Stir Crazy

  • By: Greg Thomas
  • Photography by: Greg Thomas

Being cooped up during winter does strange things to people, especially in the northern Rockies, where snow may hit the ground in September and remain through May. There’s sanity to be had if you strap sticks to your feet and chase powder days, or can escape to sandy beaches in southern climes, but the rest of us rot until spring brings assurance that we haven’t entered another ice age.

Fab 5 Fall Hatches

  • By: Matt Supinski
  • , Tom Keer
  • , Greg Thomas
  • , John Holt
  • and Skip Morris
  • 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.”

Cold-Weather Trout

  • By: Dave Hughes
  • Photography by: Dave Hughes
Oregon's Deschutes

The standard advice for trout fishing in nippy winter weather is TO rig with a sinking line and a big streamer (to coax idle fish into action), or with a pair of weighted nymphs (to roll along the bottom and right into open mouths). Both formulas have their appropriate places, when temperatures fall and also when water levels rise. But rigging takes second seat, in winter, to something far more important: Reading water to find the trout. If you cast those sunk streamers and tumbling nymphs in water that holds few fish, or just as often no fish at all, you’ll have system failure, even if you do everything else precisely right.

Riviera Redfish

  • By: Walter Kirkland
  • Photography by: Walter Kirkland
  • , Greg Thomas
  • and Tosh Brown
Big Bull Red

Looking forward to the late fall and winter, my neighbors in Fairhope, Alabama, duckaholics for the most part, work themselves into apoplexy anticipating the beginning of their annual bird slaughter. Those not as mad at them ducks might turn their attention to catching redfish in Louisiana or Texas. But, I don’t care for freezing my butt off in futile attempts to blast mallards from the sky, nor for hauling my boat down to the Biloxi Marsh to stalk fickle redfish that disappear on anything other than a perfect bluebird day.

Sight-Casting for Black Drum

  • By: Chico Fernandez
  • Photography by: Chico Fernandez
Black Drum

Black drum get no respect. And I really don’t know why: THEY TAIL while feeding on the flats, you can sight-cast to them in shallow water, they are plentiful, they grow to more than 100 pounds (that’s not a typo), they can fight hard and they are not easy. If you haven’t cast to a big, tailing black drum, I recommend you give it a try. You may become a better angler for it. I have always thought that when you go after a new species, you can’t help but learn more about the fish’s environment and the different foods in their habitat, while improving your casting accuracy, fly manipulation and fish-fighting.