THE FOUNDERS STORY
Greg Senyo grew up in Girard, Pennsylvania on the banks of Elk Creek. A good portion of his teen years, in the 1990's, were spent kicking around her waters chasing fish and developing his fly fishing skills. Around the same time, he was often found frequenting local fly shops, learning from old timers, and developing his skills as a fly tyer.
Patrick Robinson grew up in Seymour, Indiana where his love for all things fishing began at a very young age. Growing to love bass of all species as a child, he spent most of his teen years running gear, wading creeks, and fishing the occasional tournament before being introduced to the fly fishing side of things. By the late 90's Patrick was chasing anything he could find on a fly rod and further developing his fly tying abilities.
How It All Began
It all started back in mid 2007 when on a lazy afternoon, Greg Senyo was surfing the internet and stumbled across a fly fishing blog by Patrick Robinson. Greg quickly found himself immersed in the blog and in the course of an afternoon read every post Patrick had written...and in that afternoon, another story began to be written.
Media From Those Early Days
It all started back in mid 2007, when on a lazy afternoon, Greg Senyo was surfing the internet and stumbled across a fly-fishing blog by Patrick Robinson. Greg quickly found himself immersed in the blog and in the course of an afternoon read every post Patrick had ever written...and in that afternoon, another story began find its beginning.
Greg has always been a lover of all things outdoors and so the blog he stumbled upon was a natural read. But Greg was also a field editor and writer for a regional newsprint publication at the time and had been actively keeping his eyes open for writers. Upon discovery of Patrick's blog, he immediately reached out and after some brief introductions, the conversation began. After the traditional small talk, Greg asked Patrick if he was writing for anyone other than himself to which he responded, "no." Greg's response was, "Well, we need to change that." And change, it did. In short order Patrick had his own column in the regional newsprint publication and a camaraderie began between the two.
Once Greg and Patrick met, things hit a fairly fast track, each recognizing the strengths of the other. They both had a similar love for the outdoors, but their strengths and individual experiences is what set them apart and also made them a perfect duo for the task ahead.
Just a couple of months after Patrick started writing for the newsprint publication, Greg called with a proposition. In a nutshell, he said, "I've been thinking about starting a fly-fishing guide service, but would prefer to not do it alone. What do you think about doing it with me?" A couple of days later they found themselves standing riverside after the spring ice out (see photo above), fishing together, and discussing the possibilities of the future. By days end they both decided this could work and by mid 2007, the wheels of Steelhead Alley Outfitters officially began to turn.
When the doors opened, Greg had a love not only for fly fishing, but fly tying as well, and the latter is where Greg really gained notoriety. In fact, within a year of starting SAO, Greg would be awarded the prestigious Orvis Fly Tyer of the Year award in 2008, which also led SAO to becoming the only Orvis endorsed guide service in the region at the time. Some of his earliest flies such as the wiggle stone and the ice man minnow were different, innovative, effective, and are still fished by many across the Great Lakes region and beyond to this day.
Having a creative mind, Greg was constantly pushing the boundaries of fly design, and this naturally led to discontent with the materials available at the time. That being the case, he quickly found himself working with Hareline Dubbin, Inc, to develop what he wanted and needed. Since that time, Greg has gone on to help develop many materials that encompass dubbings, brushes, shanks, chenille’s and more. This soon led to him writing his first book entitled “Fusion Fly Tying,” which has helped people better understand how he likes to use many of these materials. His most recent fly tying ingenuity has him working with Montana Fly Company where he just released his newest material in early 2024 called Senyo’s Super Satin Chenille which is available in 3 sizes and 16 colors. And look for more to come.
Needless to say, when Greg and Patrick met, the doors were just getting ready to open on many of Greg’s fly-tying things. And though Patrick was an avid and experienced fisherman, he was somewhat green as a fly tyer. But Patrick always had a knack for something else that when coupled with Greg’s strength as a fly tyer, was destined to help bring SAO to market in a strong way.
Patrick didn’t have the experience in the fly-fishing industry that Greg had, but what he did have was prowess in the area of technology. Greg would admit at the time to not knowing how to use a computer. And though it was a bit tongue in cheek, he really was technologically challenged and all at a time when so much was rapidly changing in the world of technology.
When SAO launched, Patrick jumped in with both feet. He was often called a high-tech redneck by those close to him and that was exactly what SAO needed to go with Greg’s fly fishing and fly-tying prowess. To help in this arena, Patrick launched Flybum Media shortly after partnering up with Greg as a platform he could run all his tech stuff through. Together they went out and did everything they could on the water with photography, videography, websites and more to effectively build the brand. Patrick was already a blogger, so it was natural to kick off the Steelhead Alley Outfitters Blog…and kick it off they did. Prior to the onset of the social media age, the blog was followed by more people than they ever realized who relied on it as a reliable source of information and fishing reports daily. To this day, much of the digital content generated by SAO is something Patrick has a hand in, in one way, shape or form.
Since those early days, many hours have been spent on the water with clients from all over the world and we are very thankful to know that we have had the opportunity to be a part of their fly fishing stories! Since 2007 we have been writing the story of Steelhead Alley Outfitters and we look forward to the new chapters, adventures and stories that will be added to the pages in the days and years to come!