Scott Flint‘s feeling good about this season’s conditions for fly fishing. “We had a fairly decent ski season in regards to snowmelt and runoff, and we’ve had several rainy days this spring and early summer,” he told us. “Most reservoirs up here are nearly full, which has been rare these past few years. These reservoirs are our backup fishing for warm water species when the rivers and creeks get too warm or low. There’s lots of work and lots of water.”

We’ve been looking for some direction to as to where to cast a line lately, so we thought it’d be a good idea to call up the expert fly fishing guide to get the scoop on some of his favorite spots. We, of course, caught him between outings, but he was more than happy to chat about some of his favorite locales as well as how to fish sustainably.

5. Brazilian Amazon

Scott told us that on a recent houseboat trip that also offers paddle boarding and yoga, people on board started catching piranha and other exotic species along the way. “Very large peacock bass were being caught–up to 15-pounds!–even by inexperienced anglers.” He tells us he’ll be doing some recon to see if the crew can incorporate more anglers on the trip and start guiding it. The pursuit of rare finds such as monster peacock bass and other “toothy critters” never stops.

4. Miami, Florida

“Incredible amounts of tropical species can be found minutes from the local airports in the canals that run throughout the city on almost every road and highway.” In just an eight-day trip, Scott managed to hook eight species from the canals and the beaches that are just an hour apart.

Maybe the best part? The urban-ness of it all. “Peacock bass fishing was insane,” he said. “We were fishing roadside most of the time, so we had to backcast between cars driving by. Some of the most fun ever had.”

3. Hot Creek, East Side Sierras

A high desert spot in the eastern Sierras with snow-capped peaks in the background, Hot Creek is one of Scott’s favorite technical fisheries. An incredible dry fly fishery, it’s a great place to test technical skills and drifts.

2. East Walker River, East Side Sierras

Another high desert location with snow-capped peaks, “This river has some of the best fishing for brown trout in our area,” Scott said. It’s a technical fishery, and a good place to test skills against very sophisticated fish. Aside from brown trout, the river also offers trophy rainbow trout and cutthroat strains.

1. McCloud River, NorCal

Already a beautiful river settled in a picturesque Northern California forest, McCloud River has a bit more to boast. “80 percent of rainbow trout worldwide came from the McCloud River strain,” Scott told us. “Eggs were sent on ice and in peat moss all over the world. Lots of countries have our NorCal strain of rainbow trout.”

Scott’s Sustainable Fishing Recommendations

Anyone who knows Scott Flint knows that respect for nature and the fish are a top priority for him. During our chat, he gave us some helpful reminders about preserving the fishes’ safety while angling.

Use barbless hooks

Barbless hooks offer quicker, easier penetration and 100% less damage to the fish.

Leave fish in the water

In warmer weather, try not to bring fish out of the water or handle them too long. In the winter, avoid handling the fish at all when temperatures are too low.

“Please don’t lift bigger fish out of the water for photos,” Scott told us. Larger fish aren’t able to support the weight on their organs when they’re out of water. For cleaner photos, keep fish in the water so they keep their colors and flair their fins.

Always carry a net

Mishandling fish can cause a lot of undue stress on them. Ensure you always have your net with you so you can limit handling.

Watch Ride To Fly

Last year, we followed Caleb Owens and Scott Flint as they met up to fish in the mountains of Tahoe. Watch the film to see more.