Don caught his first fish on a flyover 40 years ago. The following decades have been filled with angling travels and adventures. Growing up in rural Northern California, Don had the opportunity to hone his skills on the famous trout waters of the Sierras and Cascades, as well as numerous bass ponds, canals, reservoirs, ocean waters, steelhead, and salmon streams of the Pacific Northwest. By the age of 15, Don was regularly catching trout, salmon, and steelhead on a fly rod. Moving closer to the Oregon border, and later to Nevada, Don was fortunate to live near and frequently fish rivers like the McCloud, Upper Sac, Hat Creek, Klamath, Smith, Truckee, Walker, Carson, and dozens of others. Guiding family and friends since those early years, Don began a professional fly fishing career in the early '80s, while living and guiding in Alaska. Later travels took him (and return him) to Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, British Columbia, East to the Beaverkill, Battenkill, AuSable, Delaware, and many waters in-between. More recently he began to explore the Caribbean for bonefish and tarpon. A blood relative of "Old Bill Williams", famed trapper friend of Kit Carson, and fellow guide to John C. Freemont, Don's roots to guiding, exploring, and Western life run deep. He enjoyed teaching by sharing his knowledge and love of fly fishing, fish, and the environments they are found in. Don taught thousands of men, women, and children of all ages to fly fish, to refine their skills, and to become better stewards of the rivers.
Don lived in the Mountain Home area where he had been guiding throughout the White River drainage since the mid-'90s. He sunk in some deep roots and became one of the best known and most successful fly fishing guides in North Central Arkansas. In addition to his guiding business, Don was an instructor for the Whitlock Fly Fishing School during the years it was located in Arkansas. Don believed that a day spent on the river should be informative, relaxing, low-pressure, productive, safe and most of all--fun! Although his main guiding focus was on the trout and smallmouth streams of Northern Arkansas, Don regularly guided in Southern Missouri and occasionally outfitted backpacking trips into the High Sierras for golden trout. Don found the Ozarks to be a great home base. He enjoyed the people, the land, and the constantly changing seasons and scenery.
Don said, with all of the many fishing opportunities and outdoor pursuits that can be enjoyed in our area, that there was not enough time in any one year to do them all. Certainly, it's impossible for an outdoorsman to be bored in the Ozarks. In addition to his fly fishing career, Don also had a successful real estate business geared toward the outdoorsman. He specialized in ranches, resorts, river and lake homes, and investment properties. Don had helped many people to retire in the Ozarks, to re-locate here, or to find the perfect vacation and investment properties.
We will miss Don, but, we get comfort in knowing he is making Jesus a better fisherman.....a fly fisherman.