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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

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 EDT

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 EDT

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
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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

[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 EDT

[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 EDT

In this week's podcast, I interview Jess Westbrook, co-founder of The Mayfly Project. This organization, a winner of an Orvis Breaking Barriers award, brings the joys of fly fishing to foster kids through individual, one-on-one mentorship throughout the country. For obvious reasons their programs have been put on hold for this year (I was looking forward to being a mentor myself last spring), but the organization moves forward, making plans for a time when we can comfortably get together in person. Jess has some heartwarming stories to tell of past successes that will make you smile and feel good about the fly-fishing community.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and I hope my answers are helpful to you. They include:
I recently got a new fly reel and when it's filled with line it's too tight.
What can I do to solve this?
A story from a listener on catching a channel catfish on a fly tied for swinging for trout--a Montana Intruder that he tied during one of our Monday live fly-tying sessions.
Why do the eyes on my saltwater flies keep coming off?
What feathers on grouse and woodcock can I use for fly tying?
Can you recommend some books so I can learn more about how watersheds work?
Why does my fly line keep catching itself on my forward cast and how can I fix it?
Can I use weighted streamers to catch walleye?
Why would a bunch of large trout be holding in slow, shallow water during a hatch?
What is the best saltwater floating line for Northeast fly fishing?
I have some fly materials with bugs in them. Would repeated thawing and freezing kill them?
What is the difference between a sink tip and an intermediate fly line?
Why does anyone ever use flies smaller than size 18? I can't see them on the water.
Why do I keep losing steelhead when they jump?

Direct download: The_Mayfly_Project_with_Jess_Westbrook.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:27pm EDT

This week I interview Greg Vincent of Grand Bahama Island and co-owner of H2O Bonefishing [40:13]. Greg shares his tips for what distinguishes a great bonefisher from someone who just goes fishing for bonefish and permit. There's a big difference. Greg is the only person I know who has gotten a Super Grand Slam (bonefish, permit, tarpon, and snook) in just four casts. He also tells a great story and I am sure you'll thrill to his tales of chasing these fish on the flats.

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

I have a random assortment of grouse feathers from a hunter friend. What patterns can I tie with them?

If there are only a few good holes in an area, how long should you fish a spot before letting another angler try their luck?

I am a new fly fisher and have been fishing just with a tenkara rod and doing OK on panfish but not trout. What is a mistake that new fly fishers often make that prevents them from catching fish?

I want to fish the Charles River in Boston and Long Island for saltwater species. What two rods should I get?

How should I treat my waders if I move from one state to another?
Have you ever made your own amadou?

Havaard from Jazz and Fly Fishing wants to fish in Montana next May and wants advice on what town to base his travels out of. And is May a good time to fish in Montana?

What leaders and tippets do I need for salmon in the Pacific Northwest?

A great idea from a listener on using a streamer as an indicator when dead-drifting a nymph/streamer combo

Direct download: Bonefish_and_Permit_Secrets_with_Greg_Vincent.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:26pm EDT

This week I have a chat with Jonny King [41:00], one of the most creative and innovative fly tiers I know.  Patterns like the Kinky Muddler and Splitsville dry flies come from his creative mind.  I am always interested in where the idea for new patterns come from, how they are developed, and how they get evaluated.  Join me as we ramble and discuss his creative process.

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

Where can I get a copy of your book on Small Stream fly fishing?
Can I leave my fishing gear in a very hot or very cold car? 
How can I fish the shoreline of a lake without getting caught in trees, and how far do I need to cast? 
Why do I keep breaking fish off on a strike? 
How can I include a shock absorber into my outfit?
I have an old bamboo rod in good shape.
Is it OK to fish with it, and how can I find out what line size it takes?
What do you recommend for wading boots if I do a lot of hiking?
I can cast OK with nymphs but I can't get my dry flies to lay out with a roll cast.  What am I doing wrong?
Where should I look to catch Pacific salmon in BC?
How do I handle spooky trout in small streams that hide under rocks?
How do I know for sure when trout are spawning?

Direct download: Secrets_of_Fly_Design_with_Jonny_King.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:55am EDT

This week, my interview is with Kip Veith [38:55], Orvis-endorsed guide and author of The Orvis Guide to Musky on the Fly, which has just been released.  Fresh from lots of research and in the middle of his season, Kip has some great tips for those of you who want to chase this giant freshwater predator--and fall is known as the best time to chase them with a fly rod.

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

I have some flies I tied that I don't like and want to salvage the hooks to use again.  What's the best way to do this?

With big pike flies, I have trouble getting the fly moving on the first few false casts.  How can I do this easier?

My floating line is sinking.  What can I do to make it float, and if I can't make it better can I use the line for streamer fishing?

My yarn indicators won't float.  What am I doing wrong?

How do you do the Joe Humphreys Bow-and-Arrow Cast?How do I use a BIgEye dry fly as a sliding dropper?

I lubricate my clinch knots with Chapstick.  Why doesn't the knot hold?

My Dad raises chickens.  Do you think I can use some of their feathers for fly tying?

When do most anglers change their leaders?

A tip from a listener on preventing gel floatant from exploding when you change altitude.Can I go from 5X to 7X using a tippet ring?

A great tip from a listener on how to politely engage someone on the river who is using poor fish-handling technique.

How do you cut Body Wrap when making Game Changers? 

Direct download: Musky_Time_with_Kip_Veith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

The issue of freshwater flow through the Everglades is an issue that Orvis has worked on for a number of years as one of our major conservation projects, and we've worked with some strong partners on the ground, like the Everglades Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, Now or Neverglades, and Bullsugar/Friends of the Everglades.  This week we have a double feature on this national treasure.  The first part of the podcast is with scientist Steve Davis of the Everglades Foundation [41:05], who discusses the recent progress and environmental conditions in the Everglades, in times of poor freshwater flow and healthy flows.  The second part of the podcast is with Orvis-endorsed guide Jason Sullivan [1:28:17], who spends nearly every day in the Everglades and depends on its health for his livelihood.  And yes, don't worry we talk fishing and what it's like fly fishing in the everglades--for tarpon, snook, redfish, and even tailing tripletail!
And in the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions to answer, including:

Can a clear fly line be made?

Why are cane fly rods so great?

If I can legally fish only one fly, how do I get my fly down to the fish when Euro nymphing?

How does a full moon affect fishing?

If a season for a species is closed, when is it OK to fish for them if I practice catch-and-release?

How does intellectual property work with fly patterns?

Is it worth it to pay to fish spring creeks?

Why can't I sharpen my hooks?

Is there any role in whimsy or "bluffing" when picking a fly pattern?

Can I use floatant on my Master Splinter fly?

Can I use unweighted streamers with a floating line?

Direct download: Double_Feature_on_the_Everglades.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54am EDT

I get frequent questions on targeting introduced Pacific salmon in the Great Lakes region, so I invited an expert [interview starts at 33:13] to give us guidance on where and when to fish for them, tackle to use, and recommended flies. Trent Jackson, fishing manager of Orvis Grand Rapids, is a lifelong Michigan resident and has been fishing for Great Lakes salmon and steelhead his entire life. He gives us a great overview of this fishery, and is a great example of the rich talent we offer in our retail stores.

In the Fly Box this week, we have a number of perceptive questions and suggestions from listeners, including:

Why do I have trouble hooking trout with a 10-foot, 3-weight rod when using unweighted flies?

Can I use the Hydros Salmon/Steelhead line for tightline fishing with a 20-foot leader?

If I have both smallmouth and stocked trout in my river this fall, how can I fish for both of them?

A listener takes me to task for killing fish for the table by "bashing them in the head with a rock", and gives us the preferred way to kill fish for the table, using a Japanese method called ikejime.

If I have a limited budget, should I spend more money on my waders or wading shoes?

Why did brook trout inhale my streamer one day and only chase it the next?

Once a running fish is on the reel, should I take my fingers off the line?

When you talk about a 9-foot leader, is the tippet included in that length? And should I tie a new tippet directly to my leader without modification?

Direct download: Catching_Great_Lakes_Pacific_Salmon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:57pm EDT

This week I interview Dr. Aaron Adams [@38:29], chief scientist at Bonefish Tarpon Trust, and he explains some of the science behind proper fish handling techniques.  Although we talk primarily about bonefish and tarpon, I learned some surprising facts about the question:  "If a fish is hooked deeply, is it better to try to remove the hook or just cut the tippet?"  I'm not going to tell you the answer.  You'll need to listen to the podcast.

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

Can you suggest  few trout flies that are reliable and relevant year-round?

Why do I have trouble hooking trout in small mountain streams?

What is the proper way to set the drag on a reel before you begin fishing?

How much tension is added to your tippet when you have the whole fly line out on a running fish?Why doesn't anyone talk about frogs and toads as trout prey?

Why does my Improved Clinch Knot keep failing?

Are neat flies more effective than scruffy ones?

A suggestion from a listener about using the "wrong" color thread to tie a better fly.

Where should I spend most of my budget when assembling a fly-tying setup?

A suggestion from a listener about using a bobbin threader to tie a nail knot.

Direct download: More_Catch-and-release_Science.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:10pm EDT

Stripping Streamers in the Fall, with Butch Wicks 
With all the hype around trout Spey and swinging streamers, let's not lose sight of plain old streamer stripping, which is a faster-paced way of fishing streamers and often results in explosive strikes.  Montana/Washington guide Butch Wicks of Healing Waters Lodge in Twin Bridges, Montana gives us some hot tips on stripping streamers in the Fall. The interview starts at 28:00.

In the Fly Box this week, we have the following questions and comments:

I am teaching a friend how to fish nymphs.  Should I start him on dry dropper and indicator fishing or Euro nymphing?

Will my Trout Poly Leaders work OK for swinging flies for Lake Erie steelhead, or do I also need to get Spey Polyleaders?

Why could I not catch fish during a heavy Green Drake spinner fall?I had to cut my fly line.  Is there any way to repair it without a bulky connection?

What should I keep in mind when tying some steelhead patterns to use on Pacific salmon?

A clarification to the podcast on the Clean Water Act from a retired EPA wetland scientist.

What to do if you see someone on the water with very poor fish-handling techniques.Is trout spawning temperature of day length dependent, and  what behavioral clues should I look for?

I saw what I thought were carp feeding on the surface.  Do carp feed on top, and if so what do they eat?

How do you set the hook when using a two-handed strip for striped bass?

When should I use a weighted vs. unweighted fly for striped bass in San Franciso Bay, and what fly line should I use?

Direct download: Stripping_Streamers_in_the_Fall_with_Butch_Wicks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:27pm EDT

This week I interview Monte Burke [@44:46], author of the recently released book Lords of the Fly.  It's a chronicle of the history of tarpon fishing with a fly rod, and especially the magical period in the late 20th century where huge tarpon and the best fly anglers in the world converged on a little town on the Florida coast.  This is truthfully one of the most interesting fly-fishing books I have ever read.  Even if you have no interest in tarpon fishing, the story of the personalities, conflicts, and obsession involved in trying to catch a world record tarpon on a fly is one of the most compelling stories in fly-fishing history. Monte talks about his research and the process involved in writing the book.  It's a tale of egos and gangsters and heartbreak.

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

How does a new beaver dam affect a trout stream?

What is the difference between a 2-weight and a 3-weight Euro nymphing rod?

How should one approach a larger river with heavy fishing pressure?

How do you suggest handling a fish that has been foul-hooked?

If you were to spend two weeks in quarantine in a hotel room, what six fly patterns would you tie?

An example of great fishing close to home

What do you know about fly fishing for ladyfish?

I am taking my father fishing and he does not have much experience.  Should I hire a guide or just get him an outfit and take him wade fishing?

What are the main differences between Eastern and Western fly fishing?

What effect will the wildfires have on trout streams?

Can I use UV epoxy to finish the wraps on a rod I am making?Can I dye my own fly tying materials?

Direct download: The_Quest_for_the_World_Record_Tarpon_with_Monte_Burke.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:03am EDT

This week, we chat with Bob Irvin [Interview starts at 42:00], president of American Rivers, an organization that does solid work protecting the aquatic resources we all love.  Bob and I talk about the Clean Water Act and the Clean Water Rule--what these laws have done for us in the past, how they are currently managed, and threats to their effectiveness.  It's not as much fun as talking about trout or steelhead, but it's important stuff to all of us.

In the Fly Box this week, listeners offered the following tips and questions:

What kind of water is best for Euronymphing? 

Can you do it in really slow water for panfish?The booties on my waders are too tight for two pairs of socks.  How can I keep my feet warm winter steelheading?

I have some streams in my neighborhood that people say used to hold brook trout.  How can I find out if they still live there?

A suggestion that keeping the index finger on the top of your rod grip helps with sensitivity.

What is the best fly line to use when trying to cast the entire line?

Can I Spey cast for smallmouth bass?

My dad really outfished me using a Rapala.  I tried all kinds of streamers but no luck.  Is there a fly that is as good as a Rapala?

When I wade waist-deep I have trouble with my casting.  What can I do to fix this?

How can you reconcile our obsession with drag-free drifts and the effectiveness of a swung wet fly?

I have a bunch of old fly lines.  How can I tell what they are, and how can I mark them?

If you have a local stream that you fish often, how long should you rest it between fishing trips?

I am fishing for smallmouth and shoal bass during the day in weedy, rocky water.  What's the best technique to use?

A tip from a listener on a great indicator you can make yourself.

Can you clarify the confusion behind the term "dropper"?

Direct download: Unraveling_the_Clean_Water_Act_with_Bob_Irvin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:41am EDT

This week I interview biologist Nicole Watson [interview at 46:56], who has a fascinating job. She is working on developing strains of arctic grayling that will hopefully be able to repopulate some of Michigan's rivers. It's not widely known that prior to the arrival of Europeans to rivers such as the Au Sable and Manistee, the dominant salmonid in rivers in that entire area was not the brook trout, but a unique strain of arctic grayling. Learn about how the population was decimated, what is being done to restore them, and how soon we'll be able to fish for wild grayling in Michigan.

Here are some links to websites mentioned in the podcast

MI Grayling Initiative website:

Iron Fish Distillery- whiskeys to support research:

Iron Fish Arctic Grayling Research Fund (to donate to research directly):

In the Fly Box this week, we have the following questions and tips from listeners:
My 5-weight works fine with nymphs and dries but I have trouble throwing streamers. Is my rod too light for fishing Woolly Buggers?

How do you evaluate a new fly pattern for your own fishing? And what are the factors that make you keep the pattern in your fly box instead of cycling it out?

I have trouble keeping dubbing on the thread when I wrap it on a hook. Are there tips I can use?

Is it a good idea to start with a tippet ring on a brand new leader, and where do you place it?

Is it wrong to hold the index finger on top of a rod grip when casting?

Should I be able to throw a size 8 popper with my 5-weight rod?
What is the most humane way to kill a fish?

How can I "turn up the volume" of my bass flies for use in high, dirty water?

I want to try to catch a 12-inch brook trout in a small stream, but I want to go barbless. What would you suggest for landing my trophy?

I have a 7-weight Recon rod and want to fish heavier streamers. What fly line do you recommend?

What is the best way to remove a small hook from a trout?
What is the best way to travel with fly-tying materials?

Direct download: Return_of_the_Grayling_with_Nicole_Watson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:09pm EDT

This week, I interview Captain Joe Mattioli [43:31]i on a place I have always wanted to fish--New York Harbor.  Despite having chased striped bass and bluefish with a fly rod for over 40 years, I have never had the pleasure of fishing New York Harbor and I have always wanted to.  So join me as I interview Captain Joe and hear stories of this world-class fishery beneath the Statue of Liberty and off Coney Island.

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

I have issues with knots in my leader, especially with streamers and other heavy flies.  How do I fix this?

I have a 9 ft 5-weight Recon and a starter fly reel I bought a few years ago.  Should I buy a new reel to go with my rod?

When fishing for bass, if I use a heavier line like a bank shot on my 6-weight rod, how should I adjust my casting style?

Are there any trade-offs?

I use a double Uni Knot to join tippet, but I can't tie a Blood Knot to save my life.  What are the relative strengths of these two knots?

I just upgraded my fly-tying vise.  What other tools should I upgrade if I want to improve my tying?

My tippet keeps breaking when using sink-tip lines.  What can I do to prevent this?

Would you recommend a Recon 2-weight or 3-weight for fishing small streams plus bluegill fishing with my kids?

How many flies do you lose in a day of small stream fishing?

Where would you go to catch a trophy brook trout?

What should I do with my dry fly when fishing still water? 

Should I move it or let it sit?

What can we do to reduce the trauma to fish when we play them?

Direct download: Catching_stripers_below_the_Statue_of_Liberty.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:29am EDT

This week I interview Orvis-endorsed guide Jay Aylward [51:05], a largemough bass fanatic on the fly rod, about how to find and catch them.  And not just any largemouth, but trophy bass.  Or at least trophies on a fly rod...
In the Fly Box this week, I get some great tips from listeners and also some interesting questions, including:

Fly pattern suggestions for a road trip across Colorado
What are your top 10 trout flies I should tie?
How does water fluctuation below a dam affect trout behavior?
I can't catch trout on anything but worm flies and woollies in my local river.  Why can't I catch them on standard nymphs?
How do I sort through the creek chubs to catch the nice brook trout below them?
Can I cut my poly leader back to make it shorter?
What line do I need to put on my 10-foot 8-weight single handed rod if I want to try some two-handed casts?
Why did a fly shop put a 6-foot leader on my outfit when I bought it?
A listener offers more suggestions on why you should tie your own leaders.A
nother suggestion on how to record small streams you fish--the Basemap app.
What is an affordable, dependable Orvis rod?
Why can't I catch the carp in my local pond?  Do you have any suggestions?

Direct download: Trophy_largemouth_on_the_fly_with_Jay_Aylward.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:04am EDT

[Interview @ 38:40]

There are few things more fun in fly fishing than catching bluegills with a popper or nymph.  For the most part, once you find them it's easy and un-challenging fishing.  But if you want to up your game and chase trophy bluegills, the kind that will put a big bend in a 3-weight rod, you need special techniques.  This week Orvis-endorsed guide Kip Vieth shares his passion for big bluegills, and his special techniques for catching them--even in summer heat.
In the Fly Box this week, we answer the following questions from listeners:

I had a big brown trout chase my fly right after a big tumble of branches rolled down the river on top of him.  Is this common?

What can I do with some grouse feathers I obtained?

Does a 7 1/2-foot knotless leader have the same level tippet length as a 9- or 12-footer, or is the tippet length proportional?

I started tying my own leaders but had a blood knot break.  Should I go back to knotless leaders?

Would it be a good idea to tie smaller streamers with a shank and a trailing stinger as opposed to using a longer-shank hook? I have heard that long-shank hooks don't hold fish as well.

What are some good rules for keeping your distance on crowded trout streams?

I always hook my fly onto one of my guides but recently I had a guide break when I was pulling the rod apart.  Is that a bad practice and am I weakening the guides by doing this?

When someone says they are fishing a 9-foot or 12-foot leader, does that length include the tippet?

I had a Davey Knot break on heavy tippet.  Is the Davey Knot weaker in heavier materials?

How do I keep the fly line from pulling my leader back inside the guides when making short casts?

Direct download: How_to_Catch_Trophy_Bluegills_with_Kip_Veith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:10am EDT

This week we continue our exploration of small streams with Brian Slusser in California [@37:47] and Brown Hobson of North Carolina [@1:24:38]. Both are experienced guides and love small stream fishing. Even if you don't fish these regions, you'll find plenty of great tips and fly suggestions for your own region.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and also some great additional information from listeners, including:
I have a small bass pond in my neighborhood. What would you suggest regarding patterns and techniques?
I have a bunch of old flies from the 1940s. How can I tell if they are still good?
Is there a comparable approach to Euro nymphing when fishing for steelhead?
Some great information from a listener on the confusion around greenback cutthroat restoration in Colorado.
Why aren't all hooks barbless?
Do you have any tips on tying with calf body hair?
What are some good crab patterns for fishing for striped bass in New England?
Can you suggest some tips on tying in biot tails for nymphs like the Copper John?
Should I always be fishing my nymphs dead drift or should I try imparting some movement to them?
A listener calls in with some great tips for finding small stream trout in Colorado

This week, continuing with my small stream double features programs, I interview Todd Fuchigami of the Ellensburg Angler in Washington [@ 45:48], plus Mel Hayner of Driftless Fly Fishing Company in Minnesota [@1:24:51]. It's been fascinating for me to learn about the similarities, and the differences in small stream techniques throughout the country. Regardless of where you fish, you'll pick up great small stream tips from these two.

In the Fly Box this week, we have the following questions and comments:

What is your preferred wet-wading outfit, or do you even wade wet at all during the summer?

If I need a longer dropper on my dry/dropper rig, should I add the extra length with another section of tippet added to the existing one or should I tie on a whole new dropper?

A listener takes me to task and says I should "spend more time on crowded public waters to better answer the fly box questions"

What is the best way to fish small streams when they get turbid from a summer rainstorm?

A couple book recommendations from a listener on small streams and alpine lakes

I normally take both my fly rod and a spinning rod with worms when trout fishing. What do you think of this method?

Are "bait chuckers" seen throughout the country or is it just my local fishing culture in Iowa? And what are some ways to help them see the beauty in fly fishing?

I have a bunch of old fly lines and rods. How do I figure out what line sizes I have?

What really matters when I stare into my fly box? What attributes do you look for and how do you rank them?

How often before you decide to switch flies?

How do I gauge the size of my hen hackles when tying soft hackles?

Direct download: Washington_State_and_the_Driftless_Region_of_the_Midwest.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54am EDT

[Rachel Therkildsen interview 36:25]
[Brett Damm interview 1:04:52]

I have been interviewing guides across the country on their techniques for small-stream trout fishing and I want to get these out sooner rather than later, at the peak of small stream trout season.  So this week, we have a special double feature on small trout streams East and West.  We have Rachel Therkildsen on fishing high altitude streams (and lakes) in Colorado, and then we move East to hear about small stream brook trout fishing in the Rangeley region of Maine with Brett Damm of Rangeley Region Fly Shop.
In the Fly Box this week, we have the following questions:
I use mostly streamers in high mountain lakes.  Should I be using nymphs and dries?

Is there a good resource for organizing my fly boxes?

Are there any podcast episodes on panfish?

A suggestion from a listener on wearing a wetsuit when fly fishing.

Do you have any tips on how to fish difficult waters?

I think carp are eating blueback herring spawn on my local river.  Do you have any suggestions on how to catch them?

Can I fish emergers upstream?

If I take my new Mission rod to Florida to fish deep channels, when should I use a Scandi line and when should I use a Skagit line?

Is it OK to carry two rods with different rigs to maximize fishing time?

Is it OK to leave my wading boots wet for a day or two.  I always dry them but do I need to do it every day?

If I plan to use my Euro nymphing rod for more conventional fishing, should I overline the rod?


[Interview starts at 37:17]
This week, our podcast is all about carp.  It's a more advanced carp podcast with my buddy Dan Frasier, who is one of the most knowledgeable carp anglers I know.  Carp are almost never easy and sometimes they are damn near impossible.  But they are a fascinating challenge, and a good fish to chase when you aren't able to travel to more exotic places for big fish--something we all need to concentrate on.
I'm going to be doing more podcasts about fishing close to home--a bunch of small stream tips from various parts of the country, and also on bass and panfish.  Stay tuned in the coming months.
In the Fly Box this week, we have these questions and suggestions form listeners:
  • Can I fish steelhead with a single-handed rod?  I can't find any information on it.
  • What type of stream bottom is best for rubber with metal studs on the soles, and what type is best with just rubber soles?
  • How can I find small wild trout spring creeks in the Northeast?
  • My flies don't look as good as the ones I buy in a fly shop?  Should I still fish with them even if the bodies do not have as nice a taper or the wings are too long?
  • Does it matter where I put the rubber legs on my panfish flies?
  • A suggestion on how to hold onto big trout when they jump
  • If a fish in a certain feeding lie gets caught every week, will it move away or will it just become harder to catch?
  • What is the best knot for tying a light tippet to a hopper imitation?
  • A tip from a physical therapist who has developed an Instagram channel on mobility and strengthening articles just for fly fishers 
  • Which H3 rod would be best for trout streamers and fairly large bass?
  • What is the difference between a good and a really great fly fisher?
Direct download: Advanced_Carp_Techniques_with_Dan_Frasier.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

[Interview starts at 41:18]

We could all use a little escapism these days, so why not listen to a podcast about adventures in the Amazon?  Fly Fisherman Magazine editor and publisher Ross Purnell, in a pre-Covid recorded interview, will thrill you with his adventures with a fly rod in the Amazon, and you will be shocked at how he celebrated the trip.  Few of us will be traveling to exotic locations this year, and many of us never will, but it is always enlightening to hear about what fishing is like in a different world.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and suggestions:
  • Further warnings on UV cure epoxy vapors
  • How do I keep my fly tying organized in a small apartment with a wife, dog, and cat?
  • Can I use steelhead swinging techniques for skating a caddis when trout fishing?
  • How do I learn Euro nymphing?
  • How can I find and catch bigger trout than the 12-inchers I usually catch?
  • Are there any advanced courses to improve my skills in fly fishing?
  • More tips from a fishing guide about how to improve a client's experience
  • Will a very hot car in Texas damage any of my fly-fishing gear?
  • I lose trout when they jump.  What can I do to prevent this?
  • Why didn't you mention Strike Putty in your TV show on using indicators?
  • I caught a trout and got slime on my fly, then the fly didn't work afterward.  Does slime on a fly scare off trout?
Direct download: Amazon_Jungle_Fishing_with_Ross_Purnell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:34pm EDT

[Interview starts at 55:00] 

This week, Joe Hebler of the Blue Quill Angler in Evergreen, Colorado, answers the question "How do I become a fishing guide?"  Whether you are graduating from high school or college, or in another career looking to escape daily stresses and an unsatisfying job, Joe gives a great road map on what steps to take to successfully land a job in this competitive field.  And if you aren't interested in becoming a guide, Joe also gives some great tips on current fishing conditions on Colorado streams.
In the Fly Box this week, we answer some questions, share some tips from a listener, and alert people to a threat on one of Pennsylvania's finest trout streams.
  1.  Should I buy a 4-weight or a 5-weight rod for trout?
  2. Whatever happened to that little barbed thingee that goes into the end of a fly line to attach a leader?
  3.  An alert about a proposal by a meat packing plant to withdraw 700,000 gallons of water a day from the springs that feed the headwaters of Fishing Creek.
  4.  Are wet flies a legitimate strategy when you have trout rising downstream of your position?
  5. How do I get a large trout close to my net if my leader is long?
  6. What could I have done to catch a smallmouth bass in deep, clear, swirly water?
  7.  What mouse pattern is best and how should I fish it?
  8.  A great list of tips on why starting out in a small stream will build your skills for fishing tougher, more technical waters later.
  9.  My father wants to remove the brush along our stream to make it easier to cast and for my kids to splash in the river.  Should I try to talk him out of it?
  10. What is the best way to remove wind knots from my leader?
  11. A listener asks me about my top 3 places to fish
  12. I foul hooked a brook trout in the belly but it was only a flseh wound.  Do you think the fish will survive?
  13. Should I match my leader length to my rod length?
Direct download: How_to_Become_a_Fly-Fishing_Guide_with_Joe_Hebler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:07pm EDT

[Interview starts at 37:18]
This week, the podcast is about native trout, specifically the Rio Grande cutthroat of New Mexico.  It's the story of two communities, one a small New Mexico town and the other the Taos Pueblo tribe, told by Toner Mitchell of Trout Unlimited, and Talisa Puentes Ortega, a biologist who worked on the project with the Taos Pueblo.
In the Fly Box this week, we have lots of questions, as usual, including:
  • Can I use Dragon Tails for trout spey?
  • Can I use scaled down versions of classic salmon and steelhead for trout?
  • Can I fix a cut in my 5-weight line?
  • Do you ever wish you could go back in time and fish a particular river?
  • Why do people often recommend different flies for tailwaters as opposed to freestone rivers?
  • How should I rinse my Clearwater reel after fishing in salt water?
  • Do creek chubs in a river indicate the absence of trout?
  • Should I boil my leaders to straighten them?
  • My buddy and I caught nice bass on small nymphs while fishing for sunfish.  Is this a fluke?
  • What are your recommendations for wet wading gear?
  • I bought a hen cape and realize it's not good for dry flies.  What can I use it for?
  • What rod should I get for going after carp, smallmouths, steelhead, and Pacific salmon?
Direct download: Rio_Grande_Cutthroat_Trout_of_New_Mexico.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:54pm EDT

[Interview starts at 45:51]

This week's podcast was recorded prior to Covid 19 but I sat on it for awhile because it was about saltwater fly fishing in the San Francisco Bay area and I wanted to wait until sheltering at home restrictions were eased a bit and people could get out to try these ideas.  Sarah Landstrom of Lost Coast Outfitters regularly leads trips for this accessible and interesting urban fishing, and she has some great tips, and even suggestions for locations to try.
In the Fly Box this week, we have a number of interesting questions--plus a great e-mail from a listener on how he successfully uses two-handed rods for nymphing in Alaska.  Some of the questions this week are:
  • Do you think planning a trip with a guide will help me learn new skills?
  • What is the best way to go about asking for permission to fish on private land?
  • I don't have much time to fish.  How can I streamline things and become more efficient so I don't spend all my time rigging and tying knots?
  • Do you think a surgeon's knot is visible to fish?
  • Where on my leader do I put my indicator?
  • Why can I hook trout on dry flies?
  • What locations, flies, and weather conditions are best for night fishing?
  • Should I use mothballs in my fly tying materials?
  • Should I microwave my fly-tying materials?
Direct download: Saltwater_tips_from_San_Francisco_Bay_with_Sarah_Landstrom.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:34pm EDT

This week I interview Devin Olsen, who you may know about from competitive fly fishing, but we’re not going to talk about competition. Devin walks us through what to look for when you first approach a stream and how to come up with a strategy for a day of fishing. His new book Tactical Fly Fishing is now available but we get a sneak peak on what you’ll learn from his book. In the Fly Box this week, we talk about: Moving kids from a spinning rod to a switch rod How to deal with muddy and bloody feathers from a duck-hunting friend How to display fly rods in your house If my jig hooks bend when I get stuck in a snag, should I just bend them back and re-use them? If a 5-weight is considered an all-around rod in graphite, is it the same for fiberglass rods? What is the difference between hen necks and hen capes? A great suggestion for carrying a landing net on a plane Do catastrophic floods ruin trout fishing and the insect life? What length and line size do you recommend for both smallmouth bass and steelhead? Can I catch catfish with a fly rod? How should I organize my bonefish fly boxes? Which grain weight in the Depth Charge lines is best for surf fishing?

Direct download: Backcast_Episode_Planning_your_Strategy_on_the_River_with_Devin_Olsen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:05am EDT

This week I have an interview [starts at 39:52] that was recorded pre-Covid with Peter Bring, long-time Montana guide for Blackfoot River outfitters in Missoula.  I always learn new things form every guide I fish with, but I thought Peter had some especially helpful tips on fishing with indicators and dry droppers.  Being on the water every day and expected to produce fish in any condition, guides develop efficient, fun, and easy ways to catch fish and have polished their techniques through thousands of hours of helping other anglers become successful.
In the Fly Box this week, we have the following questions
  • Has anyone ever caught two fish at once on a two-fly rig?
  • Can I use dog hair to tie flies?
  • I want to chase redfish, pike, steelhead, Pacific salmon, and muskie.  Will an 8-weight rod handle all those species?
  • Can I use the 10-foot sinking Salmon poly leader for trout?  Can I cast it on a 6-weight?
  • What can I tie with hen saddle patches?
  • What switch rod would you recommend for striped bass fishing in the surf?
  • What is the weight relationship between non-toxic wire and lead wire?
  • I live in Switzerland.  What should I expect regarding European fly hatches?
  • I keep losing big trout when they run downstream.  Do you have any suggestions on how I can land more of them?
  • A great tip on joining Trout Unlimited's Citizen Science Initiative
  • Can I use a popper/dropper rig for bass?
Direct download: Indicator_Fishing_Secrets_from_a_Montana_Guide.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:16pm EDT

[Interview starts at 38:46]

This week I have the pleasure of interviewing one of my very favorite non-fiction writers, Mark Kurlansky.  Author of such award-winning books as Cod, Salt, Paper, 1968, and A Continent of Islands, Mark is a tireless journalist who digs into the very essence of anything he does.  His new book, Salmon, is his first book that involves sport fishing as well as the natural and economic history of both Atlantic and Pacific salmon. (And he has a book on fly fishing coming out next April).
In the Fly Box this week, we have the following tips and questions:
  • Should I use a cauterizing pen to clean material out of the eyes of my flies?
  • A host of solid tips for the novice Spey caster from a listener
  • What makes a good skater fly, and how do you fish them?
  • Why don't more people use the drop-shot method when fishing nymphs?
  • How do you attach a dropper to a Euro rig with passing the bottom fly through the loop?
  • How can I fish a Euro rig in really tiny streams?
  • Is my 8-weight rod too light for pike fishing?
  • Where should I fish in relation to a tailrace below a dam, and is a Spey rod a good idea?
  • Why did I see a big smallmouth slowly cruising up a small creek?
  • What is the best way to break off a fly when you are snagged?
  • How can I fish plunge pools in a small stream?
  • Does using a UV light when curing epoxy harm your eyes?
Direct download: Talking_salmon_and_other_fish_with_Mark_Kurlansky.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:18am EDT

[Interview starts at 27:44]
This week I have the pleasure of interviewing perhaps the nicest human being on the planet, Tim Linehan of Linehan Outfitters in Libby, Montana.  I think you'll get a sense of what kind of person he is by listening in.  We talk about how the recent pandemic has affected fishing guides and lodges, but on a more fun note, Tim describes his fishery in northern Montana--the only place in Montana where you can catch a true native rainbow trout (rainbows on famous rivers like the Madison, Bighorn, Missouri, and Gallatin were originally stocked).
In the fly box this week, we have these tips and questions:
  • An easy way to make crab eyes
  • Why don't people use a piece of yarn in between blood knots as a strike indicator?
  • Will a 3-weight switch rod handle streamers for smallmouths?
  • What can I do to protect flies and tying materials?
  • Can I use springbok hair in place of deer hair?
  • Can I fish tungsten nymphs on a sinking line effectively?
  • When do I set the hook when sight-nymphing for trout?
  • How do you re-sharpen fly-tying scissors?
  • If I test my dry flies in water and they tip over on their sides, should I still use them?
  • Some further information on how chemical sharpening of hooks works
Direct download: Northern_Montana_Trout_Fishing_with_Tim_Linehan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:46pm EDT

[Interview starts at 37:13]

This week I interview Sam Sifton, former Cooking Editor, now Assistant Managing Editor of The New York Times, and an avid fly-rod striped bass angler.  It's quite a rambling discussion, from striper fishing on Long Island to the current state of striper populations to the writing of Peter Matthiessen.  Along the way, of course we get some fish cooking advice but only for bluefish.  Learn why Sam and I don't eat striped bass (and it's more than just about catch-and-release for the sake of the population).
In the Fly Box this week, we have the following questions:
  • Do you have any tips for fishing a very large river?
  • How long do hooks stay sharp, and can I re-sharpen chemically sharpened hooks?
  • Why don't you develop biodegradable hooks?
  • Why am I having problems catching spring trout in Alaska?
  • I was recently fishing a delayed harvest section and caught some smaller, beautifully colored trout.  Do you think they were wild?
  • Why am I developing pains in my wrist when casting my 8-weight?
  • Should I concentrate on getting really good at catching just one species, or should I try for all the species that are available in my area?
  • In a boundary layer between dirty and clean water, where will I find the trout?
  • In your TV show, you recommended a full sinking or depth charge line for bass in deep water.  Can I use a sinking poly leader on my floating line as well?
  • I am having trouble tying off the hackle at the base of the post on my parachute flies like the Klinkhammer.  Can you suggest some tips?
  • Can I get a fly rod that will be good for both steelhead and musky?
Direct download: Fishing_for_Stripers_off_Long_Island_with_Sam_Sifton.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:39pm EDT

[Interview starts at 38:00]
This week I interview Mark Melnyk, host and producer of The New Fly Fisher TV show and the co-producer of The Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing Season 2.  We tell some stories about what it's like filming a show and share some nasty tricks we played on cameramen over the past year.  The Orvis show premieres this week on World Fishing Network, but shows will also premiere for the next 13 weeks every Sunday on The Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing You Tube Channel.  Season 2 will also appear on PBS and on Amazon Prime later in the year, once we have all the shows completed.
In the Fly Box this week, we have a couple good tips from listeners (actually adding information to topics previously discussed on podcasts) including more detail on polarized lenses and why tilting your head helps, and also some additional information on keeping your muscles and joints in shape when fishing.
We also have these questions:
  • Should I wait to buy a first fly rod now, or should I  wait until I can go to an Orvis FF101 class once the stores re-open?
  • What suggestions do you have to help me tie on those size 20 and smaller flies?
  • I need up to 8 false casts to cast 60 feet.  What am I doing wrong?
  • I enjoyed watching you tie a Clouser Minnow.  How should I fish this fly for smallmouth bass in a river?
  • Why is it not OK to trim hackle on dry flies?
  • What data would you add to a streamside journal?
  • Do you think personal hygiene affects the sense of smell of trout?
  • Once I start traveling again I want to try some saltwater species.  Which ones should I target on my trip?
Direct download: Behind_the_Scenes_with_Tom_and_Crew.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

[Interview starts at 36:56]
Sooner or later, if you fish a lot you WILL develop issues with your elbows or shoulders.  And it's not just us old geezers who suffer from these--I often meet much younger anglers with the same problems.  Anita Coulton is both a fishing guide for Crosscurrent Guide Service and a physical therapist, so she is intimately familiar with the issues we face, how to help prevent them, and how to fix them when they occur.  If you have ever had these problems, or if you just want to know how to keep your upper body in shape for fishing I think you'll benefit from the podcast.
In the Fly Box this week, we have the following questions and tips:
  • How do I slim down my fly selection for small-stream fishing?
  • What is the best way to fish crayfish patterns?
  • A question about trout feeding times in relation to season and sunlight
  • I want to catch trout but have only been bass fishing.  What fly line should I get?
  • Should I get a 6-weight or 7-weight rod for smallmouth bass?
  • I fish a really snaggy river.  Should I tie all of my favorite nymphs on jig hooks?
  • Is a 9-foot or 10-foot rod better in the wind?
  • Should I get a Helios 3D or 3F or a Superfine glass rod for all-around fishing in Alberta?  I want to get a 4-weight
  • What is the best all-around color for sunglass lenses?
  • A tip on retrieving lost flies with your magnetic net holder
  • When looking at a fly recipe, how do you know what order to tie in materials?
  • Why wouldn't my spin reel fit on my fly rod, and is it a good idea to put a spin reel on a fly rod?
Direct download: Keeping_Yourself_Fit_for_Fishing_Season.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:15am EDT

Interview starts at 32:13

We’ve done a bit with trout Spey on the podcast, but never one specifically on flies for trout Spey.  Luckily, Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions, who produces the best fly tying videos, has become a trout Spey addict and in the podcast he talks about tactics and tying special patterns for Trout Spey.

In the Fly Box this week, we have the following tips and questions:

  • When king salmon move into a pool, do they push the resident trout around?
  • During high water, do trout swim around a lot?
  • A great tip on tilting your head for better glare reduction with polarized lenses
  • Are long-shank hooks a good or bad idea for pike fishing?
  • Why aren’t there more white trout flies?
  • Why is it tough to catch trout in the Northeast during the winter?
  • What advantages does a 10-foot 8-weight H3 rod offer over a 9-footer?
  • I have heard that a heavier rod helps you land bigger fish.  Won’t a lighter rod offer better tippet protection?
  • Is there one line that will work for both Lake Texacoma and Gulf Coast salt water?
  • Is UV resin toxic?  Does it have a strong smell?
Direct download: Tim_Flagler_on_Trout_Spey_Techniques_and_Flies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30pm EDT

Check out Tom's upcoming episode on pre-spawn bass.

Direct download: Sneak_Peak-_Orvis_Guide_to_Fly_Fishing_with_Tom_Rosenbauer.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 10:03pm EDT

This week I interview the great George Daniel (interview starts at 48:40), who you will see soon in the new installments of the Orvis TV show.  The show I did with him, on Euro Nymphing basics, should be premiered sometime in May.  But until then, George discusses the pros and cons of using straight monofilament vs. and actual fly line for Euro Nymphing—both have their advantages and George gives us some good guidance on their use, as well as other tips on this deadly method of fly fishing borrowed from competition anglers.  We also get sidetracked on the future of fly fishing and how both of us view the participation of younger anglers today.


In this Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions:

  • I am taking a six-day backpacking trip into the Appalachians.  How much water should I expect to cover in a day of fishing?
  • How do I combat the “old boy” network in fly fishing?
  • What strategies do you recommend for carp in a small lake?
  • What does “web” refer to in fly tying, and what is schlappen?
  • Do you think a Helios 905F will be good enough for fishing the Blackfoot, Rock Creek, Gallatin, and Yellowstone Rivers or will I need a 905D?
  • How do you go about experimenting with new fly patterns you have tied?
  • Can I catch carp on a fly during the winter?
  • I have trouble with “trout setting” in salt water.  Should I use a strip strike in all my trout fishing to get out of the habit?
  • Why doesn’t Orvis offer water testing kits?
  • I know trout do 90% of their feeding underwater, but I have recently discovered how effective a dry fly can be, even when no trout are rising.
  • Why should tippet size matter when fish can always see the hook?
  • Do you have a recommended leader for juvenile tarpon, and also for barracuda?
Direct download: Euro_Nymphing_Lines_with_George_Daniel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:37am EDT

Interview starts at 41:08
New York State’s Salmon River—you either love it or hate it, and some of us love and hate it at the same time.  It’s an amazing resource, with large quantities of high-quality fish that are often chrome-bright and every bit as hot as their ocean-going relatives.  It’s a beautiful river.  It’s got great water for swinging flies.  And then there’s the tough news.  A river this productive will draw crowds, and some of them are not as well-behaved as most of us would like.  But you can get away from crowds on this river, and Matt Ertzinger,  veteran guide with Tailwater Lodge, shares his secrets on when to fish the river, how to avoid crowds, and what flies and tackle to use.  Is it worth the trip?  This podcast may help you decide.


In the Fly Box this week, we have the following tips and questions:

  • Should I feel dirty about using Squirmies and similar flies?
  • What rod can I use for bass in Mississippi and trout in Arkansas?
  • Are there scuds and sowbugs in Eastern rivers?
  • What advantages do the new Recon Euro-nymphing rods offer?
  • Can I put a 9-weight line on my 6-8 weight reel?
  • Can I prevent my fly line from stacking to one side of the spool?
  • How can I fish a tiny, brushy stream in southern California?
  • How can I get my flies deeper in fast, deep water when fishing for sea-run brook trout?
  • What is the best ay to fish for pike in a small stream?
  • How can I put the hatch guidebook that I bought to good use?
Direct download: Secrets_of_the_Salmon_River.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:48pm EDT

This week we talk about Project Healing Waters and the amazing things it has done for veterans with both physical and mental issues due to their service.  Over 8,000 veterans have been introduced to the healing properties of nature and fly fishing in this program, with hundreds of chapters throughout the country and thousands of volunteers.  Todd Desgrosseilliers, decorated Marine veteran and a beneficiary of this program personally, is now the president of Project Healing Waters and he talks frankly about his experiences as a participant and then as an administrator.  Learn about the program and how you can get involved, whether you are a veteran in need of healing or as a possible volunteer.


In the Fly Box this week, we have the following questions and tips:

  • What effects on fishing will the Australian wildfires have?
  • If I see a lot of tiny black stoneflies in the water, does that mean I should be fishing imitations of them?
  • A great additional suggestion on the benefits of a rotary fly-tying vise
  • A stream near me is stocked with brook, brown, and rainbow trout but it can support wild trout.  Why are there only wild rainbows in this stream?
  • Can flies be made by machine?
  • What stream conditions are best for a single-handed Spey cast?
  • How do I tie a second streamer behind an articulated streamer?
  • What should I teach my wife, who has never fly fished, before we go on a guided trip together?
  • How can I practice for a tarpon trip if I only have an 8-weight rod?
  • What technique would you use on the Green River in Utah?
  • Is my 8 ½ foot 7 weight rod enough rod to use on the Salmon River in New York?
Direct download: Project_Healing_Waters.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:26pm EDT

Interview starts at 51:28

This week’s podcast is a spirited discussion with Dr. Andy Danylchuk, Professor of Fish Conservation at UMass Amherst, Science Advisor for Keep Fish Wet ( and Research Fellow for Bonefish Tarpon Trust. My question to Andy was about the effectiveness of catch-and-release as a conservation tool, and as always when talking with a scientist it depends on your definitions. Like “What is conservation?” and predictably that varies with a person’s values and experiences. I thought it was a thought-provoking conversation and hope you do was well.

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

  • How do you put the hackle on a Stimulator?
  • What’s the best way to be ready for smaller cutthroats or big bull trout at the same time?
  • How can I maximize my success when fishing with my 4-year-old?
  • How can I plan  trip to fish the Rocky Mountains?
  • Why do I keep losing fish?
  • Where do natural fly tying materials come from?
  • What is the best way to cast big streamers or nymph rigs?
  • What rod do you recommend for fishing Chesapeake Bay?
  • A tip for a great, inexpensive seine for trout streams
  • Where do you draw the line between ethical and unethical use of electronics when fishing?
  • What do you think of ultra-light fly fishing?
  • Should I get a saddle or cape for tying flies?
  • Do you recommend upgrading to a premium fly-tying vise?
  • Can you explain the difference between tailwaters, headwaters, and freestone rivers?
Direct download: Is_Catch-and-Release_an_Effective_Conservation_Tool.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Interview segment begins at 43:02

I get regular and frequent questions on the differences between nylon and fluorocarbon tippet—when and where to use them, appropriate knots, special properties, and shelf life.  I used to be involved in the development process of tippet and have visit many places where tippet is made.  But that was years ago and a lot of progress has been made since my time in product development.  So I invited Josh Jenkins, R&D manager at Scientific Anglers, to talk about recent innovations in tippet material.  Josh is intimately involved in the development and testing of tippet for both Orvis and Scientific Anglers, and his knowledge is far greater that mine.  I think you’ll learn some surprising tips on both tippet material construction and knots because I learned a lot in speaking with Josh.

The Fly Box this week is a little different.  This one was recorded live at The Fly Fishing Show in Edison New Jersey.  Rather than telling you what kinds of questions were asked (none of which were prompted or ones I had heard beforehand) I’ll let you discover these on your own.  You never know what might happen in New Jersey…

Direct download: The_Ultimate_Tippet_Podcast_with_Josh_Jenkins.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:10pm EDT

Being a camera gear geek, I was delighted to interview Chris Niccolls  (interview starts at 47:16) of DP Review TV. (If you are also a camera geek, you probably read DP Review regularly.) Chis is a photography teacher as well as a video star, has worked in camera shops, and currently works in a fly shop in Calgary. In the interview, he gives some fantastic tips on how to take better fish and fishing pictures in both the video and still formats. He also suggests some brands and models of phones, cameras, and drones that he feels are best suited for fishing photography.  I know I learned a whole mess of new tricks for taking better fishing pictures, and I am sure you will, too.

In the Fly Box, we cover plenty of topics that may help answer questions you have had about fly fishing:

  • Should I get a 6½-foot or 7½-foot rod for small streams?  What weight line is best, and should I get a Double Taper or Weight Forward line?
  • Do you carry a small seine with you when trout fishing?
  • How many wind knots should I expect in a day of fishing?
  • I fish for salmon and stripers.  Should I get a full-sinking or sinking-tip line in addition to my floating line?
  • How do you travel with fly rods?  Do you carry them on or check them?
  • Would a 12-foot, 6-inch two-handed rod be OK for both stripers and smallmouths?
  • What do you think offly clips?
  • Should I use nylon or Fluorocarbon tippets for dries and nymphs?
  • I have lost my passion for fly fishing.  Does this ever happen to you?
  • A suggestion from a listener on targeting white bass in Texas on their spawning runs
  • If I only had one type of line for stripers, bass, and pike because of expense, what line should I buy?
  • Do you have any suggestions for catching stocked trout when the spin guys are catching tons of them using corn as bait?
  • Is there a big difference between the Battenkill IV Spey and Battenkill IV disc?
  • Is there an advantage to using a rotary vise?
  • How long does it take trout eggs to hatch?
Direct download: From_Phones_to_Drones-_Taking_better_pictures_on_the_water.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:49am EDT

I get frequent requests for suggestions on what fly-fishing literature to read during these long winter nights when you want to enjoy fly fishing but don’t want to snuggle up to something lighter.  I invited David Van Wie (interview starts at 45:10), author of the recently published book Storied Waters—subtitled “35 Fabled Fly Fishing Destinations and the Writers and Artists Who Made The Famous”—to share with me his favorite writers and books.  It is pretty much an eastern-oriented tour of these books, but don’t worry.  I have an idea for someone to do a similar podcast on western North America writers on a future podcast so stay tuned. 

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and suggestions from listeners—and one who slapped my hands:

  • A listener who took me to task for encouraging another listener to try to introduce mayflies from one watershed into another.  Shame on me.  I didn’t think about also transferring other unwanted critters and I should have known better
  • Can I use the same nymphs under an indicator that I use when Euro nymphing and vice versa?
  • A suggestion from a listener about the great classes available at Orvis stores
  • What are the pros and cons of indicator vs. non-indicator nymphing?
  • What is your opinion on click-and-pawl fly reels?
  • Does anyone rent waders?  I don’t want to pack them into my luggage.
  • What gear do you carry when saltwater fly fishing that you would not carry on a trout stream?
  • Can I attach droppers to a tippet ring?
  • Why can’t I catch stocked trout when conventional anglers are yanking them in on Power Bait?
  • I had a trout take my plastic strike indicator.  Does this ever happen to you?
  • Does perfection matter when tying flies?  I have trouble tying a size 20 Purple Prince.
  • Do midges migrate to Indiana during the winter?
  • Why can’t I catch stocked trout on surface flies?
Direct download: Storied_Waters_with_author_David_Van_Wie.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:53am EDT

Tired of crowded trout streams?  Looking for a new fish to catch on a fly rod that will give you a tussle and challenge your skills?  Look no further than the white bass, which is a common fish in many parts of the US, from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi drainage and has even been introduced into some western lakes.  My friend Jim Weatherwax is a white bass fanatic (he also fishes for wipers in the same waters, which are a freshwater sterile hybrid of a white bass and a striped bass) and offers solid advice on where to find these great fish, what tackle to use, and best techniques to catch them.  Warmwater fish like this are great ways to spread out the fishing pressure that we all experience from time to time.


We have a long fly box this week, with lots of interesting questions and tips from listeners, including:

  • What does it mean when a fly rod is rated for more than one line size, like 5/6?
  • Should I use a full fluorocarbon leader when fishing with indicators?
  • A suggestion on looking for blue cheeks and clean halos when trying to tell if a brown trout is wild.
  • What is the difference between the new Recon 2 and the Helios 3 rods? 
  • Should I buy a wading shoe one size larger than my shoe size when buying wading bots online?
  • What do you think of using 2X short hooks for small nymphs?
  • I am not able to catch fish on streamers during the winter in a tailwater.  What am I doing wrong?
  • Are fluorescent hot spots on nymphs effective?
  • Is it ethical to trim small tree branches in trout streams?
  • Why do trout only take big attractor dry flies right after they land on the water?
  • Are UV resins really effective?
  • Why am I losing so many trout when fishing small nymphs?  Am I setting the hook wrong?
  • Do you have some suggestions for catching American shad?
  • Is it worth it to tie your own leaders?  And if I do, how can I attach them to my fly line without a loop-to-loop connection?
  • Why do small brown trout attack huge streamers?
  • Should I get a Helios 3 D or F version for fishing UK chalk streams?
  • A suggestion for wearing nitrile gloves for winter fishing.
Direct download: Chasing_White_Bass_with_Jim_Weatherwax.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:17pm EDT

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