Willoughby Johnson

Willoughby Johnson‘s book “Crosscut Creek” chronicles a year on the trout stream that runs through his Ozarks farm. Johnson gigs for suckers, samples moonshine fresh from the still, and introduces his young daughters to the joys and tribulations of fly fishing.

His daughters are in their late teens now, but they’re still his favorite fishing companions. They’re less pysched about hanging out with him, but are sometimes kind enough to indulge him with a bit of their time.

Johnson lives in Kansas City with his daughters and his wife Christy. When he’s not fishing, he can be found hanging on for dear life as his horse jumps over things that look small from the ground but really really big from the saddle.

Author Articles

"Blackfoot Autumn"

I’m riding shotgun in a Toyota Four Runner outside Ovando, Montana, blazing across the sere yellow valley below layered green mountains, trying to figure out how to buy a Montana fishing license on my phone in a land where cell reception is like grizzly bears: for sure they’re around but it’s hard to say exactly where. What with Covid, my travel game...

Dry Flies, Foul-Mouthed Daughters and the World’s Best Cherry Pie: Fishing Wisconsin’s Driftless Area

On my third cast of the morning, I hear the tell-tale clunk of the fly hitting the rod. I figure no big deal. Just a quick untangle and we're back in business. But oh what a tangle. No excuses either -- there was no wind, and the creek runs through an open, grassy pasture. The banks are high but I’m fishing straight upstream. There’s nothing I was...

"Crosscut Creek: A Year of Fly Fishing on an Ozark Trout Stream"

April The following Saturday evening I fish Wayne Hardy’s. The sun’s begun to set, covering the land in diffuse, golden light. A cool breeze blows away the lingering heat of another sultry April afternoon. The pasture rolls down to the creek from Wayne’s house, scrubbed Holsteins grazing knee deep in lush spring grass. Creekside, the trees have barely...

Crosscut Creek: A Year of Fly Fishing on an Ozark Trout Stream

July THIS MORNING IT WAS NINETY by the time the sun rose over the bluffs. By lunch it was over a hundred and about eighty-percent humidity. While the dominant color of the landscape is still green, no rain for nearly four weeks is starting to tell. The impressive stands of ragweed by our front gate have died and gone pale as have the hay fields...