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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 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 (www.keepemwet.org) 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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