The art of fly fishing: How a Washington native uses his fly rod to paint

SPOKANE, Wash. - The river has forever beckoned to Ben Miller. 

"At eight years old, my grandpa got me my first fly rod," Miller said. "It was a pretty amazing childhood as far as loving fly fishing and being outdoors."

Miller spent his childhood fishing the rivers near Darrington, in Snohomish County. Back then, he didn't even know fly hooks existed. 

"I'm sitting here wrapping mom's sewing thread on there and trying to find some materials, like pocket lint," Miller said. "I'd present them to my grandpa and he'd take them and he would say it was the most perfect fly."

So his hands have always been busy, in them, the instruments of an artist. His passion for fly fishing grew through the years, alongside his other great love, art. 

After graduating Washington State University, Miller took a job teaching art. But, it just wasn't right. 

So, he returned to the river. He moved to Bozeman, Montana and started painting water scenes. 

It's not what he's painting that's so unique. It's how he's painting.

 "This is scary as heck to one day wake up and say, well, I'm going to start making these paintings and then go out into the world and see what the world holds for ya," Miller said. 

It's easy to see him standing in the river. He looks like a fly fisherman as he snaps his rod back and forth. Look closer and you'll see that there isn't a fly on the end of his line. Yarn replaced the hook. 

He's painting with his fly rod.  

With each cast, paint-soaked yarn will strike the polycarbonate canvas. Amid the flow of any river, he will find the expansive empire beneath the surface. 

"It's just a smear of color going by," Miller said. 

It's an abstract moment in time that Miller can capture in acrylic

Miller loves what he does and how he does it. You can see that in his smile when he sees his masterpiece at the end of a long day.

"I am ecstatic about it," Miller said. 

Just like that, he's a kid again, returning to the river.

"Sometimes I'll stand on these rivers and there is nowhere else I'd rather want to be," Miller said.