Sleeping Warmly in the Backcountry

Big Agnes Yock 0 Sleeping Bag and AXL Air Pad

I don’t discount the ingenuity and value of sleeping bags with integrated pads, but it’s also nice to have some insulation below your body and the Yock 0 traditional mummy bag provides that. This down bag utilizes high value DownTek insulation and should keep you warm even if you run into the unexpected summer snow Continue reading

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Fishing the Backcountry? Big Agnes Tent Serves Well

Big Agnes UL3

If you haven’t been up in the high country, or far back on a trout stream this summer, you’re running out of time. Realize, some of the best fishing experiences aren’t found while riding down one of the major rivers in the bow of a drift boat. Instead, there are nearly untouched waters and good size trout Continue reading

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Best Travel Dog Bowls

Got the new pup in February, right before the virus hit, which means I had good timing. Can’t go anywhere? What better than to hike with a new dog?

Of course, getting a new dog meant getting all the accoutrements one requires. Dog kennel. Leather dog collar. Seat hammock. Memory foam bed. Yea, Rye is spoiled. So spoiled that I actually got him some of fishpond’s solidly built leather travel bowls, which are collapsable for easy storage. One is a food bowl and the other a water bowl. I have Continue reading

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Friends Don’t Let Friends Fish Cheap-Ass Fly Reels

A friends arsenal, always strung in the back of the camper, ready to hit the river and throw. Yes, he’s got issues.

Hatch Gen 2 Finatic Fly Reel

I grew up in an artist’s family, so when we spent on outdoor equipment it was all about the essentials and price point.

I rarely got what I wanted, but I did get the items I needed, meaning the clothing and gear to accomplish a goal, and survive.

This mindset transferred to my tackle as well. When I took up fly fishing in high school, I couldn’t afford the best equipment. So, I rifled through our sporting gear and kept my eyes open at garage sales. Somewhere I attained a Pfleuger Medalist reel and a 444 Cortland fly line, which I placed on a 9’ 6-weight Sage RPL fly rod. And how could I afford what was, at the time, one of the most expensive rods on earth? The answer: I Continue reading

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Tactics to Catch Steelhead on Bright Days

I was going to wait, and run this post later in July, but I’m starting to hear of some steelhead coming up for skaters on a few Columbia River tributaries and figured, Why not now? Here goes:

A lot of western steelheaders put their flyrods down during the heat of the day, especially in August and early September, choosing instead to pilfer the beer supply and follow their gluttony with a midday nap.

This follows the adage that summer steelhead won’t bite when bright sun is on the water and that the best times to get them are during mornings and evenings, when shadows cover portions of the water. That is only half true, and also throws sand in the face of a classic angling truth: You can’t catch fish if you Continue reading

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Orvis DRIRELEASE Review: Maybe The Best Fly-Fishing Shirt You’ll Ever Own

Since I’m not playing the affiliate marketing game (right now) you can at once call me crazy and a guy who writes honest gear reviews.

If you are not familiar with affiliate marketing, it’s a system in which one business rewards another—or an individual—for bringing customers to their plate. If a customer who’s reading a blog or a social media post about a product decides they want to buy, they follow a link to immediately purchase the item and the content creator/blogger gets a nice kickback for each sale.

It’s a pretty nice system for the customer, meaning instant gratification, and it’s a lifeline for writers, but it does dumb-down most gear reviews and should place a big, fat Continue reading

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Best Coffee For Fly Fishing: Early Riser Makes Its Case

You can find and buy good coffee almost anywhere these days, by the cup or the bag. Grocery store, retail coffee chain, online . . . caffein is everywhere and I’m a sucker for it, too.

I prefer not to buy Starbucks cofee because I have a deep seeded contempt for Howard Schultz. He was the guy, remember (and don’t ever forget), that stuck a dagger into the Seattle Supersonics, under the guise that he was doing all he could for the franchise. We had season tickets during a couple of the years that Schultz owned the Sonics, and what he presented on the court was nothing to be proud of. It was post Shawn Kemp (the Rein Man) and before GP left for LA, a time when a fat alcoholic, Vin Baker, sweated buckets for about half the game and then started Jonesin’ for a vodka/Red Bull and Continue reading

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Adventure: The Wind Rivers and a Mexi-Shack Miracle

The last time I tried to survive on trout for a week, a major summer storm blew into the mountains and temperatures dropped below freezing. A three-season tent and a down sleeping bag kept me alive, but a trio of mountain lakes I’d targeted grew sheets of ice and the cutthroat trout swam deep.

I’d planned on eating fish and I’d planned for nothing else. Unfortunately, in my family hunger is the forbearer of Irish temper and I could feel the anger rising from my body to the brain. Damn it, I raged, this had to be somebody’s fault!

When that storm broke and I finally reached the trailhead I was so hungry and spiteful I considered eating the signpost. I think Continue reading

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Best Offroad Tires for Hunting and Fishing

This is a pretty tame road in Montana, but I would not hesitate to take Toyo’s A/T Xtreme ties over any rocky and challenging road I could find.

Summer is here and that means fall is quickly to come, and most of us will be out on the land fishing and hunting through it all. We may be restricted to our home waters and state borders—for the most part—this year, but we are fortunate to live in a country that values and protects its wildlife species and offers access to hunt and fish via a network of public lands and the people who Continue reading

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Best Lake Fishing Tactics: Trolling Flies for Montana Trout

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

Launched the boat the other day, rowed 50 yards away from the put-in and was stripping line from the reel when it dug into a gap in my old prototype Hatch and sliced in half. That’s when I remembered having done the exact thing several other times. What to do? I used a blood knot and secured the two ends and cut off the tags and made sure the knot Continue reading

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