Three new director candidates for the FFI board And eight current directors seeking new terms


The Washington State Council has a great board of directors and because of the fluke of the calendar, many of those directors are up for re-election in 2024. Richard Plunket who stepped in last year as VP Conservation needs to be formally elected, plus we have three new candidates for the board in Ruth Sims, Aaron Culley and Dareld Thompson. Put it all together and there will be 11 names on the ballot that will be distributed later this month. The candidate profiles appear here. The electronic ballot will list candidate names only to make it simple to understand and cast your ballot. Thanks again to all the candidates for taking the time to help make the Washington State Council the best it can be.

Sam Matalone
Director and Webmaster

I started my love affair with all things fly fishing at about 12 years old. I love to fish and I use to have to buy shads at $0.19. I carefully looked at the how they were constructed and decide I could tie them just as easy. My father loaned me the money to start tying flies. Soon, I started supplying my father with all the he could use and was selling to several local stores. This start me on a path that has encompassed most to my life. I join a local fly fly fishing club, California Fly Fishermen Unlimited, where I met some of the most generous and talent people who took me under their wings and taught me to use a fly rod, to tie flies better, to understand the need for conservation and to enjoy nature. As soon as I was able to drive, they elected me to the board of the director of the club. After getting married and completing college the simple life I knew got very complicated and for the next 20 years focused on family, career and occasionally fishing, I was not too active in preservation of our natural resources and the sport of fly fishing. I am a member of the Washington State Council FFI, for the past 20 years. I started doing their web work, then was elected to the board of directors and most recent I have taken a position as Chair of the International Program Committee for the FFI. I believe that the future of our sport depends on the natural resources which we are entrusted with. It is about the fish, very simply put. Everything else in fly fishing evolves around conservation. I have derived so much pleasure for this sport, made some fantastic friends, and now what to be part of enhancing the experience for future generations.




Dareld Thompson

I grew up near Pontiac Michigan and joined the USN in 1987. I was stationed at Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego and then Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington State. I left the Navy in March of 1995 but stayed in Northwest Washington and have lived here ever since. I have always liked fishing but always wanted to learn how to fly fish. After getting out of the military I had plenty of time to explore the rivers in the area and immediately started learning. I got the Steelhead bug right away and after a whole lot of time trying to catch one, I finally did and I have not been right ever since. I also tie my own flies and started that at the same time I started fly fishing. I have learned a lot doing both and after almost thirty years I still enjoy the passion as much as I did when I started. I also enjoy time with my family especially my two grand children who are three and six. They like being outdoors as much as I do and should be good students for me to teach about fishing.






Aaron Culley

Aaron Culley is a Washington state native and fly fishing enthusiast, member of Fly Fishers International, (All fish All Waters), and a certified casting instructor (FFICI). Aaron has earned the gold level of fly tying skills with the Fly Fishing International Fly Tying Group. Aaron has earned tying awards for the Fly Tying Challenge in years 2022, 2021 and 2020. He is also a member of Trout Unlimited and other conservation outdoor organizations.

Aaron is an avid fly tyer and 30+ year member of the Northwest Atlantic Salmon Fly Guild. He is ac- complished at tying Classic Atlantic Salmon full dress flies. Aaron ties nearly all the flies he uses fly fishing warm water, saltwater and cold waters. Material management, acquisition are integral skills he has learned for producing classic Atlantic Salmon flies.

Aaron has fly fished around the northwest as well as Louisiana for redfish and Bahamas for bonefish, Mexico/Belize for permit, tarpon, barracuda, snook and jack crevalle and New Zealand for trophy trout.

Aaron has served as President of the Overlake Fly Fishing Club (Washington State) and board

member of the Washington State Council of the Fly Fishers International, receiving the Washington State Council’s Presidents award in 2009. He has taught entomology, fly tying and casting to youth groups at the state level and at the fly fishing expo events at the international expos.


Jim Black

Jim has been fishing his whole life. Fishing started for Jim in the 60’s in Tacoma. His dad was in love with the outdoors and fishing was a big part of what the family did. Jim built his first rod in the 60’s and has tied flies since then also. His biggest passion in fishing is casting. Lefty Kreh taught Jim a dynamic Roll Cast at a trade show back in 90’s and when he got done told Jim that he would love fishing even more if he improved his casting. Jim took that to heart and he recently got his Casting Certification from the FFI. He now provides free casting lessons to members of his fly club, Olympic Fly Fishers of Edmonds. For the last two years Jim has volunteered at the WSC FFI Casting Fair running the Casting Challenge and Walk-In clinic. He also coordinated the volunteers for the 2023 Casting Fair. Along with fishing he has worked with TU to measure water culverts for fish passage and restore streams.






Steve Jones

Steve has been a member of Clark-Skamania Flyfishers in Vancouver for about 20 years where he served as club president, conservation director and other roles. He joined FFI in 2013, became newsletter editor in 2017 and president in 2019. Steve wants to continue his contribution to the Washington State Council of Fly Fishers International and help keep it the lively and successful group members expect.









Neal Hoffberg
Vice President West

Neal has been a member of the FFI for nearly 20 years. He is also a member of the Washington Fly Fishing Club of Seattle where I serve as Committee Chair for Education and Programs. Neal teaches fly tying twice a month with the WFFC and volunteers with Project Healing Waters, Seattle where he teaches both fly tying and fly casting. Neal says, “volunteering has taught me how important and rewarding giving to others is. I am committed to the goals and objectives of the FFI.”









Jim Maus

Jim is current treasurer of the Washington Council and has a passion for fly fishing and fly tying and he enjoys sharing his knowledge with those new to the sport. He is a Life Member of FFI and currently serves on the FFI National Board of Directors as the Treasurer. He is a charter member of the FFI’s Fly Tying Group. Jim has been active in the Washington State Council for more than 25 years and has served the Council as Senior Advisor, Treasurer, Secretary, Director at Large and as a National Director. Jim is a long time member and past President of the Puget Sound Flyfishers club in Tacoma and a member of the South Sound Fly Fishing club in Olympia.







Larry Gibbs
Director and Newsletter Editor

Larry is the newsletter editor and he also mails a welcoming letter and a dozen flies to all the new members of the FFI within Washington and Alaska. Larry joined the Board of Directors in the very early 2000’s and has held the positions of Director at Large, Treasurer, Secretary and Auction Coordinator. He is a Life Member of the FFI, belongs to the FFI President’s Club and he is a sustaining member of the FFI program, 1000 Stewards. He is a life member of the FFI Fly Tying Group and served as the FFI national auction coordinator for five years. He was on the FFI Board of Directors for two years. Larry was also on the FFI Advisory Committee for the FFI BOD. Larry is president of the Alpine Fly Fishers Club, which is a FFI Charter Club located in Puyallup. He also belongs to the North Idaho Fly Casters. He is an all waters fly fisher, but prefers to fish for trout and smallmouth bass in the rivers of western Montana and eastern Washington with both graphite and bamboo fly rods. He is a retired law enforcement officer






Robert Gerlach

Robert is a retired general contractor living in Gig Harbor, who has been angling the Pacific Northwest for over 30 years. The fly rod captured his attention in the early 2000s and he picks up a gear rod rarely now. He became a Certified Casting Instructor in 2013 and for more than a decade led the casting instruction program at FFIs annual Northwest Youth Conservation and Fly Fishing Academy. Robert says, “I find just about as much pleasure throwing a perfect loop as I do hooking a great fish, well I said almost! It is an honor to serve on the Board of Directors of the Washington State Council of Fly Fishers International and have a hand in “PASSING IT ON” to future generations.”







Mike Clancy
Director and Government Affairs

Mike began fishing as “a little guy” as he says and took up fly fishing in 2000 after retirement. He attended the Puyallup Sportsman Show that year and overheard FFI members Bob Shirley and Larry Gibbs talking about a club called the Puget Sound Fly Fishers in Tacoma and he joined. “I have absolutely enjoyed our sport and relationships I have made from that day on,” says Mike. Mike rapidly became involved in club activities and became a director of the Washington State Council of FFI in 2003. He has served as Secretary Vice President (West) and presently the Government Affairs Director for the Council where he distributes information about WDFW meetings and issues to FFI clubs and various other sport fishing organizations.

For 12 years Mike was co-director of the Northwest Youth Conservation and Fly Fishing Academy which FFI operates in cooperation with the Washington Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Mike says “I am very proud of The Academy and appreciate the support that we receive from the fly fishing community to make this week-long event a life-long experience for the future fly fishers of our sport.”





Richard Plunket
Vice President Conservation

Richard joined FFI in 2014 and belongs to three fly clubs as well. As conservation VP Richard is “hoping to be helpful in educating and protecting what we can with an emphasis on not losing anymore.” There is a family picture of Richard fishing with a cane pole and balsa bobber at the age of two or three. The family left that lake in Michigan and settled next along the Umpqua River in Oregon where he learned to hunt and fly fish and he learned about conservation from his father, a teacher and naturalist. He landed his first Steelhead on the North Umpqua (without Dad’s help) at thirteen. Richard says “I like to build rods, tie flies and catch fish, but I love to be on the water.”







Ruth Sims

Hello! I am born for Red House Clan. I am born to Many Enemies Clan. In this was I am a Navajo woman

Growing up in Seattle I have been fishing since I could walk and fly fishing since 2014 by way of fly tying. As an electro-physics and robotics engineer I have always seen the natural world in numbers, free body diagrams and relativity so casting to me is a scientific art. In Sept 2022 after 15 months of studying and practice I passed the CI Exam. Prior to this FFI exam event there were only 2 women in Washington who were FFI certified CIs. I have taught casting for fly fishing fairs, fly fishing clubs, a fly shop, the Mayfly Project, for Indigenous Fly Fishers (New Mexico), for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and for individuals looking to develop their fly casting skills. I absolutely love seeing different casting skills “click” while people are learning to cast as well as the excitement of a first fly caught fish. I enjoy backpacking to alpine lakes, swinging flies for winter steelhead and wandering the tropical flats for tailing fish. My favorite fish to catch is coho on the strip but I will literally fish for almost anything that swims because I love the researching/education part of targeting a new species.