I remember the Bitterroot Valley's major fires in 2000 and 2003 and what that did to the attitudes of anglers—basically, it beat them down and many thought that the Bitterroot and its all important tributary streams would be destroyed, along with those native cutthroat and bull trout, and its non-native browns and rainbows.
But that wasn't the case, and I began documenting that in 2004, just a year after the fires, when I interviewedChuck Stranahan, a river protector and the owner of Stranahan's Flies and Guides in Hamilton, Montana. In addition, I interviewed the river's chief biologist, Chris Clancy and each of them, even early on, said the river was going to benefit from the blaze. Here are a few quotes from that interview:
You like wild? Really, really wild? And you like some big rainbows and dollies thrown into the mix? Salmon, too? If so, you better make some excuses for the spouse, or build up a shore pass some other way, because this summer you once again have an opportunity to fish the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia.
Just a heads-up to say my Web site's redesign is complete and you can check it out at www.anglerstonic.com Some will say the site doesn't look as edgy as it used to, and they may be right. But I like the new look and the readability—black on white text instead of the opposite—and the functionality of the site is so much better than before. With the old site I couldn't even post on my own due to a confusing set of tasks that had to take place before a homepage image would appear. Ihad to contact a developer and have him deal with images. Maddening. One of these days I'm going to put together a post on how to build a Web site so all of you don't have to endure the pitfalls I did.
If you’re a western fly fisher and you don’t know Landon Mayer you’ve had your head in the sand or somewhere else equally dark.
Mayer is a Colorado guide who specializes in finding big trout for he and his clients. And most of his research happens in Colorado where he and his family live. During winter he takes to the road and speaks for the International Sportsman’s Exhibition, in Denver, Sacramento and elsewhere. He’s a good angler, no doubt, but I’m more impressed by his mentality; I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time with Mayer, over steaks and beers, and the passion he shows for our sport and the willingness he demonstrates to share his findings with others is what sets him apart. Believe me, in this day and age, with egos running rampant, and jealousies hampering good writers’ best efforts, it’s amazing that there’s any literature out there for those who are interested in the sport and just want to taste some success and do so in a classy manner.
- By: Jim Dean
- Photography by: Cathy Beck
- and Barry Beck
When a young friend, Cody Cantwell, ate a baby green drake (Ephemerella drunella flavilinea) while we were fishing the Railroad Ranch stretch of the Henry’s Fork in Idaho last June, I asked him, “Why?”
“I just wanted to see what it tasted like,” he replied, a bit sheepishly. “These big rainbows love Flavs, and I was curious to see what the big deal is.”
- By: Tom Keer
- , Greg Thomas
- , Skip Morris
- , Matt Supinski
- and John Holt
- Photography by: Louis Cahill
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.”
Each December, as the new year approaches, I take time to look look through all of my photos and take stock of another year spent fishing. To be honest, I was busier than I wanted to be in 2011 and felt like I didn't get much time on the water. But, when I look back at all the great photos that represent what I did in 2011 it takes on a different shape.
- By: Walter Kirkland
- Photography by: Walter Kirkland
- , Greg Thomas
- and Tosh Brown
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.
- By: Chico Fernandez
- Photography by: Chico Fernandez
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.
- By: David Hughes
- Photography by: David Hughes
The most difficult part of solving any moving-water midge situation is figuring out when you’re in one. Midges are usually so small, and so often hatch at either dawn or dusk, that it’s often impossible to see them. You see trout rising, you suspect they’re not doing it as a hobby, but you can’t see anything they might be taking. When that happens, make midges your first thought because they might be dying in those rises.