Top Reads in FFI Magazine

Don’t be bored at work today. Take a few minutes to peruse the best fly fishing magazine you’ve never heard of—Fly Fishing International’s FFI Mag.

I put this pub together every couple months and I’ve been able to attract some of the best writers and shooters in the business. In the Winter ’23 issue you an read a fresh take on Jurassic Lake by Pat Ford (20 pound beasts in droves). Dave Karczynski coves the Alaska’s smolt crash and what makes that one of the most productive and exciting experiences in fly fishing. Mike Holliday makes a case for never passing up another shot at barracuda in your life, and former Outdoor Life fishing editor Jerry Gibs makes a case for  New Brunswick offering the best striped bass fishing on the East Coast. Richard Chiappone describes the history of the Thunder Creek Minnow, which is a must-have when fishing the fry hatch on Alaska streams in June and July. Get a new take on the old Bighorn by Sam Lungren, and an illustrative look at Fortress Lake Lodge and its incredible brook trout fishing, written and drawn by Alberto Ray. Also, a killer new in-house video of Kulik Lodge, where I visited last summer. Can you say crushing the rainbows and dollies?

There’s more, too, including my take on taking advice from guides and why, attimes, intuition is the way to go. Continue reading

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Simms’ “Short Run” Watershed Wader Sales Target Yellowstone Flood Relief

As you probably know, portions of Montana flooded heavily last year, after a unique runoff/rain event. One of those places was Absarokee, where rivers jumped their banks and bridges washed out. I visited the area in September and saw, firsthand, the devastation. I also fished the area rivers and, thankfully, found a bunch of willing trout that survived these wicked high flows.

The area isn’t out of the woods yet, and any assistance is greatly appreciated by local business owners and the trout. Simms Fly Fishing has climbed aboard the recovery project and is now offering its bad-ass Watershed wader for sale, with up to $50,000 in sales Continue reading

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Lose Count—Fortress Lake Brook Trout

I was nine hours into the drive before I realized that Cline River isn’t actually a town and, instead

, is a simple outpost in the Alberta wilderness that offers a motel, a campground, some old-school gasoline pumps, a small convenience store and, a restaurant . . . and nothing else.

The restaurant was key because I wanted to get something good for a birthday dinner. I figured there would be several options in Cline River and hadn’t stopped at Fairmont or Radium Hot Springs, nor Lake Louise—all offering excellent dining—to do so. Wanted to get where I was going, find a solid campsite, and then relax with a dinner and a beer.

Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed and the convenience store was soon to be. So I hustled in, got a bag of Doritos and a half-pound jerky, plus a twelver of Alexander Keith, and called it a party.

I don’t know which lake I camped next to. I just backed up so the bed of my truck faced the water, and popped open a beer. The lake was milky, glacial fed for sure, and I doubted a Continue reading

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Final Determination: Pebble Mine Ruled Out

This is the day we have been waiting for, for more than a decade. Today, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that mine waste would harm the Bristol Bay watershed and effectively nixed its discharge into rivers, streams and wetlands of the North and South Fork of the Koktuli River and Upper Talarik Creek in the vicinity of the Pebble deposit.

The decision effectively prevents development of the long-proposed Pebble gold and copper mine, which for decades has threatened the world’s most productive wild sockeye salmon runs, Alaska’s strongest Chinook salmon run, and the region’s famed sport and commercial fishing industries.

In a Trout Unlimited press release today Nelli Williams, Alaska director for TU said, “This is an incredible day for the Bristol Bay region. For more than a decade, the science has remained strong and public support has been unwavering for Clean Water Act protections. An Alaska-sized thank you to the Biden Administration and the EPA for listening to Alaskans, Tribes, anglers and hunters, and for doing the right thing for a world-class renewable resource and the people and jobs that depend on it. The work in Bristol Bay isn‘t done, but today is a milestone to be celebrated.”  Continue reading

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New Sea Run Cutthroat Research

Anyone who’s followed Angler’s Tonic over the years knows that I appreciate sea run cutthroat trout and consider them to be an extremely overlooked fish. Just last year I caught some of the largest sea runs of my life, fish that ranged toward 18 inches. I saw a few more than were definitely over 20 inches and could have been mistaken as a small steelhead. I plan to get back to Southeast Alaska again this year, to visit those same pools on a remote stream and see if I can break that 20 inch mark. But you don’t have to go that far fro sea runs. Puget Sound has an excellent fishery and you can find good options all year long. Here’s some recent info on sea runs, released by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

A new study by fishing community volunteers, a local conservation group and the Continue reading

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Solid Fly Fishing Reads

My new issue of FFI Magazine just went live. Check it out to read about fly fishing in the Galapagos and other cool destinations. All the quality writers you like have contributed to the issue, including Chris Santella, Stephen Sautner, Tom Keer, Dave Karczynski, Gord Ellis, Frank Sargeant and others.

Topics include shad, mako sharks, dock lights and snook, best flies for giant brookies, permit (of course), a summer adventure for smallmouth bass, tarpon “holes”, swinging for huchen, etc.

If you’ve got an hour or so and want to check out some great fly fishing reads, get on over to FFI mag right away.

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Olympic Peninsula to Close For Steelhead March 1

This should not arrive as any surprise. Washington State blew up its ability to manage wild steelhead when the 1974 Boldt Decision went into place. Wild steelhead populations declined immediately. Hatchery steelhead production shot through the roof. Tribes destroyed what they had access to. And things have never gotten better. They’ve only become worse. This decision to close steelheading on the coast should protect some late season spawners, but in no way secures the future of steelhead on the Washington coast. So, really, this post is only a reminder to schedule your steelhead adventure somewhere else this spring. The Skeena will be open, although returns are super low there, too. Southeast Alaska is a great option, but space at lodges and on motherships is extremely limited. You could fly to Ketchikan, stay in town, rent a vehicle and drive Continue reading

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Swimming With Giants—Read in FFI MAG

Just finished up the February version of FFI Magazine, which I like to call the best fly-fishing publication that nobody knows about.

This is the first issue of the second volume and the process has become more streamlined through the past year. We’ve added a stable of quality writers and photogs and hope that all of you will enjoy and appreciate this effort. This content is all original, all the time.

In the February edition you’ll swim with Pat Ford amongst giant striped marlin in Mexico. Robert Tomes details four modern patterns for laid-up tarpon, and Matt Harris climbs into the saddle for Continue reading

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Simms/Costa Release Mighty Waters

One of the least heralded islands in the Bahamas chain is Bimini. This small island rests just 50-some miles away from Miami and was one of the inspirations for Hemingway’s book Islands In The Stream. It it’s also where Hemingway chased marlin and other pelagic species when he wasn’t doing the same in Cuba.

While Hemingway’s time on Bimini is well documented, you may not have known that Martin Luther King Jr., also frequented the island. In fact, he penned material for his classic speeches while on Bimini and also spent considerable time chasing bonefish Continue reading

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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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