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Chester Allen

Chester Allen, a lifelong fly angler, journalist and author, was the outdoor columnist for The Olympian newspaper in Olympia, WA, for many years. His latest book is “Yellowstone Runners.” Allen also is the author of “Fly-Fishing for Sea-Run Cutthroat.” Allen splits his time between Portland, Oregon and Hood River, Oregon, with plenty of trips to Puget Sound and Yellowstone National Park.

Author Articles

Spring Bass Wake Up Early

It’s hard to jump the gun on a bass and panfish pond. Spring starts early in the ponds — even in Wamic, Oregon, which is nestled in the mixed forest of Ponderosa Pine and oak trees just a short drive from the still-snowy eastern slopes of Mount Hood. A sunny, 60-degree day pours heat into the muddy shallows of my favorite 30-acre farm pond. Nice bass...

Photos: The Fish Are the Heroes

The classic big fish photo — a happy angler in a red shirt gripping a big, dripping trout and grinning at the camera — decorated fly-fishing magazine covers shot for decades. So, anglers got used to taking their own hero shots during their fishing adventures. Walk into any fly shop, and you’ll see sun-bleached shots of grinning anglers holding big...

"Chuggin’ The Moodah Poodah"

There are two schools of fly anglers: Those that believe in matching the hatch — and those that worship the weird and wonderful. The hatch matchers are usually serious trout anglers. They carry flies tied to imitate a specific bug at a specific moment in its life. These anglers carry boxes crammed with flies that imitate hatching bugs, egg-laying bugs...

"What Amsterdam Taught Me About Fly Fishing"

Traveling to Europe during the darkest days of winter is about as far from a fly-fishing trip as you can get. Or is it? As our Delta 777 airliner rattled through high-altitude turbulence, my wife thumbed through her guide to Amsterdam and cranked out a long lists of Things To Do. I watched her happily scrawl away. It’s a long flight from Seattle...

"Bones"

From the road, the Lamar River winds a twisted, blue path through bleached-yellow meadows in Yellowstone National Park’s northeast corner. Sky-scratching, timbered ridges of granite and basalt surround the meadows. The green and brown mountains, so sudden and massive, anchor those seas of grass into place and time. Herds of bison look like scattered...

Cold Hard Steel

Each year — right during the shortest days and longest nights of winter — I start casting flies for winter steelhead. I go once or twice a week — if the river is not a blown-out, coffee-colored mess — and I dream of hooking a sleek sea-run rainbow trout that gleams and glows in the dim light like a sword from an epic movie — or at least “Game of...

"The Gift of Words"

My home is a 15-minute walk from Portland, Oregon’s world-famous Powell’s City of Books. This amazing store stocks millions of new and used books, fills up several stories on a whole city block, and is THE place to fish for fly-fishing books— any books — in Oregon. I walk past Powell’s every day on my way to and from my editing job at Sports Car...

Finding Beauty in an Ugly Trout

I’ve been lucky enough to hook and land some big trout this year, and I usually give myself 30 seconds or so to take a couple photos of the recovering fish in shallow water. During those moments — that trout is about to rocket away — the fish always looks gorgeous to me. Later, when I’ve gotten home and download the photos, I sometimes notice that...

The Magic Half-Inch

The Half-Inch Zone One of the great — and maddening — things about fly fishing is that the solution for almost every angling problem is right out there, hiding in plain sight. Trout make me crazy all the time. Sometimes they’re rising, and I can’t find the right fly. Sometimes they ignore what I think is the right fly. Sometimes they ignore...

Tiny Fly, Big Trout

There are two sure ways to hook a really big trout: Tie on a monster articulated streamer — dripping with rubber legs, spun deer hair and a stinger hook — carpet bomb likely banks with dozens of casts, strip hard and hang on. Or go to a stream during a massive storm of big bugs, such as salmonflies, green drakes or grasshoppers. Stalk a big fish and...