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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How have Vermont trout streams fared after hurricane Irene?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 EDT

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

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

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

Euro nymphing seems just too efficient for me.

Am I being irrational by fishing less effective indicator rig?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What should I do if my fly line is cracked?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How can I improve the durability of Dragon Tail flies?

Do striped bass prey on trout in freshwater rivers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What organizations should I look to?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you suggest for preventing cutoffs by chain pickerel?

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

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

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

How can I locate pinhole leaks ion my waders?

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

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

Why do Americans shoot and kill birds?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does Tom research before fishing new water?

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

A request for a podcast on tying classic salmon flies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which rod should I use for swinging wet flies?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What happened to the Orvis Superfine Fiberglass rods? I

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

Any thoughts on de-barbing bonefish and permit flies?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why are there no sea-run rainbows in Connecticut?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What fly-tying material does Tom feel is underutilized?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you think it's still good to use?

How do I de-magnetize a pair of forceps?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can I target grass carp on a fly?

Can you ice fish with flies?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you recommend weed guards for fishing in Belize?

How much do brown trout move in the fall?

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

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

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

Which precautions should I take releasing trout in subzero weather?

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

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

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

A tip for fly fishers who suffer from arthritis

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

What are the best saltwater knots?

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

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

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

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

Advice from a listener on cleaning and maintaining cork grips

What do you wear under electric socks?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A tip on feeling better about getting skunked

A story about why we should always debarb our hooks

What does Tom do when he is in a slump?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the best way to store dry flies?

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

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

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

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