p>In a long list of best places to fish, Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula—and the opportunity it provides for adventure and giant rainbow trout—sits at or near the top for most fly fishers. And photographer Valentine Atkinson is no different: On a recent journey to Kamchatka he wrecked a camera body, a lens, a pair of sunglasses and two fly rods, and he was pitched out of a raft while he was at it. He set up his tent at night, took it down in the morning, ate mostly sustenance fare of canned corn beef hash and homemade borscht, and saw enough grizzly bears to keep one ear open at night. Despite those challenges Atkinson says it was one of the best trips he’s ever taken (he’s fished 30 countries), and his companions on the adventure, to a man, said it was the best fly-fishing for rainbow trout they’d ever experienced, times 10.
- By: Robert S Tomes
Over the past decade, fly-fishing for northern pike has gained a solid footing with North American anglers looking for a new fix. Lured by the prospect of a visual—and often violent—take and a good fight, fly-fishing for pike is consistently fun and mostly lacks the pretentious attitude that trout and salmon fishing sometimes encourage.
It should come as no surprise that chasing pike with flies has taken hold in Europe, too. Known by different names depending on the language, pike fly-fishing is now an accepted and growing sport in countries as diverse as France, Denmark, Holland, The Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Just last year, an international pike fly-fishing tournament was held in Finland and included teams from Canada, England, Holland and Finland (Finland won).
- By: Chris Santella
- Photography by: Jim Klug
Thanks to an agreement between an Italian company (Avalon) and the Cuban government, anglers have fished Cuba’s Los Jardines de la Reina (The Gardens of the Queen) for the past 18 years. Tales of Los Jardines’ unblemished and underexploited waters make the archipelago a sought-after flats destination . . . especially in spring, when migrating adult tarpon pass through and anglers get their shots at 100-plus-pound beasts.
- By: Jeff Erickson
- Photography by: Greg Thomas
- and Jeff Erickson
You can chase cutthroats on easily accessed streams, such as the Snake, near Jackson, or head out from there to reach remote, wilder waters that are full of cutthroats and are visited by few anglers.
- By: Matt Harris
- Photography by: Matt Harris
Taimen are fish of legend, murderous, malevolent beasts armed with a nightmarish dental array and a cold-blooded, primeval killing instinct. These malicious assassins possess catholic tastes, and anything from lenok and grayling to rats, ducks, bats and even fellow taimen regularly fall prey to their swift, savage attacks. Taimen often hunt in packs, a habit that has earned them the soubriquet “river wolf” and conjures a frightening image to anyone who wades waist-deep into a taimen river.
Taimen broadly resemble long, lean brown trout, but unlike their smaller cousins, grow to truly enormous size. They populate a huge catchment that stretches across Asia, from the Volga and Pechora Basin in the West, to the Pacific seaboard and Sakhalin Island in the East, and their prodigious bulk and nerve-shattering strikes spawn countless stories, some little more than fanciful myths, others incontrovertibly based in fact.