Fri, 30 December 2022
Ian Rutter [43:06] is a long-time guide in the Smokies and one of our top field testers. He specializes in small mountain creeks (as well as their local tailwaters) and because I have had numerous requests for a podcast on "Blue-lining" I wanted to get him on to get the views from someone who does this in the heart of wild mountain brook trout country. For those of you who don't know the term, blue-lining refers to looking for new small trout water on a map and then exploring it to see what it holds. It's part hiking, part fioshing, and part discovery.
In the Fly Box this week, we have lots of tackle questions, some good tips from listeners, and some other technique related questions.
I was gifted a Helios 3 906F. What reel do you recommend for it?
I have a 7 ½ foot rod for panfish, a 4-weight for trout, and an 8-weight for steelhead and stripers. I want to fish streamers, redfish, and corbina. Should I get a 6-weight for that?
I have a Recon 10 foot 4-weight and a Blackout 11 foot 3-weight for Euro nymphing. What rod would you recommend for a standard trout rod for bigger rivers?
Can I catch smallmouth bass in stained water with trout techniques like big dries or a dry-dropper rig?
I have the opportunity to make my own bamboo rod. What length and line size do you recommend for small to medium0sized rivers? I listened to your podcast recommending a touch of parrafin on loose ferrules and thought I would do it later. On my next trip I broke my rod because of a loose ferrule and realized I should not have put it off. I see all these videos of people sight-fishing for trout but I almost never see them in the water myself. Should I practice spotting trout or is there something else I should do?
After reading the book Lords of the Fly by Monte Burke I decided I never want to fish for tarpon. And what do you think of guides who "discover" a spot and then claim it as their own and push other people out?
What is Tom's most memorable worst day of fishing?
What tips and tricks does Tom keep secret and not share with us?
Where does Orvis get its products. I know you make some of your rods but where does other tackle come from?
Fri, 23 December 2022
My guest this week, Sarah Baker [35:40] is a woman who has a job most of us would envy—she studies and manages the populations of wild, native brook trout in the mountains of northern Georgia. Learn more about these southernmost populations of brook trout, their life history, and where you can find them (no spot burning, just some general areas to investigate for yourself).
In the Fly Box this week, some great questions that range the spectrum of fly fishing, such as:
A listener is confused by recommendations for sinking lines for an Alaska trip
Can I tie flies smaller than size 18 with the regular jaws in my tying vise? Do I need to purchase midge jaws?
Someone told me not to use water-based head cement on size 20 and smaller flies. Why?
If I know I have a reasonable fly and good drifts, does it make sense to spend more than a half-dozen casts in one spot?
I am a newbie and other than the typical questions about what fly to use, what other questions should I ask in a fly shop that will be helpful?
If I want to try Spey casting with my single-hand fly rod, what fly line would be best?
Can smaller Spey patterns be used for trout and bass on a single-handed rod?
I am taking my first saltwater trip to Turks and Caicos. I have an 8-weight freshwater outfit. Do I need to get a special saltwater rod and line?
Can I use a 450-grain Depth Charge line on my 10-weight rod? And besides fishing for striped bass, what other saltwater applications are there for this line?
I am having trouble with my Clinch Knots breaking in cold weather. What am I doing wrong?
Any advice for tying on a size 22 Zebra Midge in cold weather?
Fri, 2 December 2022
Can you really catch giant cutthroat trout in the desert? Are they truly a native species? And do they really fish with ladders? You'll find out in my interview with Orvis-endorsed guide Mike Anderson [45:23], who guides for the Reno Fly Shop.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some wonderful comments and thought-provoking questions, including:
I can keep the knots in my rubber legs on hopper patterns. How do you do it?
What common fly-tying materials can I get from animals I have harvested, what parts should I use, and how to you prepare and store them?
What is the advantage of going from 140 denier tying thread to 70 denier and when and why should I use it?
A listener explains why he welcomes new people to the sport.
I just got an intermediate line for fishing in lakes. Will it be useful in streams?
I have an old rod with a loose ferrule. Is there any way of fixing it?
Is my 9 ½ foot 6-weight rod too light to throw big articulated flies for bull trout?
I know trout lie in seams in a river. Will steelhead be in seams as well?
Can I use sewing thread for tying flies?
My double surgeon's knots keep breaking. What am I doing wrong?
Are there special fighting techniques when you hook a fish on a downstream drift?
Why do people tell me to fish at high tide, when I can walk out farther at low tide?
Can I swing a streamer in salt water?
Do changes in air temperature affect fish in the ocean as much as in fresh water?
What do I do to take my trout fishing to the next level?
What should I concentrate on?
Why are bamboo rods typically shorter than graphite, and how do I travel with a two-piece bamboo rod?
I am losing more fish with large flies than I do with small flies. What is the issue?
Thu, 24 November 2022
Bill Sisson [27:29] is the founding editor of Angler's Journal magazine and his recently published book, Seasons of the Striper, is an elegant pictorial love letter to striped bass fishing. Bill has seen many changes in the striped bass fishery over the years, and his family goes back for generations of striped bass anglers — both sport and commercial fishing. He tells some great stories of past striped bass escapades, which I know you'll enjoy listening to.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some solid questions and some informative information from listeners, including:
On a recent podcast a listener described a method of pre-tying nymphs on a dropper with a perfection loop, but I can't figure out how to attach them to my dry fly with a loop-loop connection. How do you accomplish this?
A listener gives us some great background on the history of public stream access in the United States.
A listener warns of of an alarming trend of beaver misinformation
Why do I keep losing trout on my barbless flies? Am I putting too much pressure on the fish?
What tips can you give me on fishing with my fiberglass rod in salt water?
I fish for bass in spring creeks.
Do you think they will be active in late fall and winter?
How do the gases in the exoskeleton of a midge pupa form?
Is there any hope of fishing a dry dropper in winter?
Do you have any tips for fishing small streams when there is ice in a creek?
Thu, 17 November 2022
I get a lot of questions about midges and their life cycle, so I thought I would invite a professional entomologist to give us an overview of these insects and how to imitate them. Rick Hafele  has not only been an entomologist all his working life, he's also a superb angler and fly-fishing author and perhaps one of the best authorities on aquatic entomology we have. Learn about what color midges to imitate, which part of their life cycle is most important to trout, and how to effectively fish these imitations. In
The Fly Box this week, we have some thought-provoking questions and some terrific suggestions from listeners, including:
I have used both rubber and felt soles and I still have problems wading. I am in good shape and have good balance. What wading shoes do you suggest?
I witnessed a huge hatch of insects but only caught largemouth bass. Is there a depth and current speed where fishing a dry fly is futile?
What type of poly leader would you suggest for my 5-weight rod?
How long should my leader be when fishing a poly leader?
What CFS do you consider safe to wade in a river?
If I catch a wild brown or rainbow in a brook trout stream, should I relocate that fish below a waterfall?
What is the purpose of releasing large hatchery brood stock trout into wild trout streams? Do they have any effect on a wild trout population?
How would you fish a slow, tannic river with a mud and sand bottom?
How long do you stay in one section of a river?
Should I match the diameter of the butt section of my leader to the diameter of my fly line?
What should I do if I hook a large striped bass and it thrashes close to me but does not take line. Should I try to get the line on the reel?
Some great tips from a South Dakota angler on how to find superb fly fishing close to home.
Thu, 10 November 2022
My guest this week is Steve Carew [40:58] of Fulling Mill Flies. Steve is the guy who gets fly patterns from an original sample to those gorgeous flies you see in the fly bins of your local Orvis store or dealer. How do commercial flies get made? Who are these people who tie flies for a living? Do they actually fish? How good are they? And how do they produce such consistent, high-quality flies in large volumes without sacrificing quality?
In the Fly Box this week, we have some helpful tips from listeners as well as some interesting questions, including:
A great tip on how to protect the tip of a fly rod when carrying it inside a vehicle fully assembled.
How do I know what color midge to use? Are there seasons and times when different colors work better than others?
I saw a carp feeding but tried a dozen flies and none of them worked. How can I catch these fish?
I fish a lake with trout, bass, pike, walleye, and perch in it. How can I target each one of these fish?
I am going to fish a lake and want to know what two fly lines I should take.
Does the newer technology Orvis uses in its fly rods make older rods obsolete?
I am fishing an older fiberglass rod and lost a bunch of fish. Do you think the rod is the problem?
I fish an aqueduct with steep banks that prevent a back-cast. Do you have any suggestions on fly lines?
A tip from a listener on gluing an aquarium thermometer to his net.
Do you think the occasional flip of my fins when using a float tube will spook fish?
Do you have any tips for mending a dry dropper rig without moving the fly?
What is Tom's favorite fly to tie and favorite fly to fish?
I purchased an old bamboo rod. How do I find out what line size it takes?
I saw some brook trout actively working a redd. Does that mean I should quit fishing that stream entirely?
Thu, 3 November 2022
My guest this week is Alex Waller [41:36] from New Zealand. You've likely seen his great videos on Orvisnews.com or on You Tube, in his channel Trippin on Trout. Alex shares his techniques for fishing nymphs in late fall and winter with us, and his techniques are a bit different than what most of us use, so you make pick up some tips for your own trout fishing wherever you live. And because he often fishes for migratory rainbows coming out of giant Lake Taupo, his techniques will play well with Great Lakes "steelhead".
In the Fly Box this week, we have a host of interesting questions, including:
What is the most buoyant natural material for dry flies?
Does adding UV resin to dry flies affect their buoyancy?
What is the best way to carry and store tube flies?
Is there a universal rule for what size nymph you can use on a dry dropper?
How do I keep my hook gap clear of materials so I don't miss strikes?
What should I do when a big fish shakes its head when fighting?
If black is the most visible color for flies, why do some anglers prefer black hooks when fish are spooky?
If black is most visible in murky water, why do some people recommend bright flies under these conditions?
I am stuck in the rolling plains of the Midwest, four hours from a trout stream. Can I still go fly fishing?
A local river is highly pressured with very clear water, so everyone uses tiny midges.
Would a bigger fly work sometimes?
What is the best upgrade I can make to my Clearwater outfit, without spending hundreds of dollars?
Do you ever swing wet flies in small streams?
If so what leader do you use?
When do you use a strike indicator instead of a dry dropper?
And what kind do you use?
I have a floating line for striped bass fishing and have done well with it. What other line would you recommend?
What do you suggest if I want to try night fishing for striped bass?
Fri, 28 October 2022
This week, my guest is Dave DiBenedetto, Editor-in-Chief of Garden & Gun Magazine, who is a lifelong fly fisher. If you read the magazine, you can see that they frequently publish fly-fishing stories, and also that they stress conservation. In their latest issue, they make public their Champions of Conservation Awards, which go to people who are making a difference at the grassroots level in all areas of conservation. Recipients range from Capt. Bennie Blanco in the Florida Everglades; to Savi Horne, who works to keep agriculture sustainable for Black farmers; to Dr. Jennifer Rehage, who has discovered shocking levels of pharmaceuticals in Florida's bonefish population—and seven other fascinating individuals who have made a difference. We also talk fishing, from marsh redfish to small-stream trout in the mountains of the South.
In the Fly Box this week, we have these questions and more:
What is your take on small river fishing from a kayak for smallmouth bass?
What is the best way to travel with a fully assembled fly rod inside an SUV or Jeep?
Can I fish a dry/dropper or indicator with my 10-foot, 3-weight Euro rod?
What is the minimal number of fly rods one can own for the most diverse situations and number of species?
And what rods should they be?
Is there any way to have a smooth connection from line to leader with the convenience of a loop-to-loop connection?
Do we need to be as careful when releasing bluegills and bass as we are with trout?
Is there anything wrong with adding colored marks to the end of my fly line and Euro-nymphing with a short leader?
Will trout that are eating tiny flies take a bigger dry at last light? Can I Euro nymph in small streams with a short rod?
What is the minimum and maximum amount of gear you would take for an afternoon of fishing?
The fish I get in my net quickly often struggle a lot. Should I play them longer?
Is there an app to analyze your casting?
Someone suggested using thinner-bodied Zebra Midges. Is that a good idea?
Fri, 21 October 2022
I've long been fascinated by the way geology affects the character and richness of a trout stream, and I know other anglers are as well. My interview this week is with geology professor Dr. Nelson Ham [40:36], who has been studying the effects of both geology and historical land use practices on the character of our trout rivers. The discussion also goes into the value of ground water on how productive our rivers can be. I learned a lot in this interview and I know you will as well.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting an unusual questions and comments, including:
I have six Helios 3 rods and want to sell one. Which one should I sell?
Do you think the affect of COVID on swelling the ranks of fly fishers will go down?
I found an Orvis 1856 bamboo fly rod in the attic of my new house. Was it really built in 1856?
A listener encourages me to keep making fun of various kinds of fly-fishing methods.
In places I used to catch brook trout I am now only catching chubs. Do you think trout will re-inhabit these streams?
A listener reminds me that organizations like Project Healing Waters promote the therapeutic value of fly fishing in young veterans.
Do you think tube flies would be effective for golden dorado?
If it's legal, how many flies do you think are too many on a single leader?
When I fish a dry dropper, why do the smaller fish take my small Zebra Midge and the larger trout take a poke at my dry fly?
What flies and gear are recommended for catching Atlantic mackerel on a fly?
If I don't want to use head cement, is a double whip finish a good way to increase the durability of my flies?
When I use a throat pump on trout, why do my samples sometimes come up empty?
Thu, 13 October 2022
This week we take a trip Down Under to talk to guide Angus Reynolds [41:21] in Australia. Angus customarily guides trout anglers, but because of the recurring drought in Australia he has been pursuing alternate species and carp are one of his major targets. I thought we could learn some techniques to try on our North American carp, which are the same species, and Angus has some interesting tips on fishing a sunken dry fly for them. He also tells some great stories about catching Murray cod and eels on a fly rod!
In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions and comments, including:
Can I use my 11-foot, 3-weight Helios Blackout rod for trout Spey? If so, what grain weight should I use?
When should I use jig hooks and slotted beads as opposed to regular nymph hooks and beads?
Do you have some tips for Eastern stillwater trout fishing? Is it much different than what they do in the West?
Is there a reasonable do-it-yourself repair kit for fly rods I can take into the field with me?
Does UV resin attract trout? And are UV materials really attractive to trout?
A listener from the UK says the whole idea of public water in North American blows his mind. He asks if it is really true that we can fish any river we want?
A listener takes me to task for insinuating that people who use Euro nymphing techniques are only after racking up numbers of fish.
What is the difference between graphite and fiberglass rods for small streams, and which is better?
If I see a beaver on one end of a pond and an otter on the other, which one should I stay away from when fishing?
A listener shares his experience of brown trout favoring one fly on his nymph rig and rainbow trout the other fly.
Thu, 6 October 2022
Originally Released Jul 09, 2021
This week I am delighted to have biologist John McMillan back as my guest [46:00]. John gives us a detailed view on the affect of water temperature on a trout's metabolism, particularly at the upper end of their safe range. In this summer of low flows and high water temperatures nearly everywhere in North America, it's a critical topic. And as usual, John puts his critical eye on how we, as anglers, can mitigate these effects by changing our fishing behavior. John is never without optimism, and I think you'll enjoy his discussion and learn more about trout biology and how we can be more responsible anglers.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips from listeners:
Direct download: backcast_How_does_water_temperature_affect_trout_behavior.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30am EST
Thu, 29 September 2022
Anyone involved in the world of fly fishing knows that young people are getting involved at a rate greater than any time in its history. Why? What do they want out of fly fishing, why does it appeal to them, and what do they see as the future of fly fishing? This is Part two of a podcast series where I interview young people about these questions, and this week my guest is a college student, Lukas Draugelis [37:14], president of the University of Vermont Fly-fishing Club—a very vibrant organization.
In the Fly Box this week we some great questions, as well as a bit of humor, including:
I get my fly line, rod tip, net, and flies stuck in trees and bushes, sometimes at the same time. Does this happen to anyone else?
How do bursts of rain and muggy days affect fly fishing? How about barometric pressure?
I have never seen a good hatch on a river. What kinds of environmental cues trigger a hatch?
What grain weight should I put on a fiberglass rod that calls for a 5/6 line?
What does the term “boat rod” mean in fly fishing?
I fish a wild trout stream with numerous small fish with the biggest around 14 inches.
How many and what size can I safely harvest?
Any tips on how to make my first casts in a pool as good as the ones I may 15 minutes later when I am “warmed up”?
How can I avoid foul hooking fish, and am I killing fish that I foul hook?
What does a fish sound like when it is spooked?
If I came fly fishing with you on small streams, what rod, leader, and flies would you be using?
Is there a good way to make an adjustable dropper on a dry/dropper rig?
Thu, 22 September 2022
This week, my guest is Austin Boswell [37:57], owner and guide for Eastern Oregon River Outfitters. I wanted to talk to Austin because I'm doing a two-part series on why young people are suddenly getting into fly fishing after many years of it being mostly an older person's pastime. I got into fly fishing at a young age, but in those days all the fly fishers I knew were older, and today we're seeing a great influx of young people taking up the sport. Why? I don't have any answers so for the next two podcasts I am going to be interviewing two fly fishers under the age of 30 to find out why it is so intriguing to them.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions and comments, including:
I found my fly line wrapped over itself on my reel. How did that happen and how can I prevent it?
My normally easy-to-approach brook trout have become really spooky in the low water of summer. Will they be easier once the water levels come back up? Is my fly line scaring them and what can I do?
How long do felt soles last?
When did Orvis stop impregnating bamboo rods and why?
A great quote on harvesting fish by blogger and author Bill Robichaud
Is there a standard for reel foot sizing?
Are the reel feet different in different-sized reels?
What taper model are the various Recon models based on?
Why do my Chubby Chernobyl flies not float well?
Do trout eat woolly bear caterpillars?
How do I cast an open loop when using indicators or dry droppers?
Why do caddis flies and midges have a pupa stage and mayflies don't?
How do I mix dubbings with different textures in a coffee grinder?
Sat, 17 September 2022
We all get occasional aches and pains from casting, or as we get older we worry about getting them. Dr. Jason Smith [51:14] is an expert in sports medicine and has worked with many professional athletes in developing routines from strengthening muscles and connective tissue. He has some great advice on avoiding casting injuries, types of therapy to alleviate the pain of these issues, and also some easy exercises to avoid injury in the future. Fly fishing is supposed to be fun and any way we can take the pain out of it is welcome advice.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some controversy and some great questions, including:
If I am fishing an articulated fly in a place where only a single hook is allowed by law, should I cut off the back hook or the front hook?
I’ve tried night fishing without any success. What do you suggest?
If I am using a dropshot rig in very deep, fast water, how many split shot is too many?
A tip from a listener about a great suggestion for casting he got from George Daniel
If I am fishing two or three flies, is there any rule as to where I should place my heaviest fly?
I only have a 5-weight and a 10-weight rod and I want to fish for bass.
Can I use my 10-weight for bass fishing?
It’s still hard to reconcile catch-and-release fishing for ecological reasons with a carbon footprint from cross-country trips. And I heard that there is at least an 11% mortality rate in catch-and-release fishing.
Do trout eat whirligig beetles and water striders? And what do they tell me about a trout stream?
How should I adjust my fishing tactics when it rains?
I fish a catch-and-release pond with picky fish and heavy fishing pressure. If no one fished this pond for a year, would the trout get less selective?
A listener takes me to task for saying I try to avoid fishing for stocked trout. And then asks me what I would do if I lived in an urban area where there were only put-and-take fisheries for trout.
A listener is confused by the different sizes of aquatic insects and asks if the same ones hatch in different sizes.
A physicist weighs in on how to stalk trout, knowing how the physics of refraction works.
A listener gives me a list of the rods he owns and asks if there is something missing in his arsenal, especially for small streams.
Thu, 8 September 2022
Catch-and-release fishing for trout is not a conservation tool. It’s a way to manage trout populations for larger fish, based mainly on sociological or even political pressures. Sometimes it doesn’t even produce larger fish, and it can backfire when it inflames local anglers. Tim Traver [38:50], author of Lost in the Driftless, has spent years studying the effects of fishing regulations on both fish and human populations and I think your eyes will open to the limitations of regulations like “fly-fishing only” or “catch-and-release”.
In the Fly Box this week, we have lots of interesting questions and comments from listeners, including:
What can I do to avoid crowds on a heavily pressured eastern trout stream?
What is the best way to carry a net when using a sling bag?
A listener has some great comments on why bamboo rods are so special.
Why am I consistently breaking off large brown trout using 6X tippet?
If I don’t have a fishing backpack or vest, how can I carry a net?
How can I fish very fast water effectively with a dry dropper rig?
If most fish food is dull colored, why do we use so many wild colors in our flies?
A listener makes some great points on why fishing close to home is desirable.
A physicist weighs in on what a trout can see from underwater.
Can I effectively Euro-nymph with my 9-foot, 5-inch Blackout rod?
What are some good uses for squirrel tail in fly tying?
What is everyone doing in the northeast for fly fishing during the drought?
Direct download: When_Catch-and-Release_Doesnt_Work_with_Tim_Traver.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:55pm EST
Fri, 2 September 2022
My guest this week is Sean Carey [48:31], drummer and keyboard player for the indie folk band Bon Iver, who also records solo work as S Carey. Sean has been fly fishing for many years, beginning when he was in high school, and we spend a lot of time discussing the concept of “growing where you were planted” or learning the pleasures of discovering fly fishing close to home. And of course we talk about how fly fishing has influenced his song writing, and also what the theoretical difference might be in the way a classically trained musician approaches fly fishing as opposed to the way a jazz musician might. At the end of the podcast is a special treat—a recording of his song “Yellowstone” (but no it’s not a fishing song even though we all associate that area with fishing).
In the Fly Box this week, we have a bunch of thought-provoking questions from listeners, including:
If I can see a fish in the water, does that mean it can see me? Or does a trout’s “window” work in reverse?
What do you think of tying the dropper onto the eye of the dry fly instead of the bend when using a dry-dropper rig?
Are those rock dams that people make in streams bad for trout?
What is your opinion of Jack’s Knot?
Will Tenkara fishing work on small, clear spring creeks? W
hy does the Crackleback fly work?
If I have a bunch of old reels with lines on them, can a fly shop tell me what size they are?
What kind of additional flies and gear do I need when moving form smallmouth bass fishing to tailwater trout fishing?
What do you do for protection in bear and cougar country?
What is your preferred method for fishing a nymph under an indicator?
I got an H3 rod as a gift and I don’t feel I am good enough to use it yet. What do you think about this?
Shawn Brillon gives me the answers on four questions about bamboo rods as a follow-up to his recent podcast
Would my 10-foot 7-weight rod be OK for bonefishing in the Turks and Caicos?
Bass keep throwing my heavy cone-head streamers when they jump. Would keeping tension on them when they jump prevent this?
How do you know what rod size to use?
How do you know what tippet size to use?
Fri, 26 August 2022
I get a lot of questions from listeners on how to get kids into fly fishing--what's the right rod outfit, what species to go after, how to structure (or not structure) a day on the water, what resources are available, and how to instill a sense of ethics and conservation in kids. My guest this week is an expert on the subject. Marsha Benovengo [40:20] is state chair of New Jersey Trout Unlimited, and this year she received the coveted Mortensen Award from TU for her volunteer service and dedication. She has a host of great tips for guiding kids through their fly-fishing education.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions and tips from listeners, including:
I noticed trout living in a polluted pond near a garnet quarry. Don't trout always live in completely pristine water?
I have a kink in my fly line that I can't remove. Do you have any tips on getting it out?
What do you do to help your feet after a day of wet wading?
Can I travel with fly rods in a duffel bag?
A tip from a listener on using Lycra dive socks for wet wading How exactly do you check the balance on a fly rod?
Does Tom ever get to fish anymore?
How can I get more distance when surf fishing for snook?
I am doing well using Euro-style jig flies with an indicator and a standard 9-foot 5-weight rod.
Would I be even more successful with a Euro rod? And how do they fish dry flies with those 10-foot 3-weight rods?
Should I attach my nymphs with a loop knot?
How can I fish a high mountain lake with extensive weed beds?
Would my 12-year-old son be better off with a double taper line than the weight-forward line he is currently using?
A great story from a listener in Sweden who has a friend that has caught 100 species of fish native to Sweden, all on fly tackle.
Will fishing my "cold water" Bank Shot line in warm water and air temperatures damage the line?
How can I clean some peacock feathers I got from a friend?
How can I keep my fly lower in the water column when swinging streamers for smallmouth bass?
I have a small spring on my property and would like to see if it will hold trout. Should I dig it out and clean out all the willows around it?
Fri, 19 August 2022
Want to know how a bamboo fly rod is made? How long it takes to make one? How many different hands touch an Orvis bamboo fly rod before you (and your children and grandchildren) become its lucky owner. And finally, what's so great about bamboo fly rods? How are they different from fiberglass and graphite, and what will they do for you on the water? This week I interview Orvis bamboo fly rod craftsman Shawn Brillon [45:09], who loves to talk bamboo rods as much as he enjoys making and fishing them.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips from listeners, including:
I could catch rising trout in one part of a pool, but when I moved 50 meters upstream I couldn't catch any. What was going on?
How do I determine the correct size leader if I am going from a single size 16 fly to a hopper or multiple nymph rig?
What are your thoughts on weed guards on flies?
I caught a dragonfly on my elk hair caddis. Am I the first?
I hooked a trout in the corner of the mouth and even with a barbless hook it bled and looked like it would die. Would it have been better if I left the fly in the fish?
I have been fishing with an 8-weight shooting head outfit for striped bass and halibut. I want to catch corbina but I hear they are spooky. Do you think my 8-weight is too heavy?
I keep seeing these large fish rising in a heavily pressured river but can't catch them on any multi-fly rig. What can I do to fool these fish?
What do you do to stay in shape for fishing?
What are the advantages of a big dry fly over a bobber?
Does bead size really matter regarding attractiveness to trout? And is there a seasonality to what color beads you should use?
I have been catching catfish on a fly. Does anyone else do this and is it a "thing" or is it bycatch?
I went to Banff to fish and they required that all my tackle, including lines and leaders, could not have been used for 45 days and had to be cleaned and treated. What do you think about the potential for things like lines and leaders to transfer invasive species?
Fri, 12 August 2022
My guest this week is Cameron Mortensen of The Fiberglass Manifesto [51:24]. Cam is one of the most knowledgeable anglers when it comes to fiberglass fly rods. I know a lot of listeners are curious about glass rods, and so we can to answer the questions: What is the history of fiberglass rods? How do modern ones compare to the older styles? What are the advantages of fiberglass rods? What are the drawbacks of fiberglass rods? What are the new 4-piece Orvis Superfine Glass rods like? If you've been curious about trying a fiberglass fly rod, I hope this podcast answers some of your questions.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some thought-provoking questions, tips, and complaints, including:
What are the benefits of a strip set, and what is happening at the end of the line?
When should I use the strip set?
Should I buy an 8-weight or a 9-weight for a combination of saltwater and largemouth bass?
Why do largemouth bass follow my fly and not take it? Why don't people use duck-quill-wing wet flies anymore?
A listener takes Tom to task for making fun of Tenkara fishing
A guide makes a plea for clients to practice their casting before a day of fishing.
I have some 50-year-old flies that look to be in good shape and the hooks are not rusty. Do you think the hooks are still good and won't break?
A listener asks for advice between a 7- or 8-weight rod for bass and carp.
If the mono in my poly leader gets too short, should I cut back the coating to try to expose more of the core?
A tip on using crushed material from inside desiccant packages for a fly flotant
Do some fly tiers get royalties on the patterns they designed?
I see bass splashing up against the shore and logs. Are they chasing baitfish, and if so, how do I catch them?
How do I get the curl out of my leader when fishing big flies?
I had two 9-foot, 5-weight rods break in the same place, a half inch from the tip. What do you think happened?
What does Tom do when he gets frustrated and his casting mechanics break down?
Direct download: All_about_fiberglass_fly_rods_with_Cam_Mortensen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:38am EST
Thu, 4 August 2022
This week, my guest is guide and author Matt Supinski [51:36], one of the most innovative thinkers in fly fishing with a long history in the business. The topic is selectivity, which Matt wrote an entire book about a few years ago. What is selectivity in fish feeding, is it always operating, why does it happen, and how can we use it to our advantage when fishing? It’s a fascinating topic and one Matt and I explore in depth.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and comments, including:
Do longer rods roll cast better than shorter ones? And do slower rods roll cast better?
Can I use one of those yarn practice rods to fine tune my double haul?
Why can I only find lead split shot? Isn’t it bad for the environment?
Who were your “media heroes” when growing up?
Do the vibrations from car-top rod carriers damage rods?
A listener takes me to task for suggesting people use a throat pump to see what trout are eating.
Why do trout sometimes not respond to heavy hatches?
The smallmouth bass in my local streams are quite small. Why don’t they grow bigger?
How can I catch trout in a small stream that runs into a local pond?
What can I do to make stripers on the flats take my flies? They keep following but don’t commit.
Why do fly shop employees get paid such a low wage?
Does green-colored tippet material offer any advantage?
How can I improve my dexterity and efficiency when tying knots on the water?
Can I use a reel suitable for an 8-weight line on my 5-weight rod?
Fri, 29 July 2022
This week, my guest is captain Drew Price [56:13], an expert on fishing large, multi-story, multi-species lakes. Drew has pioneered methods of catching unusual and fascinating freshwater fish like bowfin, gar, and freshwater drum. He also loves to fish for trout, bass, and carp but there are days on his home water, Lake Champlain, when those popular fish may not cooperate. And it's fun to fill your life list with new species, some of which may live in your own back yard. If you're looking for a new challenge, want to escape summer's crowded trout rivers--or if your rivers are too warm--learn about how you can fish large lakes for all kinds of cool fish.
In the Fly Box this week, we have lots of thought-provoking questions, including:
What should I pack for my trip to Alaska, and how should I pack my waders?
Why did they use heaver stuff, like size 8 wet flies and 3X leaders, back in the 1930s through 1950s?
Why am I missing brown and rainbow trout striking my leech pattern?
Why am I missing small cutthroat trout on my dry flies?
I see large brown trout very close to me in a heavily fished river, but they won't take any of my flies. Are they spooked?
Tips from a listener on how to store rods and other tackle Why do some rods not have hook keepers?
What fishing fiction do you recommend, beyond Big Two-Hearted River and A River Runs through It?
For fishing hopper patterns, should I go long and fine or short and heavy with my leader?
I caught some big rainbow trout but also saw some huge suckers in the same river. How can I catch those suckers on a fly?
Where is the best place to set down your rod and reel when switching flies or leaders?
If I see some debris on my nymph, should I clean it off?
How does the hard-sided Orvis stripping basket compare to collapsible mesh versions?
When I release trout, should I try to feed them mealworms or something to make up for them losing a meal?
Fri, 22 July 2022
This week, my guest is Capt. Benny Blanco of Islamorada, in the Florida Keys [37:38]. Benny talks about his life in the Keys and about how he came to realize that the fishery on which he made his living was threatened--and how he learned to make a difference. The Everglades will never be completely pristine again, but with people like Benny involved, it can regain much of its former glory. And it's not only the Everglades.
Restoration of the entire watershed will also help the world-class fisheries in Florida Bay, the health of the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries, and the drinking water supply of the 9 million people in South Florida. It's a study in best practices that people in any part of the world can learn from to protect their treasured resources.
In the Fly Box this week we have some lighter topics:
How long does it take for a fish to remove a hook that has been left in it? Is there much of a mortality rate?
How do you fish with friends on a small stream?
Great tips from a listener for making sure you don't leave any gear behind on a trip
What parts of my fly gear can be damaged in a hot car?
Have you ever tried a "dry dropper" arrangement with a popper when fishing for striped bass?
Why are most imitations of mayflies so small?
If I am used to fishing small streams, how can I read the water in a big flat piece of water in a big river?
When fishing multiple flies, should I use a weaker knot on the droppers so I don't lose my entire rig?
How do I set the hook when stillwater fishing?
When fishing three flies at once, I foul hook a lot of trout. How can I prevent that?
Thu, 14 July 2022
This week, my guest is longtime guide, fly shop owner, journalist, musician, and all-around great guy Jim McLennan [40:26]. Jim is a thoughtful fly fisher who always has solid tips on fly-fishing techniques, and this week we talk about mayfly spinners—their mysteries, how to identify when they are active, and how to target trout feeding on them. Mayfly spinner falls are some of the best opportunities to catch large trout on a dry fly because trout gorge on them and sometimes get stupid, so it pays to have some intelligence on taking advantage of these opportunities. And this is a timely podcast because in most parts of the country, we are about to get into the prime season for the tiny Trico spinners.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some intriguing questions and tips from listeners, including:
Why can I do to prevent my mono eyes from breaking on my tarpon flies?
How do I clean my saltwater flies after a trip so they aren’t all mangled?
Can I use more than one subsurface fly with a dry-dropper rig?
How can I fish a deep plunge pool with a dry-dropper?
I have broken a bunch of rods in the past couple years. Is it due to my bad casting?
Some great tips from a relatively new angler on where to get the best help and advice.
What is a good way to enjoy a fly-fishing trip with a young family?
How can I break into writing stories and poems about fly fishing?
Is using a stomach (throat) pump unethical, and is it looked down upon by other fly fishers?
A tip for using neoprene socks when wet wading
In the short and long term, what do you expect the results of the Yellowstone flood will be?
Direct download: Tips_for_fishing_mayfly_spinners_with_Jim_McLennan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:31pm EST
Thu, 7 July 2022
You may have never heard of redeye bass or seen one. Yet they are a wonderful fly-rod fish. They live in spectacular, clear mountain streams and take a fly very well. They’re mainly found in the deep South, particularly in Alabama, so they’re a great fly-rod target in places where you would not ordinarily think of fly fishing. They’re a native species that deserve more visibility from the fly-fishing community and my guest, Matthew Lewis [44:27], is perhaps the world expert on fly fishing for them.
In the fly box this week, we have some interesting questions and great tips from listeners, including:
What percentage of the time do trout in lakes feed on the surface?
What is a go-to fly for late summer fishing on small streams?
What can I do to prevent foul-hooking so many fish? And when I hook a trout in the belly, is it sure to die?
Do oils from our hands harm trout?
Do you have some general rules of thumb for how rain affects fly fishing?
I am using wide gape hooks and missing a lot of small brook trout. Is it the hook that’s my problem?
I saw some large brown trout in shallow water around spawning season and could not get them to take a fly. What can I do?
What do you think of the Double Davy Knot?
A listener shares a killer nymph pattern he developed.
When I practice casting, why does the end of my leader fray and my fly line loop come apart?
Do you ever guide?
I fish a stream with rainbow trout, and for the first six months of the season I can’t find them. Where do they go?
How much less backing fits on a spool when I use 30-pound backing instead of 20-pound?
Are the natural materials we use for fly tying from ethically treated animals?
Sun, 3 July 2022
This week my guest is Paul Bruun [39:50], a legendary figure in fly fishing who has been involved with the fly-fishing world even longer than me.
On Thursday, June 30th, he received the Izaak Walton Award from the American Museum of Fly fishing for a lifetime of contributions to our sport. Paul is a guide, writer, newspaperman, and he developed the famous South Fork Skiff, which has recently been resurrected and redesigned by the famous Adipose Boatworks Company in Montana. Paul is a wonderful storyteller and he tells us about what it was like to learn fly fishing in South Florida in the 1960s—not an easy task!
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and suggestions from listeners, including:
I am too slow in striking to small mountain trout. Is there a way I can fix that?
A listener alerts us to a water issue on an Oregon tailwater
A listener is confused by the differences in pound test and diameter on leader butts and wants to know if there is a rule-of-thumb for the correct leader butt section.
Do you think the studs on my wading boots are spooking trout?
Do trout in different micro-habitats in the same river choose different insects?
How small of a river is too small to use trout spey equipment? And should I use a Scandi or Skagit setup?
Is it useful to be able to cast with either your right or left hand?
I see larger fish suspended a foot from the surface over deep water. What are they doing there?
A listener suggests that a previous question about not being able to hook rising trout during a caddis hatch may have been due to mountain whitefish, which have a much smaller mouth than trout.
I am getting lost flies and a pigtail at the end of my leader when using a clinch knot. What should I do? Is there a better knot?
What is the best way to store fly rods in their tubes?
Thu, 23 June 2022
My guest this week is Timbre Pringle of Faceless Fly Fishing [46:26] and the topic is small stream fly fishing, particularly in the Rocky Mountains. Timbre has some great tips on fishing dries, dry dropper combos, and streamers in small streams, and the differences between the different species of trout in small streams. She also gives some great tips on avoiding encounters with bears, something that can be an issue when certain areas of the Rockies once you get away from the road.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some seasonally appropriate questions and some good tips from listeners, including:
Four good tips on storing tying materials from a listener
When do you use a dubbing loop, and when do you use the standard noodle method instead?
How do I avoid the numerous small steelhead parr on my local river?
Why did I miss 20 fish in a row when fishing a dry fly during a caddis hatch?
A listener takes issue with the advice of using heavier tippets to play fish quickly
Do trout get full and not rise when there is an over-abundance of bugs?
Why can I catch fish on dries and not on nymphs?
A listener asks my thoughts on nymphs with a bobber vs. a dry dropper rig.
A listener tore a small piece of the jaw off a trout because he forgot to pinch his barb. He wants to know if that hole in the trout’s jaw is a death sentence.
How should I get set up to swing flies for smallmouth bass?
How can I intercept a hatch?
What features should I look for if I want to try to wait on the bank for a hatch to appear?
Should I avoid putting flotant on the bodies of foam flies?
Thu, 9 June 2022
My guest this week is Brian Grossenbacher [42:45], one of the finest fly-fishing still photographers in the world. You’ve seen his work on the cover of many magazines and in Orvis catalogs. (Brian and I recently collaborated on a book entitled, simply, Trout, with his images and my essays. ) Learn how Brian’s career changed from being a full-time fishing guide to a professional photographer and glean some tips on how to go pro yourself—or at least improve the quality of your own images. Along the way, Brian tells a couple stories that had me in tears of laughter as I was recording this.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions and great tips from listeners, including:
What impact does bug spray have on fish and the tackle we use?
My Elk Hair Caddis dry flies land on their sides. How can I prevent this?
Should I grease my leader when fishing with a dry-dropper rig in fast water?
I want to try carp fishing. Should I put my money into a better reel or a better rod?
A tip from a listener on how to keep materials out of the eye of a fly you just tied, and how to keep your hands warm in cold weather.
A tip from a listener on how he greatly improved his casting with all rods when he went from a 4-weight rod to a 9-weight rod.
What would you do if faced with three days of 25 mph winds and dirty water when on a saltwater trip?
Does cold weather make fly rods brittle?
I came up with a killer fly pattern that is unlike anything out there. Should I share the pattern on social media?
I am having trouble with carp. What fly patterns do you recommend, and how can I tell when they take the fly?
What tips do you have for making those quick deliveries when sight fishing in salt water?
Thu, 2 June 2022
My guest this week is well, me. I recorded a podcast and the file got corrupted and I couldn’t get my guest back in time to do a makeover. So this week is just the Fly Box.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions and tips, including:
Do I absolutely need a full sinking line and a stripping basket to fish in the surf?
Do you pinch the barbs on flies for all saltwater species?
Will streamers and bucktails work throughout the summer?
Can I go heavier than 6X on smaller flies to get fish in quicker and stress them less?
Why do I catch many fish in a small stream and then see none on the next trip?
Any advice on tips for setting the hook when using a long cast?
Should I pursue traditional fly gear or just use Tenkara?
Should I use a 6-weight for a light saltwater outfit?
How can I get the hackle on my Parachute Adams to look better?
When would someone replace a dry fly as an indicator with a standard indicator in small streams?
What is the best way to attach 80 lb. shock tippet to a 20 lb. class tippet?
What is the best material for shucks on emergers?
What is the largest trout Tom ever caught?
If you are switching back and forth between tippets and modifying your leader, does it matter that you are using the same butt section and midsection all the time?
Thu, 26 May 2022
This week’s podcast is fun to listen to, even if you don’t need any tips on how to get a friend into fly fishing. Charlie Berens is a talented writer comedian with a midwestern flair (check out his You Tube videos) and Adam Greuel is a musician with the band “Horseshoes and Hand Grenades” and also has a number of solo albums. Adam recently introduced Charlie to fly fishing and their experiences are both valuable and funny [42:20].
As a bonus, we’ve included a song they did together at the end of the podcast.
In The Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips from listeners, including:
Sometimes I see trout from a bridge, other times I don’t. Is this unusual and why?
What is the difference between a $100 fly rod and a $1000 fly rod?
A suggestion on how to arrange your flies and droppers to lessen tangles
A suggestion on how to instill better etiquette on our waters I keep losing fish once they are hooked.
Do I need a better hook-setting strategy?
A great suggestion from a listener on how to tie a weedless bass fly—and techniques for fishing it.
If you find nothing is working for you on a trout stream, what do you do?
What is the best way to fish plunge pools on small streams?
What is the difference between a slow rejection to a fly and a splashy one, and what can I do when a trout rejects my fly?
Fri, 20 May 2022
I get a lot of questions about how fly rods are designed and I think there are a number of misconceptions about where that new rod, like the Helios Blackout series, came from. Where did the idea come from? How is the design created? If you want a 9-foot, five-inch 5-weight rod, do you just add five inches to an existing rod design? I think you’ll be surprised at what goes into a new fly-rod design, and think you’ll enjoy peaking under the hood with a rod designer [41:04].
In the fly box this week, we have some great comments and questions, including:
A great explanation of the spirituality of fly fishing
When I move from one tailwater to another, my techniques don’t seem to work. What should I change?
My small stream fished well last year. This year the water is colder and higher. What should I do?
Is it OK to cut my fly line back if it’s cracked?
What would you do if you see trout in shallow, clear water and they are not rising?
Do you have any suggestions for detecting carp strikes in cloudy water?
Is there a largemouth fly that is as weedless as a rubber worm?
What flies do you recommend for bonnethead sharks?
A cool suggestion for adding a dropper fly
What organizations do you recommend if I care about climate change and the environment?
Fri, 13 May 2022
You may wonder why I’ve done a podcast about beavers. You may be greatly surprised by the beneficial interactions between beavers and trout habitat—I know I was after talking to Ben Goldfarb author of the book Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, [43:26]. Beavers have a much more positive effect on trout streams besides just making deep pools, and they don’t present any problems to migrating fish. And, yes, we do talk about how to fish a beaver pond, and how to find a good one. I think all fly fishers and nature enthusiasts will learn something new in this podcast.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting comments, questions, and tips, including:
The state stocks big rainbows in my wild brook trout stream. What are your thoughts on this issue?
I saw large trout jumping out of the water during a caddis hatch and could not catch any. What do you think they were doing?
What are the advantages of a double-taper over a weight-forward fly line?
A great story about how an injury caused a fly fisher to re-think priorities What size leader butt should I put on my saltwater lines?
And should I use the permanent loop in my fly line for big fish like tarpon?
How have Vermont trout streams fared after hurricane Irene?
If I pinch the barbs on my flies with forceps, am I legal in places that specify “barbless hooks only”?
A comment from a listener on how a generic description like “fly fisher” is also inclusive of people who identify as non-binary
A comment from a listener who believes that encouraging women to fly fish will cause our rivers to become too crowded.
A story from a listener who cautions us to be careful about sinkholes along the banks of trout streams.
A great tip for practicing your cast before a big trip.
What can I do to keep my large dry flies from twisting my leader?
Thu, 5 May 2022
I’ve been asked to touch more on the spirituality of fly fishing in my podcasts, and honestly I’m not very good at that. So I asked a thoughtful friend and author, Dylan Tomine [32:54], to touch on these aspects of fly fishing. I don’t think we got very spiritual, but we do ramble on about the other aspects of fly fishing we enjoy besides catching fish, casting, and tying flies. It’s mostly about the people.
In the Fly Box this week, I had some great questions, including:
I am going backpacking and want to travel light but fish some streamers in the middle of the day. What should I take for lines?
Will my 6-weight Helios rod be too heavy for fishing Slough Creek in Yellowstone Park?
How do you decide when to give up when fishing a small stream?
For fishing the banks of small ponds, will my 6-weight Pro line be OK or should I try a Bank Shot line for roll casting?
Can I use straight level fluorocarbon for a leader for lake trout and small mouth bass?
My polarized sunglasses don’t work well for spotting trout. Are all polarized sunglasses equal in terms of seeing fish?
What line should I use on my 9-foot, 8-weight Encounter rod when fishing 10 to 15 feet of water?
What do you do when switching from nymph fishing to fishing a hatch? What about furled leaders?
I keep losing large rainbow trout when they jump. I am indicator nymphing. Am I doing something wrong?
Direct download: The_other_pleasures_of_fly_fishing_with_Dylan_Tomine.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:09pm EST
Thu, 28 April 2022
This week, my guest is Thomas Larsen [45:47] from the Orvis Outfitters team. Thomas is a stillwater expert and gives us some great tips on how to find trout, and how to target them, when you don’t have the benefit of a watercraft. Maybe you don’t have a boat, can’t afford a raft, or backpack to high mountain lakes—this podcast is for you.
In the Fly Box this week, lots of good comments and questions as I have been gone for a couple weeks so the mailbox is filling up.
Thanks from a listener to turning him onto the Griffith’s Gnat dry fly
Euro nymphing seems just too efficient for me.
Am I being irrational by fishing less effective indicator rig?
A customer relates a great trip he had with Orvis-endorsed Brown Trout Flyfishing
What are the five or six “must have” items (after getting a fly rod outfit) you suggest for someone new to fly fishing?
Please give me five or six recommended flies for starting out.
I had a snapping turtle eat a trout as I was landing it.
What effect do catch and release fishing efforts have on fish populations?
For fishing the beach and canals and creeks in Florida or the Carolinas, what is the best all-around fly line?
I want to tie my own leaders. What sizes of tippet do I need? And can I tie my entire leader with surgeon’s knots?
Is a wire shock leader too much for lake trout? And what flies should I use?
How long does it take trout to recover after a spell of warm water?
If I can only catch trout on Rapalas and crankbaits but not on flies, what other types of flies should I try?
Great advice from a beginner on how much he learned about fish behavior by fishing dry flies
If fish can always see tippet, why is there a difference in effectiveness between tippet sizes?
What should I do if my fly line is cracked?
What is the difference between a standard clinch knot and improved clinch knot?
Why, when I catch multiple fish out of the same run, is the third or fourth fish often bigger than the first ones?
A guide attached my leader to my fly line loop with a clinch knot and the coating on the loop cracked. Should I cut off the loop and put my leader on with a nail knot?
Thu, 7 April 2022
This week, my guest is author, You Tube personality, and author Tim Cammisa [34:00]. We have a spirited discussion on fly patterns—which of the most common ones are untouchable, and which do we modify with different materials and techniques. And are they even the same fly if we modify them?
In the Fly Box, we have some great questions this week, including:
For streamer fishing for smallmouths, should I use my existing 6 weight or should I get a 7-weight rod?
Is the 10-foot 3-weight Euro nymphing rod the same as a 10-foot crappie jigging rod? If not how is it different? And is Euro nymphing really fly fishing?
Where do you use split shot and where do you use tungsten putty? Or is it purely personal preference?
I have been tying clinch knots by pulling on the tag end and it seems to be very strong. Do you think I am doing it the wrong way?
Can I use a Duncan Loop to attach a leader directly to a fly line?
Should I use a sinking line for streamer and nymph fishing?
How can I improve the durability of Dragon Tail flies?
Do striped bass prey on trout in freshwater rivers?
If I use a Berkely Gulp on my fly rod, is it technically a fly?
I am fishing for tiger muskie from shore. What type of line do I need?
Our rivers in Tennessee have an abundance of non-toxic salamanders. Do you think trout eat them, and if so how can I develop a fly to imitate them?
Thu, 31 March 2022
This week, my guest is Steve Davis, chief scientists for the Everglades Foundation [49:31]. Steve gives us an update on the Everglades restoration project, which will benefit fisheries and clean water throughout Florida and not just in the Everglades. And it’s an optimistic report, which we don’t always have when we report on conservation issues. So stay tuned for some good news—for a change!
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions of interest to most fly fishers, including:
What are the pros and cons of a loop-to-loop fly line to leader connection as opposed to a nail knot?
What rod should I get for small stream trout and panfish?
I want to give back to the fly-fishing community.
What organizations should I look to?
Tell me the realities of moving from a vest to a sling pack. Are eyes really important on saltwater patterns?
With improvements in rod technology, is a new Clearwater rod better than an older TLS Power Matrix rod?
What is your opinion on tippet length if I tie my own leaders?
Do trout and carp coexist in rivers and do they push each other around? I
s fishing for hatchery trout “cheating” and will I not learn anything useful fishing for them?
What is the product life cycle of a fly rod? Can you explain the differences between the various types of glues for fly tying?
I can catch fish on nymphs without an indicator, but I am having trouble when using one. What should I do differently?
I know fly lines are made to industry standards. Do the same standards exist for fly rods?
Wed, 9 March 2022
Josh Nugent of Out Fly Fishing in Calgary has been doing a series of “Seven Deadly Sins” podcasts with me over the past couple of years and this one is chock full of great advice [38:38]. Josh is a very preceptive angler and thinks deeply about how flies behave in the water and how trout react to them, and in the interview we go off on a number of tangents—all interesting and all about nymph fishing—and all of them with great advice on how to make your indicator nymphing game more fun and productive.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great tips and questions from listeners, including:
A terrific tip on why tying tube flies is a great way to get kids started
What kind of other storage systems does Tom use around his roll-top desk?
Where can I learn more about fly fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass?
What do you suggest for preventing cutoffs by chain pickerel?
Can I use sitka or axis deer, antelope, or goat hair for fly tying?
A great tip on replacing wing cases on smaller nymphs with a drop of UV cure resin Should I use my leader straightener?
Can I do longline French/Spanish nymphing with a two-handed rod?
How can I locate pinhole leaks ion my waders?
How do older series of rods compare to the modern ones? What is better about the more recent models?
I know your higher-end rods are made in Vermont, but where do the components come from?
Why do Americans shoot and kill birds?
What is a good two-line rotation for streamer fishing in Michigan? I
kept my fiberglass rod in a hot car and now I notice it has a kink in it. Could the hot car have been the reason?
Fri, 4 March 2022
This week my guest is Land Tawney [25:52], CEO of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and we discuss recent issues regarding public access on rivers in Colorado, Montana, and New Mexico. This is a timely topic, as public access advocates just won a big court victory in New Mexico (Phil please link to your blog post). I hope the podcast will get you up to speed on how stream access is handled by states, and I think you’ll see some positive news on all the great work Back Country Hunters and Anglers and other public access groups have been doing on our behalf. In the Fly Box this week, we have these questions and tips from listeners:
A tip from a listener on another natural material to use as a trailing shuck.
Is it wrong for me to ask a fly shop to let me test a fly line before I buy it?
How do you choose between using head cement or UV cure epoxy?
What do you think about using perfection loops to attach tippets instead of using a tippet ring?
What does Tom research before fishing new water?
A tip from a listener about another way to organize fly-tying materials.
A request for a podcast on tying classic salmon flies.
A listener expresses his disappointment in my not mentioning organizations like Casting for Recovery or Project Healing Waters in a discussion on the spiritual nature of fly fishing.
Fri, 25 February 2022
This week my guest is Noelle Coley [41:25] of Blackfoot River Outfitters in Missoula, Montana. Noelle is a serious winter fly fisher, with experience both in Colorado and Montana. She gives us great tips on flies, techniques, and of course dressing to keep warm. WE can all benefit from her experience and have more fun—and stay more comfortable—while fishing in the depths of winter.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions form listeners, including:
What do you think about shaming on social media about how people handle fish?
What should I do if I see someone spin fishing in an area that is clearly marked “Fly Fishing Only”?
Will my 6-weight rod be enough for fishing for bonefish in the Florida Keys?
Which rod should I use for swinging wet flies?
What tips do you have for taming deer hair when tying Comparaduns?
What should I do with a bunch of older fly rods that I no longer need?
Can a dropper fly on a two-fly rig create problems with hooking trout?
Why do fly fishers use such light tippet when conventional anglers can get away with using heavier line?
What do you suggest for a natural material to replace Antron on an emerger shuck?
I fish three nymphs on a rig. What’s a good strategy for replacing patterns if the ones I am using are not working?
I have a 4-weight line and want to buy a fiberglass rod for fishing small streams. Should I get a 3-weight and overline the rod or stick to a 4-weight rod?
What tips do you have for traveling with fly-fishing gear?
I have an Encounter 5-weight rod and am just starting out. When will I know when it’s time to upgrade, and how much difference will an upgraded rod make?
Fri, 18 February 2022
Finding those tiny, unpressured trout streams is a delightful form of exploration. You won’t find them on the internet or in books or magazine articles—at least the ones you really want to fish. But finding a small stream that you’ll probably have all to yourself and discovering the delights of catching eager trout on dries and nymphs—and sometimes small streamers—is one of the purest ways of enjoying fly fishing. Donna Smith [48:38], a member of the Orvis Outfitter team and an expert on small stream trout fishing tells us how to go about it.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some perplexing and interesting questions, as well as some tips from listeners, including:
Do textured lines spook fish when making noise going through the guides?
What happened to the Orvis Superfine Fiberglass rods? I
have a very fast action 10 weight rod and it’s difficult to feel it load with a 10-weight line. Do you think I can put an 11-weight line on it?
Any thoughts on de-barbing bonefish and permit flies?
How about stocking minnows and crayfish in streams. Do you think it’s a bad idea?
If I am fishing a bunch of rising fish and a bunch of anglers are standing on the bank waiting for me to leave, what should I do?
Why can I catch lots of fish when I go out into the wilderness but not when I am fishing the stocked river that’s right in town?
If trout are so sensitive to drag on a dry fly or nymph, why do they take a swinging soft hackle?
Great suggestions from a listener on how to avoid over-pressuring fish by modifying our behavior.
What does Tom think are the most difficult techniques in fly tying?
Why are there no sea-run rainbows in Connecticut?
Is the casting technique you use to cast poly leaders the same as you would use for an over-lined rod?
Thu, 10 February 2022
This week, my guest is the executive director of the Native Fish Coalition, Bob Mallard [42:09], who tells us why the organization was formed and what they do. His group took issue with some of the sentiments expressed in last week's podcast with Kirk Deeter, so to give everyone a broader view of the issue of wild native fish (as opposed to just wild fish, and Bob explains the difference in the podcast) I invited Bob to come onto the podcast to explain to us just how precious native or indigenous species are. There is much food for thought here and I hope it makes everyone think about the issues involved.
In the Fly Box this week, we have the usual roundup of interesting and sometimes tricky questions, and some great tips from listeners, including:
How even native black bass in the South are threatened by stocking of non-native varieties
Why doesn't the Orvis Learning Center talk about the spiritual value and nature of fly fishing?
What is the best all-around color for polarized sunglasses?
What's up with bead heads? Insects don't have metal heads.
A great tip from a listener on how to apply eyes to minnow patterns without getting your fingers stuck together with Super Glue.
How can I straighten a bunch of old saddle hackles that have a kink in them?
How do you deal with negative attitudes you hear spouted on the water?
A tip from a listener on how to magnetize or demagnetize a pair of forceps or a dubbing needle.
What fly-tying material does Tom feel is underutilized?
A comment from a listener on how something said on a podcast had a big influence on him regarding the "hero shot".
Why am I only catching whitefish, and do people like catching them?
Why haven't we tried restocking aquatic insects in rivers where they have become scarce?
What is Tom's favorite non-fish wildlife encounter on the river?
Fri, 4 February 2022
Have we gone too far with native species? with Kirk Deeter This week, my guest is Kirk Deeter, editor of Trout Magazine. Kirk is never one to shy away from controversy, and our topic this week is the concept of native species and the feasibility of trying to turn back the clock. We also ramble a bit about the state of the fly-fishing world in general, but as always Kirk is thoughtful and incisive in his views.
In the Fly Box this week we have some especially great tips from listeners and some interesting questions:
Some great tips from a listener on how to hook gar on the fly without resorting to yarn
A comment from a listener on the probability of tiger trout being produced naturally in wild trout populations.
Do I need a click-and-pawl reel on my bamboo rod, and do I need to get a special fly line?
Do you have some tips for catching bonefish in the Florida Keys by wading from shore?
How should I clean my waders if I fish multiple watersheds in a single day?
Because mayfly nymphs wiggle their tails in the water, why don't we tie more nymphs with flexible tails?
What are the essential fly materials to take if you're going to tie on a fishing trip?
How can I catch smallmouth bass on a fly in deep lakes?
A great tip from a listener on how to pick up beads and hooks around your tying bench--and also to recapture flies that fall out of your box on the river.
A great tip from a listener on how to practice casting heavily weighted flies.
I found a fly line that had been soaking in salt water.
Do you think it's still good to use?
How do I de-magnetize a pair of forceps?
How can I target trout in small creeks during the winter?
Thu, 27 January 2022
This week, my guest is Orvis casting guru Pete Kutzer, and we talk about casts for difficult trout. Often you don't need great casting skills or special casts to catch trout, but there are times when a little razzle-dazzle will make the difference. Pete talks about those situations and what to do--and he also introduces a new way of making a Bow-and -Arrow cast that was new to me. I think anyone can benefit from Pete's advice.
In the Fly Box this week, we have these great questions and tips from listeners:
What do you think about tying on eyeless hooks and making eyes out of silk bead cord?
What do you mean by the term "swinging flies"?
Can I target grass carp on a fly?
Can you ice fish with flies?
How do I fish a lake for trout from my kayak?
What do you think of the electric socks that are controlled by an app?
A great tip from a listener on avoiding spooking trout in small streams.
Can a figure-8 knot be used in fly fishing?
What do you recommend for a rod for fishing larger eastern rivers?
How can I correct a casting issue where my fly gets caught on my line-to-leader connection?
Do I need to buy a specific saltwater outfit for Belize or will my current steelhead rod work?
Do you recommend weed guards for fishing in Belize?
How much do brown trout move in the fall?
Do you think it's possible that a stocked tiger trout could have moved 30 miles from where it was stocked?
Can I overline my 3-weight rod by two line sizes for really short casts?
My wife has problems with glare on the water. Do you think there is something wrong with her eyes?
Which precautions should I take releasing trout in subzero weather?
Fri, 21 January 2022
I frequently get questions about CDC or Cul de Canard, a special feather found on ducks that makes very effective dry flies, emergers, and nymphs. What is it? Where does it come from? Why is it so special? What kinds of CDC are there, and how do you use it? And when fishing these flies, how do you treat them. My friend (and friendly nemisis from our monthly fly-tyig tie-offs) Tim Flagler [46:41] and I tell everything we know about CDC and its uses. I hope this answers many of your questions.
In the Fly Box this week, we have great tips from listeners and questions, including:
A tip for fly fishers who suffer from arthritis
Would it be better for me to take lessons on the water or hire a guide?
What are the best saltwater knots?
How do I avoid hitting myself and other people in the boat when fishing a heavy streamer?
Tips from a listener on repairing old bamboo rods, and advice for finding them at tag sales and reconditioning them
How do I pick up small hooks and beads that I drop off my tying table?
Can I overline my 3-weight fiberglass rod by two line sizes for fishing small streams?
Advice from a listener on cleaning and maintaining cork grips
What do you wear under electric socks?
Can I take some old flies and add a parachute to them?
What do you recommend I tie with all these game bird feathers I have been saving from my hunting trips?
When do you use wire, and when do you use beads on nymphs?
Do stocked fish push wild fish out of their normal places?
How do I keep my Elk Hair Caddis wing from rotating after I fish them for awhile?
Fri, 14 January 2022
Todays guest might make you mad. If you’re a trout angler he will certainly make you feel uncomfortable. Doug Thompson [37:29] is the author of The Quest for the Golden Trout, and the book is not what you think it might be from the title. He is a professor in geoscience and environmental studies and does research in geomorphology and hydrology. In examining critically what we do to ensure trout fishing, Douglas Thompson gores some sacred cows, including our obsession with stocking trout, non-native species we introduce, the way we manipulate the physical structure of rivers to benefit trout, and even the fishing tackle industry itself. You might think this book would make me angry, but it’s carefully researched and argued and has made me look differently at the structure of our entire trout-fishing industry.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips, including:
How do I repair an exposed thread and a bent ferrule on my bamboo fly rod?
How do I know when it's time to replace my sinking line?
How can I distinguish between weighted and unweighted flies? Do people fish for walleye and American shad with a fly rod? If so how do they do it?
Why do I foul hook fish when fishing with two nymphs?
Which floating line is best with my 10-foot 3-weight Clearwater?
Do you have some tips for casting with a sinking line?
A tip on feeling better about getting skunked
A story about why we should always debarb our hooks
What does Tom do when he is in a slump?
Thu, 6 January 2022
This week, my guest is Tim Landwehr [43:50], of Tight Lines Fly Fishing Company in De Pere, Wisconsin. Tim has decades of experience guiding for smallmouth bass and is co-author of a book on fly fishing for smallmouths. He shares some innovative and modern techniques for catching difficult smallmouths under all conditions, some you have probably never heard of or thought about.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions, including:
When I am Euro nymphing, why do trout always take my fly on the swing, after it has finished its dead drift?
I have trouble seeing my beetle imitations on the water. What can I do?
Why did trout, after refusing countless dead drifts during a spinner fall, take my fly as I stripped it back to me?
If you had to fish nymphs that only imitated one order of insects, which one would it be?
If I simplify my nymph collection to more generic imitations, will I do as well as if I worry about imitating specific insects?
What is the difference between a Comparadun and a Sparkle Dun and which one is better?
If I have the same guide two days in a row, should I tip him or her both days?
How many indicators should I carry for a day of fishing?
Do you prefer the Helios 3 D or F model in a 9-foot, 5-weight rod?
A fly shop owner told me not to submerge my reel. Was he right?
What is the best way to store dry flies?
A listener gives another good reason to always tie or buy three flies of the same pattern
How can I eliminate wind knots in my dry dropper rig? What is the best way to fish in the surf?