s happened to me on numerous occasions.

Nets serve as a nice backdrop when taking pictures too. This is one of my favorites.

Metolius Rainbow Going Home | www.riverkeeperflies.com

I dipped the net in the water and waited for the Rainbow Trout to swim out on its own.

I wonder how many fish pics I’ve saved when the fish squirms and drops into the water? It’s why I hold the net below them. I’ve recaptured them more times than I can remember.

Madison River Rainbow Below Log Pile | www.johnkreft.com

Here are a few more beauties we landed. Without our nets, we more than likely wouldn’t have ended up with these memories.

One last story I’ll share.

We used to live in the Willamette Valley and fish coastal rivers for salmon and steelhead.

On the first trip for a large salmon net, those with the extendable handle, we drifted the Nestucca River and came upon a fisherman playing a salmon. He asked if I had a net he could borrow and I said “sure”. I rowed close and handed the net to his fishing partner who scooped the fish and began to lift the net out of the water, just like a trout.

“No”, I shouted…a moment too late as the handle bent. At least it’s memorable when I think about all the nets I’ve owned.

Here are link to two other posts I’ve written about nets you might enjoy:

How many nets have you owned? If nets could talk, what would your net say?

Enjoy…go fish!

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  1. I would never have thought about writing an article about nets but this was very enjoyable. I have 2 Steve Stevens nets. One I made in the CoF class he did and one I bought at a CoF auction He was a friend also and such a nice man I would have paid much more than I did for that auction net to have it. I called him after the auction to tell him I bought it and that was the last time we spoke.
    Keep up the great writing.

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