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The Orvis Fly-Fishing Podcast

Produced by The Orvis Company and hosted by Tom Rosenbauer, author of The Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide, this podcast will provide you with tips on how to get the most of your time on the water. Read more about Orvis at www.orvis.com/podcast.

This week, since we have not had any hard-core fishing podcasts in awhile, I thought I would give you all some tips on winter fly fishing with Chip Swanson [40:09] of Breckenridge Outfitters in Colorado. Chip won the Orvis-Endorsed Freshwater Guide of the Year in 2019 for good reason. He's fun, patient, superbly knowledgeable, and a terrific teacher. He also does a lot of fishing and guiding throughout the winter, no matter what the weather. He has some great tips on staying warm, techniques to use, and what conditions are best for winter fly fishing.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some especially helpful tips from listeners as well as some questions that will be helpful to many fly fishers, including:

Is using a scented fly for sturgeon not fly fishing? And do you have any tips for catching these giants on a fly rod?

I am having trouble casting a double nymph rig plus split shot and an indicator. What casting advice do you have?

When is water too cold to try a dry dropper rig?

Some good advice from a listener on kneeling instead of sitting in a canoe for easier casting

A fly shop owner told me not to fish a local river because the flows were too low. Why is this bad in the winter when oxygen levels are higher?

How can I use online product reviews to inform my tackle purchases?

Which ones are the most reliable? What should I look for in a pedestal for my vise?

What are Tom's top 10 fly tying materials for fresh and salt water? What is Tom tying right now?

Great advice from a listener on kayak fishing and first aid kits for fishing trips

How long will it take my local river to recover after severe wildfires last year?

What can I use to hold those tippet scraps I want to dispose of?

Direct download: winter_tips_with_chip_swanson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:25am EST

This week, my guest is Tom Kiernan [38:50], President and CEO of American Rivers, an organization Orvis supports and endorses highly for the world-class work they do to protect our rivers. I wanted to explore the ins and outs of the Clean Water Act, one of the most important pieces of legislation of the 20th century. I think it's important that anyone who enjoys time on the water understands just what it has done for us, and what it can do in the future.

In the Fly Box this week, as usual we have some thought-provoking questions, including:

What kind of personal watercraft do you recommend for lakes and slow-moving rivers?

Is the abdomen of a natural insect the only important thing to imitate?

What do you prefer when fishing, a rain jacket or a wading jacket?

If I can't use weighted flies because of regulations, how can I sink my nymph?

What's the difference between a nail knot and a loop-to-loop connection?

Is there a time when one is better than another?

How do I keep the bodies on my big foam flies from twisting around the hook?

What do you do with your rod when landing a fish?

What is a Bimini twist used for?

When do you know that a fish is too much for the rod you are using?

A great tip from a listener on how to teach kids to tie flies without using a sharp hook.

If there are people swimming in a small mountain brook, how far away will the fish be spooked?

Direct download: American_Rivers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:49am EST

This week my guest is award-winning investigative journalist Robert O'Harrow [44:45], who has been with the Washington Post for over 30 years. Last fall he wrote an extensive article on the threats to mayfly populations worldwide and is continuing to research this issue, so I thought it would be interesting to share his findings. Bob is also a lifelong fly fisher who admits he didn't know a lot about the plight of mayflies in the past, so he gives us a great perspective.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and phone calls, including:

What is a good net for wade fishing when pursuing multiple species?

I recently caught a bunch of large trout in a river but no small ones. Where do the small ones go?

Can a "working fly box" apply to non-competition anglers as well?

What does Tim Flagler use to cut his thread on his videos?

I am a beginning fly fisher and the trout in the larger rivers in my area are difficult to catch. Should I first concentrate on small streams, ponds, or reservoirs?

What is the best way to give a fish line when it's running without giving it too much slack?

Is it a good idea to put UV resin over my nail knots?

How do you determine how deep the water is so you can set the indicator at 1 ½ times the water depth?

I keep getting crowded by other anglers on Colorado rivers. Should I try to educate them?

I lost a big fish by following it downstream.

My buddy says I should have stood my ground and not followed the fish. What do you think?

Do you think it's a bad idea to use beard trimmings in my dubbing to imitate hare's ear?

Direct download: Are_mayflies_in_trouble.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:31am EST

This week, my guest is Orvis product developer Jesse Haller [43:48], who besides being responsible for products like nets, wading shoes, and fishing packs and vests spent many years as a fishing guide. Jesse discusses how to pick the right net, some cool tips and carrying a net, how to plan your netting before you get a fish close to you, how to get the fish in the net with a minimum of fuss—and some great tips on releasing the fish you've caught.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some fascinating questions and some helpful tips from listeners, including:

Do you think it's a good idea to blacken your tippet close to the fly with a sharpie?

What conditions decide whether you should fish a large or a small streamer for bass?

A listener has a conundrum about booking a guide who used to work for another outfitter.

Some great tips from a listener about safety when bluelining in the Smokies.

What advice do you have for fishing out of a canoe? I have trouble finding trout in larger rivers, coming from a small stream background. What should I do?

Where can I find trout in winter?

What should I do about families with kids throwing rocks in the water when I am fishing?

How can I fish small midge emergers just under the surface?

During a heavy hatch, is it better to look for an individual fish or prospect a likely seam or run?

A great tip on a device for letting people know where you are when fishing the back country.

If I am running multiple midge nymphs, should I use a light or heavy tippet?

What is the best beginner outfit for saltwater fly fishing?

Direct download: Landng_and_netting_fish_wifh_Jesse_Haller.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:50am EST

Ian Rutter [43:06] is a long-time guide in the Smokies and one of our top field testers. He specializes in small mountain creeks (as well as their local tailwaters) and because I have had numerous requests for a podcast on "Blue-lining" I wanted to get him on to get the views from someone who does this in the heart of wild mountain brook trout country. For those of you who don't know the term, blue-lining refers to looking for new small trout water on a map and then exploring it to see what it holds. It's part hiking, part fioshing, and part discovery.

In the Fly Box this week, we have lots of tackle questions, some good tips from listeners, and some other technique related questions.

I was gifted a Helios 3 906F. What reel do you recommend for it?

I have a 7 ½ foot rod for panfish, a 4-weight for trout, and an 8-weight for steelhead and stripers. I want to fish streamers, redfish, and corbina. Should I get a 6-weight for that?

I have a Recon 10 foot 4-weight and a Blackout 11 foot 3-weight for Euro nymphing. What rod would you recommend for a standard trout rod for bigger rivers?

Can I catch smallmouth bass in stained water with trout techniques like big dries or a dry-dropper rig?

I have the opportunity to make my own bamboo rod. What length and line size do you recommend for small to medium0sized rivers? I listened to your podcast recommending a touch of parrafin on loose ferrules and thought I would do it later. On my next trip I broke my rod because of a loose ferrule and realized I should not have put it off. I see all these videos of people sight-fishing for trout but I almost never see them in the water myself. Should I practice spotting trout or is there something else I should do?

After reading the book Lords of the Fly by Monte Burke I decided I never want to fish for tarpon. And what do you think of guides who "discover" a spot and then claim it as their own and push other people out?

What is Tom's most memorable worst day of fishing?

What tips and tricks does Tom keep secret and not share with us?

Where does Orvis get its products. I know you make some of your rods but where does other tackle come from?

Direct download: Tips__for_Blue_Lining_with_Ian_Rutter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:06am EST

My guest this week, Sarah Baker [35:40] is a woman who has a job most of us would envy—she studies and manages the populations of wild, native brook trout in the mountains of northern Georgia. Learn more about these southernmost populations of brook trout, their life history, and where you can find them (no spot burning, just some general areas to investigate for yourself).

In the Fly Box this week, some great questions that range the spectrum of fly fishing, such as:

A listener is confused by recommendations for sinking lines for an Alaska trip

Can I tie flies smaller than size 18 with the regular jaws in my tying vise?  Do I need to purchase midge jaws?

Someone told me not to use water-based head cement on size 20 and smaller flies. Why?

If I know I have a reasonable fly and good drifts, does it make sense to spend more than a half-dozen casts in one spot?

I am a newbie and other than the typical questions about what fly to use, what other questions should I ask in a fly shop that will be helpful?

If I want to try Spey casting with my single-hand fly rod, what fly line would be best?

Can smaller Spey patterns be used for trout and bass on a single-handed rod?

I am taking my first saltwater trip to Turks and Caicos. I have an 8-weight freshwater outfit. Do I need to get a special saltwater rod and line?

Can I use a 450-grain Depth Charge line on my 10-weight rod? And besides fishing for striped bass, what other saltwater applications are there for this line?

I am having trouble with my Clinch Knots breaking in cold weather. What am I doing wrong?

Any advice for tying on a size 22 Zebra Midge in cold weather?

Direct download: Georgias_Native_Brook_Trout_with_Sarah_Baker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14am EST

Can you really catch giant cutthroat trout in the desert? Are they truly a native species? And do they really fish with ladders? You'll find out in my interview with Orvis-endorsed guide Mike Anderson [45:23], who guides for the Reno Fly Shop.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some wonderful comments and thought-provoking questions, including:

I can keep the knots in my rubber legs on hopper patterns. How do you do it?

What common fly-tying materials can I get from animals I have harvested, what parts should I use, and how to you prepare and store them?

What is the advantage of going from 140 denier tying thread to 70 denier and when and why should I use it?

A listener explains why he welcomes new people to the sport.

I just got an intermediate line for fishing in lakes. Will it be useful in streams?

I have an old rod with a loose ferrule. Is there any way of fixing it?

Is my 9 ½ foot 6-weight rod too light to throw big articulated flies for bull trout?

I know trout lie in seams in a river. Will steelhead be in seams as well?

Can I use sewing thread for tying flies?

My double surgeon's knots keep breaking. What am I doing wrong?

Are there special fighting techniques when you hook a fish on a downstream drift?

Why do people tell me to fish at high tide, when I can walk out farther at low tide?

Can I swing a streamer in salt water?

Do changes in air temperature affect fish in the ocean as much as in fresh water?

What do I do to take my trout fishing to the next level?

What should I concentrate on?

Why are bamboo rods typically shorter than graphite, and how do I travel with a two-piece bamboo rod?

I am losing more fish with large flies than I do with small flies. What is the issue?

Direct download: Pyramid_lake_trout.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:59am EST

Bill Sisson [27:29] is the founding editor of Angler's Journal magazine and his recently published book, Seasons of the Striper, is an elegant pictorial love letter to striped bass fishing. Bill has seen many changes in the striped bass fishery over the years, and his family goes back for generations of striped bass anglers — both sport and commercial fishing. He tells some great stories of past striped bass escapades, which I know you'll enjoy listening to.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some solid questions and some informative information from listeners, including:

On a recent podcast a listener described a method of pre-tying nymphs on a dropper with a perfection loop, but I can't figure out how to attach them to my dry fly with a loop-loop connection. How do you accomplish this?

A listener gives us some great background on the history of public stream access in the United States.

A listener warns of of an alarming trend of beaver misinformation

Why do I keep losing trout on my barbless flies? Am I putting too much pressure on the fish?

What tips can you give me on fishing with my fiberglass rod in salt water?

I fish for bass in spring creeks.

Do you think they will be active in late fall and winter?

How do the gases in the exoskeleton of a midge pupa form?

Is there any hope of fishing a dry dropper in winter?

Do you have any tips for fishing small streams when there is ice in a creek?

Direct download: Seasons_of_the_Striper_with_Bill_Sisson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:50pm EST

I get a lot of questions about midges and their life cycle, so I thought I would invite a professional entomologist to give us an overview of these insects and how to imitate them. Rick Hafele [3816] has not only been an entomologist all his working life, he's also a superb angler and fly-fishing author and perhaps one of the best authorities on aquatic entomology we have. Learn about what color midges to imitate, which part of their life cycle is most important to trout, and how to effectively fish these imitations. In

The Fly Box this week, we have some thought-provoking questions and some terrific suggestions from listeners, including:

I have used both rubber and felt soles and I still have problems wading. I am in good shape and have good balance. What wading shoes do you suggest?

I witnessed a huge hatch of insects but only caught largemouth bass. Is there a depth and current speed where fishing a dry fly is futile?

What type of poly leader would you suggest for my 5-weight rod?

How long should my leader be when fishing a poly leader?

What CFS do you consider safe to wade in a river?

If I catch a wild brown or rainbow in a brook trout stream, should I relocate that fish below a waterfall?

What is the purpose of releasing large hatchery brood stock trout into wild trout streams? Do they have any effect on a wild trout population?

How would you fish a slow, tannic river with a mud and sand bottom?

How long do you stay in one section of a river?

Should I match the diameter of the butt section of my leader to the diameter of my fly line?

What should I do if I hook a large striped bass and it thrashes close to me but does not take line. Should I try to get the line on the reel?

Some great tips from a South Dakota angler on how to find superb fly fishing close to home.

Direct download: All_About_Midges_with_Rick_Hafele.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:52pm EST

My guest this week is Steve Carew [40:58] of Fulling Mill Flies. Steve is the guy who gets fly patterns from an original sample to those gorgeous flies you see in the fly bins of your local Orvis store or dealer. How do commercial flies get made? Who are these people who tie flies for a living? Do they actually fish? How good are they? And how do they produce such consistent, high-quality flies in large volumes without sacrificing quality?

In the Fly Box this week, we have some helpful tips from listeners as well as some interesting questions, including:

A great tip on how to protect the tip of a fly rod when carrying it inside a vehicle fully assembled.

How do I know what color midge to use? Are there seasons and times when different colors work better than others?

I saw a carp feeding but tried a dozen flies and none of them worked. How can I catch these fish?

I fish a lake with trout, bass, pike, walleye, and perch in it. How can I target each one of these fish?

I am going to fish a lake and want to know what two fly lines I should take.

Does the newer technology Orvis uses in its fly rods make older rods obsolete?

I am fishing an older fiberglass rod and lost a bunch of fish. Do you think the rod is the problem?

I fish an aqueduct with steep banks that prevent a back-cast. Do you have any suggestions on fly lines?

A tip from a listener on gluing an aquarium thermometer to his net.

Do you think the occasional flip of my fins when using a float tube will spook fish?

Do you have any tips for mending a dry dropper rig without moving the fly?

What is Tom's favorite fly to tie and favorite fly to fish?

I purchased an old bamboo rod. How do I find out what line size it takes?

I saw some brook trout actively working a redd. Does that mean I should quit fishing that stream entirely?

Direct download: Where_flies_come_from_with_steve_carew.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:58pm EST

My guest this week is Alex Waller [41:36] from New Zealand. You've likely seen his great videos on Orvisnews.com or on You Tube, in his channel Trippin on Trout. Alex shares his techniques for fishing nymphs in late fall and winter with us, and his techniques are a bit different than what most of us use, so you make pick up some tips for your own trout fishing wherever you live. And because he often fishes for migratory rainbows coming out of giant Lake Taupo, his techniques will play well with Great Lakes "steelhead".

In the Fly Box this week, we have a host of interesting questions, including:

What is the most buoyant natural material for dry flies?

Does adding UV resin to dry flies affect their buoyancy?

What is the best way to carry and store tube flies?

Is there a universal rule for what size nymph you can use on a dry dropper?

How do I keep my hook gap clear of materials so I don't miss strikes?

What should I do when a big fish shakes its head when fighting?

If black is the most visible color for flies, why do some anglers prefer black hooks when fish are spooky?

If black is most visible in murky water, why do some people recommend bright flies under these conditions?

I am stuck in the rolling plains of the Midwest, four hours from a trout stream. Can I still go fly fishing?

A local river is highly pressured with very clear water, so everyone uses tiny midges.

Would a bigger fly work sometimes?

What is the best upgrade I can make to my Clearwater outfit, without spending hundreds of dollars?

Do you ever swing wet flies in small streams?

If so what leader do you use?

When do you use a strike indicator instead of a dry dropper?

And what kind do you use?

I have a floating line for striped bass fishing and have done well with it. What other line would you recommend?

What do you suggest if I want to try night fishing for striped bass?

Direct download: late_fall_and_winter_nymphing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:34pm EST

This week, my guest is Dave DiBenedetto, Editor-in-Chief of Garden & Gun Magazine, who is a lifelong fly fisher. If you read the magazine, you can see that they frequently publish fly-fishing stories, and also that they stress conservation. In their latest issue, they make public their Champions of Conservation Awards, which go to people who are making a difference at the grassroots level in all areas of conservation. Recipients range from Capt. Bennie Blanco in the Florida Everglades; to Savi Horne, who works to keep agriculture sustainable for Black farmers; to Dr. Jennifer Rehage, who has discovered shocking levels of pharmaceuticals in Florida's bonefish population—and seven other fascinating individuals who have made a difference. We also talk fishing, from marsh redfish to small-stream trout in the mountains of the South.

In the Fly Box this week, we have these questions and more:

What is your take on small river fishing from a kayak for smallmouth bass?

What is the best way to travel with a fully assembled fly rod inside an SUV or Jeep?

Can I fish a dry/dropper or indicator with my 10-foot, 3-weight Euro rod?

What is the minimal number of fly rods one can own for the most diverse situations and number of species?

And what rods should they be?

Is there any way to have a smooth connection from line to leader with the convenience of a loop-to-loop connection?

Do we need to be as careful when releasing bluegills and bass as we are with trout?

Is there anything wrong with adding colored marks to the end of my fly line and Euro-nymphing with a short leader?

Will trout that are eating tiny flies take a bigger dry at last light? Can I Euro nymph in small streams with a short rod?

What is the minimum and maximum amount of gear you would take for an afternoon of fishing?

The fish I get in my net quickly often struggle a lot. Should I play them longer?

Is there an app to analyze your casting?

Someone suggested using thinner-bodied Zebra Midges. Is that a good idea?

Direct download: gardengun.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:24pm EST

I've long been fascinated by the way geology affects the character and richness of a trout stream, and I know other anglers are as well. My interview this week is with geology professor Dr. Nelson Ham [40:36], who has been studying the effects of both geology and historical land use practices on the character of our trout rivers. The discussion also goes into the value of ground water on how productive our rivers can be. I learned a lot in this interview and I know you will as well.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting an unusual questions and comments, including:

I have six Helios 3 rods and want to sell one. Which one should I sell?

Do you think the affect of COVID on swelling the ranks of fly fishers will go down?

I found an Orvis 1856 bamboo fly rod in the attic of my new house. Was it really built in 1856?

A listener encourages me to keep making fun of various kinds of fly-fishing methods.

In places I used to catch brook trout I am now only catching chubs. Do you think trout will re-inhabit these streams?

A listener reminds me that organizations like Project Healing Waters promote the therapeutic value of fly fishing in young veterans.

Do you think tube flies would be effective for golden dorado?

If it's legal, how many flies do you think are too many on a single leader?

When I fish a dry dropper, why do the smaller fish take my small Zebra Midge and the larger trout take a poke at my dry fly?

What flies and gear are recommended for catching Atlantic mackerel on a fly?

If I don't want to use head cement, is a double whip finish a good way to increase the durability of my flies?

When I use a throat pump on trout, why do my samples sometimes come up empty?

Direct download: geology.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:28am EST

This week we take a trip Down Under to talk to guide Angus Reynolds [41:21] in Australia. Angus customarily guides trout anglers, but because of the recurring drought in Australia he has been pursuing alternate species and carp are one of his major targets. I thought we could learn some techniques to try on our North American carp, which are the same species, and Angus has some interesting tips on fishing a sunken dry fly for them. He also tells some great stories about catching Murray cod and eels on a fly rod!

In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions and comments, including:

Can I use my 11-foot, 3-weight Helios Blackout rod for trout Spey? If so, what grain weight should I use?

When should I use jig hooks and slotted beads as opposed to regular nymph hooks and beads?

Do you have some tips for Eastern stillwater trout fishing? Is it much different than what they do in the West?

Is there a reasonable do-it-yourself repair kit for fly rods I can take into the field with me?

Does UV resin attract trout? And are UV materials really attractive to trout?

A listener from the UK says the whole idea of public water in North American blows his mind. He asks if it is really true that we can fish any river we want?

A listener takes me to task for insinuating that people who use Euro nymphing techniques are only after racking up numbers of fish.

What is the difference between graphite and fiberglass rods for small streams, and which is better?

If I see a beaver on one end of a pond and an otter on the other, which one should I stay away from when fishing?

A listener shares his experience of brown trout favoring one fly on his nymph rig and rainbow trout the other fly.

Direct download: aussie_carp_and_eel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:35pm EST

Originally Released Jul 09, 2021

This week I am delighted to have biologist John McMillan back as my guest [46:00]. John gives us a detailed view on the affect of water temperature on a trout's metabolism, particularly at the upper end of their safe range. In this summer of low flows and high water temperatures nearly everywhere in North America, it's a critical topic. And as usual, John puts his critical eye on how we, as anglers, can mitigate these effects by changing our fishing behavior. John is never without optimism, and I think you'll enjoy his discussion and learn more about trout biology and how we can be more responsible anglers.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips from listeners:


Why did my guide tell me to use heavier tippets? Why did she suggest this would put less stress on the fish?
A suggestion from a listener on getting an old bamboo rod and refurbishing it to bring one back to life.
What is the difference between hen and partridge?
How do I know where to find trout streams?
What size should I tie my ants in?
A new way of tying a clinch knot with heaver hooks is suggested by a listener
Why, when fishing with a dry dropper, do I only catch browns on the nymph and only cutthroats on the dry?
What do you suggest for catching pressured largemouths in summer?
A belated Father's Day message
Can I use the Euro nymphing method from a drift boat or float tube?
Why am I having trouble mending at 30 feet with a dry dropper?
When tying a Chubby Chernobyl, how do you get the legs to separate?
When you see a large mammal like a beaver or otter in the river, is it time to move on?
Why do I catch myself with my fly when casting?
Is it OK to dry my waders and boots in the sun?
How should I handle my gear for air travel?
Why do I keep losing fish when using bead head flies?
Does using a frog pattern change the flex of my rod?
Why do Scandinavians hold their rods so high when playing a fish?

Direct download: backcast_How_does_water_temperature_affect_trout_behavior.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30am EST

Anyone involved in the world of fly fishing knows that young people are getting involved at a rate greater than any time in its history. Why? What do they want out of fly fishing, why does it appeal to them, and what do they see as the future of fly fishing? This is Part two of a podcast series where I interview young people about these questions, and this week my guest is a college student, Lukas Draugelis [37:14], president of the University of Vermont Fly-fishing Club—a very vibrant organization.

In the Fly Box this week we some great questions, as well as a bit of humor, including:

I get my fly line, rod tip, net, and flies stuck in trees and bushes, sometimes at the same time. Does this happen to anyone else?

How do bursts of rain and muggy days affect fly fishing? How about barometric pressure?

I have never seen a good hatch on a river. What kinds of environmental cues trigger a hatch?

What grain weight should I put on a fiberglass rod that calls for a 5/6 line?

What does the term “boat rod” mean in fly fishing?

I fish a wild trout stream with numerous small fish with the biggest around 14 inches.

How many and what size can I safely harvest?

Any tips on how to make my first casts in a pool as good as the ones I may 15 minutes later when I am “warmed up”?

How can I avoid foul hooking fish, and am I killing fish that I foul hook?

What does a fish sound like when it is spooked?

If I came fly fishing with you on small streams, what rod, leader, and flies would you be using?

Is there a good way to make an adjustable dropper on a dry/dropper rig?

Direct download: young_people_part_two.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:35pm EST

This week, my guest is Austin Boswell [37:57], owner and guide for Eastern Oregon River Outfitters. I wanted to talk to Austin because I'm doing a two-part series on why young people are suddenly getting into fly fishing after many years of it being mostly an older person's pastime. I got into fly fishing at a young age, but in those days all the fly fishers I knew were older, and today we're seeing a great influx of young people taking up the sport. Why? I don't have any answers so for the next two podcasts I am going to be interviewing two fly fishers under the age of 30 to find out why it is so intriguing to them.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions and comments, including:

I found my fly line wrapped over itself on my reel. How did that happen and how can I prevent it?

My normally easy-to-approach brook trout have become really spooky in the low water of summer. Will they be easier once the water levels come back up? Is my fly line scaring them and what can I do?

How long do felt soles last?

When did Orvis stop impregnating bamboo rods and why?

A great quote on harvesting fish by blogger and author Bill Robichaud

Is there a standard for reel foot sizing?

Are the reel feet different in different-sized reels?

What taper model are the various Recon models based on?

Why do my Chubby Chernobyl flies not float well?

Do trout eat woolly bear caterpillars?

How do I cast an open loop when using indicators or dry droppers?

Why do caddis flies and midges have a pupa stage and mayflies don't?

How do I mix dubbings with different textures in a coffee grinder?

Direct download: young_people_part_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:17pm EST

We all get occasional aches and pains from casting, or as we get older we worry about getting them. Dr. Jason Smith [51:14] is an expert in sports medicine and has worked with many professional athletes in developing routines from strengthening muscles and connective tissue. He has some great advice on avoiding casting injuries, types of therapy to alleviate the pain of these issues, and also some easy exercises to avoid injury in the future. Fly fishing is supposed to be fun and any way we can take the pain out of it is welcome advice.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some controversy and some great questions, including:

If I am fishing an articulated fly in a place where only a single hook is allowed by law, should I cut off the back hook or the front hook?

I’ve tried night fishing without any success. What do you suggest?

If I am using a dropshot rig in very deep, fast water, how many split shot is too many?

A tip from a listener about a great suggestion for casting he got from George Daniel

If I am fishing two or three flies, is there any rule as to where I should place my heaviest fly?

I only have a 5-weight and a 10-weight rod and I want to fish for bass.

Can I use my 10-weight for bass fishing?

It’s still hard to reconcile catch-and-release fishing for ecological reasons with a carbon footprint from cross-country trips. And I heard that there is at least an 11% mortality rate in catch-and-release fishing.

Do trout eat whirligig beetles and water striders? And what do they tell me about a trout stream?

How should I adjust my fishing tactics when it rains?

I fish a catch-and-release pond with picky fish and heavy fishing pressure. If no one fished this pond for a year, would the trout get less selective?

A listener takes me to task for saying I try to avoid fishing for stocked trout. And then asks me what I would do if I lived in an urban area where there were only put-and-take fisheries for trout.

A listener is confused by the different sizes of aquatic insects and asks if the same ones hatch in different sizes.

A physicist weighs in on how to stalk trout, knowing how the physics of refraction works.

A listener gives me a list of the rods he owns and asks if there is something missing in his arsenal, especially for small streams.

Direct download: preventing_injuries.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:43pm EST

Catch-and-release fishing for trout is not a conservation tool. It’s a way to manage trout populations for larger fish, based mainly on sociological or even political pressures. Sometimes it doesn’t even produce larger fish, and it can backfire when it inflames local anglers. Tim Traver [38:50], author of Lost in the Driftless, has spent years studying the effects of fishing regulations on both fish and human populations and I think your eyes will open to the limitations of regulations like “fly-fishing only” or “catch-and-release”.

In the Fly Box this week, we have lots of interesting questions and comments from listeners, including:

What can I do to avoid crowds on a heavily pressured eastern trout stream?

What is the best way to carry a net when using a sling bag?

A listener has some great comments on why bamboo rods are so special.

Why am I consistently breaking off large brown trout using 6X tippet?

If I don’t have a fishing backpack or vest, how can I carry a net?

How can I fish very fast water effectively with a dry dropper rig?

If most fish food is dull colored, why do we use so many wild colors in our flies?

A listener makes some great points on why fishing close to home is desirable.

A physicist weighs in on what a trout can see from underwater.

Can I effectively Euro-nymph with my 9-foot, 5-inch Blackout rod?

What are some good uses for squirrel tail in fly tying?

What is everyone doing in the northeast for fly fishing during the drought?

Direct download: When_Catch-and-Release_Doesnt_Work_with_Tim_Traver.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:55pm EST

My guest this week is Sean Carey [48:31], drummer and keyboard player for the indie folk band Bon Iver, who also records solo work as S Carey. Sean has been fly fishing for many years, beginning when he was in high school, and we spend a lot of time discussing the concept of “growing where you were planted” or learning the pleasures of discovering fly fishing close to home. And of course we talk about how fly fishing has influenced his song writing, and also what the theoretical difference might be in the way a classically trained musician approaches fly fishing as opposed to the way a jazz musician might. At the end of the podcast is a special treat—a recording of his song “Yellowstone” (but no it’s not a fishing song even though we all associate that area with fishing).

In the Fly Box this week, we have a bunch of thought-provoking questions from listeners, including:

If I can see a fish in the water, does that mean it can see me? Or does a trout’s “window” work in reverse?

What do you think of tying the dropper onto the eye of the dry fly instead of the bend when using a dry-dropper rig?

Are those rock dams that people make in streams bad for trout?

What is your opinion of Jack’s Knot?

Will Tenkara fishing work on small, clear spring creeks? W

hy does the Crackleback fly work?

If I have a bunch of old reels with lines on them, can a fly shop tell me what size they are?

What kind of additional flies and gear do I need when moving form smallmouth bass fishing to tailwater trout fishing?

What do you do for protection in bear and cougar country?

What is your preferred method for fishing a nymph under an indicator?

I got an H3 rod as a gift and I don’t feel I am good enough to use it yet. What do you think about this?

Shawn Brillon gives me the answers on four questions about bamboo rods as a follow-up to his recent podcast

Would my 10-foot 7-weight rod be OK for bonefishing in the Turks and Caicos?

Bass keep throwing my heavy cone-head streamers when they jump. Would keeping tension on them when they jump prevent this?

How do you know what rod size to use?

How do you know what tippet size to use?

Direct download: fishing_close_to_home_bon_iver.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:26am EST

I get a lot of questions from listeners on how to get kids into fly fishing--what's the right rod outfit, what species to go after, how to structure (or not structure) a day on the water, what resources are available, and how to instill a sense of ethics and conservation in kids. My guest this week is an expert on the subject. Marsha Benovengo [40:20] is state chair of New Jersey Trout Unlimited, and this year she received the coveted Mortensen Award from TU for her volunteer service and dedication. She has a host of great tips for guiding kids through their fly-fishing education.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions and tips from listeners, including:

I noticed trout living in a polluted pond near a garnet quarry. Don't trout always live in completely pristine water?

I have a kink in my fly line that I can't remove. Do you have any tips on getting it out?

What do you do to help your feet after a day of wet wading?

Can I travel with fly rods in a duffel bag?

A tip from a listener on using Lycra dive socks for wet wading How exactly do you check the balance on a fly rod?

Does Tom ever get to fish anymore?

How can I get more distance when surf fishing for snook?

I am doing well using Euro-style jig flies with an indicator and a standard 9-foot 5-weight rod.

Would I be even more successful with a Euro rod? And how do they fish dry flies with those 10-foot 3-weight rods?

Should I attach my nymphs with a loop knot?

How can I fish a high mountain lake with extensive weed beds?

Would my 12-year-old son be better off with a double taper line than the weight-forward line he is currently using?

A great story from a listener in Sweden who has a friend that has caught 100 species of fish native to Sweden, all on fly tackle.

Will fishing my "cold water" Bank Shot line in warm water and air temperatures damage the line?

How can I clean some peacock feathers I got from a friend?

How can I keep my fly lower in the water column when swinging streamers for smallmouth bass?

I have a small spring on my property and would like to see if it will hold trout. Should I dig it out and clean out all the willows around it?

Direct download: getting_kids_into_flyfishing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:28am EST

Want to know how a bamboo fly rod is made? How long it takes to make one? How many different hands touch an Orvis bamboo fly rod before you (and your children and grandchildren) become its lucky owner. And finally, what's so great about bamboo fly rods? How are they different from fiberglass and graphite, and what will they do for you on the water? This week I interview Orvis bamboo fly rod craftsman Shawn Brillon [45:09], who loves to talk bamboo rods as much as he enjoys making and fishing them.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips from listeners, including:

I could catch rising trout in one part of a pool, but when I moved 50 meters upstream I couldn't catch any. What was going on?

How do I determine the correct size leader if I am going from a single size 16 fly to a hopper or multiple nymph rig?

What are your thoughts on weed guards on flies?

I caught a dragonfly on my elk hair caddis. Am I the first?

I hooked a trout in the corner of the mouth and even with a barbless hook it bled and looked like it would die. Would it have been better if I left the fly in the fish?

I have been fishing with an 8-weight shooting head outfit for striped bass and halibut. I want to catch corbina but I hear they are spooky. Do you think my 8-weight is too heavy?

I keep seeing these large fish rising in a heavily pressured river but can't catch them on any multi-fly rig. What can I do to fool these fish?

What do you do to stay in shape for fishing?

What are the advantages of a big dry fly over a bobber?

Does bead size really matter regarding attractiveness to trout? And is there a seasonality to what color beads you should use?

I have been catching catfish on a fly. Does anyone else do this and is it a "thing" or is it bycatch?

I went to Banff to fish and they required that all my tackle, including lines and leaders, could not have been used for 45 days and had to be cleaned and treated. What do you think about the potential for things like lines and leaders to transfer invasive species?

Direct download: all_about_bamboo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:55am EST

My guest this week is Cameron Mortensen of The Fiberglass Manifesto [51:24]. Cam is one of the most knowledgeable anglers when it comes to fiberglass fly rods. I know a lot of listeners are curious about glass rods, and so we can to answer the questions: What is the history of fiberglass rods? How do modern ones compare to the older styles? What are the advantages of fiberglass rods? What are the drawbacks of fiberglass rods? What are the new 4-piece Orvis Superfine Glass rods like? If you've been curious about trying a fiberglass fly rod, I hope this podcast answers some of your questions.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some thought-provoking questions, tips, and complaints, including:

What are the benefits of a strip set, and what is happening at the end of the line?

When should I use the strip set?

Should I buy an 8-weight or a 9-weight for a combination of saltwater and largemouth bass?

Why do largemouth bass follow my fly and not take it? Why don't people use duck-quill-wing wet flies anymore?

A listener takes Tom to task for making fun of Tenkara fishing

A guide makes a plea for clients to practice their casting before a day of fishing.

I have some 50-year-old flies that look to be in good shape and the hooks are not rusty. Do you think the hooks are still good and won't break?

A listener asks for advice between a 7- or 8-weight rod for bass and carp.

If the mono in my poly leader gets too short, should I cut back the coating to try to expose more of the core?

A tip on using crushed material from inside desiccant packages for a fly flotant

Do some fly tiers get royalties on the patterns they designed?

I see bass splashing up against the shore and logs. Are they chasing baitfish, and if so, how do I catch them?

How do I get the curl out of my leader when fishing big flies?

 I had two 9-foot, 5-weight rods break in the same place, a half inch from the tip. What do you think happened?

What does Tom do when he gets frustrated and his casting mechanics break down?

Direct download: All_about_fiberglass_fly_rods_with_Cam_Mortensen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:38am EST

This week, my guest is guide and author Matt Supinski [51:36], one of the most innovative thinkers in fly fishing with a long history in the business. The topic is selectivity, which Matt wrote an entire book about a few years ago. What is selectivity in fish feeding, is it always operating, why does it happen, and how can we use it to our advantage when fishing? It’s a fascinating topic and one Matt and I explore in depth.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and comments, including:

Do longer rods roll cast better than shorter ones? And do slower rods roll cast better?

Can I use one of those yarn practice rods to fine tune my double haul?

Why can I only find lead split shot? Isn’t it bad for the environment?

Who were your “media heroes” when growing up?

Do the vibrations from car-top rod carriers damage rods?

A listener takes me to task for suggesting people use a throat pump to see what trout are eating.

Why do trout sometimes not respond to heavy hatches?

The smallmouth bass in my local streams are quite small. Why don’t they grow bigger?

How can I catch trout in a small stream that runs into a local pond?

What can I do to make stripers on the flats take my flies? They keep following but don’t commit.

Why do fly shop employees get paid such a low wage?

Does green-colored tippet material offer any advantage?

How can I improve my dexterity and efficiency when tying knots on the water?

Can I use a reel suitable for an 8-weight line on my 5-weight rod?

Direct download: selectivity.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:28pm EST

This week, my guest is captain Drew Price [56:13], an expert on fishing large, multi-story, multi-species lakes. Drew has pioneered methods of catching unusual and fascinating freshwater fish like bowfin, gar, and freshwater drum. He also loves to fish for trout, bass, and carp but there are days on his home water, Lake Champlain, when those popular fish may not cooperate. And it's fun to fill your life list with new species, some of which may live in your own back yard. If you're looking for a new challenge, want to escape summer's crowded trout rivers--or if your rivers are too warm--learn about how you can fish large lakes for all kinds of cool fish.

In the Fly Box this week, we have lots of thought-provoking questions, including:

What should I pack for my trip to Alaska, and how should I pack my waders?

Why did they use heaver stuff, like size 8 wet flies and 3X leaders, back in the 1930s through 1950s?

Why am I missing brown and rainbow trout striking my leech pattern?

Why am I missing small cutthroat trout on my dry flies?

I see large brown trout very close to me in a heavily fished river, but they won't take any of my flies. Are they spooked?

Tips from a listener on how to store rods and other tackle Why do some rods not have hook keepers?

What fishing fiction do you recommend, beyond Big Two-Hearted River and A River Runs through It?

For fishing hopper patterns, should I go long and fine or short and heavy with my leader?

I caught some big rainbow trout but also saw some huge suckers in the same river. How can I catch those suckers on a fly?

Where is the best place to set down your rod and reel when switching flies or leaders?

If I see some debris on my nymph, should I clean it off?

How does the hard-sided Orvis stripping basket compare to collapsible mesh versions?

When I release trout, should I try to feed them mealworms or something to make up for them losing a meal?

Direct download: drew_price_large_lakes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:52am EST

This week, my guest is Capt. Benny Blanco of Islamorada, in the Florida Keys [37:38]. Benny talks about his life in the Keys and about how he came to realize that the fishery on which he made his living was threatened--and how he learned to make a difference. The Everglades will never be completely pristine again, but with people like Benny involved, it can regain much of its former glory. And it's not only the Everglades.

Restoration of the entire watershed will also help the world-class fisheries in Florida Bay, the health of the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries, and the drinking water supply of the 9 million people in South Florida. It's a study in best practices that people in any part of the world can learn from to protect their treasured resources.

In the Fly Box this week we have some lighter topics:

How long does it take for a fish to remove a hook that has been left in it? Is there much of a mortality rate?

How do you fish with friends on a small stream?

Great tips from a listener for making sure you don't leave any gear behind on a trip

What parts of my fly gear can be damaged in a hot car?

Have you ever tried a "dry dropper" arrangement with a popper when fishing for striped bass?

Why are most imitations of mayflies so small?

If I am used to fishing small streams, how can I read the water in a big flat piece of water in a big river?

When fishing multiple flies, should I use a weaker knot on the droppers so I don't lose my entire rig?

How do I set the hook when stillwater fishing?

When fishing three flies at once, I foul hook a lot of trout. How can I prevent that?

Direct download: benny_blanco.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:23am EST

This week, my guest is longtime guide, fly shop owner, journalist, musician, and all-around great guy Jim McLennan [40:26]. Jim is a thoughtful fly fisher who always has solid tips on fly-fishing techniques, and this week we talk about mayfly spinners—their mysteries, how to identify when they are active, and how to target trout feeding on them. Mayfly spinner falls are some of the best opportunities to catch large trout on a dry fly because trout gorge on them and sometimes get stupid, so it pays to have some intelligence on taking advantage of these opportunities. And this is a timely podcast because in most parts of the country, we are about to get into the prime season for the tiny Trico spinners.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some intriguing questions and tips from listeners, including:

Why can I do to prevent my mono eyes from breaking on my tarpon flies?

How do I clean my saltwater flies after a trip so they aren’t all mangled?

Can I use more than one subsurface fly with a dry-dropper rig?

How can I fish a deep plunge pool with a dry-dropper?

I have broken a bunch of rods in the past couple years. Is it due to my bad casting?

Some great tips from a relatively new angler on where to get the best help and advice.

What is a good way to enjoy a fly-fishing trip with a young family?

How can I break into writing stories and poems about fly fishing?

Is using a stomach (throat) pump unethical, and is it looked down upon by other fly fishers?

A tip for using neoprene socks when wet wading

In the short and long term, what do you expect the results of the Yellowstone flood will be?

Direct download: Tips_for_fishing_mayfly_spinners_with_Jim_McLennan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:31pm EST

You may have never heard of redeye bass or seen one. Yet they are a wonderful fly-rod fish. They live in spectacular, clear mountain streams and take a fly very well. They’re mainly found in the deep South, particularly in Alabama, so they’re a great fly-rod target in places where you would not ordinarily think of fly fishing. They’re a native species that deserve more visibility from the fly-fishing community and my guest, Matthew Lewis [44:27], is perhaps the world expert on fly fishing for them.

In the fly box this week, we have some interesting questions and great tips from listeners, including:

What percentage of the time do trout in lakes feed on the surface?

What is a go-to fly for late summer fishing on small streams?

What can I do to prevent foul-hooking so many fish? And when I hook a trout in the belly, is it sure to die?

Do oils from our hands harm trout?

Do you have some general rules of thumb for how rain affects fly fishing?

I am using wide gape hooks and missing a lot of small brook trout. Is it the hook that’s my problem?

I saw some large brown trout in shallow water around spawning season and could not get them to take a fly. What can I do?

What do you think of the Double Davy Knot?

A listener shares a killer nymph pattern he developed.

When I practice casting, why does the end of my leader fray and my fly line loop come apart?

Do you ever guide?

I fish a stream with rainbow trout, and for the first six months of the season I can’t find them. Where do they go?

How much less backing fits on a spool when I use 30-pound backing instead of 20-pound?

Are the natural materials we use for fly tying from ethically treated animals?

Direct download: redeyebass.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:21pm EST

This week my guest is Paul Bruun [39:50], a legendary figure in fly fishing who has been involved with the fly-fishing world even longer than me.

On Thursday, June 30th, he received the Izaak Walton Award from the American Museum of Fly fishing for a lifetime of contributions to our sport. Paul is a guide, writer, newspaperman, and he developed the famous South Fork Skiff, which has recently been resurrected and redesigned by the famous Adipose Boatworks Company in Montana. Paul is a wonderful storyteller and he tells us about what it was like to learn fly fishing in South Florida in the 1960s—not an easy task!

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and suggestions from listeners, including:

I am too slow in striking to small mountain trout. Is there a way I can fix that?

A listener alerts us to a water issue on an Oregon tailwater

A listener is confused by the differences in pound test and diameter on leader butts and wants to know if there is a rule-of-thumb for the correct leader butt section.

Do you think the studs on my wading boots are spooking trout?

Do trout in different micro-habitats in the same river choose different insects?

How small of a river is too small to use trout spey equipment? And should I use a Scandi or Skagit setup?

Is it useful to be able to cast with either your right or left hand?

I see larger fish suspended a foot from the surface over deep water. What are they doing there?

A listener suggests that a previous question about not being able to hook rising trout during a caddis hatch may have been due to mountain whitefish, which have a much smaller mouth than trout.

I am getting lost flies and a pigtail at the end of my leader when using a clinch knot. What should I do? Is there a better knot?

What is the best way to store fly rods in their tubes?

Direct download: Paul_Bruun.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:27pm EST

My guest this week is Timbre Pringle of Faceless Fly Fishing  [46:26] and the topic is small stream fly fishing, particularly in the Rocky Mountains. Timbre has some great tips on fishing dries, dry dropper combos, and streamers in small streams, and the differences between the different species of trout in small streams. She also gives some great tips on avoiding encounters with bears, something that can be an issue when certain areas of the Rockies once you get away from the road.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some seasonally appropriate questions and some good tips from listeners, including:

Four good tips on storing tying materials from a listener

When do you use a dubbing loop, and when do you use the standard noodle method instead?

How do I avoid the numerous small steelhead parr on my local river?

Why did I miss 20 fish in a row when fishing a dry fly during a caddis hatch?

A listener takes issue with the advice of using heavier tippets to play fish quickly

Do trout get full and not rise when there is an over-abundance of bugs?

Why can I catch fish on dries and not on nymphs?

A listener asks my thoughts on nymphs with a bobber vs. a dry dropper rig.

A listener tore a small piece of the jaw off a trout because he forgot to pinch his barb. He wants to know if that hole in the trout’s jaw is a death sentence.

How should I get set up to swing flies for smallmouth bass?

How can I intercept a hatch?

What features should I look for if I want to try to wait on the bank for a hatch to appear?

Should I avoid putting flotant on the bodies of foam flies?

Direct download: Timbre_Pringle_Small_Streams.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:48pm EST

My guest this week is Brian Grossenbacher [42:45], one of the finest fly-fishing still photographers in the world. You’ve seen his work on the cover of many magazines and in Orvis catalogs. (Brian and I recently collaborated on a book entitled, simply, Trout, with his images and my essays. ) Learn how Brian’s career changed from being a full-time fishing guide to a professional photographer and glean some tips on how to go pro yourself—or at least improve the quality of your own images. Along the way, Brian tells a couple stories that had me in tears of laughter as I was recording this.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions and great tips from listeners, including:

What impact does bug spray have on fish and the tackle we use?

My Elk Hair Caddis dry flies land on their sides. How can I prevent this?

Should I grease my leader when fishing with a dry-dropper rig in fast water?

I want to try carp fishing. Should I put my money into a better reel or a better rod?

A tip from a listener on how to keep materials out of the eye of a fly you just tied, and how to keep your hands warm in cold weather.

A tip from a listener on how he greatly improved his casting with all rods when he went from a 4-weight rod to a 9-weight rod.

What would you do if faced with three days of 25 mph winds and dirty water when on a saltwater trip?

Does cold weather make fly rods brittle?

I came up with a killer fly pattern that is unlike anything out there. Should I share the pattern on social media?

I am having trouble with carp. What fly patterns do you recommend, and how can I tell when they take the fly?

What tips do you have for making those quick deliveries when sight fishing in salt water?

Direct download: Becoming_a_Fly-Fishing_Photographer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:56am EST

My guest this week is well, me. I recorded a podcast and the file got corrupted and I couldn’t get my guest back in time to do a makeover. So this week is just the Fly Box.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions and tips, including:

Do I absolutely need a full sinking line and a stripping basket to fish in the surf?

Do you pinch the barbs on flies for all saltwater species?

Will streamers and bucktails work throughout the summer?

Can I go heavier than 6X on smaller flies to get fish in quicker and stress them less?

Why do I catch many fish in a small stream and then see none on the next trip?

Any advice on tips for setting the hook when using a long cast?

Should I pursue traditional fly gear or just use Tenkara?

Should I use a 6-weight for a light saltwater outfit?

How can I get the hackle on my Parachute Adams to look better?

When would someone replace a dry fly as an indicator with a standard indicator in small streams?

What is the best way to attach 80 lb. shock tippet to a 20 lb. class tippet?

What is the best material for shucks on emergers?

What is the largest trout Tom ever caught?

If you are switching back and forth between tippets and modifying your leader, does it matter that you are using the same butt section and midsection all the time?

Direct download: Fly_Box_Only_Episode_June_22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:33pm EST

This week’s podcast is fun to listen to, even if you don’t need any tips on how to get a friend into fly fishing. Charlie Berens is a talented writer comedian with a midwestern flair (check out his You Tube videos) and Adam Greuel is a musician with the band “Horseshoes and Hand Grenades” and also has a number of solo albums. Adam recently introduced Charlie to fly fishing and their experiences are both valuable and funny [42:20].

As a bonus, we’ve included a song they did together at the end of the podcast.

In The Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips from listeners, including:

Sometimes I see trout from a bridge, other times I don’t. Is this unusual and why?

What is the difference between a $100 fly rod and a $1000 fly rod?

A suggestion on how to arrange your flies and droppers to lessen tangles

A suggestion on how to instill better etiquette on our waters I keep losing fish once they are hooked.

Do I need a better hook-setting strategy?

A great suggestion from a listener on how to tie a weedless bass fly—and techniques for fishing it.

If you find nothing is working for you on a trout stream, what do you do?

What is the best way to fish plunge pools on small streams?

What is the difference between a slow rejection to a fly and a splashy one, and what can I do when a trout rejects my fly?

Direct download: Getting_a_friend_into_fly_fishing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:09pm EST

I get a lot of questions about how fly rods are designed and I think there are a number of misconceptions about where that new rod, like the Helios Blackout series, came from. Where did the idea come from? How is the design created? If you want a 9-foot, five-inch 5-weight rod, do you just add five inches to an existing rod design? I think you’ll be surprised at what goes into a new fly-rod design, and think you’ll enjoy peaking under the hood with a rod designer [41:04].

In the fly box this week, we have some great comments and questions, including:

A great explanation of the spirituality of fly fishing

When I move from one tailwater to another, my techniques don’t seem to work. What should I change?

My small stream fished well last year. This year the water is colder and higher. What should I do?

Is it OK to cut my fly line back if it’s cracked?

What would you do if you see trout in shallow, clear water and they are not rising?

Do you have any suggestions for detecting carp strikes in cloudy water?

Is there a largemouth fly that is as weedless as a rubber worm?

What flies do you recommend for bonnethead sharks?

A cool suggestion for adding a dropper fly

What organizations do you recommend if I care about climate change and the environment?

Direct download: How_Fly_Rods_are_Designed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:43am EST

You may wonder why I’ve done a podcast about beavers. You may be greatly surprised by the beneficial interactions between beavers and trout habitat—I know I was after talking to Ben Goldfarb author of the book Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, [43:26]. Beavers have a much more positive effect on trout streams besides just making deep pools, and they don’t present any problems to migrating fish. And, yes, we do talk about how to fish a beaver pond, and how to find a good one. I think all fly fishers and nature enthusiasts will learn something new in this podcast.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting comments, questions, and tips, including:

The state stocks big rainbows in my wild brook trout stream. What are your thoughts on this issue?

I saw large trout jumping out of the water during a caddis hatch and could not catch any. What do you think they were doing?

What are the advantages of a double-taper over a weight-forward fly line?

A great story about how an injury caused a fly fisher to re-think priorities What size leader butt should I put on my saltwater lines?

And should I use the permanent loop in my fly line for big fish like tarpon?

How have Vermont trout streams fared after hurricane Irene?

If I pinch the barbs on my flies with forceps, am I legal in places that specify “barbless hooks only”?

A comment from a listener on how a generic description like “fly fisher” is also inclusive of people who identify as non-binary

A comment from a listener who believes that encouraging women to fly fish will cause our rivers to become too crowded.

A story from a listener who cautions us to be careful about sinkholes along the banks of trout streams.

A great tip for practicing your cast before a big trip.

What can I do to keep my large dry flies from twisting my leader?

Direct download: Beavers_and_Trout.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:24am EST

I’ve been asked to touch more on the spirituality of fly fishing in my podcasts, and honestly I’m not very good at that. So I asked a thoughtful friend and author, Dylan Tomine [32:54], to touch on these aspects of fly fishing. I don’t think we got very spiritual, but we do ramble on about the other aspects of fly fishing we enjoy besides catching fish, casting, and tying flies. It’s mostly about the people.

In the Fly Box this week, I had some great questions, including:

I am going backpacking and want to travel light but fish some streamers in the middle of the day. What should I take for lines?

Will my 6-weight Helios rod be too heavy for fishing Slough Creek in Yellowstone Park?

How do you decide when to give up when fishing a small stream?

For fishing the banks of small ponds, will my 6-weight Pro line be OK or should I try a Bank Shot line for roll casting?

Can I use straight level fluorocarbon for a leader for lake trout and small mouth bass?

My polarized sunglasses don’t work well for spotting trout. Are all polarized sunglasses equal in terms of seeing fish?

What line should I use on my 9-foot, 8-weight Encounter rod when fishing 10 to 15 feet of water?

What do you do when switching from nymph fishing to fishing a hatch? What about furled leaders?

I keep losing large rainbow trout when they jump. I am indicator nymphing. Am I doing something wrong?

Direct download: The_other_pleasures_of_fly_fishing_with_Dylan_Tomine.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:09pm EST

This week, my guest is Thomas Larsen [45:47] from the Orvis Outfitters team. Thomas is a stillwater expert and gives us some great tips on how to find trout, and how to target them, when you don’t have the benefit of a watercraft. Maybe you don’t have a boat, can’t afford a raft, or backpack to high mountain lakes—this podcast is for you.

In the Fly Box this week, lots of good comments and questions as I have been gone for a couple weeks so the mailbox is filling up.

Thanks from a listener to turning him onto the Griffith’s Gnat dry fly

Euro nymphing seems just too efficient for me.

Am I being irrational by fishing less effective indicator rig?

A customer relates a great trip he had with Orvis-endorsed Brown Trout Flyfishing

What are the five or six “must have” items (after getting a fly rod outfit) you suggest for someone new to fly fishing?

Please give me five or six recommended flies for starting out.

I had a snapping turtle eat a trout as I was landing it.

What effect do catch and release fishing efforts have on fish populations?

For fishing the beach and canals and creeks in Florida or the Carolinas, what is the best all-around fly line?

I want to tie my own leaders. What sizes of tippet do I need? And can I tie my entire leader with surgeon’s knots?

Is a wire shock leader too much for lake trout? And what flies should I use?

How long does it take trout to recover after a spell of warm water?

If I can only catch trout on Rapalas and crankbaits but not on flies, what other types of flies should I try?

Great advice from a beginner on how much he learned about fish behavior by fishing dry flies

If fish can always see tippet, why is there a difference in effectiveness between tippet sizes?

What should I do if my fly line is cracked?

What is the difference between a standard clinch knot and improved clinch knot?

Why, when I catch multiple fish out of the same run, is the third or fourth fish often bigger than the first ones?

A guide attached my leader to my fly line loop with a clinch knot and the coating on the loop cracked. Should I cut off the loop and put my leader on with a nail knot?

Direct download: Stillwater_from_shore_with_Thomas_Larson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:41pm EST

This week, my guest is author, You Tube personality, and author Tim Cammisa [34:00]. We have a spirited discussion on fly patterns—which of the most common ones are untouchable, and which do we modify with different materials and techniques. And are they even the same fly if we modify them?

In the Fly Box, we have some great questions this week, including:

For streamer fishing for smallmouths, should I use my existing 6 weight or should I get a 7-weight rod?

Is the 10-foot 3-weight Euro nymphing rod the same as a 10-foot crappie jigging rod? If not how is it different? And is Euro nymphing really fly fishing?

Where do you use split shot and where do you use tungsten putty? Or is it purely personal preference?

I have been tying clinch knots by pulling on the tag end and it seems to be very strong. Do you think I am doing it the wrong way?

Can I use a Duncan Loop to attach a leader directly to a fly line?

Should I use a sinking line for streamer and nymph fishing?

How can I improve the durability of Dragon Tail flies?

Do striped bass prey on trout in freshwater rivers?

If I use a Berkely Gulp on my fly rod, is it technically a fly?

I am fishing for tiger muskie from shore. What type of line do I need?

Our rivers in Tennessee have an abundance of non-toxic salamanders. Do you think trout eat them, and if so how can I develop a fly to imitate them?

Direct download: Modifying_Flies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:49pm EST

This week, my guest is Steve Davis, chief scientists for the Everglades Foundation [49:31]. Steve gives us an update on the Everglades restoration project, which will benefit fisheries and clean water throughout Florida and not just in the Everglades. And it’s an optimistic report, which we don’t always have when we report on conservation issues. So stay tuned for some good news—for a change!

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions of interest to most fly fishers, including:

What are the pros and cons of a loop-to-loop fly line to leader connection as opposed to a nail knot?

What rod should I get for small stream trout and panfish?

I want to give back to the fly-fishing community.

What organizations should I look to?

Tell me the realities of moving from a vest to a sling pack. Are eyes really important on saltwater patterns?

With improvements in rod technology, is a new Clearwater rod better than an older TLS Power Matrix rod?

What is your opinion on tippet length if I tie my own leaders?

Do trout and carp coexist in rivers and do they push each other around? I

s fishing for hatchery trout “cheating” and will I not learn anything useful fishing for them?

What is the product life cycle of a fly rod? Can you explain the differences between the various types of glues for fly tying?

I can catch fish on nymphs without an indicator, but I am having trouble when using one. What should I do differently?

I know fly lines are made to industry standards. Do the same standards exist for fly rods?

Direct download: Good_News_from_the_Everglades.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:56pm EST

Josh Nugent of Out Fly Fishing in Calgary has been doing a series of “Seven Deadly Sins” podcasts with me over the past couple of years and this one is chock full of great advice [38:38]. Josh is a very preceptive angler and thinks deeply about how flies behave in the water and how trout react to them, and in the interview we go off on a number of tangents—all interesting and all about nymph fishing—and all of them with great advice on how to make your indicator nymphing game more fun and productive.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great tips and questions from listeners, including:

A terrific tip on why tying tube flies is a great way to get kids started

What kind of other storage systems does Tom use around his roll-top desk?

Where can I learn more about fly fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass?

What do you suggest for preventing cutoffs by chain pickerel?

Can I use sitka or axis deer, antelope, or goat hair for fly tying?

A great tip on replacing wing cases on smaller nymphs with a drop of UV cure resin Should I use my leader straightener?

Can I do longline French/Spanish nymphing with a two-handed rod?

How can I locate pinhole leaks ion my waders?

How do older series of rods compare to the modern ones? What is better about the more recent models?

I know your higher-end rods are made in Vermont, but where do the components come from?

Why do Americans shoot and kill birds?

What is a good two-line rotation for streamer fishing in Michigan? I

kept my fiberglass rod in a hot car and now I notice it has a kink in it. Could the hot car have been the reason?

Direct download: seven_deadly_sins_of_nymph_fishing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:33pm EST

This week my guest is Land Tawney [25:52], CEO of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and we discuss recent issues regarding public access on rivers in Colorado, Montana, and New Mexico. This is a timely topic, as public access advocates just won a big court victory in New Mexico (Phil please link to your blog post). I hope the podcast will get you up to speed on how stream access is handled by states, and I think you’ll see some positive news on all the great work Back Country Hunters and Anglers and other public access groups have been doing on our behalf. In the Fly Box this week, we have these questions and tips from listeners:

A tip from a listener on another natural material to use as a trailing shuck.

Is it wrong for me to ask a fly shop to let me test a fly line before I buy it?

How do you choose between using head cement or UV cure epoxy?

What do you think about using perfection loops to attach tippets instead of using a tippet ring?

What does Tom research before fishing new water?

A tip from a listener about another way to organize fly-tying materials.

A request for a podcast on tying classic salmon flies.

A listener expresses his disappointment in my not mentioning organizations like Casting for Recovery or Project Healing Waters in a discussion on the spiritual nature of fly fishing.

Direct download: land_tawney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:31pm EST

This week my guest is Noelle Coley [41:25] of Blackfoot River Outfitters in Missoula, Montana. Noelle is a serious winter fly fisher, with experience both in Colorado and Montana. She gives us great tips on flies, techniques, and of course dressing to keep warm. WE can all benefit from her experience and have more fun—and stay more comfortable—while fishing in the depths of winter.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions form listeners, including:

What do you think about shaming on social media about how people handle fish?

What should I do if I see someone spin fishing in an area that is clearly marked “Fly Fishing Only”?

Will my 6-weight rod be enough for fishing for bonefish in the Florida Keys?

Which rod should I use for swinging wet flies?

What tips do you have for taming deer hair when tying Comparaduns?

What should I do with a bunch of older fly rods that I no longer need?

Can a dropper fly on a two-fly rig create problems with hooking trout?

Why do fly fishers use such light tippet when conventional anglers can get away with using heavier line?

What do you suggest for a natural material to replace Antron on an emerger shuck?

I fish three nymphs on a rig. What’s a good strategy for replacing patterns if the ones I am using are not working?

I have a 4-weight line and want to buy a fiberglass rod for fishing small streams. Should I get a 3-weight and overline the rod or stick to a 4-weight rod?

What tips do you have for traveling with fly-fishing gear?

I have an Encounter 5-weight rod and am just starting out. When will I know when it’s time to upgrade, and how much difference will an upgraded rod make?

Direct download: winter_fly_fishing_secrets.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:23pm EST

Finding those tiny, unpressured trout streams is a delightful form of exploration. You won’t find them on the internet or in books or magazine articles—at least the ones you really want to fish. But finding a small stream that you’ll probably have all to yourself and discovering the delights of catching eager trout on dries and nymphs—and sometimes small streamers—is one of the purest ways of enjoying fly fishing. Donna Smith [48:38], a member of the Orvis Outfitter team and an expert on small stream trout fishing tells us how to go about it.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some perplexing and interesting questions, as well as some tips from listeners, including:

Do textured lines spook fish when making noise going through the guides?

What happened to the Orvis Superfine Fiberglass rods? I

have a very fast action 10 weight rod and it’s difficult to feel it load with a 10-weight line. Do you think I can put an 11-weight line on it?

Any thoughts on de-barbing bonefish and permit flies?

How about stocking minnows and crayfish in streams. Do you think it’s a bad idea?

If I am fishing a bunch of rising fish and a bunch of anglers are standing on the bank waiting for me to leave, what should I do?

Why can I catch lots of fish when I go out into the wilderness but not when I am fishing the stocked river that’s right in town?

If trout are so sensitive to drag on a dry fly or nymph, why do they take a swinging soft hackle?

Great suggestions from a listener on how to avoid over-pressuring fish by modifying our behavior.

What does Tom think are the most difficult techniques in fly tying?

Why are there no sea-run rainbows in Connecticut?

Is the casting technique you use to cast poly leaders the same as you would use for an over-lined rod?

Direct download: Finding_Small_Streams.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:57am EST

This week, my guest is the executive director of the Native Fish Coalition, Bob Mallard [42:09], who tells us why the organization was formed and what they do. His group took issue with some of the sentiments expressed in last week's podcast with Kirk Deeter, so to give everyone a broader view of the issue of wild native fish (as opposed to just wild fish, and Bob explains the difference in the podcast) I invited Bob to come onto the podcast to explain to us just how precious native or indigenous species are. There is much food for thought here and I hope it makes everyone think about the issues involved.

In the Fly Box this week, we have the usual roundup of interesting and sometimes tricky questions, and some great tips from listeners, including:

How even native black bass in the South are threatened by stocking of non-native varieties

Why doesn't the Orvis Learning Center talk about the spiritual value and nature of fly fishing?

What is the best all-around color for polarized sunglasses?

What's up with bead heads? Insects don't have metal heads.

A great tip from a listener on how to apply eyes to minnow patterns without getting your fingers stuck together with Super Glue.

How can I straighten a bunch of old saddle hackles that have a kink in them?

How do you deal with negative attitudes you hear spouted on the water?

A tip from a listener on how to magnetize or demagnetize a pair of forceps or a dubbing needle.

What fly-tying material does Tom feel is underutilized?

A comment from a listener on how something said on a podcast had a big influence on him regarding the "hero shot".

Why am I only catching whitefish, and do people like catching them?

Why haven't we tried restocking aquatic insects in rivers where they have become scarce?

What is Tom's favorite non-fish wildlife encounter on the river?

Direct download: Native_Fish_Coalition.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:20pm EST

Have we gone too far with native species? with Kirk Deeter This week, my guest is Kirk Deeter, editor of Trout Magazine. Kirk is never one to shy away from controversy, and our topic this week is the concept of native species and the feasibility of trying to turn back the clock. We also ramble a bit about the state of the fly-fishing world in general, but as always Kirk is thoughtful and incisive in his views.

In the Fly Box this week we have some especially great tips from listeners and some interesting questions:

Some great tips from a listener on how to hook gar on the fly without resorting to yarn

A comment from a listener on the probability of tiger trout being produced naturally in wild trout populations.

Do I need a click-and-pawl reel on my bamboo rod, and do I need to get a special fly line?

Do you have some tips for catching bonefish in the Florida Keys by wading from shore?

How should I clean my waders if I fish multiple watersheds in a single day?

Because mayfly nymphs wiggle their tails in the water, why don't we tie more nymphs with flexible tails?

What are the essential fly materials to take if you're going to tie on a fishing trip?

How can I catch smallmouth bass on a fly in deep lakes?

A great tip from a listener on how to pick up beads and hooks around your tying bench--and also to recapture flies that fall out of your box on the river.

A great tip from a listener on how to practice casting heavily weighted flies.

I found a fly line that had been soaking in salt water.

Do you think it's still good to use?

How do I de-magnetize a pair of forceps?

How can I target trout in small creeks during the winter?

Direct download: have_we_gone_too_far.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:20am EST

This week, my guest is Orvis casting guru Pete Kutzer, and we talk about casts for difficult trout. Often you don't need great casting skills or special casts to catch trout, but there are times when a little razzle-dazzle will make the difference. Pete talks about those situations and what to do--and he also introduces a new way of making a Bow-and -Arrow cast that was new to me. I think anyone can benefit from Pete's advice.

In the Fly Box this week, we have these great questions and tips from listeners:

What do you think about tying on eyeless hooks and making eyes out of silk bead cord?

What do you mean by the term "swinging flies"?

Can I target grass carp on a fly?

Can you ice fish with flies?

How do I fish a lake for trout from my kayak?

What do you think of the electric socks that are controlled by an app?

A great tip from a listener on avoiding spooking trout in small streams.

Can a figure-8 knot be used in fly fishing?

What do you recommend for a rod for fishing larger eastern rivers?

How can I correct a casting issue where my fly gets caught on my line-to-leader connection?

Do I need to buy a specific saltwater outfit for Belize or will my current steelhead rod work?

Do you recommend weed guards for fishing in Belize?

How much do brown trout move in the fall?

Do you think it's possible that a stocked tiger trout could have moved 30 miles from where it was stocked?

Can I overline my 3-weight rod by two line sizes for really short casts?

My wife has problems with glare on the water. Do you think there is something wrong with her eyes?

Which precautions should I take releasing trout in subzero weather?

Direct download: casts_for_difficult_trout.mp3
Category:Fly Fishing -- posted at: 9:20pm EST

I frequently get questions about CDC or Cul de Canard, a special feather found on ducks that makes very effective dry flies, emergers, and nymphs. What is it? Where does it come from? Why is it so special? What kinds of CDC are there, and how do you use it? And when fishing these flies, how do you treat them. My friend (and friendly nemisis from our monthly fly-tyig tie-offs) Tim Flagler [46:41] and I tell everything we know about CDC and its uses. I hope this answers many of your questions.

In the Fly Box this week, we have great tips from listeners and questions, including:

A tip for fly fishers who suffer from arthritis

Would it be better for me to take lessons on the water or hire a guide?

What are the best saltwater knots?

How do I avoid hitting myself and other people in the boat when fishing a heavy streamer?

Tips from a listener on repairing old bamboo rods, and advice for finding them at tag sales and reconditioning them

How do I pick up small hooks and beads that I drop off my tying table?

Can I overline my 3-weight fiberglass rod by two line sizes for fishing small streams?

Advice from a listener on cleaning and maintaining cork grips

What do you wear under electric socks?

Can I take some old flies and add a parachute to them?

What do you recommend I tie with all these game bird feathers I have been saving from my hunting trips?

When do you use wire, and when do you use beads on nymphs?

Do stocked fish push wild fish out of their normal places?

How do I keep my Elk Hair Caddis wing from rotating after I fish them for awhile?

Direct download: magic_fly_tying_material.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:06am EST

Todays guest might make you mad. If you’re a trout angler he will certainly make you feel uncomfortable. Doug Thompson [37:29] is the author of The Quest for the Golden Trout, and the book is not what you think it might be from the title. He is a professor in geoscience and environmental studies and does research in geomorphology and hydrology. In examining critically what we do to ensure trout fishing, Douglas Thompson gores some sacred cows, including our obsession with stocking trout, non-native species we introduce, the way we manipulate the physical structure of rivers to benefit trout, and even the fishing tackle industry itself. You might think this book would make me angry, but it’s carefully researched and argued and has made me look differently at the structure of our entire trout-fishing industry.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips, including:

How do I repair an exposed thread and a bent ferrule on my bamboo fly rod?

How do I know when it's time to replace my sinking line?

How can I distinguish between weighted and unweighted flies? Do people fish for walleye and American shad with a fly rod? If so how do they do it?

Why do I foul hook fish when fishing with two nymphs?

Which floating line is best with my 10-foot 3-weight Clearwater?

Do you have some tips for casting with a sinking line?

A tip on feeling better about getting skunked

A story about why we should always debarb our hooks

What does Tom do when he is in a slump?

Direct download: The_Stupid_Things_we_do_for_Trout.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:04pm EST

This week, my guest is Tim Landwehr [43:50], of Tight Lines Fly Fishing Company in De Pere, Wisconsin. Tim has decades of experience guiding for smallmouth bass and is co-author of a book on fly fishing for smallmouths. He shares some innovative and modern techniques for catching difficult smallmouths under all conditions, some you have probably never heard of or thought about.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions, including:

When I am Euro nymphing, why do trout always take my fly on the swing, after it has finished its dead drift?

I have trouble seeing my beetle imitations on the water. What can I do?

Why did trout, after refusing countless dead drifts during a spinner fall, take my fly as I stripped it back to me?

If you had to fish nymphs that only imitated one order of insects, which one would it be?

If I simplify my nymph collection to more generic imitations, will I do as well as if I worry about imitating specific insects?

What is the difference between a Comparadun and a Sparkle Dun and which one is better?

If I have the same guide two days in a row, should I tip him or her both days?

How many indicators should I carry for a day of fishing?

Do you prefer the Helios 3 D or F model in a 9-foot, 5-weight rod?

A fly shop owner told me not to submerge my reel. Was he right?

What is the best way to store dry flies?

A listener gives another good reason to always tie or buy three flies of the same pattern

How can I eliminate wind knots in my dry dropper rig? What is the best way to fish in the surf?

Direct download: Modern_smallmouth_secrets.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:58pm EST

This week, my guest is Todd Tanner [39:47], a journalist who writes for many of the fly-fishing websites and magazines and is Fly Fishing editor of Sporting Classics magazine. Todd is also the president of Conservation Hawks, an organization dedicated to educating fishers and hunters on the threats of climate change, and is the president of the School of Trout. Todd is a thoughtful guy, and he discusses the ten things he sees as essential to becoming a great fly fisher. And no, we don't talk about choosing the right fly or using the correct knot. I think some of his thoughts about this topic will surprise you and may make you think differently about your path to becoming happier and less insecure on a trout stream.

We have some great questions and tips in the Fly Box this week, including:

I want to start Euro nymphing. What's most important--should I look at a new rod, a new reel, or a new line?

Which is better for a bonefish leader--nylon or fluorocarbon?

A high school senior informs us of a conservation issue and an innovative way to raise funds for the cause.

What books should I get as a guide to western hatches?

Is it a good idea to attach my leader to a permanent section of monofilament with a blood knot as opposed to a loop-to-loop connection?

Tips from a listener on the value of journaling and how to make an insect seine out of your landing net.

Should I be using fishing clasps on my trout flies? Is it OK to practice casting in the snow?

What should I look at when upgrading my small-stream trout rod?

Can steelhead mate with resident rainbows?

A suggestion from a listener on why a "dangling" fly is attractive to trout.

Direct download: Ten_Ways_to_Be_a_Better_Fly_Fisher.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:06pm EST

As part of Trout Unlimited's weeklong emphasis on the Snake River salmon and steelhead restoration plan, my guest this week is Chris Wood [50:25], president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. Our topic is the plan to remove four dams on the lower Snake River, a monumental project that offers great benefit to this river's historic anadromous fishery, which has been in great decline over the past 50 years. When I first heard of this, I thought it would be a pipedream to even think of removing these dams that supply hydropower, transportation, and irrigation. But Chris has convinced me that those beneficial uses can now be replaced with alternative means, and there is a real possibility of seeing these dams removed in our lifetime. Hopefully, he'll convince you as well.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips shared by listeners, including:

How can I land large trout on tiny size 22 nymphs?

What can I do to move a big fish that sulks on the bottom?

Can you share a few of your DIY hacks for your fly-tying desk?

A tip from a listener never to buy or tie just one of a particular pattern.

Can I use an old Battenkill 3 reel on my new Clearwater 10-foot 3-weight for Euro nymphing?

If you hook a fish deep in the mouth, is it OK to leave the fly in the fish?

What is the best way to fish a dry fly directly downstream?

Are there special casts I can use? Why did the brown trout in my stream disappear around the middle of October?

Why do trout eat my nymphs after they have been hanging below me for 10 seconds?

What is a formula for a 15- or 18-foot knotted leader?

If I see creek chubs in a pool, should I expect brook trout will be there as well?

What is Tom's opinion on the practice of stocking cutthroat trout in eastern rivers?

A tip for keeping Sink Putty from sliding up your leader.

What are Tom's thoughts on what social media has done to fly fishing?

What are some techniques for catching trout that live in undercut banks?

Direct download: Removing_the_dams_on_the_Snake_River.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:08am EST

I get frequent questions about fishing emergers and it's a confusing subject. Do I fish one like a nymph, or do I fish one like a dry, and how deep should I fish it. My guest this week, Tim Cammisa [41:06], is a well-known fly tier who specializes in doing presentations on tying and fishing emergers, so I thought it would be great to get his tips on them.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions and thoughtful tips from listeners, including:

How do you deal with adding and removing split shot?

What should I use to touch up the finish on an old bamboo fly rod?

I have some old leader material that is difficult to tighten. Is it because the nylon is old?

Why do we think we need so much backing on reels?

And why are light lines as long as heavier lines?

Can I wear hunting waders for winter fishing?

Will stocked trout spawn in rivers if they survive to spawning season?

A great tip from a listener on handy modifications you can make to any fly-tying vise

Do you know of one pair of sunglasses that will adapt to changing light situations?

I am confused by all the hook styles and bead types for Euro nymphs. Can you narrow it down to three styles of hooks and beads in various sizes?

What do you think of fishing pegged beads?

If I tie a mono rig, can you clinch knot the mono directly to the permanent loop in the fly line?

For prescription sunglasses, what color lens and brand do you recommend?

Direct download: Emergers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:05pm EST

This week, my best is Dr. Guy Fleischer [35:30], science advisor for the Wild Steelhead Coalition (wildsteelheadcoalition.org). We discuss the proposed closure of steelhead fishing on the Olympic Peninsula, how ocean changes affect steelhead survival, and the steelhead life cycle, with an emphasis on how resilient steelhead populations are if we give them half a chance. (we'll also be publishing a podcast in the next two weeks with Chris Wood, CEO of Trout Unlimited, on the potential removal of four dams on the lower Snake River).

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips from listeners, including:

What flies do you like for the Green Drake hatch?

What should I do in the winter months to get ready for next season?

Can I land big fish on a Euro nymphing rod without worrying about the rod breaking?

When is it time to tie a whole new leader onto your line? How can I catch smallmouth bass in cold water?

How do I wade a body of water without spooking fish?

Advice from a listener on how to find spawning white bass Tips from a listener on a good way to create a fishing journal using free web resources.

How do I fish an emerger just a couple inches below the surface?

Would it be geeky if I took a bunch of Frisbees or other targets to a fly shop to evaluate a new rod at varying distances?

Has anyone been able to distill nine fly boxes into one to eliminate the bulk and clutter?

Direct download: The_Resiliency_of_Steelhead.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:26pm EST

There is nothing more magnificent than a wild steelhead on the fly but because of poor returns this season fishing for them will be limited. That's no reason, though, to park your fly rods in the garage. The PNW has some alternative species that although are not native, they are a worthy target on a fly rod: carp and smallmouth bass. And they're not going away so we might as well enjoy them. Join my guest Kelsey Rosborough [52:15] from the Orvis Outfitter Team (those knowledgeable folks who answer your technical questions when you call, e-mail, or chat about fishing products) as he tells us where to find these fun fish and how to target them.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions and great tips from listeners, including:

How can I stop crowding the heads when tying flies?

Where does the saying "bright day-bright fly, dark day-dark fly" come from and is there any scientific basis to it?

Why do I get left with curly ends when tying a clinch knot?

My fly line always gets tangled when walking from one spot to another. How do I fix that?

Should I expect spawning striped bass/white bass hybrids in inlets to a lake?

Recommendations from a listener in Sweden about how to stay warm when fishing in the winter.

How long is too long when playing a fish?

What is the right balance between not horsing them in and getting them in quickly?

How long does a typical fly last?

What do other people do regarding fly-fishing journals? Does Tom keep one?

Two tips from a listener on handling wires when tying flies

A listener in Australia wonders why he has more success with an Elk Hair Caddis than an X-Caddis

Direct download: PNW_Alternative_Species.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:02pm EST

This week my guest is Charlie Robinton [52:00], one of the experts from the Orvis Outfitter team (the people who answer your technical questions when you call, chat, or e-mail). Charlie is an expert in California fishing, and he gives us a grand tour of northern California rivers and what to expect when you plan a fishing trip there. Lots of solid information form a lifelong fly fisher and California native.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great tips and questions from listeners (as well as a complaint), including:

Is there a way to determine what size fly line is best on an unmarked rod at home?

What is your advice on fishing stocked-only streams?

Can I practice my double haul with the Practi-Caster?

A listener takes me to task for saying on a previous podcast that if I were back in the 1880s and had the choice of whether or not to stock brown trout, would I do it?

As well as avoiding reds during the spawning season, shouldn't we take care not to step on them throughout the winter?

Any advice for fishing for carp in moving water?

I forgot my leader and had to fish with just a couple pieces of tippet material, 3X and 5X. What would you have done?

How does the time of day and the moon phase affect trout fishing? I am fishing large bass flies and have little back cast room. Any advice?

I can't catch fish on beetle imitations. Any advice?

What advice do you have for someone who is used to small streams and wants to fish big water?

Why don't saltwater guides use nets?

Direct download: California_Trout_Fishing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:52pm EST

This week my guest is Orvis-endorsed guide Erica Nelson [36:12]. Erica gives us tips on how to hire a guide, how to find the right guide, how to manage expectations with a guide, how to tip a guide, and what to do if your guide trip is a disaster. In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and comments, including: Can I use the 10-foot, 3-weight Recon rod for both Euro nymphing and small-stream trout fishing? What has Tom learned lately? Has he had any "aha" moments? A listener makes the point that the overharvest of menhaden, a valuable forage fish, threatens our saltwater gamefish populations on the Atlantic Coast, and gives a great book recommendation on the topic. A listener asks if he should consider the shorter 8-weight Blackout rod for a wide variety of fishing situations. Thoughts from a listener on the value of native fish populations A suggestion from a listener on two items every fly fisher who goes off the grid should carry I had a rainbow trout nose my fly and slap the fly with its tail six times. Why did the fish do that?

Direct download: how_to_find_a_guide.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:45pm EST

Everyone should experience Alaska at least once in their lifetime, and if you are a fly fisher it is a place like no other. But there are different seasons, even during their short summer, and if you have your heart set on a particular species you need to pay attention to the timing of your trip. Reed Teuscher [32:21] is one of 14 people in our Outfitter Group, full-time Orvis experts who handle your fly fishing questions when you e-mail fishing@orvis.com, call 888-709-4732, or when you use the chat on our web site. This team includes guides, past Orvis retail store fishing managers, and other experts. You're not reaching a random call center, you're connecting with experts in the field who understand fly-fishing conditions and tackle. Reed was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, earning his fly fishing stripes chasing trout on Willamette Valley rivers and their tributaries. After relocating to central Oregon, chasing steelhead on the North Umpqua and Deschutes rivers honed his passion for 2-handed rods. Having now been in the fly fishing industry for almost 2 decades, 2 ½ of those with Orvis, he’s chased fish around a good portion of the world. Besides working in and running fly shops, he’s guided in the Pacific NW, western NY, and Alaska. I

n the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions from listeners, including:

Is casting a 10-foot, 3-weight Euro nymphing rod with a dry fly different from other fly casting?

If I am not very tall, should I consider a longer Euro nymphing rod because I can't wade as deep as some people?

How do you measure leaders and tippets?

When fishing a dry dropper, what is the percentage of fish caught on the dry as opposed to the dropper?

Why does Orvis no longer make one-piece fly rods?

What should I do when I see people keeping undersized striped bass?

Are bluefish declining?

Any thoughts on using tube flies?

How do I figure out fly sizes when picking them out of my box?

When is the best time to use a blood knot instead of a triple surgeon's?

When you only catch small fish in a spot, is it because they are easier to catch or because you are just fishing a spot where there are only small fish?

How can I stay off brook trout redds in the fall?

When fishing a dry dropper rig in a stream with brook and brown trout, I only catch brookies on the nymph but catch both brown and brook trout on the dry. Why is that?

Transcripts of Tom's shows are available 1-2 weeks after a show has been posted You can find them at howtoflifish.orvis.com.

Direct download: Your_dream_trip_to_Alaska.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:02am EST

This week my guest is Steve Ramirez [41:24], author of the book Casting Forward and the upcoming book Casting Onward. Steve is an articulate and passionate writer, and in the podcast we talk about the philosophical and personal aspects of fishing for native species, in his beloved Texas Hill Country and beyond.

In the Fly Box, we have some terrific questions this week, including:

Can I use my 7'11" 8-weight rod with a 5/6 reel and a 7-weight line?

I can hook fish on streamers using a floating line, but when I fish a sinking line I get lots of strikes but no hookup. What am I doing wrong?

An angler tells a tale of woe after getting scammed trying to buy a fly rod from an online swap forum.

I keep hearing about people catching 20 and 30 fish in an outing. Why can't I do that?

You said you throw out all your old nylon tippet after a year. Do I need to do that with heavier mono and old unused leaders as well?

I need a heavier rod than my 5-weight for redfish, pike, bass, and carp. Is a 9-foot, 8-weight Recon the right rod?

I have trouble casting a 12-weight and need help with my strength. What can I do to make longer casts with this rod?

Why is Euro nymphing more effective than fishing the standard way with an indicator and split shot? Is it because you spook fewer fish?

Why do people say fly fishing is not like it used to be?

I use an 8 1/2 foot 4-weight for brook trout but want to try a lighter rod like a 2-weight or 3-weight.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of going to a lighter rod?

Where on a trout are the taste organs?

Direct download: Stteve_Ramirez.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:22pm EST

My guest this week is Peter Jenkins [33:40], longtime striper angler and owner of the Saltwater Edge Fly Shop, outside of newport, Rhode Island. Peter talks about the seven different seasons of striper fishing on the coast, and also about the plight of the striper populations in the Atlantic. It's still an awesome and productive fishery, however we know it could be even better with proper conservation measures. In the Fly Box this week, we have some thought-provoking questions and comments, including: A comment on the lack of small fly shops these days and the bewildering variety of equipment Do I want a Spey rod for shoreline fishing and smaller steelhead rivers? Do you think that trying different fly sizes is something that applies universally Should tiers have more than one fly-tying vise? Since most people fish nymphs these days and they catch more fish than other methods, should we be limiting the number of fish we catch and release> Is there ever a time when you should go a size or two larger on a fly? What feathers should I save from grouse, pheasants, and wild turkey? I lost two large rainbows because I had trouble handling my slack line. What can I do to prevent this?

Direct download: Seven_Seasons_of_Streamer_Fishing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14pm EST

Leigh H. Perkins, or LHP as he was known, was the driving force behind Orvis from 1965 into the 1990s and was a legendary marketing and outdoorsman. He passed away this summer and I wanted to interview some of his favorite guides and fishing buddies to give people a sense of what he was really like in the field [47:52]. He was fearless, always cheerful, and never had a bad day of fishing no matter what the conditions--a lesson for all of us. I hope you'll enjoy LHP stories from John Kowalski, Lori-Ann Murphy, and Rick Ruoff.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions, including:

Which kind of poly leader should I get?

How do I keep my hands warm when fly-fishing in the winter?

A new fly fisher shares stories of rudeness and kindness on the water

I have been fishing a variety of fly patterns on a North Georgia stream, all in size 14, and can't catch any fish. What am I doing wrong?

If I am catching whitefish and suckers, am I fishing in the right place? How do I sort out the trout from the whitefish and suckers?

Why are the trout that used to eat my black Woolly Bugger still striking at it but not connecting?

Can I fish tenkara-style with a standard fly rod?

Does Tom have any questions for the listeners?

Are species-specific fly lines any good or is it just marketing? I have some hooks that are marked as 2X long with a 2X extended gap. Aren't these just hooks that are one size larger?

Direct download: sportsmans_life.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44am EST

My guest this week is Daniel Ritz [1:00:58], who recently completed the Master Caster level of the Western Native Trout Challenge. We talk about how he did it, what flies worked, and had a lot of discussion about what actually counts as a subspecies of trout. If you want to view his entire journey, it can be found at www.tu.org/magazine/author/daniel-ritz/

In the Fly Box this week, which was unusually long (either I talked too much or chose too many questions), we have these questions and tips:

Why does my line get twisted when I try to shoot line?

How do I know if the fly pattern I developed is really something new?

What would you recommend for a wing material on bonefish flies?

A question on exactly what hook shank measurements like 1X and 2X long mean, and what are they compared to?

Does a 10-foot 5 weight Recon have a softer tip or a heftier butt section as compared to shorter rods?

Is a 7-weight rod too light for pike fishing?

How do fall leaves in the water affect fishing and what should I do?

How do I get a non-weighted streamer deeper in the water column?

My old floating fly line has a tip that is sinking. Is there any way of fixing this?

Do brookies really drop down lower downstream in the fall after spawning?

I fish a small high-altitude stream and only catch small trout. Do you think there could be larger trout there?

What is a good step up from a cheapo fly-tying vise?

How do you gauge your speed on how fast to move in a small stream?

How do I catch the large trout in a small, clear stream with slow current? Is it ever appropriate not to tip a guide?

A transcript of this podcast will be available in approximately three weeks at howtoflyfish.orvis.com.

Direct download: Western_Native_Trout.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:32pm EST

In this week's podcast, my guest is David Brooks [43:45], executive director of Montana Trout Unlimited. With prevailing drought conditions in the western United Sates and increased demand from many users, from agriculture to municipalities to recreational angling, how can we balance the use of water? David explains the difference between the riparian doctrine used mostly in the eastern United Sates, and the prior appropriation doctrine used in western states, and explains how users have come together to apportion water for human use and for keeping enough water in rivers to support healthy trout populations. It's not easy and often contentious but it's a fascinating issue and there is hope that with wise use of water by all stakeholders we can support ranchers, farmers, cities, and healthy trout populations.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions and tips, including:
A note from The Mayfly Project on cities where they're looking for volunteers to help mentor foster kids in fly fishing
When I catch a fish and it jumps all over the pool, does that spook other fish?
What is the best way to kill and prepare a trout for eating?
How much distance do you gain from the double haul?
What are the reasons for strip setting in salt water and not for trout?
A tip on keeping your fly line from falling back inside the guides when making shorts casts on small streams
A heartwarming thank-you note to Nick Lyons
How can I keep my flies in the strike zone longer in fast-moving saltwater current?
What is the best way to light a fly while it's in the vise?
Why did people in a fly shop tell me that Euro nymphing is cheating?
What is an appropriate amount to tip a guide, and is it the same from multiple days as it is for a single day?
When the kokanee start running up into my trout stream the trout stop biting. Why?
Which way would you lean for a dry-fly specific rod?
My guide puts his thumb in the mouth of smallmouth bass to revive them. Is this effective and would it be valid for other species?

Direct download: David_Brooks_on_Saving_Water_for_Trout.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:17pm EST

[This episode was originally posted in April of 2018]

This week I have a chat with Amelia Jensen, perhaps the best trout-spotter I have ever seen. I have always thought I was pretty god at seeing trout in the water, but Amelia can see fish I would never have spotted. Learn some of her secrets in this week’s podcast—you’ll be surprised at how often you can spot trout if you know what you’re looking for, even in fast, deep, or slightly off-colored water.

In the Fly Box this week we have the following tips and questions: · A tip from a listener on how to carry long pre-rigged fly assemblies

· A question about what fly to fish along with a streamer when swinging for spring trout

· A question on tips for spotting bonefish

· How should I fish the tails of pools?

· A listener tip on how to keep your hands warm when fishing

· Flashy vs. non-flashy nymphs and where to put them in your nymph rig

· A question about why fish get picky after catching a bunch of them from the same run

· Why do trout take dry flies when I don’t see any rising?

· Tips for avoiding spawning rainbow redds

Direct download: The_Art_of_Spotting_Trout_with_Amelia_Jensen_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:48pm EST

Initially posted on July 28, 2019 This week, my guest is Davy Wotton, who is originally from Wales but now lives and guides on the White River in Arkansas. I get frequent questions about swinging soft hackles and wet flies, a technique that I am not the best at, so I brought in the angler whom I consider the ultimate expert on this kind of fishing. Davy blends the British traditions with American conditions, so he really has the best perspective on this kind of fishing, which can be both challenging and subtle—especially when fish are taking emergers. It’s a long podcast, but since I have never done one on this topic, I make up for lost time. And Davy had many interesting points to make. The Fly Box is a bit shorter this week because the main podcast is so long. But we cover some interesting questions, as usual: What can I do to keep my Stimulators floating? When do you fish a nymph and when do you fish a streamer? Can you use weed guards on trout flies? Why am I breaking off so many fish? Do some rod guides work better than others? More on pressure and its effects on fish What is the difference between a freshwater and saltwater rod? How can I see my fly in a fast riffle? How do I know if small streams hold trout? Why do trout bump my flies and why do they come off quickly?

Direct download: Ultimate_Wet_Fly_Podcast_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:57pm EST

This week my guest is Sascha Clark Danylchuk [1:05:54], executive director of Keepfishwet.org and a fish biologist who has intensively studied the science of releasing fish in a responsible manner. We've talked a lot about trout lately in the podcast, so this one is on recommended release techniques for bass, panfish, pike, bonefish, redfish, and tarpon--plus a little on cold-water releases of trout.

In the Fly Box this week, we had an unusually good collection of questions and tips--maybe because I was out of the office for a couple weeks so I had a lot to choose from.
I want to write a fishing book. What do you suggest?
What is the proper etiquette when I see other people on the river?
I need a Yellowstone cutthroat to complete my Utah cutthroat slam. They are only found in a small stream. How should I go about approaching this stream and what techniques should I use to make sure I complete my Slam?
Why is wet-fly fishing often called a "lost art"?
Why do I have trouble landing small brook trout on barbless hooks?
Why do the trout in France bump my hopper flies and not always eat them?
How do you approach a situation where insects are hatching but you don't see any trout feeding?
How can I catch large trout rising infrequently in a very slow pool?
A tip from a listener on how to get more fly-tying time
Do lakes and ponds fish well in the rain?
Some great advice from an Orvis-endorsed guide on fly-tying tips for beginners.
Why don't fly-rod manufacturers use foam instead of cork for rod handles?
How can I land large trout feeding on small flies?
A tip for using a common kitchen product for cleaning cork handles on rods.
Do modern ferrules still need wax?
Is it possible that the large rainbows in Colorado reservoirs could be fall spawners?

Direct download: Species_specific_release_techniques.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:29am EST

This week's podcast guest is especially exciting to me as he is one of my literary heroes. John McPhee [24:10] is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author (Annals of the Former World), and in his numerous other books he has written about such diverse topics as nuclear energy, the merchant marine, basketball, Alaska, bark canoes, oranges, continental drift, flood control, tennis, farmer's markets, and many other eclectic topics. Whether or not you are interested in a subject, you can be sure you will be when you finish reading one of his books you will be fascinated. John has also been a staff writer for The New Yorker since the 1960s. In our interview, he talks about his two favorite fish to catch on the fly rod--the American shad (which he wrote an entire book about, The Founding Fish), and the chain pickerel, which he did not write a book about but did pen a short essay on in his collection of stories The Patch. (I doubt is anyone in the world who would count those two fish in combination as their favorites--but he is never conventional.) I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I enjoyed talking to him. In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips: A reminder from a listener that I wrote an encyclopedia of fly fishing Some great tips from a listener on using tippet rings A question about what constitutes a watershed when concerned about transporting aquatic invasives A suggestion from a listener on ways to offset your carbon footprint when taking fishing trips Which is a better rod for fishing the surf and jetties--a traditional 9-foot 9-weight rod or a two-handed rod? Do you always recommend using a net? A listener calls me on the carpet for my flippant remark about manhandling carp. A great thought from a listener that sometimes taking photos of fish hinders the moment.

Direct download: Shad_and_Pickerel_on_the_Fly_with_John_McPhee.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:38pm EST

This week my guest is the great Amelia Jensen [53:09], one of the best trout anglers in the world and also a superb videographer. Our topic is one that is top of mind to a lot of people in the fly-fishing world this summer: how we can continue to fish for trout and get photos of them while minimizing mortality to the fish and reducing handling time. One of the best ways to do this is to take photos of fish (especially trout) without taking them out of the water. This does present challenges but it's not impossible to get a great photo of a trout while water is still running over its gills. Amelia shares the tips she has learned over the years. Lots of questions and tips from listeners in the Fly Box this week, including: How do I clean up the cork grips on my fly rods? Is there any difference in performance with a dry dropper when the nymph is tied to the eye of the dry fly instead of the bend? Is it true that by keeping trout larger than 15 inches we'll make more room for smaller trout in a stream? How do you know when to leave an area or continue fishing it? A great pep talk from an experienced angler on learning fly fishing without a mentor How can I get rid of clumps in my rabbit fur dubbing? How can I catch spooky catfish on a fly rod? Is there any difference between tying dumbbell eyes on top of the shank or under the shank? Some great tips on carp fishing from an experienced carp angler from Germany Is it a good idea to freeze my wading boots to kill aquatic invasives? How can I decide between a vest and a sling bag? Can I fish dry flies with my Euro nymphing line? Do brook trout migrate to get away from warmer water? Where do you use tippet rings? Is it a good idea to build knotted trout leaders with loop-to-loop connections? What should I look for if I am going bonefishing without a guide and I have never fished in salt water before? I am going bonefishing but to date have only fished for trout. What adjustments do I need to make? I need advice on setting the hook on steelhead when swinging Intruders If I bend a small hook in my tying vise, can I put it back into shape without ruining it?

Direct download: Amelia_Jensen_on_Better_Fish_Handling_for_Great_Photos.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:58pm EST

This week my guest is Colby Trow [38:08] of Mossy Creek Fly Fishing, one of the best smallmouth bass anglers I know. Colby talks about successful techniques in catching these critters in late summer, when they can be harder to catch than earlier in the season. The good news is that it's one of the best times to catch them on a surface fly like a popper or hair bug, which is always the most fun. In the Fly Box this week, we have the following questions and tips from listeners: A listener who makes the point that it's quicker to land trout on light tippets with a Euro rod Can I fish carp flies with an indicator? Are treble hooks more harmful than single point barbless hooks? What do I do when trout take my hopper patterns deep? Should I leave the fly in them? I have trouble catching smallmouths in clear water. Any suggestions? Where do you store your leader between fishing trips? A tip from Sam, fishing manager at Orvis Houston, on catching redfish in dirty water What are the advantages and disadvantages in using a pedestal vise as opposed to a C-clamp? How do I choose which size hair stacker to use? How can I fish size 18-22 nymphs in four feet of fast water? A suggestion for using 7 1/2-foot leaders in small streams in the Driftless Region Can I put a 7-weight sinking line on my 5-weight rod? If I am catching trout in small mountain streams where the water is cold enough, do I need to worry about them moving downstream into warmer temperatures after I release them? How many phone calls and questions do you get per week? When I switch from Euro nymphing to my regular trout rod, I keep breaking off fish. Is this normal?

Direct download: Smallmouths_with_Colby_Trow.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:49am EST

This week my guest is David Coggins [42:24], author of the new book The Optimist, A Case for the Fly Fishing Life. David is a traditionalist and I give him some good-natured ribbing about being an anachronism, but David handles it well and tells some great stories as well.

In the Fly Box this week, we have lots of questions and tips from listeners, including:

What is the best way to tie a fly for gar and how do I fish for them?

Why did I foul hook two trout in a row on dry flies?

What kind of rum do you prefer?

A great tip from a listener that rubber soles on wading shoes are far preferable to felt in the snow.

A tip from a listener that when urban fly fishing, make sure you look behind you as many people don't know you are flinging a hook through the air.

Do I need to worry about my rod and reel in a car-top carrier in the hot Georgia sun?

A tip from a listener on using heavier nymph hooks on foam dry flies to keep them from tipping over.

A listener asks me my preferences in fly-tying vise brands.

A listener asks about Orvis' commitment to diversity and climate activism and asks why we don't have a government relations office.

A suggestion from a listener for developing self-bailing waders

Why did I see a bunch of smallmouth bass jumping out of the water like crazy when there was not an insect hatch?

What can I do if I don't like a loop-to-loop connection on my leader?

How do I fish a bass popper in a fast-flowing river?

How can I get my crayfish pattern deeper?

Direct download: The_Optimist_with_Dave_Coggins.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:06pm EST

In our campaign to take pressure off our over-stressed trout rivers during this hot, dry summer I figured a great topic would be how to find carp fishing spots. Not every place that holds carp is conducive to fly fishing, but when you find the right spot, you'll find endlessly fascinating opportunities to catch these often difficult gamefish that will test your drag like no other freshwater fish (besides steelhead and salmon). So I enlisted Dan Frasier [46:00] to talk about how to find the best carp spots, when and where to target them, how to present the fly, and how to determine when a carp has eaten your fly. Carp are tough and resilient and you don't need to worry about hurting them, no matter how warm the water temperature. Next to trout, they're the most interesting fish to chase in fresh water and the closest you'll get to saltwater flats fishing without leaving home. In the Fly Box this week, as usual we have some great questions and tips from listeners, including: Do certain trout get acclimated to either very high or low temperature regimes? Why do I foul hook a lot of fish when Euro nymphing? Why does my Euro rig break above the tippet ring? A casting tip using the analogy of a tomato on a stick Does Orvis have a secret warehouse full of older discontinued products? How can I keep track of tiny emergers in the surface film? Do you recommend felt soles or rubber with cleats for wading boots? When fishing for panfish, does having an indicator on the leader hinder my presentation when I strip the fly? Why are my surgeon's knots breaking when using 10-pound test for panfish? What is the difference between regular CDC and CDC puffs? Some tips from a listener on traveling with fly-fishing gear Is it OK to hold a fly rod on the blank above the grip when playing a large fish? A tip from a listener on using a lint roller to keep the fly-tying desk clean Is there any reason to put fly dressing on a yarn strike indicator? Will my freshwater reels work OK in salt water? Why do my foam dry flies sometimes land upside-down?

Direct download: Save_the_trout_Fish_for_Carp.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:03pm EST

This week we continue our exploration of Trout in Trouble, specifically in Montana. Pat Byorth [52:56], Montana Fish Commissioner [52:56], and I discuss the current decline of brown trout in southwest Montana, what you should do if you fish there during this hot, low-water year, and what the future may hold. He'll give some good advice on being a responsible angler during this tough period.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions, comments, and tips, including:
Not all Scandinavians hold their rods high when playing fish
What can I do to find trout in pools in big rivers?
Whay would a trout refuse my size 14 mayfly and then take a stonefly nymph?
Why is my back cast dropping?
A tip for making copper tungsten beads into matte gray beads with a lighter
How do I teach kids how to cast a nymph rig?
Why do my Elk Hair Caddis flies only float briefly?
What is the best way to renew a dry fly tied with snowshoe rabbit fur?
Some tips for a listener who had trouble mending line
How often should I fish with a guide and how often should I fish alone if I want to learn more?
Where is there no zonked gray squirrel available?
How do I repair streamers where the coneheads, beads, or dumbbell eyes twist after a few uses?
Why did I use five bluefish in a row?
Can you fish tandem streamers?
A listener corrects my physics knowledge
How can I fish nymphs on a day so windy it blows my indicator downstream?
A tip from a listener on using Euro nymphing techniques with an indicator.
Is there a standard for hook wire gauge so I can determine when a clinch knot won't work?

Direct download: Are_Montanas_Trout_in_Trouble_With_Pat_Byorth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:37am EST

This week I am delighted to have biologist John McMillan back as my guest. John gives us a detailed view on the affect of water temperature on a trout's metabolism, particularly at the upper end of their safe range. In this summer of low flows and high water temperatures nearly everywhere in North America, it's a critical topic. And as usual, John puts his critical eye on how we, as anglers, can mitigate these effects by changing our fishing behavior. John is never without optimism, and I think you'll enjoy his discussion and learn more about trout biology and how we can be more responsible anglers.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips from listeners:
Why did my guide tell me to use heavier tippets? Why did she suggest this would put less stress on the fish?
A suggestion from a listener on getting an old bamboo rod and refurbishing it to bring one back to life.
What is the difference between hen and partridge?
How do I know where to find trout streams?
What size should I tie my ants in?
A new way of tying a clinch knot with heaver hooks is suggested by a listener
Why, when fishing with a dry dropper, do I only catch browns on the nymph and only cutthroats on the dry?
What do you suggest for catching pressured largemouths in summer?
A belated Father's Day message
Can I use the Euro nymphing method from a drift boat or float tube?
Why am I having trouble mending at 30 feet with a dry dropper?
When tying a Chubby Chernobyl, how do you get the legs to separate?
When you see a large mammal like a beaver or otter in the river, is it time to move on?
Why do I catch myself with my fly when casting?
Is it OK to dry my waders and boots in the sun?
How should I handle my gear for air travel?
Why do I keep losing fish when using bead head flies?
Does using a frog pattern change the flex of my rod?
Why do Scandinavians hold their rods so high when playing a fish?

Direct download: How_does_water_temperature_affect_trout_behavior.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:49am EST

This week I have no guest interview but a ton of questions waiting in the podcast mailbox so I did an all-Fly Box podcast to catch up on questions. By popular demand, I've started to recommend some books on the podcast. This week I recommend my three favorite books on trout biology and natural history.

In the long Fly Box this week, we have these great questions and tips from listeners:
A tip on putting a four-piece rod together
A tip on where to park your rod when landing a fish
Can I use my 9-foot, 5-weight rod for saltwater fishing in the Bay area?
Do you think we are in danger of interfering with the natural spread of species, for instance by removing musky from lakes that were not there historically but have spread there naturally?
Why do I keep breaking off large trout on a 3X tippet?
A very generous offer from a listener to pay for a guide trip for a young listener (from a past show) who has taken 60 trips for trout and has not caught one yet.
Should I use a sinking or intermediate line for stripers in the Bay area?
Are there any casting techniques I should practice before throwing bigger flies in salt water?
A tip from a listener (after getting a tip from me) on the proper way to insert Orvis studs in wading boots.
A great tip from a listener on using yellow sticky pads to keep coiled leaders in place.
While stripping in my coiled line gets tangled. How can I fix that?
How long do you use a fly before changing? And when do you decide to move?
Do you believe "Right to Roam" laws like they have in Scotland would be beneficial to Americans?
How do you properly de-barb a hook?
What midge patterns should I use in Wisconsin?
What would a well-rounded fly rod quiver for the eastern United States look like?
I keep bumping my rod guides when taking apart my rod. How can I fix that, and how can I fix a loose guide?
A caller letting me know that a co-host on one of our live events mis-spoke about how to assemble a rod.
I can catch fish on a Parachute Adams and swung wet flies in a small stream but can't catch them on nymphs. What am I doing wrong?
A listener who fixed a problem with breaking 4X tippet tied to a size 6 hook makes a suggestion on some great products.
I am curious to buy a bamboo or fiberglass rod. Where should I start?
What fly-fishing magazines does Tom read?

Direct download: An_all_Fly-Box_Episode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:49pm EST

This week, my guest is Carolyn Parker of River Run Outfitters in Branson, Missouri [51:39]. Carolyn is a 20-year veteran of guiding tailwaters and a recipient of the Orvis Endorsed Program's Lifetime Achievement Award. Her specialty is fishing tailwaters, and you'll learn a lot about how to deal with fluctuating water levels and how to fish a river that has mostly midges and crustaceans instead of mayflies and caddisflies.

In the Fly Box this week, we have lots of questions and some long-winded answers, including:
Why don't more people use furled leaders?
When you say "don't land your fly line on the fish", does that include your leader and tippet?
Why do you recommend fishing worm patterns in high, dirty water?
How can I land striped bass in the surf?
For two-fly rigs under indicators, do most guides prefer the second fly "in-line" or on a separate tag?
How do you rank various considerations when picking a fly?
When you are on new water and don't know what bugs are around, how do you pick a fly?
Is a 9-foot 7-weight a good rig for fishing bass and streamers for trout?
Why do some rods like the Superfines have cork reel seat inserts?
Why does my leader kink when I use the Dorsey indicator method?
What would you do if rain started and the trout stopped feeding?
What rod should I pick to start fly fishing in smaller streams in West Virginia?
If I want to upgrade my rod collection to some higher-end models, how should I prioritize my choices?
Are centipedes a threat to fly-tying materials?
A suggestion for removing epoxy from the eyes of flies with micro drill bits (with a caution from Tom)
Suggestions for fishing for striped bass on the rocky shoreline in Rhode Island
Why does my dropper connection always break instead of my tippet-to-fly connection?
Why can't I catch any trout?

Direct download: The_Tailwaters_of_Missouri_with_Carolyn_Parker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:14am EST

This week my guest is Neville Crabbe of the Atlantic Salmon Federation [39:13]. He tells us the details of a major project to eradicate smallmouth bass from the famous Miramichi River, one of the most productive salmon rivers in the world. We all love smallmouths, but they don't belong in this river system and were introduced by misguided anglers.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions, including:
How should I fish an emerger? Can I fish it by itself?
Any tips on catching grass carp?
What's on Tom's bucket list for destinations?
Will packets of desiccant gel help keep my fly boxes dry?
Will cracks in my fly line change its grain weight?
Why do fish keep "bumping" my swung wet flies?
Any tips for fighting trout in shallow water?
Why do steelhead roll?
What is that little ring on the back end of the Chubby Duo Hopper fly?
What are the differences between the various trout species?
When Tom fishes with guides, does he use his own flies?
Will a two-handed rod help my casting when I have tennis elbow?
What fly line should I use for fishing for carp, bass, and pike in 10 to 15 feet of water?

Direct download: Atlantic_Salmon_and_the_Miramichi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EST

My guest this week is Phil Rowley [55:20], author of the just-released book The Orvis Guide to Stillwater Trout Fishing and fellow host for The New Fly Fisher TV show. Phil is a stillwater genius and he helps us untangle the confusion around fly lines for fishing in lakes and ponds, and exactly which lines you need.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions, including:
I have switched from a medium to fast action rod. Should I set the hook differently?
How do I fish beaver ponds?
Questions about Euro nymphing with a standard 9-foot, 5-weight rod and reel
Do brown trout move in and out of bigger, warmer rivers?
What is the best way to fish with midges?
Will a floating tippet hurt my dry-fly presentation?
What is the difference between up-eye, down-eye, and straight-eye hooks?
Which dry flies do you apply flotant on?
Where can I find good prescription polarized sunglasses?
Are lighter wire hooks better for hooking fish on a downstream presentation?
Why do fish follow my wet flies and not take them?
A listener takes me to task for badmouthing the Madison River (and I deserved it)
Why is Coq de Leon used so much for nymph tails?
How do I fish a low-gradient stream with large boulders?
How much backing do I put on my reel?
What is the best rod for small-stream trout fishing?

Direct download: Unraveling_the_Secrets_of_Stillwater_Fly_LInes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:18pm EST

This week my guest is George Revel of Lost Coast Outfitters [@50:42], the only fly shop in downtown San Francisco. George is a lifelong fly fisher (he was a tournament caster when he was a teenager) and has intimate knowledge of the best fly-fishing spots in California. Whether you live on the West Coast and are looking for new places to explore, or if you plan a visit to California, this podcast is a must.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and comments, including:
If you are unsure where the fish are, how long should your drift be and where should you place your fly?
I have a 9-foot 5-weight rod and want one other rod to do everything else, from bass to steelhead to salt water. What additional rod should I buy?
Why am I foul-hooking so many trout this year?
A comment from a listener on why permit systems for our more crowded rivers may be needed.
In cold water, will trout feed deeper than four feet?
How important is it that my indicator and flies land in the same current?
What kind of line, or weight on my leader, should I use when trolling for pike?
Where is the best place to find an in-person fly-fishing mentor?
Would it be harmful to my boots or waders if I spray insect repellent on them to keep ticks away?
How far should you lead a trout you can see in a clear stream?
What surface flies should I use for stripers on Cape Cod in late summer?
How can I train my dog to be a good fly-fishing companion?
Will steaming an old cork handle off a fly rod hurt the blank?

Direct download: Best_Fly-Fishing_Spots_in_CA_with_George_Revel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:53am EST

Overcrowding is an issue on many of our more popular trout streams, and there is no easy solution.  This week I join journalist Spencer Durrant [@40:06] to discuss what he sees are solutions to some of the problems, both in finding alternate places to fish and also how to behave if you find yourself on a crowded river.   

In the Fly Box this week, we have the following questions and comments:

Are all gloves bad for handling fish?
What section of a river should I fish and what areas of a river should I target at different times of day?
Should I always fish a dry with a dropper and can I use this method in fast water?
Can I get permission to get a tattoo of Tom on my arm?
Are there any significant advantage of a 6-weight rod over a 5-weight?
How can someone get into raising poultry for the fly-tying industry?
How beat up can a streamer get and still be effective?
Any insight in getting a fly-fishing class set up in my school?
What do you think about people playing bluetooth speakers on steelhead rivers?
How do I decide what flies to bring on a trip?
Any old school tips you can share with us?
Some great tips from a listener on the use of game bird feathers.

Direct download: Orvercrowding_on_Trout_Streams.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:41am EST

My guest this week is Josh Nugent of Out Fly Fishing Outfitters, an Orvis-endorsed outfitting service and fly shop in Calgary [@52:23]. Josh is a lifelong student of fly fishing and actually did a college-level study on the eye movements of expert fly casters. His findings will open your eyes (no pun intended) to some little tricks that will improve your casting accuracy.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and comments, including:
Will stocked trout move around after they are initially stocked?
How do I keep from losing my droppers when using barbless hooks?
Can you give me some tips in fishing for bass in ponds in early season?
Where do our fly-tying materials come from? Are they just repackaged products from other industries?
How do I keep my rod sections from coming apart?
A listener suggestion for books on hatches in east Tennessee from a question on a previous podcast
I want to fish for smallmouths in a river and stripers in the ocean. What fly line should I get?
What fundamentals go through your head on every single cast?
A listener (and professional fisheries manager) takes me to task for badmouthing triploid trout.
I am having trouble hooking fish in a lake when using a sinking line from my kayak. What am I doing wrong?
I have an old South Bend bamboo rod. How should I fish with it?
How do I eliminate "creep" in my cast?
How can I get Dragon Tails to hold up better?

Direct download: Seven_Deadly_Sins_of_Fly_Casting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:46am EST

This week, I have a special guest--the world's foremost authority on the life cycle of cicadas and the most knowledgeable person in the world on techniques for fishing this "hatch". I've had a lot of questions on this topic and I've finally found the person who can answer them [32.53].

In the Fly Box this week, we have a number of very interesting questions, including:
Do you think fish decoys will work for attracting trout?
Can you tell us about the new electric fly rod coming out of Japan?
What is your technique for making a dubbing loop using a Bimini Twist knot?
Can I use UV cure epoxy for dry flies?
I found a dead possum in the road. Can I use this for dubbing, and how should I prepare the skin?
A listener who thinks his tippet material is defective
What is the correct way to tie a loop knot?
Advice on fishing a couple rivers in Montana
A question about swinging flies on New York's Salmon River
Is what I have done tenkara fishing?
Advice to a gentleman who wants to become a permit guide
Are egg patterns and San Juan Worms considered bait fishing?

Direct download: Mastering_the_Ultimate_Hatch.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

My guest this week is Cheech from Fly Fish Food [@36:00], a highly regarded tier and teacher whose videos are popular with serious fly tiers.  He's an engaging character who knows fly materials inside and out.  We talk fly material substitutions, particularly hook styles, and ramble on all sorts of things related to fly tying.  I hope you find it as fun to listen to as I did to record it.
 
In the Fly Box this week we have these questions and comments:
  • What do I use for leader formulas?
  • I am used to graphite; what should I expect from a short, delicate glass rod?
  • Can I vary from the 60:20:20 formula if I tie my own leaders?
  • A discussion of brook trout habitat and survival
  • I broke four inches off my old Trident TLS rod.  It's no longer under the 25-year guarantee as my dad bought it in a pawn shop.  Is there any way I can still use it?
  • What is a simple buggy nymph I can tie up, as a novice fly tier?
  • Why is my casting more accurate with my short fiberglass rod than with my longer, heavier graphite rods?
  • Do all fish behave the same?
  • Can you recommend a good hatch guide for Tennessee?
 

 

Direct download: Fly_Material_Subsititutions_with_Cheech_Pierce_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:26am EST

This week my guest is Havard Stubo [@40:23] of Jazz and Fly Fishing. If you have not enjoyed one of their videos, it's a group of jazz musicians who also love fly fishing and decided to make some videos of their exploits. We think their films are quite entertaining and I think you'll appreciate their dry humor as a welcome respite from what you typically see in fly fishing films. Havard talks about fly fishing in Scandanavia, the relationship between jazz music and fly fishing (and tying) and other offbeat topics.

In the Fly Box this week, it seems like we have a spate of basic equipment questions, so unless you need some advice on rod, reel, and line selection you may want to skip right to the interview. Some of the questions include:
I am interested in a lighter fiberglass rod but I have noticed some manufacturers recommend two lines sizes, like a 3 or 4. Which one should I pick?
I want to fish a Depth Charge line down to 20 feet with my 8-weight. Should I get a 250 grain or 300 grain line?
If I want to fish 5 to 6 feet under the surface, should I get a sink-tip or intermediate sinking line?
Any advice on hook sets and fighting fish for rookie anglers?
What is the maximum size fly I can use on my Clearwater 9-foot 5-weight rod?
In nymph fishing, should I be watching the line or waiting to feel the strike?
What would be a good rod for backpacking into lakes?
Which sink rate should I choose when I buy a poly leader?
How do I tell if an old fly line that was given to me is still usable?
Should I get a 5-weight Clearwater or a 6-weight Clearwater for fishing small streams and small bass ponds in Pennsylvania?
Why don't I see fiberglass rods heavier than an 8-weight?
What are your thoughts about fishing for bass when they are spawning?
What do I think of pink flies? And how important is color anyway?
What do you do when a fish takes you down to your last couple turns of backing?

Direct download: Northern_Norways_Jazz__Fly_FIshing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:44pm EST

Ever wanted to take a fishing trip to Montana (who doesn't)? For a first trip to the Rockies, generally I suggest people center in the greater Yellowstone area because of the vast amount of public land and great trout streams in that area, which includes portions of Wyoming and Idaho as well as Montana. This week I have enlisted a real expert on that area (not a tourist like me). Joe Moore [@48:55] is a longtime guide and owner of Big Sky Anglers located right in the middle of downtown West Yellowstone. Joe gives us some great tips on timing, tackle, and suggested rivers. Essential knowledge for your post-Covid road trip.

Lots of great questions in the Fly Box this week, including:
How much backing should I put on my 6-weight reel? Is there such a thing as too much backing?
How do I get my significant other into fly fishing?
How can I fish for freshwater stripers in deep, murky water?
Can I use barbless hooks for bass, pike, and musky?
What is the best method for taking water temperatures?
How important is it that nymphs drift in the upright position?
I am taking a high mountain backpacking trip and only want to take one rod. Should I take my 3-weight or my 5-weight?
What is that little spring behind the jaws of my vise?
Do "triggers" on fly patterns work?
Do weed guard interfere with solid takes?
Do jig hooks really hang up less often that standard weighted patterns?
How can I repair a fly line with a cut in it?
Do you know anyone who has switched from casting right-handed to casting left-handed?
Why are triploid trout stocked?
Can I use a sinking poly leader for striped bass fishing?

Direct download: Planning_a_Big_Trip_to_Big_Sky_Country_with_Joe_Moore_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:41pm EST

This week my guest is Henry Cowen [@49:05], author of the new book Fly-Fishing for Freshwater Striped Bass, which is really a complete guide to chasing these great gamefish. They get huge, they often feed in shallow water, and are just about the perfect fish to chase with a fly rod. You'll learn their seasons, how to present your fly, and what tackle and flies you'll need to chase them.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions from listeners, including:
How do newer Orvis rods compare to older ones like the All-Rounder?
Any tips for casting from a kayak?
How do the Orvis Hydros and Pro lines compare? Their tapers look very different
What do you think of Bob Wyatt's philosophy on trout in the book What Trout Want?
What direction should I cast when fishing streams?
Can all bead head patterns be tied with tungsten beads?
Why are my head cements too thick?
When looking for a new river to fish, what structure should I look for?
A tip from a listener that sometimes beaver activity seems to attract trout.
Does it matter which direction I twist my dubbing?
How will the 17-year cicada affect fishing?
Can I tie a piece of tippet to the main tippet above my lower fly with a clinch knot?
Why do people always tie their heavier nymph on as the lower fly? I have better luck tying the heavier nymph above my smaller fly.
Can I use the Palomar Knot to add a second fly above my lower fly without removing the lower fly?

Direct download: Freshwater_Stripers_on_the_Fly_with_Henry_Cowen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:36am EST

In this week's podcast, we'll visit with the dynamic co-founder and president of Western Rivers Conservancy, Sue Doroff [34:50]. Over the past 30 years, Sue and her small, lean staff have protected nearly 400 miles of rivers with names like the Madison, Hoh, Klamath, and John Day--rivers beloved by fly fishers. If you've ever parked at Three Dollar Bridge on the Madison River, you can than the Western Rivers Conservancy for protecting that stretch of river from development and for maintaining public access. Find out about their unique special sauce and how they do this.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips from listeners:
I know you should keep a fish upstream of you when fighting it. What do you do when fishing downstream?
A warning and tip from a listener on the dangers of shelf ice in winter
Should I use big articulated streamers like the Drunk & Disorderly for steelhead?
Is a 9-foot 8-weight rod a good one for wading the beaches of Florida?
I don't want to fish weighted flies and I don't want to fish more than one fly. How can I get a good dead drift with my wet flies and nymphs?
I mainly tie steelhead flies, but for a trout fishing trip, is it more economical to buy or tie some dry flies?
When fishing across several lines of current with a floating line, what technique should I use to get a good drift?
How do you deal with casting an indicator rig when the indicator is set 6 feet or more above your flies?
A great tip on tapering synthetic fibers when tying streamers.
Should I use hemostats or small pliers for trout fishing?
What are the pros and cons of bead chain vs. solid metal eyes?

Direct download: Sometimes_you_have_to_buy_a_river_to_save_it.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:53am EST

Swing, hit, and miss--why did you not connect with that fish? Did it just miss your fly? Did you strike too soon? Did you strike too late? Or did the fish refuse your fly even though it looked like a take? Dave Jensen and I [@44:47] discuss how you can (maybe) tell why you didn't connect--and it may not always be your fault.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips from listeners, including:
Why does my 7-foot, 4-weight rod make most things more difficult than my 9-foot, 8-weight rod?
Can I use a float tube in a river?
I have trouble getting my indicator or dry fly to flaot when fishing double tungsten nymphs. What can I do?
Is there one fly rod I can use for trout, bass, and panfish?
When fishing with unweighted leeches in a lake, the rainbow trout I catch keep getting off before I land them. What can I do?
What are your expectations when you go winter fishing?
Are traditional featherwing streamers as effective as more "modern" streamers?
How close can I get to stripers breaking on the surface?
Why do the dumbbell eyes on my Clousers keep breaking?
When fishing with an indicator and sight fishing, how can you tell exactly where your fly is drifting?
A great suggestion on labeling fly boxes and using reflective tape to help find lost ones.
How do I tell if old fly lines are still good?
Are cedar blocks a good alternative to mothballs for fly-tying materials?
I need a 10-weight rod for an Alaska trip. Should I get the Clearwater or Recon and will the fly line I use in Alaska be OK for saltwater and pike fishing?
I want one rod and one leader to do everything in my trout fishing. What do you recommend?

Direct download: Why_did_i_miss_that_fish_With_Dave_Jensen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:59pm EST

When Ernest Hemingway was a kid, he took great pride in catching trout on worms and jerking them out of small streams as quickly as he could. Later in life, he lived near excellent trout fishing in Sun Valley but didn't really like it much. He owned a lot of fly-fishing gear, but it didn't get much use. This week, I interview Hemingway Scholar Paul Hendrickson, author of the terrific book Hemingway's Boat, and we learn some interesting things about the man, including the sad story of why he finally gave up trout fishing for good, and how he influenced how we fight big fish on fly rods today.

In the Fly Box this week, we have many interesting questions and tips, including:
Am I missing out by not using split shot on my nymph rigs?
I spot fish from one angle, and then when I move into better position to fish, I can't see them. What can I do?
A tip on setting the hook based on current speed
My parachute hackles keep coming out at the tip. What can I do to prevent this?
An update from a young man whose parents did not approve of his fly-fishing habit
Are there advantages or disadvantages in using glass beads for fly tying?
How can I store longer pheasant tails and turkey feathers?
Should I use moth balls on my tying materials?
Do you see any disadvantages in using UV cure resin to attach slotted beads to hooks?
What type of single-handed rods are best for Spey casting?
A guide told me that stomach pumps are bad for fish. Do they really cause mortality in trout?
Should I use a loop knot on small dry flies?
When I try to do a dubbing loop, the materials wrap around the thread instead of getting trapped in it. How can I fix this?
A tip on keeping hands and feet warm by keeping your core warmer.

Direct download: Hemingway_was_a_lousy_fly_fisherman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:38am EST

You may not be able to fish without a jacket every day on the Arkansas tailwaters but some day it's a possibility. A nice change at this time of year. I talk with Jamie Rouse of Rouse Fly Fishing [42:53] on what kind of conditions he sees during the winter, what tactics and flies he uses, and how to avoid late-spawning fish. Makes me want to head south.

In the Fly Box this week, we have these questions and tips:
What can I do to make the flies I tie float like the ones I buy in the fly shop?
Can you recommend any manufacturers of good quality barbless hooks? (Hint--it starts with an O)
A tip for twisting chenille and hackle together for making a more durable Woolly Bugger
Is it OK to remove a root ball in a river that is causing snags?
Is it OK to remove small trees along the bank to get more back-cast room?
Is it OK to shuffle downstream and then fish the chum line you create?
Can I get a regional fishing license for multiple states?
How do you train a dog to not run in the river and spoil the holes? Is there any etiquette for fishing with a dog?
Is there a reason NOT to put mono weed guards on a fly?
Do natural fly-tying materials have a shelf life?
Why do you like a sling bag as opposed to a vest or chest pack?

Direct download: Winter_Fishing_in_Shirtsleeves_with_Jamie_Rouse_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:42pm EST

This week, continuing our series of podcasts on winter fly fishing for trout, I interview George Daniel, author and guide. George is also an Orvis ambassador and field tester, and teaches fly fishing at Penn State. As you'll discover, there are many similarities with winter fishing in other parts of the country, along with some flies and techniques a bit more appropriate for the Northeast.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great tips and questions, including:
Do you use touch dubbing, split thread dubbing, and composite loop dubbing techniques?
I'm looking for a fly line to fish streamers for bass, trout, and panfish. Which line should I get?
What leaders do I need for my Clearwater Trout Spey setup, for both Skagit and Scandi lines?
What's your technique for catching largemouth bass, and what are your favorite flies?
Why can't I get my dubbing noodle to behave?
Which intermediate line should I get for fishing streamers and indicators in four to eight feet of water?
A great tip on a method for wetting marabou and other materials without putting them in your mouth.
I went fishing before a cold front and got skunked. I thought fishing was supposed to be good before a cold front.
What line and leader and tippet would you use for trout in lakes in 15 feet of water?

Direct download: George_Daniel_on_Winter_Fly_Fishing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30pm EST

This week my guest is artist Bob White [36:41], a beloved painter of fly-fishing and bird hunting scenes. Bob has illustrated John Gierach's magazine pieces for years and also illustrated the current version of The Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide. Bob talks about making a career in the fly-fishing world, how he balances his painting life with his fishing life, tips for budding wildlife artists, and how his art affects his fly tying.

In the Fly Box this week, we have the following questions and tips from listeners:
How do I encourage guiding operations to hire more female guides and people of color?
I just bought a fly rod and am having trouble casting a 1/16 oz. spoon on it. What am I doing wrong in my casting? Should I go to a heavier lure?
Since I will never cast 90 feet with my light fly rod, can I cut off some of the fly line to get more backing on my reel?
People say there are no hatches on the streams I fish. So why am I catching trout on nymphs all the time?
What part of my line should I stretch? If I am using a Skagit setup, should I stretch my head? And do you stretch cold-water lines any different from warm-water lines? And should I use a leader straightener tool?
What resources can I use to figure out what parts of birds and animals I hunt should be saved for fly tying? And where can I learn the fundamentals of fly tying?
A tip from a listener on the best gift you can buy yourself--virtual fly-casting lessons.
Why do you want the trailing hook so far back on an Intruder fly?
A tip on wearing Nitrile gloves over thin merino gloves for fishing
The trout seemed to have disappeared from my river this winter. It runs into a lake. Do you think the fish have gone there?

Direct download: The_Classic_Sporting_Art_of_Bob_White.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:26pm EST

My guest this week is Rachel Leinweber [39:38], general manager of The Angler's Covey fly shop in Colorado Springs. One in a series of podcasts about winter fly-fishing tips, Rachael has some great ones for us, and it's been interesting to see how each guide we've talked to has a slightly different take on effective winter tactics.

In the Fly Box this week, we have the following questions and tips:
Is there an easier way to balance a fly rod than buying a heavier reel?
How can I get my parents to approve of my fly-fishing passion?

When fishing large streams, and making casts too long for a roll cast, how do you get your fly out without catching trees and bushes?


Do ducks and muskrats and beavers spook trout?


Will the techniques I have learned on my local tailwaters in Utah translate to freestone (non-tailwater) rivers in Wyoming?


Can I use BigEye dry flies as sliding indicators on a dry-dropper rig?


How can I tell a wild from a hatchery fish?


Why did trout take my indicator and ignore my nymphs?


A tip that sometimes catching a trout from a pool does not spook the rest of them.


Why don't manufacturers put handles on both sides of a fly reel?

Direct download: More_Winter_Fishing_Tips_with_Rachael_Leinweber_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:13pm EST

This week, we're continuing our series on winter fly fishing for trout.  I interview Antonio Rodrigues [42:50] manager of Front Range Anglers in Boulder, Colorado, and he has a different take on winter fly fishing, and some different methods.  I've found it fascinating to see how each guest approaches this differently and hope you pick up some tips as well.


In the Fly Box this week, we have these questions and tips from listeners:

What do you use for a fly box when surf fishing?

I have not had good luck with guide trips and want to know what you recommend so I get a better trip next time.

Are fly rods built on continuous blanks and then cut into sections, or is each section made separately?  And are sections interchangeable from one rod to another?

What is the purpose of adding flash to nymph patterns?

A tip on using special flies for casting practice.

What do I do about fishing places where lots of swimmers have been?

Are wire bite guards worth it?Can I tie a 3X tippet to a 3mm tippet ring?

Are all Orvis leader lengths built to the same basic taper or are they different?

Another suggestion on where to donate flies you don't want.

What uses do you have for magnets when fishing?

What do I use huge streamer patterns like the Manbearpig for, and how should I fish them?

Direct download: Winter_Fishing_Tips_from_Boulder_with_Antonio_Rodrigues.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:26am EST

This week, it was my great pleasure to interview Nick Lyons, who I consider to be the godfather of modern fly-fishing books. Nick has edited and published books by some of our most famous fly anglers--Lee and Joan Wulff, Lefty Kreh, Dave Whitlock, and Swisher and Richards. He was also my first editor and I have so much to thank him for. Nick tells stories of the early days of fly-fishing books--his successes and failures and his journey through the past half-century of fly fishing.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions, including:
When fishing an in-line dropper, I have problems with the dropper slipping off my upper hook. How can I fix this?
I want to fish flies for sauger along the bottom. What type of fly should I use?
My hunter friend has offered me some duck and goose feathers. What feathers should I ask him to keep?
Any tips on catching stocked trout in a pond?
What line would you recommend for trolling from a float tube?
Why is trout fishing more productive in Montana than in North Carolina?
Do you think those big "American-type" articulated streamers will work in Finland?
What kind of stream fish can I catch with a fly rod in northern Alabama?
A tip on finding trout at the mouth of cold-water feeder streams in summer.
Are "planted" and "stocked" trout streams the same thing? And do stocked trout ever reproduce naturally?
Can I attach backing to a welded loop with just a clinch knot?

Direct download: The_Godfather_of_Modern_Fly-Fishing_Books_Nick_Lyons.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:20pm EST

Continuing our exploration of winter trout fishing techniques, this week my guest is angler and photographer Timbre Pringle [40:08]. You have likely seen photos of Timbre or ones taken by her and her husband Darcy in Orvis catalogs and ads, as well as many of the fly-fishing magazines. She doesn't exactly fish in the far north as she fishes in Alberta, in southern Canada, but for most Americans any place in Canada seems like the far north. Timbre gives her tips for fishing her local river, the Bow, in the winter, but she offers tips that will work during the winter in any trout stream.

In the Fly Box this week, listeners share the following questions, comments, and tips:
I have been taken to task for telling people to never trust anglers who tell them to "never" or "always" do something, yet I tell people to always check their knots.
A tip for carrying two rods in one case.
Will a textured Orvis Pro Fly Line give me more distance?
Where do you start making changes when things just aren't working?
How do you estimate the depth of the water where you're going to fish your nymph?
I saw a recommendation in a book for an 8-foot rod for 6/7 weight line for trout. Most other people in my river use 3-weights. What gives?
Can I fish a dry fly on my 10-foot, 3-weight Recon rod?
Are the flow levels I see online useful?
How do I fish nymphs in a deep, slow plunge pool?
Should I spit on my flies to get them to sink?
What do you think about UV tying materials?

Direct download: Winter_Tips_from_the_Far_Northwith_Timbre_Pringle.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:08am EST

I've begun a series on winter trout fishing podcasts with various experts around the country. I think it will be interesting to see how their approaches compare, what flies and leaders they use, and how they keep their hands and feet warm. This week's guest is Tim Johnson [38:41], who you probably know more as an artist on Instagram or on the Orvis Artist Collab series of H3 rods. Tim is also a longtime guide and experienced angler and has spent many winter days on his home waters in Utah. He's also one of the best storytellers I know so I think you'll enjoy the interview.

In the Fly Box this week, we have a great collection of questions and tips from listeners:
How much difference is there between a 9-foot and 10-foot 8-weight rod, and which would be best for both steelhead and bass fishing form shore?
Some people say always strip in a trout and others say always get a fish on the reel. Which method is correct?
A tip on using a bicycle tire patch for fixing waders.
How much damage will I do to a nymph hook if I bend it slightly?
I got skunked on a spring creek when trout were jumping for adult midges. What should I do the next time I see this?
Where can I go on the East Coast for some decent fishing but with lots of tourist attractions for my family?
In a cutthroat stream I fish, the brown trout are invasive and I want to kill them. Is it true that brown trout are not very good for eating?
A listener's take on the parallels between music and fly fishing.
A listener's complaint about tasteless fly names.
When should I use a parachute fly and when should I use a traditional hackled fly?

Direct download: Winter_Fly-Fishing_Tips_with_Tim_Johnson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:12pm EST

This week, my guest is Sav Sankaran [47:28], fishing manager at the Orvis store in Asheville.  The subject is Late Fall and Winter trout fishing in the Southeast, and although Sav talks about his rivers specifically, there are many good tips for winter fishing anywhere in the world.  You may have enjoyed Sav's bluegrass music on a recent Orvis Facebook Live event, and he's also the subject of an Orvis story on his special family holiday gatherings https://www.orvis.com/dinner-music.
 
This podcast is just the beginning of a series I plan on doing on winter fishing throughout North America.  With travel still restricted this winter, many of us will need to find fishing close to home, or at least within driving distance.  We hope to make those outings more fun and enjoyable by giving you tips to make your time on the water a bit more successful.
 

In the Fly Box this week, we'll explore some great tips and questions from listeners, including:


Should I get a 10-foot 6-weight or 7-weight for steelhead fishing in the Great Lakes (using a tightline method)?
Why do my hackles twist when I tie dry flies?
How can I catch trout rising under heavy foam?
A reminder from a listener that even though I said nylon tippet eventually breaks down, it takes a long time and anglers should never throw any kind of tippet in the water or on the banks.
Do I need to tie those really fancy patterns I see to catch pike?
How do I imitate gill plates on my streamers?
How common are big blanket hatches?
How important is it to make flies realistic?
A couple great tips from a listener on organizing fly tying materials.
Is it better to face the sun or have it at your back when approaching fish?
Why do I keep losing trout when fishing streamers?
Should I organize my trout fly boxes by size/weight or by insect type?
What is the best wading combo for hiking into very cold alpine lakes?
What type of intermediate line should I get for fishing cold alpine lakes?

Direct download: Late_Fall_and_Winter_Trout_Fishing_with_Sav_Sankaran.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:45pm EST

This week my guest is the great guide and fly tier Blane Chocklett [39:45]. We talk about his development of innovative fly patterns like the Gummy Minnow and Game Changer, but also about his philosophy of imitating baitfish and how to choose the right streamer depending on conditions. I know you streamer, musky, and saltwater junkies will learn a lot in this one.

In the Fly Box this week, we have the following questions and tips from listeners:
How do I know what color combinations to use on my flies?
Can I put a 225-grain sinking line on my 7-weight fiberglass rod?
I have an 8 1/2 foot Clearwater 4 weight. What rod should I add to my arsenal for bass fishing?
How can I catch those difficult carp on my local lake in Norway?
What should I do with all the extra flies I tie?
How do you know when a nymph should be tied on a curved hook?
A great tip for organizing materials for single patterns by putting all of the materials in a tray.
Trout are supposed to be in deep, slow pools in cold weather but I see them in riffles and pools. Why?
Another great tip on organizing fly-tying materials using duct tape, ziplock bags, and a 3-ring binder
What is the nest leader for small-stream fishing, when you are mostly casting just the leader?

Direct download: Blaine_Chocklett_and_his_Baitfish_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:10pm EST

Many fly fishers have dreaded the thought of visiting their favorite trout streams after wildfires devasted many areas over the past few years.  As threatening as they are to human lives and property, wildfires are not all that bad for trout stream ecosystems, as you'll discover after listening to this week's podcast.  Becky Flitcroft [interview at 39:03], a fisheries biologist with the US Forest Service and an expert on disturbances to trout streams, presents some surprising results in the wake of fires.  Not only are they not horribly destructive, they are actually beneficial in many cases.  Should you visit a trout stream that was in a burned area next year?  What will the future look like?  Although every stream is different, Becky tells us what to expect over the coming years.

In the Fly Box this week, we have the following questions and tips:

I have trouble seeing my dry flies on small streams.  What patterns do you recommend, and how can I spot them better?

Do you think it's necessary to replace nylon and fluorocarbon leaders each year?

Can I extend the length of my 7 1/2 foot leaders to 9 or 12-feet by just adding tippet?

Should I use my Clearwater Reel in salt water?

Can I use shorter or longer hackles than the traditional length on my dry flies?

What techniques would you recommend for fishing after dark during the winter?

A good tip on how to practice specific techniques in fly tying.

What would be a good rod for both salmon/steelhead rivers and bass lakes?

How can I practice my fish-fighting technique in the off-season before I go salmon fishing?

Direct download: Wildfires_and_Trout_with_Becky_Flitcroft.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:13am EST

[This week's podcast is in two sections. This sections contains the interview with Brittany. The listener-questions section, or the Fly Box, is in part one.]

This week, I have a very special guest for my interview--Brittany Howard, the frontwoman for the wildly popular band Alabama Shakes, who also has a new (2019) album out, "Jaime", a solo effort that explores a wide range of musical styles. Brittany has performed with Sir Paul McCartney and at the Obama White House, and her albums with the Alabama Shakes have won four Grammy Awards. Her first love is music, but her second love is fishing, and she is a passionate fly fisher. Unlike some celebrities who have taken up fly fishing because it's a "thing", Brittany has the soul of an angler and has been fishing all her life. She ties her own flies, modifies her kayak for fly fishing, and when she is on tour she always prioritizes sneaking away to do some fishing. She's the real deal and a great storyteller, and I know you'll enjoy her tales of fishing on the road and her encounters with gender and racial bias while fly fishing. And as a special treat at the end of the podcast, we've included one of my favorite songs, "Future People."

We have some great questions, and some helpful tips from listeners, including:
A suggestion from a listener on the benefit of bootfoot waders for cold weather fishing
Can I catch shoal bass on a fly rod?
My 8-weight rod is not quite up to the task of surf fishing. Can I put a 9-weight line on my rod?
Why do some rods come with aluminum tubes and others with nylon-covered cases?
A suggestion from a listener that maybe I missed the point when asked about how I organize my fly-tying materials.
What is the best line for my 7-foot, 3-weight glass rod?
A suggestion from a listener on why some anglers fishing a Euro technique for steelhead lose fish on the jump.
Can I tie a Pat's Rubber Legs with dubbing instead of chenille?
I got a bunch of pheasant feathers from a hunter friend in a plastic bag and they stink. Can I salvage them?
Where should I half-hitch my bead head nymphs--behind the bead or in front of it?
I decided to take the plunge and buy good quality hackle capes. I have brown, grizzly, light ginger, medium dun, and cream. What other colors might I need?
Why are some wild trout streams with spawning fish open year-round and others closed?
How do I avoid getting hooked on the river?
How should I do the naked nymphing technique?

Direct download: Brittany_Howard_part_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:08pm EST

[This week's podcast is in two sections. This is the listener-questions section, or the Fly Box. The interview with Brittany Howard is in part two.]

This week, I have a very special guest for my interview--Brittany Howard, the frontwoman for the wildly popular band Alabama Shakes, who also has a new (2019) album out, "Jaime", a solo effort that explores a wide range of musical styles. Brittany has performed with Sir Paul McCartney and at the Obama White House, and her albums with the Alabama Shakes have won four Grammy Awards. Her first love is music, but her second love is fishing, and she is a passionate fly fisher. Unlike some celebrities who have taken up fly fishing because it's a "thing", Brittany has the soul of an angler and has been fishing all her life. She ties her own flies, modifies her kayak for fly fishing, and when she is on tour she always prioritizes sneaking away to do some fishing. She's the real deal and a great storyteller, and I know you'll enjoy her tales of fishing on the road and her encounters with gender and racial bias while fly fishing. And as a special treat at the end of the podcast, we've included one of my favorite songs, "Future People."

We have some great questions, and some helpful tips from listeners, including:
A suggestion from a listener on the benefit of bootfoot waders for cold weather fishing
Can I catch shoal bass on a fly rod?
My 8-weight rod is not quite up to the task of surf fishing. Can I put a 9-weight line on my rod?
Why do some rods come with aluminum tubes and others with nylon-covered cases?
A suggestion from a listener that maybe I missed the point when asked about how I organize my fly-tying materials.
What is the best line for my 7-foot, 3-weight glass rod?
A suggestion from a listener on why some anglers fishing a Euro technique for steelhead lose fish on the jump.
Can I tie a Pat's Rubber Legs with dubbing instead of chenille?
I got a bunch of pheasant feathers from a hunter friend in a plastic bag and they stink. Can I salvage them?
Where should I half-hitch my bead head nymphs--behind the bead or in front of it?
I decided to take the plunge and buy good quality hackle capes. I have brown, grizzly, light ginger, medium dun, and cream. What other colors might I need?
Why are some wild trout streams with spawning fish open year-round and others closed?
How do I avoid getting hooked on the river?
How should I do the naked nymphing technique?

Direct download: Brittany_Howard_part_I.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:03pm EST

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