Bull Trout on The Dry Fly

Big bull trout aren’t restricted to eating fish. They crush large nymphs and adult terrestrials on the surface, too.

I’ve often wondered why more people don’t fish bull trout with dry flies. I’m not talking about dainty PMDs and micro caddis. Instead, I’m visualizing terrestrials—ants, beetles and hoppers. And a recent article from Idaho Department of Fish and Game kind of backs up my argument.

I admit that most of the bull trout I’ve caught are taken underneath the surface on streamers. I mean, bull trout eat fish right? And the thought of prospecting a big river, like the upper Columbia in Canada, or the mainstem Continue reading

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Southeast Alaska Steelhead . . . Thanks Alaska Style

The Hawkeye II on anchor in Southeast Alaska with the jet skiff returning to its side.

Back in April I flew from Missoula to Petersburg, Alaska—my old stomping grounds and the place I was born—and climbed aboard the mothership, the Hawkeye II. The idea was to cruise a portion of the Inside Passage with Thanks Alaska, stopping to prospect remote wild Southeast Alaska steelhead streams just about wherever we pleased.

I wasn’t knew to this deal—back in the day I took a semester off of college and cruised around the area in an 18-foot long open skiff, hiking up streams, camping next to their Continue reading

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Simms and 10 Barrel Brewing Collaborate to Save the Gallatin River

The Gallatin River is under extreme pressure due to population growth in and around Bozeman, Mont., but a collaboration between Simms Fishing Products and 10 Barrel Brewing should help shed light on just what this river needs to survive.

And, because a portion of proceeds from the sale of 10 Barrel’s Reel Good Summer Ale will go to Trout Unlimited’s Home Rivers Initiative, the Gallatin could see some direct benefit from your choice of suds. Continue reading

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Two Great Fly Boxes, Orvis and Tacky, for 2021

Let’s just say someone failed you. Went through the stocking. Opened all those presents. And not a fly box to be found. Say what? Just where in the hell do you want me to store all those patterns I’m tying this weekend, you may have asked. On the kitchen counter? On your nightstand? In your slippers?

No fear brothers. If you didn’t get what you asked for, there should be no fear n buying what you need. If you are tying maniac, and thinking Continue reading

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Final American Angler Cover: Which Would You Have Chosen?

The publishing world is weird. It’s interesting, for sure, but a bit more challenging than any of us would like. Over the years, I have worked for four titles that have perished and I’ve watched many other great mainstream titles die (even Anthony Bourdain’s magazine, Lucky Peach, died after just a couple years of existence).

As many of you know, I was at the helm of American Angler when Morris Publications announced it would kill the print edition earlier this year. There was talk about keeping a digital presence alive and building, but that idea died in July.

I wanted to make a big statement with the final cover of AA and thought we had it Continue reading

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New Washington State Coastal Steelhead Rules Restrict Anglers To The Banks

Releasing a fly-caught wild steelhead.

Restricting anglers to the banks, and prohibiting the use of bait on Olympic Peninsula steelhead streams, should allow more fish to reach their spawning grounds.

If you want to see a great example of poor fish and wildlife management, you don’t have to look further than Washington State’s Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The mess started back in 1974 with the historic Boldt Decision, which allocated 50 percent of the annual fishing catch to treaty tribes across the Evergreen State. The results were immediate: on Puget Sound streams, including the Skagit, Stilliguamish, and Skykomish, fish runs took an immediate hit and som
anglers threw in the towel.

As the years passed, coastal steelhead runs continued to decline throughout much of the state, along with Pacific salmon populations and almost everything else you can imagine and eat—ling cod, octopus, sea urchin, sea slugs, clams . . . .

Declining steelhead populations on rivers flowing into Puget Sound, and the restrictive regulations that followed (i.e. full closures on many popular rivers), sent a wave of anglers to the Olympic Peninsula in search of fresh fish. It didn’t help matters that western Washington’s I-5 corridor was seeing a massive population explosion at this time. And a newfound interest in spey rods and that style of fishing brought additional pressure to the mix. Continue reading

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Trout Don’t Stop Eating When The Snow Flies

That time of year in the northern Rockies. We’re going from drizzling rain and low clouds to snow tomorrow. The Rocky Mountain Front is getting dumped on today and probably tomorrow, too. I don’t anticipate this snow melting away completely, so the fishing landscape is going to change big time in the next 24 to 48 hours.

I never like seeing summer fade away. And early fall is the best time of the year, so it’s somewhat depressing to see that, and the leaves, go. But mid-to late fall is cool, too. You can have a lot of water in the Rocky Mountains to yourself, and don’t think that overnight Continue reading

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Army Corps Denies Permit for Pebble Mine. Alaska’s Bristol Bay May Be Saved

It’s not over, but the edge in Alaska’s Pebble Mine controversy has definitely swung toward the side of common sense. Today, the Trump administration shifted its stance on Pebble Mine and delayed a key permit that’s essential to the mine’s future.

The Corps of Engineers, which last month said the mine would have no “measurable effect” on Bristol Bay’s fish runs and that the agency would issue a permit for the mine, now says the Pebble Mine project will not be allowed as currently proposed, as it would be in violation of the Clean Water Act.

To build the mine, Pebble Limited Partnership would have to demonstrate Continue reading

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Patagonia’s “It’s All Homewater” Volume 3: Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Wilderness

I haven’t fished the Boundary Waters. Had a chance to last year and opted out. I’ll regret that for a long time, for sure. Like, the rest of my life. Being a fan of adventure, often solo, and the need to be in truly

Continue reading

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You Have To Do This! Last Chance to Save Bristol Bay from Pebble Mine.

I’d rather fish than defend fisheries, although the two go hand-in-hand and you can’t have one without the other. That becomes more evident each day. One of the greatest issues in fishing is the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska. This damn thing has dragged on for many years and, like you, I’m pretty tired of reaching out to organizations and representatives to try and get the mine permit denied.

One of the most troubling elements of this ordeal was the recent decision by the Army Corps of Engineers to recommend that a Canadian Corporation with a sketchy track record get a permit to start building Pebble Mine. It’s pure idiocy and politics but the bottom line is there is no sense to the proposal nor building a mine and all its infrastructure at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, which serves as the world’s greatest source of high-protein salmon and provides livelihoods and cultural heritage for thousands of people.

Now that the Corps has rubber-stamped the proposal, the EPA will take a look at it and they hold power to veto that endorsement. So, here is yet another link to go ahead and let your representatives and the EPA know that you oppose the mine as a senseless, shameful proposal. This is the final hours and this action is important. Please, take minute if you would, today if possible, and digitally sign this letter and join forces with all businesses that rely on Bristol Bay’s abundant salmon runs. If you love Alaskas, you love wild places, you love people who value fish and make honest livings protecting them, join their voices here.



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