Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, with much of that time spent in Alaska, I don’t think summer is as much about sunshine, Reef sandals and warm weather as it is about daylight, and the number of bright hours we get each day between the end of April and September.
Subject: During early evenings in June along the banks of south-central Idaho’s Silver Creek, brown drake spinners collect en masse. In response, the creek’s largest brown trout appear from their cutbank lairs to inhale them. Most creek devotees say there’s no better time to catch a five-pound trout on a dry fly.
- Photography by: Todd Kaplan
As a fly guy, one thing has always stood out to me—what freshwater fly fishers consider to be a large fly in comparison to gear guys who are setting big-fish records by throwing eight- to 12-inch swimbaits. It’s common knowledge that predatory fishes, given the opportunity, eat the biggest thing they can get their maws around. Why, I wondered, don’t more fly fishers take advantage of the big-fly/big-fish equation?
When i moved to northwest Montana, I was obsessed with books about place. As a city person and writer it was my way to make friends with this wild country I was trying to call home. Harrison, Duncan, Bass, Hugo—writers who allowed the land to get under their skin. Who felt a mystic pull to lessons of the natural world. I wanted those lessons. That pull. So I asked a friend to take me into it. Way into it. She sized me up and agreed. I felt chosen.
There are plenty of fly fishers who plunge boldly into swift and treacherous rivers without the aid of a wading staff. Indeed, there is a widespread sentiment that only a weenie or an overly cautious old fart uses one. I may fit both categories. It’s true that I have less to lose at this age, but I am also more loath than ever to lose it.
The cree cape is a vibrant tweed, splashed with tints of red, white and black. Finding the origin of the term “cree” is nearly as difficult as finding a quality cree. Apparently, the truncated word was, at times, applied to creel. Creel (or crele), a label given to a rare Old English game fowl, is a bicolor hackle with white and red bars. Today we call the creel color a ginger grizzly. Evidently, through time the cree became a tricolor, a creel with black bars. Cree is a coloration, rather than a breed of bird. A simple description has worked in fly-tying: A cree is a tricolored hackle, with red and black on a white ground.
Most sporting art, especially angling art, has a practical purpose or function. Painters, photographers and printmakers try to capture a moment in time and preserve memories. Sculptors recreate objects cherished by anglers, be they fish or fly. Rod makers, net makers, boat builders and fly tiers create the tools with which we pursue our passion.
Foreign interests want to gouge the world’s dirtiest oil from under Canada’s vast boreal forest and pipe it through some of North America’s most important fish and wildlife habitat.
We all know that downstream presentations and feeding slack are necessary when fishing dry flies over snotty trout, those fish poking their noses out to sip small mayflies, caddis or midges on the smooth flats of such heavily-pestered waters as the Missouri in Montana, the Hiwassee in Tennessee, the Delaware in New York or Pennsylvania, and on and on, almost everywhere. If you fish such situations with upstream casts you show your line and leader to trout before they ever have a chance to examine your fly. You know what they do then. That’s why you take your position at an angle upstream from them, and make your casts downstream to them, laying excess slack line on the water and feeding it into the drift as needed to keep the fly floating freely, ahead of the spooky line and leader.
- Photography by: David Hughes
They say you should write what you know, and this advice has paid off handsomely for author C.J. Box. His best-selling novels, most of which feature crime-solving game warden Joe Pickett (who, like Box, is a Wyoming native, outdoorsman and dedicated family man), have sold millions of copies and won Box countless awards, including an Edgar Award in 2009, from the Mystery Writers of America, for Best Novel. Box and Pickett (who is once again the main character of Box’s newest work, Force of Nature, released this past March), share one other very important characteristic—both are avid fly fishermen. And while Pickett’s angling stories are fictitious, Box, in one of the few spare moments when he wasn’t either fishing or writing, agreed to share the truth behind his own fish tales.
Back to the wall ranch has been on my hit list for many years, dating back to the mid-1990s. I was just out of college, thought I was all that, and could talk my way onto any piece of water in the West.
- Photography by: 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.
- Photography by: Jeff Erickson
- and Greg Thomas
Who, after a great day of fishing, hasn’t thought You know, I really love this. I want to work around the fly-fishing industry. By the next day, you may have come to your senses… but perhaps you’ve decided to pursue the idea.
The young French martial-arts expert and gym teacher had saved up to accompany legendary salmon angler Pierre Affre to a river some contend represents the best chance for a truly big salmon: the bronze-tinted Kola, near Murmansk in Russia, and namesake of the remote peninsula east of Finland.
- Photography by: Greg Thomas
Whether you’re out for a day or gone for the week,
not every minute of every fishing trip is consumed with working the water. There’s no point in treating angling like a job—it’s much too important for that. So you take some time to knock off for lunch, knock around camp, or put your feet up and knock back a cold one.
With a few simple techniques, and someone else’s curling iron, you can build welded loops and any fly line you might need—on local waters or at the ends of the earth.
“I have fished for them,” I answered, carefully not claiming to be the consultant who could properly evaluate this fishery from a business perspective, but not exactly denying it, either.
- Illustrations by: Bob White