Autumn 2016

Four days in Alberta, Key West's Giant King Mackerel, Pyramid Lake's High-Desert Heavyweights, Kudo Awards 2016, and more!

Autumn 2016
Fishing off ladders is part of the game at Nevada’s Pyramid Lake, where Lahontan cutthroats grow to 20 pounds or more. Photograph by Nick Roberts
Editor's Note

Autumn 2016Peter Vandergrift is in my head.

The invasion began in July when I accepted Vandergrift’s offer to join him and several other editors at Florida Outdoor Experience, a classic hunting and fishing lodge located northwest of Orlando. The lodge caters to whitetail deer and turkey hunters but also draws tarpon junkies, being just a half-hour drive from Homosassa.

That’s where we went for tarpon, and that’s where I got skunked—but not before casting at as many giants as I care to remember. I butchered some throws and landed others right where they needed to be, but it was the end of the season, the water was very warm, fish numbers had thinned, and maybe the holdouts had seen too many flies.

Anyway, what I remember equally well is walking out of a convenience store early in the morning after a late night (read: a handful of editors with open access to the high-shelf bar), with two 32-ounce Gatorades plus the tallest plastic bottles of smartwater I could find. Vandergrift, who is Costa’s fly-fishing-community leader and a voice in the company’s Kick Plastic campaign, glanced at me, scowled and said, “Way to participate, Thomas.”

What Vandergrift was getting at is this: Anglers purchase, use and throw away massive amounts of plastic containers. We’re not the only ones, of course: The world, it is estimated, produces 200 billion plastic water bottles a year; 80 percent of plastic water bottles used in the US become litter; it’s estimated to take 1,000 years for each water bottle to bio-degrade; and 10 percent of all plastic bottles end up in our oceans.

While standing in the parking lot that morning juggling my contribution to eco-terrorism, I considered the way I can proudly pound 32 ounces of Gatorade in, like, 11 seconds and even more quickly toss the plastic bottle in the trash. Eleven seconds of use, and 1,000 years before it’s gone. I looked at Vandergrift and said, “Ok, I get it.” Then I stashed the bottles in the back of an F-250 and said, “What are we doing for water on the boat today?” Already I was sweating in the humid coastal air, beads running down my back, and in three hours the temperature would drift north of 100 degrees. No wind.

Vandergrift said we would pack insulated and reusable bottles containing filtered tap water. When we reached the launch, each boat carried several of Yeti’s new Rambler 64- and 36-ounce, double-walled, vacuum-insulated bottles. They have 18/8 stainless-steel walls, they don’t rust, they don’t sweat in the heat and they don’t burn your hands in the cold. And they keep liquids warm or cold all day. They cost a full arm or half a leg. Your choice. But over time, even the $100 investment for the Rambler 64—or an investment in another brand of reusable water bottle and/or tank (check out Stanley’s two-gallon Adventure Water Jug)—pays off.

And when you fill these bottles before heading out on your next trip, you’ll get the sensation that you should have started doing this long ago. I tip my hat to Costa for bringing attention to this problem and to Yeti and other brands for creating great products that relate to a solution.

—Greg Thomas

FeaturesAutumn 2016

2016 Robert Traver Fly-Fishing Writing Award

Le Bouchon Souris
Can a cork fool the biggest brown trout of an angler’s life? — By Kent Cowgill

High-Desert Heavyweights

Nevada’s Pyramid Lake once again offers giant Lahontan cutthroats. — By Nick Roberts

DIY Alberta

Four days to “git ’er done” on rainbows, cutthroats and bull trout. — By Greg Thomas

2016 Kudo Awards

Take this gear on the water, and you’ll be happy you did.

See inside!


Upfront Notes

Can you kick plastic? — By Greg Thomas


Sight fishing for northern pike is the draw at Scott Lake, Saskatchewan. — By Brian Grossenbacher

Short Casts

Fishing photographer Dave McCoy’s essential travel bag; Pat Cohen’s incredible deerhair flies; T&T’s Solar takes on Georgia’s carp; Greg Senyo’s short-game tactics for Great Lakes steelhead; Pat Ford’s amazing day off Key West for king mackerel; Seth Norman on books; fishing tips from the masters of our sport.


Saving Maine’s “salter” brook trout.By Ted Williams

Fly Life

A British Columbia steelhead addict’s backroom conservation efforts. — By Dana Sturn

Fly Life

Hard knocks, and then success on Chesapeake Bay. — By Reid Bryant

Sporting Life

Finding trout in South Dakota’s Black Hills. — By John Gierach

Reader Service

Autumn Tacklebag

ON THE COVER: Nothing rejuvenates the soul like a good road trip, and Alberta, Canada, is a great place to make tracks for. The province offers easily accessed waters, but many hike-in options too. Depending on how far your legs can take you, you’ll find beautiful country offering cutthroat, bull, brown and rainbow trout. Read more beginning on page 52. Photograph by Greg Thomas.

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