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Techniques

Smaller and Quieter Can Be Better, Part III: Largemouth Bass

Size 12 at least leans towards large for a trout fly, but compared with a palm-filling hair bug for largemouth or smallmouth bass, it’s a runt. Just as a whopping pound-and-a-half bluegill’s a runt alongside an average steelhead of, say, eight pounds. Fly size, like fish size, is always relative. On average, highly relative. Nonetheless, on...

Walking on Water

It has been said that fly fishing is much like problem-solving: basically, the fish are feeding, and you can’t catch them, so here’s a problem needing a solution, ideally a quick one. Depending on where you’re at with your fishing, and the nature of the game itself, there are many variations on this theme – flies, techniques and strategies ...

Smaller and Quieter Can Be Better, Part I: Trout Streams and Hatches

I’ve noticed a theme among new and once-in-a-while fly fishers: they worry that trout can’t find their fly. It’s a logical concern—in your average stream there’s typically a lot of water out there per fish. But as it turns out, it’s often an unreasonable concern—trout’s lives are simple and, so, free of human distractions (careers, taxes...

The Imaginary Line

The simple details are what make you a better angler. One of my biggest learning moments in fly fishing was when I discovered the imaginary line. It was on the South Platte River in one of the prettiest sections of Colorado, Eleven Mile Canyon, in the summer of 1998. This setting at the base of towering round granite rock walls is a trout hunter’s...

"The Thoughtful Robot"

How efficient is Michigan guide and tier Russ Maddin? Pretty darn efficient. Ask to see his fly box and he'll dangle a ziploc with three flies inside. Ask to drop anchor and he'll shake his head no, since anchoring rewards bad, inefficient casting. And his favorite streamer sticks? Looking to trim all unnecessary weight, Russ throws a 7'6" nine-weight with...

Reading the Water

SOME WATER that is easily fished during a hatch is tough to blind-fish with consistent success. Stream reading is a vital skill for prospecting, but you should approach a day of fishing with the philosophy that not all places in a stream hold trout, and others that may hold trout cannot be blind-fished easily. When you cast to rising fish, you know exactly...

Beyond the Swing

ALTHOUGH DAVE HUGHES'S exhaustively titled Wet Flies: Tying and Fishing Soft-Hackles, Winged and Wingless Wets, and Fuzzy Nymphshelped bring on a minor resurgence of the wet fly more than a decade ago, for many fly fishers, these old-school patterns remain something of a mystery. A wet fly is not quite a streamer and definitely not a nymph, so what are you...

Rich and Poor Trout Streams

LET ME TELL YOU about a couple of my favorite trout streams. One is Armstrong's Spring Creek, on the O'Hair Ranch in the Paradise Valley of the Yellowstone River in Montana. You stop at the ranch house and pay an obscenely low fee (fifteen dollars in April, thirty during the summer) to fish one of the world's richest little trout streams, in both insect...

Using Google Maps to Find Early Season Schoolies in New England

Finding early season stripers on the fly can seem like an insider sport and daunting for the occasional angler in New England. With the amount of water available for action, it can be a game of hit or miss, even though spring fishing can be the most productive. The only people who seem to have consistent success are those who dedicate hours on the water...