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: 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.
- By: Val Atkinson
- Photography by: Val Atkinson
I first learned about something called the exotic grand slam years ago in an old British sporting journal. The British have a history of concocting new ways to entertain themselves, including those mammoth expeditions to Everest and the South Pole. They also invented the sport of lion hunting from horseback, the trick being to dismount before actually shooting the charging lion. That game never appealed to me, but the exotic grand slam did. To take the slam you have to catch three challenging species that live on different continents:
1African tigerfish, in either the Okavango Delta or the Zambezi River and its tributaries, which are full of crocodiles and hippos, and venomous snakes like the puff adder and the black-necked spitting cobra.
- By: Jim Klug
- and Ian Davis
- Photography by: Jim Klug
You can chase bonefish in lots of killer locations, but the Bahamas say “bonefish” more than any other place in the world, because of both the size and numbers of fish there, and because they are found throughout a network of flats that weaves around more than 700 productive islands.
In addition, Bahamians understand that the resource is much more valuable swimming the flats than being sold for pennies at a fish market, and they protect those bones accordingly. To put it in clear perspective, here in the U.S. we put pictures of dead presidents on our currency; in the Bahamas it’s bonefish.
- By: Grant Wiswell
- Photography by: Grant Wiswell
For a half-hour my guide, Balacho, had been pointing and smiling at threatening black clouds that formed over the Brazilian border. With each lightning strike, he laughed demonically and shouted, “Bueno, bueno!” What was he thinking? Was he crazy?
My perfect bluebird afternoon was succumbing to a jungle storm of diluvial proportions. Balacho, who was now singing and looked as if he had won the Bolivian lottery, cheerfully paddled the dugout canoe to the beach in preparation for the pending storm. Adding to my misery, we landed across from what looked to be the perfect payara pool.
- By: Joe Healy
- Photography by: Joe Healy
The weather report was fantastic, with the news coming from no less than a sea captain on the rugged Atlantic Coast: Mary Gavin-Hughes sent blessings about incredible spring temperatures (global warming, anyone?) on the West Coast of Ireland. Yes, Mary Gavin, as in the one and only woman runner of the sea in this region of the Emerald Isle. Blue skies and hot, an early summer, no talk of rain, is what Mary said. The more Mary and I corresponded by e-mail last spring, the more I thought about bringing a 9-weight to try for ocean fish, such as mackerel and sharks and who knows what—sea bass, maybe?
Hold on—I was to visit the Great Fishing Houses of Ireland, inland, to fish tidal rivers and lakes. This was to be about Atlantic salmon. But I’ve always been drawn to the rebellious types. And along came Mary.
- By: Kirk Werner
The St. Joe River is no secret among north Idaho anglers, but those who fish it agree: the “Joe,” as locals call it, is very much a diamond in the rough.
High Lonesome Ranch
- By: John Gierach
De Beque, Colorado
- By: James Butler
A once-in-a-lifetime trip along the Chilean coast
The Gallatin River Lodge
- By: Rod Walinchus