Fresh Water

The Best of Muskie Country

  • By: Brad Bohen
  • Photography by: Tosh Brown
Towee Boats - Guide tested skiffs.   

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  • Best Place to Catch Your First Muskie
  • Best Place For A 50-Pounder
  • One River For Eternity
  • One Fly For Eternity
  • Must-Have Meal
  • Best Bar
  • Best Nightlife

Muskie Tribe

  • By: Brad Bohen
  • Photography by: Tosh Brown
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I used to be a blissfully happy trout angler living a normal life in southwest Montana, catching dozens of fish a day on tiny dries or great big streamers. I had a job, a life, a routine. Now I’m a bachelor living in the Wisconsin northwoods, packing a fly box the size of a briefcase, and I’m happy when I boat a single fish in a long day on the water. My only routine is treating chronically slashed-up hands and healing my pride after it is trounced by what has become the focus of my life—the muskellunge.

So why did I give up trout and take on this highly predatory and confounding fish? The answer is this: The pull of my home state was too strong to ignore, and I wanted to rediscover myself, find my soul, on the water, while mastering what many considered an impossible task—regularly taking muskie with flies.

Blowing it Up

  • By: Robert S Tomes
  • Photography by: Tosh Brown
Blowing It Up    

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Whether you realize it or not, modern fly-fishing is guided by an age-old code of conduct with specific rules that help you catch more fish and, in some cases, keep the peace. Among those rules: don’t spook the fish; don’t drag your fly; keep your tip up; let the fish run; and never, ever give away a friend’s secret spot.

That’s all true in the world of trout, but in the Midwest and its emerging world of muskie fly-fishing, anglers are smashing those rules by blending elements of conventional and saltwater techniques, including big flies and figure-eight retrieves, to take muskie, with regularity, on flies.

Fab 5 Fall Hatches

  • By: John Holt
  • , Skip Morris
  • , Greg Thomas
  • , Tom Keer
  • and Matt Supinski
  • Photography by: Louis Cahill
October Caddis Serendipity

I enjoy watching friends fish, but this debacle was too much and I was on the verge of losing it. My pal Dan Summerfield had just missed, like, 15 eats in a row.

“WTF,” I shouted from my perch above Idaho’s North Fork Clearwater River, mocking our dreadful societal sway toward slaphappy acronyms, as if I were texting instead of sharing an afternoon on the water with a friend. He answered, “This size 20 Baetis is so small I just can’t get a good set.”

Dean River Records Fall

  • By: Fly Rod and Reel
Dean Steelhead Release

After a couple years of sparse steelhead returns on western British Columbia’s fabled Dean River, anglers found reason to rejoice this summer as…

Rivers of a Lost Coast

  • By: Seth Norman
Rivers of a Lost Coast

There’s much to ponder in Rivers of a Lost Coast, an award-winning documentary about a minor apocalypse—make that major for West Coast salmon, with many runs already extinct or on the verge; and catastrophic for California’s steelhead, now so diminished that conditions call for a new word or one I don’t know yet. If decimation means taking one of 10, how do we describe a process that leaves roughly that? And when so much of what’s left is spawned hatchery product returning from the Pacific for factory-pool reunions?

Bull Fights

  • By: Ted Williams
  • Photography by: Peter Thompson
Bull Trout

Bob Orsua was in full cry on September 15, 2010. “That’s a lie!” he told me between deep inhalations as he spoke unofficially for the 100-member Flathead Wildlife Inc. rod-and-gun club and virtually all outfitters, charter skippers and guides who work 122,885-acre Flathead Lake in northwestern Montana.

Nushagak Kings

  • By: E. Donnall Thomas
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"Fly-fishing for king salmon is a lot like flying airplanes in the bush, with long periods of relaxing routine punctuated by moments of outright panic...."

More on Steelhead and Wind Knots

  • By: Joe Healy
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We published a short first-person essay by fly fisher Peter Harrison in the March 2010 issue (page 18 of the “Short Casts” section) titled “Steelhead and Wind Knots,” which included an introduction by Fly Rod & Reel editor-at-large Joan Wulff. The piece brought some feedback… enough for a follow-up comment.

michigan steelhead

michigan steelhead

muskegon river STEEL!!!