Since 1978, John Hazel has prided himself on building an elite group of highly skilled fly fishing guides. To make the cut, a guide must possess an extensive knowledge of entomology; must prove himself as a master boatman; must be an exceptional instructor with great communication skills; must be dedicated to guiding as a full-time occupation; and must shine during tough situations and challenging conditions with energy and enthusiasm. Simply put, the guides that you will meet on our staff are hand-picked as the best of the best.
John was born and raised in Oregon and began fishing the Deschutes under the watchful eye of his grandfather in the late 1950s. In his early 20s John trained under the American Culinary Federation and became an executive chef for a large hotel chain. When he realized that working outdoors on rivers was his true calling, John began guiding the Deschutes for trout and steelhead and taught fly fishing schools through Kaufmann Streamborn Fly Shop. In the mid-1990s John started his own guide service, John Hazel & Company and hired Dec Hogan as his first employee.
John was the original pioneer of Spey casting in the United States and was the first to design Spey rods for companies such as Sage, G-Loomis, and a small rod company owned by his buddy Kerry Burkheimer. Over the next 30+ years, John was instrumental in Spey rod design for a dozen fly rod companies, he was the first to import and redesign shorter shooting head Scandi lines, and he introduced hundreds, if not thousands, of anglers to Spey Casting through television shows, instructional DVDs, classes, and guided steelhead trips on the Deschutes.
Over his 40+ years spent in fly fishing, John has been a commercial fly designer and tyer, has designed Spey lines for Rio, Airflo, and S.A., has been a mentor to a dozens of young guides, was the first to develop a Spey casting curriculum, and is one of the most sought-after guides in the Pacific Northwest.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Amy’s adventures in fly fishing began at Middlebury College in Vermont. After graduating with an economics degree, Amy went on a wild adventure year – part of which involved working as a wrangler on a dude ranch in Wyoming where she started teaching fly fishing. While living in Portland in the mid-1990s, Amy fell in love with the Deschutes River and spent every weekend camping and fishing in the desert. In 1997-98 Amy travelled solo around the world on a fly fishing adventure, fishing in 19 countries on 6 of the 7 continents.
Days after returning from her big trip around the world, Amy met John Hazel and he hired her as the first female guide on the Deschutes River. Together, John and Amy are industry leaders in Spey rod and Spey line innovation, they built Deschutes Angler Fly Shop from the ground up, and they grew their guide service from two to six full-time guides.
Amy is one of the top fly casters in the country, excelling in both Spey and single-handed casting, and she teaches both disciplines on the Deschutes. An innovative and creative fly designer with many well-known fly patterns, Amy built and manages our huge inventory of fly tying materials. Through our international hosted trips, she shares her love of travel and fly fishing adventure with anglers from around the world.
Evan was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, but spent a full eight years living in the southern region of the state. After graduating from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Evan worked in a fly shop and fished like a wild man on his days off. We recruited Evan to join our team on the Deschutes in 2006. He has been guiding for us full-time since then, and has earned his tenure within the guide staff. An accomplished angler and casting instructor, Evan is a great guide and fun to be with on the water. He is also our resident euro nymph expert instructing all the clinics and camps. If you wish to hone your casting skills, either single handed or Spey, Evan is a qualified instructor in all disciplines.
Evan spends a lot of time at the tying bench creating effective new fly patterns to use on the waters that we fish. He is a skilled and creative fly tyer who is always ready to share his unique patterns with our fly fishing guests. On his days off, if not fishing, you might find Evan working on his small organic farm with his wife, daughter and two dogs. He is a passionate saltwater fly fisher and enjoys spending a significant chunk of his off-season chasing permit in Belize.
Alex grew up in Portland with a passion for fly fishing that was fueled by frequent trips both east and west of the city to chase steelhead and trout. After college, Alex made his home in Sisters, Oregon where he worked for the local fly shop and spent hours driving to and from the Deschutes River where he guided for trout and steelhead.
Alex is a skilled caster with both a single-handed rod as well as a Spey rod. He loves to share his knowledge of fishing and casting with our guests. His steelhead flies are works of art from his tying bench, and they catch fish under the toughest of conditions. When he is not fishing he might be tying flies, or sleeping….but he’s probably dreaming about fishing. While some of our other guides work in the fly shop in the winter and head south to chase saltwater fish, Alex never stops guiding.
Along with Nick, Alex is our North Oregon Coast winter steelhead guide, and he stays busy from December through mid-April guiding anglers on the Trask, Nehalem, Wilson, and Nestucca Rivers. He specializes in putting our guests onto chrome-bright winter steelhead using Spey rods and swinging flies.
Nick has spent the past ten years guiding on Oregon rivers. Nick is a native Oregonian with deep roots fishing the Northwest. He graduated Oregon State with a degree in fisheries and biology. His guiding background includes both fly out and jet boat lodges in Alaska, multi day camping float trips on the Lower Deschutes River in Oregon, and over a decade on the Clackamas and other Western Oregon rivers.
In 2012 Nick created Anadromous Anglers and continues to deliver the highest level of guiding and instruction in the industry. Nick is on the Burkheimer Fly Rods and Loon Outdoors pro staff, a Montana Fly Company signature tier, ambassador for Protube, and Simms product tester.
Ben Stephenson is Deschutes Angler's youngest guide, but don't let his age fool you. Ben grew up in Maupin and Tygh Valley fishing the local rivers and has spent his entire life getting to know the region's waters. He showed up at Deschutes Angler in a suit and tie when he was 14 and asked John for work. More than a decade later he's taken on almost every aspect of the business. You'll find him on the shop floor talking flies, lines, reels, and rods with everyone who walks in. Our longtime clients also know him as the bagger and cook on overnight trips, creating some of the best camps on the Deschutes and John Day rivers. These days he's also guiding trout, bass, and steelhead year-round. He's a commercial fly tyer and develops patterns that are fooling fish up and down the river.
Ben's never met a stranger in his life and works hard to give each client a personal and memorable experience on the water, whether he is teaching people who are new to fly fishing or working with seasoned anglers to perfect their skills. He lives in Maupin with his wife and dogs, and would love to show you pictures of his dedicated fly tying room.
Since 2012 Derek has been the creative cog behind our online presence, the Deschutes Angler brand and in general, the dedicated individual for most all things 'techie' within Deschutes Angler.
A native of the greater Portland and SW Washington areas, Derek spent his early days with his Dad and big brother fishing anywhere within an hour or two of Portland. A dual citizen of both the US and Switzerland, Derek now splits his time between fly fishing the chalk and mountain streams of Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, Ireland and France, and the rivers of the Pacific Northwest. His fascination with fly fishing has taken him to streams, ponds, culverts, irrigation ditches, rivers and lakes all over Western and Northern Europe and within the Western United States and Alaska.
Derek's two children are next-level cute and his lovely wife amazing for understanding his passion and commitment to Deschutes Angler and this sport we all love.