Mark Milkovich has held some pretty impressive titles in his life: college professor, successful businessman, philanthropist, fishing guide, mentor for Wounded Warriors, world traveler, husband, dad, grandfather, Certified Master Fly Casting Instructor.
Last summer, he added volunteer for the Land Trust to his resume, when he and some his fellow fishing guides from Silver Creek Outfitters helped give casting instructions during our annual Donor Party.
Despite the complexity associated with his titles, Mark is really about keeping it simple, especially when it comes to fly fishing—and he doesn’t really care about titles anyway.
“People make fly fishing out to be too difficult. It doesn’t have to be so intimidating. You can keep it simple because it really doesn’t take much to get people fishing on their own,” said Mark, who became a fly fishing guide—for the second time in his life after retiring to Sun Valley in 2003.
Mark’s first tenure as a guide came when he was just 12. He grew up in Montana and his family had a summer cabin on the Madison River, where Mark learned to fly fish as a child.
“In Montana back then, everybody used a fly rod for everything—worms, spoons, flies. A fly rod is just a nice way to fish,” he said.
Mark spent two summers guiding families on the Madison before taking a 40 year break. He spent his hiatus teaching communications at Michigan State and the University of Utah before moving to Seattle to start a successful business investment firm. When he and his wife decided to retire they visited several other Western towns, but none of them stacked up to Sun Valley.
“There’s great skiing, and this place keeps you so busy with all the fishing available that I don’t even get tempted to go elsewhere,” Mark said, referencing how easy it is to access high quality freestone, tailwater and spring creek fishing locally. “This is a special place. There is no doubt.”
Mark also said Sun Valley is an ideal place to get into fly fishing.
“ “If you want to learn to fly fish there’s no better place,” Mark said, “and the more fly fishers the better, because that means more people will care about the trout and where they live.”
By Mike McKenna
The original version of this story appears in the award-winning book, “Angling Around Sun Valley,” which is available at Silver Creek Outfitters in Ketchum.