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Philip Monahan

Phil Monahan is a former Alaskan guide and was the long-time editor of American Angler magazine. He’s now a columnist for MidCurrent and writes and edits the fly-fishing blog at OrvisNews.com. You can email your fly fishing questions to us at [email protected].

Author Articles

Is There a Secret to Untangling Knots?

Have a question you want answered? Email it to us at [email protected] Question: You’ve written several pieces about which knots to use for terminal tackle, but nothing about the other kind of common fly-fishing knots: the unintended ones you create because of wind or bad casting. A guide once told me that about half his job was untangling other...

Unheralded Fly-Fishing Destinations

Have a question you want answered? Email it to us at [email protected] Question: What do you think is the coolest fly-fishing destination that most anglers don't know about? I'm not asking you to reveal any secret spots, just under-publicized places more anglers should consider. Bill P., Sea Girt, NJ Answer: Well, I know what my answer would be...

Mending: Upstream or Down?

Have a question you want answered? Email it to us at [email protected] Question: I am just learning to fly fish, and I don’t understand mending. How do I know when to mend upstream or downstream? Connor, Manchester, NH Answer: Mending is an aspect of fly-line control that many anglers have trouble with. Here’s a very simple definition: mending is the...

Fly Casting From a Drift Boat

Have a question you want answered? Email it to us [email protected] Question: My husband and I are heading west this summer to float the Madison. We've only fished out of a drift boat once before, and we kept tangling lines. How can I avoid that — and the ensuing glares from the old man — on this trip? Sheila C., Bethesda, Maryland Answer: When I...

How to Recognize a Problem Bear

Have a question you want answered? Email it to us at [email protected] Question: Okay, now I know to carry bear spray, but I see lots of photos of anglers fishing near bears without a confrontation. How can you tell the difference between a bear that’s minding its own business and one that’s going to be a problem? Todd S., New York City Answer: First...

Using Indicator Flies

Have a question you want answered? Email it to us at [email protected] Question: What is the best thing to do when a caddis hatch is coming off and a feeding frenzy is on, but the river is full of bubbles and the caddis are a size 18's or 20's and you can't see your fly very well, although you dry up about every fourth cast? The Birddog, via email...

How To Hook Fish On Tiny Flies

Have a question you want answered? Email it to us at [email protected] Question: How can I better set the hook when fishing size 20 and smaller hooks? I have such a hard time getting small hooks into fish—even small fish, especially when swinging emergers. I get frustrated feeling the tug, only to set the hook and pull the fly right out of the fish's...

Presenting Flies Behind a Midstream Rock

Have a question you want answered? Email it to us at [email protected] Question: What's the best way to present a dry fly or a nymph to a fish holding behind a midstream rock? I have trouble getting any kind of good drift. Pete C., Wellington, NZ Answer: One of the first things a fly fisher learns is that trout like to sit behind rocks. (They also like...

Figuring Out the Local Hatch

Have a question you want answered? Email it to us at [email protected] Question: My job involves lots of road travel, and I always keep my fishing gear with me so I can pull over and fish streams that look trouty. But my territory covers almost a quarter of the country, so I’m not always familiar with local hatches. Is there a quick way to get a sense...

Dealing With Wind

Have a question you want answered? Email it to us at [email protected] Question: I’m heading to Alaska to fish for silvers, and I’ve been warned that it’s almost always windy on the rivers we’ll be fishing. Can you offer some tips for casting into the wind? via email Answer: I spent a summer guiding on the Copper River, which drains into Lake...