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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Review: Loon Camo Drop Sinkers Get Down To Big Fish

I’m not sure how excited a guy or gal should be about split shot, but I think I’ve found my split-shot solution: Loon’s Camo Drops are made of tin, not lead (meaning they are non-toxic), they come in a variety of volume and container options, and they sink like rocks, straight towards bottom, which is exactly where I want my nymphs ‘bout this time of the year.

Camo Drops can be purchased in square containers that hold six or eight shot sizes, depending on your preferences and what you fish for. And these containers slip nicely into a pack and are Continue reading

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Is Print Media Dying: American Angler Ends Print Edition, Focuses on Digital

American Angler has ceased publishing print and digital editions and will focus on its digital assets.

If most print publications weren’t struggling right now, and hadn’t been for many years, with full-staffed mainstream titles included in the mix, I would say you could call me a print media killer.

I used to work for a commercial fishing publication called Alaska Fisherman’s Journal and that went under a few years after I stopped working for it. And several years after I took the helm at Fly Rod & Reel magazine that title disappeared. And, unfortunately, I have to announce that American Angler magazine, which I’ve run for the past two years, recently  pulled the plug on its print and digital versions, effective immediately. It makes me feel like print media is dead.

A lot of the American Angler decision has to do with Covid 19, but all editors and Continue reading

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Kelly Galloup’s Favorite Streamer Flies

A nice streamer chowing brown on Montana’s Big Hole River.

The water is up this weekend and some rivers probably aren’t fishable at this time. Others will be on the marginal side, but may offer some opportunities to fish streamers. All you need is a foot or two of visibility and those bank-hugging browns and rainbows can find your flies. Just don’t yank them back to the boat at warp-speed. Give the fish a chance to catch up.

A few years ago I wrote this post on Kelly Galloup’s streamer tactics, and the flies he likes best to tie and fish. Thought this post on Galloup and his streamers would be timely, given the rise in river levels. If you are headed out this weekend, be careful and make sure to pack some Continue reading

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Get Bent To The Cork Fly Fishing Newsletter #2

Just letting you know that the second edition of Bent To The Cork, the newsletter I put together for American Angler, is now available. Hustle over to AA.com to sign up for delivery to your inbox. In this month’s newsletter you’ll get a sneak peak at my story on Dean River chinook salmon. And you’ll get links to full stories on the mother’s day caddis hatch, where to find giant muskie with mentions of a 57-incher and a 60-plus incher. You’ll also learn about Gonzaga basketball coach Mark Few and his addiction to fishing, especially casting surface flies for steelhead. And you can read a review of Dave Hughes’ classes book, Western Streamside Guide. In addition, you can access the full story on Michigan’s attempts to reintroduce grayling, from Alaska, to some of that state’s most storied waters. Let me know what you think of the read. —GT

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