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Fly Fishing Montana’s Spring Shoulder

fly fishing Montana's spring shoulder

Winter is nearing its end here in Montana, although begrudgingly. One day it’s sunny and nearly 70 degrees, and the next it’s 30 degrees with snow squalls. But spring inches its way closer every day, evidenced the trees beginning to sport their spring-green canopies. Stream conditions change quickly as well, vexing fly fishers eager to […]

Get Out of the Drift Boat!

fly fishing southeast Idaho

For many first-time anglers, the journey begins in a drift boat, on a big western stream. Captivated by their experience, I’m often asked what one can do to learn more about fly fishing. My short answer is, “Get out of the drift boat!” A typical day for beginners in a drift boat consists mostly of […]

Fly Fishing the Subsurface, Soft Hackles

soft hackles

It has been said by many, that effective subsurface fly patterns have two necessary attributes. They must look a little like many bugs, and they must behave like a living bug. This perfectly describes the attributes of the wet fly patterns generically referred to as “soft hackles”. Despite this, when fishing the subsurface, anglers far […]

Fly Fishing the Subsurface, Tightline Nymphing

tightline nymphing

Last month, in “Fly Fishing the Subsurface, Suspension Nymphing“, I began a series of blogs reviewing techniques used to fly fish the subsurface for trout. This blog, “Fly Fishing the Subsurface, Tightline Nymphing”, continues the series. I prefer to use the inclusive term, “tightline nymphing”. It lumps Euro, Czech, Polish, Spanish, French, Hewitt, Brooks, and […]

Read Trout Streams Like an Expert, Even if You’re Not

fall fishing fall

When I take newcomer fly fishers to a stream, one of the first questions asked is where to cast the fly. Teaching newcomers to read trout streams is challenging. More experienced fly fishers are accustomed to breaking down the water into primary lies, feeding lies and holding lies. They look for riffles, runs, pools, tailouts, […]

Fishing Streamers

fly fishing fall

As leaves begin to turn from green to crimson and gold, trout anglers begin to think of fishing streamers. While streamers can, and probably should, be fished throughout the year, few question their especial efficacy in the fall. This is particularly true in streams inhabited with fall spawners, that is,  brown and brook trout. Exhausted […]

Fly Fishing Emergers

fly fishing emergers

It’s my observation that the average fly fisher does not understand and utilize the varied opportunities to fish emergers. Emergers are an important part of a trout’s diet, especially for large trout reluctant to come to the water’s surface. Their presence heralds the onset of a hatch, and they continue to be present throughout a hatch. […]

Reading the Water – Secondary Trout Lies

reading the water

Earlier this year, in “Reading the Water – Prime Trout Lies“, I reviewed the habitat requirements for trout survival: cool and well oxygenated water, protection or cover from overhead predators, readily available food, and a break from the force of a stream’s current. When all these elements are present in one location, it is referred […]

Summer Fly Fishing- Strategies for Trout

terrestrial fly pattern

Summer Fly Fishing- Strategies for Trout I have previously written about fly fishing for trout in the fall, 10/14, winter, 1/14 and 1/15, and spring, 4/14. With this month’s article, “Summer Fly Fishing- Strategies for Trout”, I will complete the cycle of seasons. Each of the seasons alter conditions in trout streams, especially freestone streams, which in […]

Presentation- Fly Fishing a Hatch

a Bit of History The first description of the concept of presentation appeared in 1676, in “The Universal Angler”, the only edition to combine Izaak Walton’s “The Complete Angler” with two additional works, written by Charles Cotton and Col. Robert Venables, respectively. It was Venables’ who penned the description of presentation, which is as applicable today as […]