- By: Grant Wiswell
There’s a moment during any do-it-yourself trip when you have to wonder, Am I ready for this? I asked just that as a floatplane that delivered me and a few friends into the remote Alaska landscape disappeared over the horizon. That’s when the reality of our adventure hit me—for six days we would have to be self sufficient while searching for big leopard rainbows on the upper Copper River, near Bristol Bay.
- By: Jeff Erickson
- Photography by: Jeff Erickson
- and Greg Thomas
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.
The South Fork Snake is one of Idaho’s best trout fisheries—some would argue that is the gem state’s best fishery—and it hosts some solid rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout.
It gets a lot of pressure from locals and the outfitting crowd from Jackson, Wyoming. Bu the river keeps banging them out each year and it should continue to do so in 2012 because research conducted last fall found more than 5, 177 fish per mile in the river, the second highest tally since the mid-1980s.
What does that mean? It means that you should hit the river this spring before runoff and then continue to do so after runoff, which should occur sometime in July this year. Also this: if you’re looking for a really big brown trout, meaning a fish that stretches past 24 inches and might weigh six, seven, eight, even 10 pounds, the South Fork is a good place to toil—it holds some hogs.
It was too nice not to get out of the house this weekend and throw a line on Montana’s Bitterroot River. My decision was made a little easier when I talked to John and Jed Fitzpatrick and was told that they’d take care of the boat and shuttle—all I had to do was show up and fish. That I can do boys, even after staying out way, way too late on Saturday night.
- By: Dave Hughes
- Photography by: Dave Hughes
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.
- By: Landon Mayer
- Photography by: Barry Beck
- , Cathy Beck
- and Ted Fauceglia
Streamers often coax big trout into violent takes, causing many anglers to say, “The tug is the drug.” That’s why most enthusiasts run heavy, articulated streamers through the deepest water; these flies have so much motion they may convince you to take a bite. Other anglers target big browns and rainbows using ridiculous stoneflies that appear to be part nymph/part tarantula, with legs wiggling in every direction.
- By: Greg Thomas
- Photography by: Greg Thomas
I like catching as many fish as possible, and I’m prone to keeping at least loose track of numbers if only to gauge, in a vaguely scientific way, one day or one season versus another. Some say that scorecard mentality is all about vanity and ego. In fact, I’ll take quality over quantity every time because dealing in sheer numbers, in fishing and life, is a setup for failure.
Fly Fishing Book Reviews
- By: Seth Norman
Reviews of Trout Lessons, In Hemingway's Meadow, Love Story of the Trout and Charlie's Fly Box.
- 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.
- By: Greg Thomas
- Photography by: James Anderson
- and Greg Thomas
René Harrop has lived and breathed the Henry’s Fork fishery for decades. His company, House of Harrop, produces some of the leading flies for the area; he was a founding partner of Trouthunter, a top fly shop on the river; and his artwork, writing and overall philosophy of fishing have inspired and enlightened countless fly-fishers, on the Henry’s Fork and elsewhere. Harrop lives in Last Chance, Idaho. We caught up with him there.