Fly Fishing Up 395
with Greg Vinci
Hwy 395 courses through some of the most
diverse and spectacular scenery in the west. As you travel north from Mohave, the Sierra appear to the West and present a dramatic tableau for the next four hundred miles. It not only provides great scenery but absolutely great fishing as well. In his presentation “Hwy 395-California’s Trout Highway,” Greg Vinci takes us on a tour of Hwy 395’s best trout waters, beginning at the Owens River Gorge (just north of Bishop), with stops along the way, including Hot Creek, the San Joaquin, the Upper Owens, Rush Creek, the East Walker and the West Walker, ending at the Carson River drainage just south of Lake Tahoe. Greg’s presentation includes gorgeous photos of streams, rivers, spring creeks and stillwaters, along with fish, fishing strategies, tactics and rigging, flies to use and, of course, lovely locations, many of which have appeared in and on the covers of national magazines.
Greg grew up in the Ladera Heights section of Los Angeles County, which is just north of Inglewood in southern California. He graduated from Inglewood High School in 1965 and then attended El Camino College for a couple years. He then moved up to Sacramento to finish his studies at Sac State (California State University, Sacramento) and graduated with a BS in Marketing. When he first arrived in Sacramento, he found himself residing in a college dormitory, which was only 75 yards from one of the most prolific steelhead waters on the West Coast, the American River. It was the first time in his life that all the stars were aligned, being that within a small radius, there existed everything that was important to him at the time: a swimming pool, a dorm with about two hundred co-eds and trophy trout fishing.
After graduating from Sac State, Greg spent the next six years working as a commercial photographer. During that period, he was fortunate enough to have a one- man show of his photography at UC Davis and some of the photos from that show were subsequently exhibited in a show of international art at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (Canada). Greg was proud to see his images hanging on the same wall as paintings by Picasso and Monet.
Growing up in southern California during the 1950s and 1960s, Greg made many annual fishing trips with his dad to the Sierra. As a teenager, he trekked from his parent’s home in LA up 395 to the Mammoth area to ski, and, as he traveled, he fell in love with the spectacular Hwy 395 scenery. Once he reached adulthood, his visits to the Mammoth area continued, first as a salesman for his fly tackle & accessory company and later for the purpose of gathering images and information for the many articles he’s written about the area.
In the twenty-three years that Greg
has been in the fly tackle industry, his career has taken him down many diverse paths. In 1989, he started Sierra Pacific Products, which became one of the major wholesale/distributors in the fly tackle industry. There he developed several great selling product lines that are still being sold today. After selling Sierra Pacific in 2010, he has been able to re-establish a relationship with his first loves: writing and photography, that can be now seen on the covers of, and in many fly fishing and outdoor magazines such as Fly Fisherman, American Angler, Flyfishing & Tying Journal, Salmon & Steelhead Journal, Northwest and Southwest Fly Fishing magazines, California Fly Fisher, Sierra Heritage and Runner’s World.
Greg has also kept his foot in the door of the fly fishing business by continuing to develop fly tackle product lines on a consultancy basis for clients in the fly tackle industry. In 2011 his product Insta-Set Indicators was selected by Field & Stream magazine as the best fly tackle accessory of the year! As a signature fly tier for Umpqua Feather Merchants, one of the fly tackle industry’s most prominent fly manufacturer, he has developed fly patterns that can be found in most fly shops around the country.
One of his most recent endeavors has been to develop the www.California-FlyFishing.com web site, which is a portal to California's most popular waters.