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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

We frequently discuss water temperature in regard to trout fishing but you seldom hear much about how water temperature affects popular fly-rod fish like bonefish, tarpon, permit, redfish, striped bass, and bluefish.  Yet the water on the flats can vary dramatically depending on local weather patterns and tides, which will in turn affect where the fish move to and how actively they feed.  Learn from Bonefish Tarpon Trust's science director Aaron Adams [51:35] (also a superb fly fisher) on the science of water temperature and saltwater species.
In the Fly Box this week we have a great selection of questions, tips, and rants from listeners, including:
  • Is it appropriate to tip a guide when he or she runs a group class at a fly shop?
  • What kind of footwear do you use when blue lining when you are wet wading?
  • Does monofilament have a shelf life?
  • Is a fiberglass rod a viable option for carp, bass, or bonefish?
  • Has Tom developed any new insights on carp fishing in 2023?
  • My sister harvested a moose.  What flies can I tie with moose hair?
  • I've often had good fishing before a thunderstorm but not after.  Is there any validity to this observation?
  • A mild rant from a listener who does not like to chat on the water with other anglers.  And a less mild rant about anglers who invade his space.
  • Can I turn my fly line around to the running line when I want to Euro nymph?
  • How have developments in fly fishing changed the productivity of fly fishing in the last 100 years?
  • Why am I not seeing many fish in rivers that run into reservoirs in the fall?
  • How can I tell the difference between my nymphs ticking the bottom and a strike?
  • A great tip from a listener on removing all of your backing and rinsing it at the end of a saltwater fly-fishing season.
  • Should knots ever break?
  • This fall I fished a river that was 18 to 24 inches deep and uniform without much structure.  I fished hard with various methods and didn't catch a thing.  How would you approach water like this?
Direct download: WaterTempAaronAdams.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

This show on winter fly-fishing was originally posted on 28 January, 2011. Before we had interviews, the Flybox, or even call-ins, it was just Sir Tom rambling into a microphone. 

Don't forget there are hundreds of shows from our archives that are freelly available on your podcast reader and at

Direct download: Best_of_Tom_-Top_Ten_Tips_on_Winter_Fly_Fishing_3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Careful observation, active instead of passive, is the hallmark of a good fly fisher.  They pick up patterns by observing exactly where in the river a fish came from , or how it behaved when feeding, or what weather patterns preceded a particularly successful day.  Head guide Cliff Weisse [46:15] of Three Rivers Ranch in Warm River, Idaho tells us some things many fly fishers don't pay enough attention to, and thus lose the ability to improve their skills.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips, including:
  • How many flies and leaders will I need for a single day of guided fishing in the Bahamas?  And what gear will I need that I would normally not take for a day of trout fishing?
  • If I catch a trout from a small pool, should I assume the rest of the fish in that pool are spooked?
  • When should I strip a fish in, and when should I get the line on the reel?
  • My buddy and I lost 100% of the trout we hooked one day.  WE normally land most of them.  What did we do wrong?
  • What flies will imitate shad, small rainbows, sculpins, and small brown trout?
  • I fish a piece of water with lots of swirling eddies and have trouble with a normal hard strike indicator.  What should I use instead?
  • How can I manage using multiple fly lines without buying a new reel or spool for each one?
  • Is it OK for a guide to give me an unsolicited lecture on etiquette even though I never crowd anyone?
  • If I only make casts at a maximum of 15 feet in a small stream, is there a special fly line I should be using?
  • I read somewhere that the author uses "gel flotant on all my flies".  Am I missing something?
  • How do you determine the shuck color on a Sparkle Dun?
  • A great tip from a listener about using a "backing barrel" on a sighter leader when you have trouble seeing it.
  • How can I avoid spooking smallmouth bass on a small, clear stream?
Direct download: ObservationinFlyFishingWeiss.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Originally Posted on March 3rd, 2023

Back in 2008 when I first began this podcast I had two dreams—that I would have my two literary heros, John McPhee and Thomas McGuane as guests (they are both passionate fly fishers). I was lucky enough to record a podcast with John in August of 2021 and this week's podcast is with Tom McGuane [44:36], author of 20 highly regarded novels, screenplays, collections of short stories, and what is in my opinion the finest book of fly-fishing essays ever written, The Longest Silence. Most people who interview Tom want to talk about his crazy days in Key West in the 1970s, , fishing for tarpon with Jim Harrison, Guy de la Valdene, Jimmy Buffet, and other notable characters. However, in the podcast we talk about what he is doing now—his fascination with small-stream trout fishing, why he would rather wade than fish from a boat, his opinion on guides who yell at their clients, and how to grow old gracefully and still continue to fish with a fly rod. It was a real honor to chat with him and I know you'll enjoy this very special podcast.

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

What is that white rod that Pete Kutzer uses in your casting videos?

Is there a written history of Orvis?

What is the best reel lubricant, and how should I maintain my cork drag surface?

Can dumbbell eyes damage fly rods? If so, what should I do to keep flies tied with them from hitting my rod?

Do trout eat those little black and brown stoneflies that hatch during the winter and early spring?

 Can you explain when I would use weighted flies vs. split shot vs. poly leaders when fishing nymphs?

Can you compare the relative advantages of the 10 1/2-foot 3-weight and the 11-foot 3-weight Blackout rod?

I saw people catching fish on nymphs. I tried exactly the same patterns and didn't catch anything. Why?

I have a reel that takes a 9-weight line. Can I get an extra spool and put it on my 7-weight rod?

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

Todd Tanner [43:02] is a lifelong fly fisher and journalist and spent years as a guide on the Henry's Fork, one of the best (and toughest) dry-fly rivers in the world.  He also prefers not to fish nymphs.  Todd shares his 12 tips on improving your success with dry flies this week, and they are solid and helpful.
In the Fly Box this week, we have a great and varied selection of questions and tips from listeners, including:
  • I don't see any brook or brown trout in the usual places this fall.  Are they all upstream spawning?
  • Two great tips from a listener for beginning fly tiers.
  • Is a 10-foot 4-weight a good rod for both Euro nymphing and dry-fly fishing?
  • A great tip from a listener on how to prevent your dry fly from getting too soaked before retrieving it for the next cast.
  • A listener makes the point that watershed-level stream restoration is often not possible.
  • If my stream is stocked with rainbows, will I find them in other parts of the river system and will they survive?
  • Can I use a less expensive spool of fluorocarbon spinning line instead of the expensive stuff sold for fly fishing?
  • If I use only the tip of a CDC feather, can I use the remaining fibers for something else?
  • Kudos from a listener on a wonderful experience he had in the Orvis retail store in Atlanta
  • What kind of insects are most common in infertile streams?
  • Is there a reason Orvis makes a 10 ½ foot and 11-foot H3 rod and not a 10-footer?
  • A great rattlesnake story from a listener
  • I found a whole bunch of trout rising in a seam and tried everything but could not catch them.  I tried all kinds of dries and nymphs and changed my tippet and my angle of approach.  What do you think the fish were eating? 
Direct download: 12TipsForDryFliesTanner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

I get frequent questions from listeners on what I would recommend they read in fly-fishing literature, as there is so much out there it's tough to sort through it to find what's worth reading.  Michael Checchio [38:10] is a retired journalist and investigative reporter and a student of fly-fishing books, so we spend some time discussing what he feels are must-reads (or maybe just interesting reads) in the vast river of what has been written about fly fishing.
Here is Michael's list:
  • A River Runs through It by Norman Maclean
  • "Big Two-Hearted River" by Ernest Hemingway (short story)
  • Ninety-Two in the Shade by Thomas McGuane
  • The River Why by David James Duncan
  • The Longest Silence by Thomas McGuane
  • The Angler's Coast and Dark Waters by Russell Chatham
  • The Curtis Creek Manifesto by Sheridan Anderson
  • "Hat Creek" and "Deeds Among the Steelhead" by Bill Barich (magazine articles; may be tough to find)
  • The Spawning Run by William Humphrey
  • Trout Bum by John Gierach
  • "The Same River Twice" by David Quammen (published in Outside Magazine)
  • "A Sporting Life" by Jim Harrison (magazine article, may be tough to find)
  • My Story as Told by Water by David James Duncan
In the Fly Box this week, we have lots of questions and tips, including:
  • How do I know when to strip strike and when to trout strike?
  • Do I really need to go barbless on small dry-fly hooks?
  • How do I know what size material to use if I want to lengthen my leader?
  • A great tip from a listener on learning to cast with your "off" hand
  • A tip from a listener on wetting new tying materials befor you use them to see what color they will be
  • Why do I only see larger wild brown trout in one section of a river I fish?
  • How do I see my sighter in difficult lighting conditions?
  • If I am fishing for stocked rainbows and grayling, where should I place my grayling fly—on the bottom or on the dropper?
  • Should I use my 10-foot 7-weight Recon that I use for steelhead for streamer fishing from a boat for trout?
  • What is the main difference between a Helios D and Helios F rod when fishing for bonefish?
  • My bamboo ferrule only fits ¾ of the way to full engagement.  Is that OK?
  • Why do I see steelhead smolt in my river but never chinook salmon smolt?
  • Is there any way to get the bad smell off a bucktail?
  • Why don't people fish bucktails much these days?
  • Is there a way to tell a northern strain from a southern strain brook trout visually?
Direct download: MustReadsLiteratureChecchio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

My guest this week is Chris Jordan [41:13], a scientist with NOAA who specializes in habitat restoration.  His view is that, in our arrogance, we've gotten habitat restoration projects all wrong most of the time.  We think we can engineer river systems to conform with what we think they should be, but rivers are dynamic and mostly unpredictable and that, whenever possible, we need to look at watershed solutions—helping rivers do the job with a lighter hand but a larger scope. Follow this link to learn more:
In the Fly Box this week we have a wide variety of interesting questions, including:
  • Should I bother fishing carp flats when the water temperature is in the 50s and air temperature is in the 30s?
  • Will brown trout live in warm water rivers some of the time?  Is it worth it to fish the mouths of cold-water tributaries for brown trout?
  • You always say that trout prefer to be in water that is two-to four-feet deep to feed.  Yet I have caught my largest trout in pools that are 10-to 15-feet deep.  I'm confused.
  • How does George Daniel attach his light nymphing leader to his fly line?
  • I fish small streams with a 10-foot, 4-weight Recon rod.  I worry about spooking trout when my rod casts a shadow over the pool I'm fishing.  Should I go with a shorter rod?
  • Some great suggestions from a listener about fishing with kids, and why we should make it more about building relationships and not always about catching fish.
  • I consistently foul-hook trout when fishing multiple flies.  Am I striking too soon or too late, or striking too hard?
  • If most people fish barbless flies, why don't manufacturers make more barbless hooks?
  • Do states only stock trout in specific locations due to allocated quantities, or are there environmental factors in play?
  • Can I use a 6-weight Bank Shot line on my 11-foot, 4-weight Euro rod to try two-handed casting?
  • I have a friend who ties all my flies.  What should I get him as a thank-you gift?
  • If I hook but lose a big lake-run rainbow, would it be possible to go back later in the day to try for it?
  • I have a small brook trout stream on my property.  Should I put some trees in the river to help the fish?
  • A listener suggests that although smallmouth bass don't need much habitat help from us, they grow slowly so handling them with care is important if you want a trophy smallmouth fishery.
Direct download: FixingTroutStreamsChrisJordan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Besides breaking your fly rod in those boring old ways like car doors or ceiling fans, there are other, less obvious ways and most of them are preventable as well.  This week I chat with Charlie Robinton [49:00], rod repair expert on the Orvis Outfitter Team, and we'll explore other ways fly rods are broken—including some unusual ways they have been broken over the years, thanks to stories from our terrific rod repair team.  True, if you break an Orvis rod we can usually have it back to you in about five daysbut a broken rod is still not a fun way to start (or end) a fishing trip.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some perplexing questions, tips from listeners, and some listeners who take exception to some of the things I've said in the past, including:
  • Where can I take my sons and granddaughter on Route 20 in Idaho where they can easily catch trout?
  • What is a good rod manufacturer?
  • A listener describes a perplexing day on a difficult river and analyzes his day and asks Tom if he agrees.
  • Do you take all of your fly boxes when you fish or do you determine what you will likely need for the day?  And where do you put your lunch, sunscreen, and raincoat?
  • Last year I had great luck for pre-spawn brown trout and this year I can't hook them.  Should I keep trying different streamer patterns?
  • A caution from a listener on serious reactions to UV resins
  • A suggestion from a listener on sliding beads down your leader if you want to make any nymph a bead head.
  • A listener says he has never had fly-tying threads weaken over time and disagrees with my suggestion that they can weaken after a few years.
  • Are beaded or non-beaded flies more successful?
  • How can I use adhesives to keep the dumbbell eyes on my Clouser Minnows from rotating?
  • You have said trout eyes are designed to look up.  When I catch trout they are always looking down.  Why?
  • You recommend using a throat pump.  But what good does it do you when you have already caught a fish?  And then you take their food away?
  • Does gel flotant on a hook have a negative effect?
Direct download: 15WaysToBreakRodRobinton.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

My guest this week is the great George Daniel [42:00], who is always pushing the envelope, evolving and experimenting.  He tells us why he uses a 10-foot fly rod for nearly all of his trout fishing, even in smaller streams and he also introduces a new nymphing technique he has been experimenting with.
In the Fly Box this week, we have a great variety of questions and tips, including:
  • Can I use a poly leader in salt water for stripers?
  • Why do I find fewer and smaller fish in low water conditions later in the season?
  • How often do you find yourself adjusting indicator depth in medium and large rivers?
  • What should I do with the reject flies from my tying bench?
  • Is a bow-and-arrow cast stealthier than a roll cast in small streams?
  • I see large crayfish in a stream.  Why don't I see smaller crayfish?
  • Are fiberglass rods more sensitive than graphite rods?
  • Do creek chubs compete with brown trout?
  • What can I do to keep the wings on my parachute flies at 90 degrees once I start fishing them?
  • I found I could double haul better with some Orvis rods I tried than with entry level rods I have.  Is it simply the difference between a premium rod and my current lower level rods?
  • I keep breaking off coho salmon.  What could I be doing wrong?
  • Can I fish egg and worm patterns and streamers with my 7-foot, 4-weight rod?
  • A tip from a listenerif you want to find out where trout live in a particular river, observe them from a bridge.
  • Is there an organization devoted specifically to smallmouth bass?
Direct download: George_Daniel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Hal Herring [50:31] has been reporting on conservation issues in the American West for over 30 years for Field & Stream magazine as well as other publications.  In this week's podcast, he explores the many complexities of trying to keep enough water in our rivers for both agriculture and trout populations, which has become an increasingly difficult juggling act.  Hal also gently berates today's hunters and anglers about educating themselves on the science and the politics behind these issues.  It's not enough to just complain about the lack of waterit's important to understand the issue before you can have a credible  opinion.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great tips and questions, including:
  • Do bamboo and fiberglass rods load differently than graphite rods?
  • When you have a very limited time on a river, do you have a fishing method that gives you the most bang for your buck?
  • Is there an alternative to the "chuck and duck" method for fishing for salmon and steelhead on Michigan rivers?
  • If you are buying older fly tying material, what should you look for to make sure it has not been degraded?
  • How would you adjust your fly selection for smallmouth bass throughout the season?
  • Is rising or falling water better on a fluctuating tailwater?
  • Can I use my 10-foot, 8-weight rod in the surf?  
  • If my Mop flies have fallen apart, can I easily add a new piece of mop material to the hook and bead?  I am not a fly tier.
  • Are two three-turn whip finishes better than a single 6-turn whip finish?  
  • A tip that textured lines in a long day of stripping flies can cut into your fingers
  • Is the San Juan Shuffle ethical?
  • Is a fast action 5-weight rod actually a 6-weight?
  • I have been lipping bass for many years.  Why do you say it's bad for the fish?
Direct download: Hal_Hering.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:17pm EDT

Helen Neville [38:57] is Trout Unlimited's senior scientist and also an expert in trout genetics.  In this interview, we talk about what scientists have learned about trout evolution and relationships in the past decade.  They now have tools at their disposal that can tell them how closely two trout populations are related, how much hatchery trout have interbred with wild populations, and how various races and subspecies of trout have evolved.  You'll also learn how they extract this DNA and study it—but you had better review your high school or college genetics first because it gets a bit complex.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and a couple helpful tips from listeners, including:
  • A listener from Germany relates a horrible experience he had with a guide
  • Can I underline my Orvis bamboo fly rod?
  • What do you think putting a strip of material on a leader as a "worm attractor"?
  • A great tip from a listener of how to make a paddle and rod rest for a canoe
  • A warning from a listener that the drop shot method of fishing nymphs is illegal in Californiaand possibly other places.
  • A listener wants to know if he can effectively use the Euro nymph technique with a 10-foot, 5-weight rod
  • What is the best way to get polarized glasses for someone who needs a strong prescription.  Do clip-ons work well?
  • Should I lubricate the zipper on my Pro Zippered Waders?
  • When fighting fish, is tippet size or rod weight the deciding factor?
  • When by myself, how do I take a photo of a fish so that I can later judge its size?
  • Why is fall fishing better?  Do trout feed heavily in anticipation of winter?
  • What size leader and tippet should I use for carp, and should I use my 6-weight or 8-weight rod?
  • I tie my tippet directly to my fly line for small stream brook trout.  What advantages will I have by going to a tapered leader?
  • Do brook trout in a small meadow stream move throughout the season?
Direct download: genetics_2023.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:26pm EDT

The Battenkill is an iconic and often frustrating trout stream.  It's a gorgeous river with a healthy population of wild trout but it has had its ups and downs over the years.  Doug Lyons [49:48] is a lifetime Battenkill expert and knows the river perhaps better than anyone, and his new book Fly Fishing Guide to the Battenkill unravels many secrets of this special river—perhaps more than many of us locals are comfortable with!  Doug and I had fun sharing our theories and thoughts about the river.
In the Fly Box this week, I have some especially interesting questions  from listeners, including:
  • I have been experimenting with streams on a floating line with a short leader with no success.  What am I doing wrong, and what do you suggest?
  • Is there a way to tell the various subspecies of cutthroat trout apart?
  • What are the pros and cons of smooth vs. textured lines?
  • Why are reel prices so expensive these days?  Aren't they just used to store line?
  • How can I tell what line size a bamboo rod takes?  I bought an old rod that has no markings on it.
  • Why don't more fly shops sell nymphs with matte beads?
  • Will I save money by tying my own flies?
  • How can I identify the various mayflies and caddisflies I have in southern Michigan?
  • Why do I get tippet curls just ahead of my fly when I tie it on?  I have tried a couple knots and they still seem to do it.
  • Will a Spey rod with a larger line size cast farther than a lighter one like a 6-weight?
  • A reminder from a listener about the perils to wildlife of using lead weights in fishing.
  • Will it hurt to store my fly line on the reel in the off-season?
  • What tools do you personally use in fly tying and which are the most important?
  • If I am making my own leaders should I use blood knots or surgeon's knots to connect the sections?
  • Does it matter which way your fly is oriented when fishing?
Direct download: Secrets_of_the_battenkill.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:16pm EDT

This week, my guest is long-time Orvis-endorsed guide George Hunker [49:26], who has won two awards (guide of the year and the coveted lifetime achievement award) for his excellence in creating wonderful experiences for his customers.  George has a lifetime of experience in fishing alpine lakes in the Wind River range in Wyoming, and his tips will be valuable to anyone who fishes these wilderness gems for trout.
In the Fly Box this week, we have a varied assortment of questions about tackle, fly tying, and techniques, including:
  • Am I missing out by just fishing close to home and not putting more exotic trips on the calendar?
  • How can I stop my streamer tails from wrapping around the bend of the hook?
  • Can I use a heavy switch rod for fishing in the surf in North Carolina and also for king salmon in Michigan?
  • Can I tie large nymphs or streamers on some old Mustad salmon hooks?  How about saltwater flies?
  • I want to get an 8-weight rod.  Should I get a Recon or Clearwater?
  • How do you fish scuds in lakes?
  • What is the best way to fish a short, narrow, deep, and fast pool in high water?
  • Why can't I catch many trout on dry flies in small Missouri wild trout streams?
  • Why do some 6-weight rods have fighting butts?  Do I need one to fish for trout in Virginia?
  • What fly line do you recommend for striped bass in the Chesapeake region?
  • How can I keep the eyes from coming off my deer hair bass bugs?
  • Why not use a small perfection loop instead of a tippet ring?
  • Why would you not fish a dropshot rig with nymphs all the time?
  • How can I explore other parts of a favorite trout stream?  What should I look for?
Direct download: high_alpine_lakes_2023.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:49pm EDT

Northern pike are a fascinating and explosive fish to catch on a fly rod.  There is not much that beats a big northern smashing a streamer close to the surface or eating a popper.  Josh Nugent [47:05] is a very experienced pike angler and has a host of tips on tackle, leaders, flies, retrieves, and how to find pike all year long.  This episode should really be called Everything You Need to Know about Fly Fishing for Pike, but Josh loves those Seven Deadly titles so I'm going with it.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions, both basic and more advanced, including:
  • What rod and reel do I need for chasing king salmon in Great Lakes rivers?
  • Are posts on parachute flies for us or for the fish?  Do they imitate wings on a mayfly or are they just a strike indicator for us?
  • How do I keep my line from tangling in a canoe?
  • I have trouble seeing small ants and beetles on the water.  What can I do to help see them better?
  • A listener offers another reason why we love trout fishing so much.
  • What is the best strategy for fishing in the rain?
  • What do you do when dry-dropper fishing in small streams with varying depth?  Do you constantly adjust the length of your dropper?
  • Why do I see only one brook trout in a series of pools in tiny streams?  And do brook trout populations fluctuate from year to year?
  • What detrimental effect would ammonia have on breathable waders?  If it is not recommended, what should I use to wash my waders?
  • Is there a store-bought solution for leaders longer than 12 feet long?  And do you have any tips on getting them to straighten?
  • Why are tarpon guides so obsessed with tying their own leaders?
  • How much does time of day matter when trout fishing?
Direct download: Seven_Sins_of_Pike_Fishing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:12pm EDT

You may have some amazing fly fishing right in your neighborhood even if you live in a big city.  Urban fly fishing may not be pristine, but it has its own charms and moments of excitement, and you don't need to drive for hours to get to it.  James Spica [46:05], fishing manager of Orvis Royal Oak, gives us good tips on finding this kind of fishing in your area, what species you might encounter, and some tips for making the most of your experience.
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions as usual, including:
  • Are there any fly-tying materials made from plant fibers?
  • Are trout equally susceptible to stress in low water temperatures as they are in high water temperatures?
  • What is the best way to dye bucktails?
  • What feathers should I keep for tying from ducks I harvest?
  • What is the difference between the Blackout 8-weight rod and the Helios 3 8-weight rods?
  • What's a good rod for small stream brook trout fishing?
  • Do you need to open your casting loops with leaders over 13 feet long?
  • In a Pile Cast, will the line and leader butt hit the water before the tippet and fly?
  • Is it OK to put my rod and reel in the water when landing a fish?
  • What can we do about the flood damage in Vermont?  What will the fishing be like in the near future?
  • What is the most effective way to interact with the people in a fly shop when looking for information?
  • Why can't I get white Woolly Buggers to work in my river?  I hear people have good luck with them.
  • What's a good rod for smallmouth and smaller stream steelhead fishing?
  • Does underlining a rod help for longer casts?
  • What is a short heavy rod, like the old 7'11" Recon rod for 8-weight, used for?
Direct download: urban_fly_fishing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:04pm EDT

My guest this week is Matt Miles [55:11], 2023 Orvis Guide of the Year.  Matt has extensive experience guiding for trout in the Rocky Mountains, but has returned to his home state of Virginia to concentrate on warmwater species, especially smallmouth bass.  Matt offers 10 great tips for fishing for summer smallmouth in rivers based on his extensive experience.
In the Fly Box this week we have some interesting questions and also some great tips from listeners, including:
  • I got advice on the right fly patterns from local guides on my river but I am still struggling.  What else would you suggest?
  • What flies do you suggest for targeting freshwater stripers in rivers?
  • I can only afford one guide trip.  Should I pick an easier river with stocked (but large) trout or should I go to the more technical river with wild but tougher trout?
  • Why do you recommend cutting the back hook off an articulated streamer and not the front hook?  Don't fish attack baitfish at the head?
  • I would like a longer fiberglass 3-weight rod for small streams.  Why don't you make them in 9- or 10-foot models?
  • I am terrible at spotting fish.  Do you have any tips?
  • Six great tips from a listener for novice to intermediate anglers on trout water
  • I have trouble tying Perfection Loops in material smaller than 3X.  What do you suggest?
  • Some great advice from a listener on how to get a friend or spouse more interested in fly fishing.
  • I am having trouble Euro nymphing.  I only catch a fish or two in a 3-hour trip.  I know I am getting deep enough and I have the right fly patterns.  Do you have any tips?
  • Do you have a systematic approach when working a piece of water?
  • Why don't my flies work as well as live eggs when fishing in murky water for pink salmon?
  • Anything I can do to land more fish that get downstream of me?
  • The fly shop said to fish big Stimulators but I couldn't hook any fish that rose to them.  Then I went to a smaller Elk Hair Caddis and was able to hook them.  Why?
  • If I am not catching any fish could it be there are no fish there?  Or fish are there but not feeding?  Or are they feeding on something else and I am not using the right fly?  And how long should I stay in one spot if I am not hooking any?
Direct download: ten_tips_for_smallmouth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:32pm EDT

My guest this week is Jeremie Prine [47:39], owner and head guide of Dunoir Fly Fishing Adventures of Dubois, Wyoming.  He specializes in fishing small wilderness creeks (as well as larger rivers) in Wyoming and is one of the best small-stream anglers I have ever met.  Jeremie shares his tips on finding these streams, how to fish them, and of course what flies he likes for bluelining.  He also gives some great tips on exploring in grizzly bear country, and you should pay attention to his tips, because in a lifetime of chasing fish in the back country he has never had to use bear spray (but he still carries it every time he goes out).

In the Fly Box this week, we have some excellent tips form listeners, as well as many questions on fly fishing conundrums, including:
  • All the size 16 dry flies I had bent open in large trout.  I bought cheap flies online.  Is this common, or did I make a mistake?
  • I saw bass jumping for dragonflies and chasing baitfish but when I tried to match these, I had no luck on the bass.  Any suggestions?
  • I have trouble shooting line.  It either lands too hard or piles up on the water.  What am I doing wrong?
  • Can I use a 2-weight or even a 1-weight rod on small streams if I am using smaller flies?
  • Should I expect rainbow and brown trout in the UK to behave the same way and eat the same flies in the UK as in the US?
  • A great suggestion from a listener that when fishing in the Big Hole Valley, it's as important to clean, inspect, and dry our wading gear as it is to take care in releasing fish.
  • I am having trouble making long downstream mends in the rain because the line sticks to my rod.  What can I do?
  • A great tip from a listener on how to dye white rubber net bags to a darker color for better photos.
  • Is there any reason not to tie giant hopper patterns for bass?
  • Some great tips and new insights from a listener on how to land more big trout.
  • If I see certain nymphs when turning over rocks in a river, how far can I deviate from them when choosing my nymph patterns?
  • What can I do when faced with high, turbid water and bright, sunny skies?
  • Should we take the same care in releasing bass as we do with trout?
  • What is the best thing to do when I hook a trout deep in its throat and can't get the hook out easily?
Direct download: bluelining_the_rockies_2023.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

This week my guest is guide and lodge owner Wade Fellin [45:48] of Big Hole River Lodge. Wade is on the vanguard of trout health in Montana, particularly in the Big Hole Valley, and they have been seeing trout die at the time of year when water temperatures and flows are optimum, which is concerning. Wade shares with us how they are obtaining samples of trout to send to a lab, and some possible reasons for this problem, and what might be done to address the issue. He also makes it clear that trout fishing in Montana is still awesome and that people should not cancel a trip or not plan a trip. Fishing is still great but we need to perhaps take even more care in releasing fish—and in deciding how many fish to catch in any given day. 

In the Fly Box this week, there are some great questions, tips, and comments from listeners, including:

A listener shares with us how he analyzed a problem with his casting and solved the problem.

 Are we over-using UV cure resins in our fly tying?

I can't afford new waders and have leaks in my old ones. Should I try to buy a pair of used waders?

When fishing dry flies in lakes, should I twitch the fly or just let it sit?

When aren't all nymph patterns tied on jig hooks?

Why am I missing so many small trout in a local stream?

With the severe flooding in Vermont, how will that affect my fishing when the water drops?

A listener wants to give a shout-out to two generous anglers who gifted him and his wife with a box of flies while they were on their honeymoon on the Henry's Fork.

Good tips on the benefits of a long-handled net

Why am I missing hook sets on my fiberglass rod?

How can I involve my family more in my fly fishing?

Do you have any tips for coiling line so that it does not tangle when I shoot line?

I am moving from DC to Dallas and I know there is no trout fishing around. Are there any fly-fishing opportunities near Dallas?

Direct download: montana_trout_mystery2023.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:36am EDT

I think most stream anglers are interested in foraging, since we're immersed in nature all day long and although we watch for fish and insects and birds, many of us don't pay attention to the plants. And there are many delicious plants along trout streams you can take home for dinner—most of which will be more nutritionally dense than what you buy in the store—and free. If you have done any foraging at all, you have probably read some of more of Sam Thayer's [40:38] books. In our household his books are the primary source. I was lucky enough to spend some time talking to Sam about why foraging along streams is especially good, and what we can expect to find there. 

In the Fly Box this week, we have no phone calls but some great questions via e-mail, including:

Why do trout in small streams take flies more readily when the water is high?

Where do you recommend I go trout fishing in the East in July when I visit this summer?

A great story about a listener getting generous advice from a famous angler along a trout river.

A tip for keeping rod sections together using clothespins.

What is the best streamer reel, line, and leader for a 7-weight rod?

What do you do when there is a very heavy hatch and almost too many natural insects?

I am having trouble hooking fish using the hand-over-hand retrieve when striper fishing. What can I do to increase my hooking rate?

What are three things a novice dry-fly angler should pay attention to?

Do you ever tie up dry/dropper rigs at home prior to going fishing?

Will my 8-weight be enough rod for fishing for striped bass from a boat?

What are some tips on picking flies for striped bass fishing at night?

Direct download: foraging_2023.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:33am EDT

Scott Sadil [41:39], author and Fly Fishing Editor of Gray’s Sporting Journal, is a pioneer in fishing the surf in Baja, and in his many years of experience he’s learned a ton of valuable tips. Even if you never plan on fishing Baja, you’ll find his advice helpful for finding fish along a wide beach, choosing which flies and tackle to use, and learning new techniques for moving the fly.  

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

I am having trouble casting a size 6 fly with lead eyes on my 5 weight. What can I do to correct this?

I am struggling with my distance casting. Any tips for helping with this, and for fishing large tailwaters?

When I hook panfish and bass along a shoreline, they always head for shore yet carp always swim to deep water. Why?

My Royal Wulffs don't float properly when I drop them in a glass of water. What can I do to help?

What kind of flies and colors do you suggest for fishing the surf in Costa Rica?

How should I dispose of old waders that leak?

Is there one rod I can use for surf fishing, largemouth bass, and streamers for trout?

If you float a river in a canoe of kayak by yourself, how do you get back upstream at the end of the day?

 Should I use a 7-weight or 8-weight rod for throwing big streamers for trout?

How should I fish freshwater rivers that are tidal for bass and pike? And how do I get wire onto the end of my leader for the pike?

Why do people use a Bimini Twist? I would think it just pushes the weak spot in a leader further back.

 Is bug spray harmful to fish?

If I am hiking into high alpine lakes, should I hike in my wading shoes?

Direct download: fly_fishing_baja.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:44am EDT

Warning—this week's podcast with biologist Michael Miller [36:28] is not exactly uplifting, in fact it's downright depressing. I feel that neonic pesticides are the main reason we have seen dramatic declines of insects on our trout streams and may be even more of a threat to invertebrate populations than climate change. But it is a problem we can remedy more easily than climate change because it's mostly a problem in the United States (Canada and the EU have either banned or greatly restricted their use). I hope this podcast makes all of you take action and raise your voices to get the EPA to ban these dangerous chemicals.

On a happier note, we have some wonderful questions in the Fly Box this week, including:

It's great to hear that Tom gets skunked as often as the rest of us.

Why did I see mayflies when I was a mile from the nearest stream?

Do bright fly lines spook fish?

Why were fish slashing at my streamer without me hooking them?

I am having problems casting a 15-foot leader

Where should I take my sons fishing in the Bozeman/Livingston area if I can't afford a guide?

 If I hook a fish deep in its throat, should I try to get the fly out or cut the tippet?

Can I get closer to fish in a riffle?

What are Tom's top 5 trout flies?

I am losing a lot of fish on my 10-foot 3-weight rod. What should I do differently? Where do big trout tend to live in a river?

 If I am catching just small fish will there be any big fish around?

I can't get my floating line to float well, even after cleaning it. What can I do?

Direct download: neonic_pesticides.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:40pm EDT

OK, I lied. There aren't 15 tips. There are probably more and if you want to count them up you can e-mail me and correct my mistake. But I get a lot of questions about fishing emergers, and I thought a podcast on how to identify when fish are taking emergers and how to fish them would be welcome. Not only that, world-famous and beloved fishing guide and author Pat Dorsey [36:05] gives us his favorite fly patterns for fishing emergers including a couple secret ones.

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

A great tip on casting with your non-dominant hand

Will wildfire smoke affect trout populations?

If I hear there are native brook trout in a stream, how do I find out where they are?

 A nice tip on untangling snarls of fly line.

Bigger brook trout started taking my nymphs on the swing instead of dead-drifted.

How should I take advantage of this next time?

How much of an incline in a small mountain stream can trout survive?

A listener was disappointed in my podcast with John Gierach because we did not discuss how anglers can have a positive impact on climate change.

Two listeners want to know what type of floating line to put on their Euro rods when they switch to dry flies.

Why are some articulated streamers tied with the hook down and why are some tied with the hook up?

I have a busy life. Am I missing opportunities by not tying my own flies?

Brown trout are invasive in my cutthroat stream. Should I take them home to eat them, or just kill them and throw them up on the bank?

 Is it ethical to back and fish a place on my own if a guide showed me the spot?

I have heard if you cut the welded loop off a fly line you can't use it any more because it will absorb water. Is this true?

Direct download: 15_tips_on_emergers_2023.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:45am EDT

This week my guest is Joshua Caldwell [32:30], director of the new movie (premiering in theaters today) "Mending the Line", about a combat veteran with PTSD who works his way back into society with the help of a fly fishing curmudgeon. The movie stars Sinqua Walls, Perry Mattfeld, and Brian Cox as the old curmudgeon (of course). It's a story that could easily fall into cliche but I found it to be heartwarming and compelling, and the casting is excellent. Joshua talks about the trials and tribulations of making the movie in a short time frame, challenged by tough weather. It's a fascinating peak behind the curtains of an independent film.

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

What is your opinion of an approved IGFA leader for tarpon as opposed to using straight 60- or 80-pound leader?

I am having trouble with the partridge hackle on size 20 soft hackle wets. Can you help?

How much time should I spend in each little pocket when bluelining?

I have a Recon Saltwater 7 and I want to get a 7-weight freshwater version. How much difference is there between the two?

Will a black bottom on my boat spook fish in shallow water?

A great letter from a fly fisher in Switzerland detailing how to negotiate the tricky fishing regulations in his country

Can I use a tippet ring with different tippet sizes, even ones that are quite different in diameter?

Do stocked trout move as much as a mile, or do they stay close to where they are stocked?

Direct download: mending_the_line.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:49am EDT

The better your casting, the more and fun you'll have and the more relaxed you'll be on the water. Pete Kutzer [46:13] is one of the finest casting instructors in the world, and not only that he's one of the finest anglers you meet, which means he teaches casting as a means to have more enjoyable fishing so he's pragmatic and flexible. He practices casting himself almost every day, and he gives us hints on how to practice at home no matter what kind of fishing you end up doing. You'll be glad you did—and so will your guide if you hire one.

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

I need a rod for bass fishing as well as throwing streamers for trout. I only have light trout rods. Which rod should I choose?

What is a competition hook and how does it differ from a regular hook?

A good tip on how to make matte beads from shiny gold ones without painting or markers

I know you should not go more than .002" difference when knotting on a tippet. Can I get away from bigger differences in heavy butt material?

I have been fly fishing for 35 years and am looking for a more advanced course. Where should I go?

Do you know anything about fishing in Switzerland?

How can I target carp in dirty water?

I am going Atlantic salmon fishing in Norway. Can I use a single-handed rod even though most people use two-handers?

A tip from a listener on always mashing down the barbs of hooks when fishing with kids.

My line gets twisted when I fish with a dry/dropper arrangement. Is there any way to lessen this?

My tungsten beads crack when I hit my back cast on rocks behind me. Are there beads that are more durable than tungsten?

How can I fish the tails of pools in small streams without getting drag?

I can't get redfish running a surf line to eat my flies. Any suggestions?

Direct download: how_to_practice_casting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:43am EDT

Jacks are an under-rated gamefish and under-utilized resource. They take a fly aggressively, fight harder than most other saltwater gamefish, and are common in most warmer saltwater ecosystems. Yet most anglers, and most guides, pass them up on the way to chasing the glamor species like bonefish, permit, or tarpon. They're missing a lot of fun. RA Beattie [34:28] is a talented film maker who regularly has films in the International Fly Fishing Film Festival (IF4) (International Fly Fishing Film Festival® - IF4™ ( and his spectacular film, produced by RA and Jako Lucas, called "Jacks", is currently on tour with the festival. He talks about making fly-fishing films, and also his love of fishing for jacks.

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

Where can I learn Spey casting in preparation for a trip I'm taking?

I saw some large brown trout chasing shiners in the shallows. What fly pattern and tactics should I use?

I keep missing strikes on a balanced leech under an indicator. What am I doing wrong?

Great suggestions from a listener on how to train a dog to be a good streamside companion.

Why am I having problems with short casts on my 9-foot 5-weight rod?

Driving in Alberta, I see a lot of nice-looking rivers along the road. How can I tell if they have fish in them?

What other patterns should I try those cool wing cases made from saddle hackles I see on the Tom Rosenbauer's Deep Caddis Pupa?

A great tip from a listener on a special material for organizing your fly-tying bench. Where can I find flies with black beads?

A tip from a listener on how to keep cool while fishing during the summer in the deep South.

Why do I catch big wild rainbows in one pool and only smaller ones in the next pool downstream?

Any suggestions for setting the hook on brook trout in a very tight stream

Direct download: jacks_2023.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:46am EDT

Our climate is changing, and regardless of whether you think it's human caused or natural it is changing. If you don't believe that you need to get outside more. John Gierach [58:00], thoughtful guy that he is, wanted to talk about this subject and how he deals with changes that have happened in his lifetime, and what we can all do to deal with climate change and still enjoy fly fishing, because as he says "we still gotta live" and to some of us fly fishing is life. I

n the Fly Box this week we have lots of questions, many of them quite basic but still fun to answer because you can always give them a new twist.

What is the best rig to catch trout with worms? (I hope he meant worm flies and not real worms)

What can I do to keep my Depth Charge line from tangling?

I am moving to Texas and want one rod for inland bass and one for inshore saltwater. Is there one outfit that can do this?

Am I better off buying one high-end rod or several lower priced rods if I fish in a variety of trout situations?

Can you overline bamboo and fiberglass fly rods?

I have a dog that likes to chase rocks and sticks.

Any tips on how to train a dog to be a good fishing companion?

 Is there any way to tell a trout rise from a chub rise?

I am confused by fly line numbers and hook numbers. Can you explain them?

What do fish deep in a lake take my Pat's Rubber Legs fished quickly? What do the fish think it is?

 How do you fish your Rabbit's Foot Emerger patterns?

What do I do with my rod when tying on a new fly or landing a fish?

Is there a better knot than a clinch knot for tying on size 18 to 22 flies?

My welded loop has cuts in it. What can I do to fix that?

What kind of dry/dropper arrangement do you use when there is nothing visibly hatching?

A good tip from a listener on walking the banks of your favorite rivers in low water to get a sense for the bottom structure.

Can you tell the difference between a male and female trout by looking at the anal fin?

Direct download: fishing_through_climate_change.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:19am EDT

A few weeks ago we did a podcast on eastern caddis hatches and I promised to get an expert on western hatches. ME Sorci [43:40] is a student of entomology, a guide, fly fisher, and manager of Orvis Jackson Hole. You can tell by her enthusiasm in the podcast that she thinks caddisflies are fascinating, and she gives us some great tips on when, where, and how to fish these prolific hatches. I learned a lot on this podcast and you will, too.

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

How do I fish short, fast, deep plunge pools with streamers and what line should I use?

What tips do you have for fighting a big fish when it runs downstream?

Should I fish a 12-foot leader when bluelining? Can an old cork handle on an Orvis bamboo fly rod be repaired?

What line should I put on my 10-foot, 3-weight rod for fishing dry flies?

Why don't we use other feathers from peacocks besides the eyed tails?

Where can I find something that shows me pictures of saltwater prey so I can imitate them?

Should I change tactics when fishing at sunrise and sunset?

So I don't transfer invasive species how can I tell good algae from bad algae?

 Is it possible to put too much hackle on a dry fly?

 Why do we use dubbed bodies on dry flies?

Why causes a dry fly to not sit properly on the water?

 I put small glass beads on my dry flies so I don't crowd the head. Do you think this is a good idea?

 Where would Tom like to live (for fishing reasons) if he didn't live in Vermont?

Direct download: Western_caddis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:40am EDT

Swinging wet flies, specifically soft hackle flies, is an often misunderstood method of fishing and many people try it but give up when it doesn't seem to work. But it's an elegant, relaxing, and fun way to cover a lot of water and probably the oldest way to fish for trout. There are some tips to rigging and fishing soft hackles, and wet fly expert Steve Culton [42:39] shares some great tips with us this week.

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

With the high water in Utah this spring, should I try to fish rivers or stick to lakes? And what flies should I use?

 For float fishing smaller streams for bass, should I get a small raft or a kayak? Would it be better to use a double taper or weight forward line for small streams?

Are fly rod actions and recommended line sizes consistent across manufacturers?

Two great tips from listeners for getting the fly line out of your guides when you start fishing. At what point should I give up repairing my waders?

How should I fish a river that alternates between rocky rivers and slow, mucky pools?

Should I change techniques when going from one type of water to another?

When should I switch from a nymph to a dry in early season?

How can I prevent fish taking streamers form getting foul hooked?

Should I fish a pool with a nymph or streamer first?

Why did I see few fishing rising in an afternoon hatch and many more fish rising in the evening?

 Where should I go to catch bonefish, tarpon, and roosterfish from shore without a guide?

I want to start guiding for striped bass. Where should I start?

Direct download: wet_flies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:18am EDT

No, I am not talking about buying a trout stream and locking it up in a private club. I am talking about buying a piece of a trout stream, fixing (basically rewilding) the habitat, and then ensuring public access on the water for perpetuity. That's what the good folks at Western Rivers Conservancy do, and in this week's podcast I talk to Josh Kling [45:30], their conservation director, about projects they have on the Yakima and Big Hole rivers—two rivers treasured by fly fishers and in need of help.

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

I fished a 5-weight line on my 10-foot 3-weight rod and liked it. Is there anything wrong with this?

I foul-hooked a couple fish when using a dry dropper. Is there a way to avoid this?

A good tip from a listener on getting the line to leader connection out of your rod tip by using the current.

 If I use a kayak for accessing wade fishing, should I park at the head of a pool and fish downstream or should I park at the tail and fish upstream?

 How should I fish deep, slow-moving pools with a mud bottom?

Where in the US should I go on a fishing trip with my father?

Why are fly rod grips from different manufacturers so different?

 I impacted my rod with a heavy bead-head fly. How should I inspect it to look for damage?

 A great tip for attaching the leader to a fly line when using a mono rig. When did fly fishers first use backing on fly reels?

Can I throw big flies, as large as a 5/0, on my 8-weight rod? 

What flies should I use for spawning carp?

How do I tell if a bass is on a bed and spawning as opposed to chasing bait?

Why did fish strike my Prince nymph when I stripped it and not on a dead drift?

Are rods getting stiffer and fly lines getting heavier?

Direct download: how_to_buy_a_trout_stream_fixed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:54pm EDT

There's some real positive news in the world of trout these days, from the mitigation of acid mine drainage in wild trout streams to replacement of perched culverts to an unprecedented funding opportunity for habitat projects. Chris Wood [38:36], president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, takes us through some ongoing and upcoming projects that have him excited and optimistic.

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

I want to sell some of my flies. Should I start an online store or go through a local fly shop?

Why don't light-colored flies like the Light Cahill work in my streams? I

s there a database of older Orvis rods?

Brown trout from a larger river spawn in a tributary that holds a good population of native brook trout. Should I feel bad about fishing for those spawning brown trout?

For a small stream fly rod, I am looking at a 10-foot 3-weight and a 7 ½ foot 3-weight. Which should I choose?

How do you keep the body thin when tying a Comparadun or Sparkle Dun?

 I fish small streams with tricky current. When it gets windy, should I fish a longer or shorter leader?

The trout got active when the wind blew some seeds into the water. Is that typical?

A great tip from a listener on using a balanced leech and an indicator in plunge pools.

My friend just fishes Clouser Minnows and outfishes me when I use my fancier Game Changers and Dahlberg Divers. Am I wrong to be wasting my time on these more complicated patterns?

 What is the best way to get the leader knot out of the guides before you start fishing?

What recommendations do you have for fly fishing for crappie?

A terrific tip from a listener on a different way to rig a dry dropper.

How do I feel about yarn flies for gar and egg flies for carp?

I want to replace my fluorocarbon with nylon. Will I notice the difference?

Direct download: good_work_of_trout_unlimited.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:37am EDT

Hey folks! This is Jamie, I produce The Orvis Fly-Fishing Podcast with Tom Rosenbauer. Today is the 15th anniversary if the show and to celebrate we are running the first episode that was published on April 17, 2008. It's short! Only 5 minutes or so.

We weren't sure if anyone would listen. Twenty-one million downloads later, we know you are listening, and more importantly, contributing to the show.

Thank you for all you have done to make this a real joy to be a part of, and thank you to Tom Rosenbauer for letting me be a part of it.

Let's do another 15!

Direct download: 15th_Anniversary.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:37pm EDT

Champions of clean water and an intact ecosystem have a lot to celebrate with our recent victory in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska. But this ruling only protects a relatively small part of Bristol Bay, which is a huge body of water. Nelli Williams [33:34] from Trout Unlimited Alaska, a veteran of this battle, gives us her perspective on what has been protected, what remains to be protected, and what we should all be vigilant about in this magnificent watershed. It's a feel-good story but a reminder that we need to keep our eyes and ears open in the future.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions—and some phone calls that seemed to have come out of the woodwork!

How do I narrow my efforts in fly tying so I don't end up with 10 fly boxes?

A great tip from a listener on another way to separate stuck rod sections

What do people mean by a "technical" trout stream?

A bunch of great tips for fly fishing from a canoe from two different listeners

A tip from a listener on using deer hair instead of elk when tying small Elk Wing Caddis dry flies

What kind of fly-fishing questions are reasonable to ask from an AI chat? And is this ethical?

A great tip for fly tiers for keeping the hook eye open when finishing the head of a fly Where do I put the studs in my new Orvis Hybrid Wading Shoes?

Direct download: future_of_bristol_bay.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:11am EDT

This week begins a month of habitat/conservation podcasts as a celebration of Earth Month. We start the series off with Steve Davis [43:25], Chief Science Officer for the Everglades Foundation, and instead of talking about the boring aspects of Everglades Restoration like funding and politics we're delving deep into the science of how the water will be stored and cleaned, which plants aid in the cleanup, and how this process will aid in more fresh water to Florida Bay and the Everglades, and less polluted fresh water to estuaries on both coasts of Florida. We'll also talk about immediate benefits, but also how it will take seven years to completely fill the reservoir. And yes, we will talk about fly fishing topics this month in the Fly Box.

This week we have some great tips and questions, including:

I have a 5-weight, 6-weight, and 10-weight rod for fishing in the Mississippi. I may be catching fish up to 20 pounds. Do you think an 8-weight will handle them?

Three great tips from a listener on fishing from a canoe.

Is there a database where I can plug in the fly-tying materials I have and have it tell me what fly patterns I can tie?

What flies can I use India hen backs on?

I have trouble with my back cast hitting the water when I wade waist deep. How can I correct this problem?

 I have been stumped by fish rising once and then not rising again for a long time. What are these fish doing and how can I target them?

 What are your thoughts on intermediate lines for tarpon? Should I get tarpon flies in bigger hooks like 3/0 to 5/0?

Will a bit of bucktail under my pine squirrel streamers help to keep them from fouling?

 A listener asked a bunch of specific fishing questions to a chat bot for a trip he was going to take to Grand Lake Stream in Maine and asked me to critique the answers he received.

How should I kill and keep the occasional stocked fish I want to eat?

If you see a nymph in the water that you want to imitate, how would you go about creating a pattern to match it?

Are hooks trending to shorter shanks and wider gaps? Is this a good thing?

Direct download: update_on_the_everglades_2023.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:11am EDT

I did a podcast a few weeks ago that was billed as a canoe and kayak podcast but my guest and I spent a lot of time on Kayaks and not much on canoes. Some of you took me to task and asked for more information on fly fishing from canoes, so I asked retired president and CEO of Orvis, Perk Perkins [49:06], to share his tips with us. Perk fishes from a canoe more than anyone else I know, and has been using these craft all his life. He gives us some great tips on making fly fishing from a canoe more fun and productive. 

In the fly box this week, we have some fascinating questions from listeners, including:

Should l I use a double taper or weight forward line on my small stream rod?

If you fish barbless dry flies with a dry/dropper rig, won't the knot slip off the hook?

What can I do to lessen my shoulder involvement in casting?

I have severe arthritis in my right shoulder. Should I learn to cast left-handed?

Do tippet rings make tying on a dropper less fussy? Won't the fish see a tippet ring?

What is your opinion on attractor patterns?

What do you think of UV resins and tying materials?

If I want to fish a leader with a light butt section, what diameter should the permanent loop be on my fly line? The permanent loop on my fly line got damaged.

My fly line says "cold to moderate temperatures". Can I also use this line for fishing for bass during the summer? 

Do flies need to be perfect and symmetrical? I

s road kill of any use in fly tying?

We were catching hickory shad on spoons we made using Krystal Flash and UV resin. People told us we weren't fly fishing.

What's your take on flies that aren't really "flies"?

How are fly rods most often broken?

What rod do I need to make my mono rig work better?

I see many color variations in pre-made dubbing blends, for instance one March Brown dubbing is brown and another one is light tan. Do insects vary in color? Does color even make a difference?

Direct download: Great_tips_on_canoe_fishing_with_Perk_Perkins.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:33am EDT

This week, my guest is Dom Swentosky of the Troutbitten blog [33:16], podcast, and guide service. If you have not seen his stuff it's definitely one of the most informative and thoughtful fly-fishing blogs out there. Dom devotes a lot of his blog to the mono rig, which is sorta like Euro-nymphing in that it uses a long leader and no fly line, but it's more of a method for everyday anglers than pure Euro nymphing, which is based on competitive rules that prohibit things like split shot. Dom goes through why it is such an effective method, how he builds his leaders, and how he presents his flies this way. It's just one more thing to try if you're interested in new ways of using a fly rod. 

In the Fly Box this week, we have some helpful tips from listeners and an assortment of questions from rigging to watercraft to fly tying, including:

If I am using a drop-shot rig with a single nymph, can I just tie the weight on a long tag from the clinch knot I use to tie on my fly?

What is your opinion of traditional Catskill-style dry flies?

Could spawning affect a trout's diet?

In your canoe and kayak podcast, you didn't say enough about canoes. If I want to use my canoe for fly fishing, what considerations should I have? And should I put a trolling motor on my canoe?

 I have a stream nearby that has nice gravel, cold water, deep pools, and nice riffles. I have not caught any trout there. How can I find out if trout even live there?

A great tip from a listener for finding tiny leaks in waders

Do trout use shelf ice as cover?

A listener suggests the float tube as a great option in the inflatable category, which I did not mention in my recent podcast on inflatables.

A great tip from a listener on how to cover up items in a boat that could snag your fly line.

When do you switch from a floating to a sinking line in streams?

A great tip from a listener on using forceps to hold tiny flies when tying them on.

I am looking at monofilament thread. What is the difference between 6/0 and G size, and where did the G designation come from? And is there any application in tying freshwater flies with monofilament thread?

Direct download: All_about_the_mono_rig_with_Dom_Swentosky.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:01pm EDT

This week, we delve into the confusing world of inflatable watercraft. There are so many styles to choose from, including SUPs, kayaks, and rafts. Which are best for fly fishing? What are some tips on how to fish from one? How do you handle anchoring and paddling while being ready to make a cast? Regardless of which type you choose, they are lightweight and packable (except for the larger rafts) and they'll get you into places where drift boats and motorboats can't go. Mike Dolmage is a fly fishing fanatic and is in charge of marketing fishing craft for NRS so his knowledge will help you make an informed decision and give you some tips on fishing from your inflatable.

In the Fly Box this week, I try to answer some easy and difficult questions. Some of the questions include:

Would you recommend a Power Taper or Bank Shot fly line for fishing for largemouth bass form shore?

How can I catch striped bass on the Hudson River?

I have a 6- and an 8-weight rod and I want to streamer fish in Montana. Do I need a 7-weight?

How can I get permission to fish private land when bluelining?

I am catching big trout on nymphs and want to get a rod longer than 9 feet. Can I fish Euro-style and still land big trout on a 10-foot 3-weight, or should I look at a 10-foot 4-weight or 5-weight?

 How long do you think is too long to play a trout?

Can I use a sinking Polyleader with an intermediate line?

How do you fish attractor flies?

Do I just throw one out there or should I pay more attention to hatches?

 What line should I get for tarpon fishing with my 11-weight rod?

Do brown and rainbow trout have different feeding strategies?

Is there a sinking fly line I can use with both streamers and nymphs?

Direct download: inflatables.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:13pm EDT

Learn how to decide between a canoe and a kayak, what kind to get, and how to maneuver and cast using these hard-sided watercraft (next week I'll be doing a podcast on inflatables). Ryan Lilly [47:30]  is a fly fisher and Old Town's expert on fishing from these craft, and has many great suggestions for how to make the most out of your canoe or kayak experience.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions that I'm sure will be of interest to many of you, as well as some thoughtful tips from other listeners, including:

What do bead-head nymphs imitate?

Aren't flies tied without beads more natural in the water?

Isn't it more natural to use a nymph without any added weight?

How do you fish wet flies?

Do you use a single one or more than one? And do you ever use weighted wet flies?

I recently saw a bunch of large carp in a pond in Florida. Why didn't I see any smaller ones?

I had trouble getting a good drift against the slow water on the far bank of a river. Every time I tried to mend my line the small dry fly sank. What else could I have done?

Can I fish two dry flies at once?

A suggestion from a listener on why upgrading from an entry level fly line is a wise investment.

Are there any performance differences between a 6-piece rod and a 4-piece rod?

How can I get an extra tip for my Orvis rod?

A great tip from a listener on how to make a device to hold scrap pieces of tippet using two pieces of Velcro.

I am going to a place where they have stocked golden rainbows. Do these fish behave any differently from normal rainbows?

Can I use a Poly Leader for tarpon?

Is there any difference between up-eye and down-eye hooks?

A tip from a listener on how to change thread colors with a permanent marker.

A tip from a listener on how to keep a partially used tube of Aquaseal stay fresh.

Why do people hold bass by the jaw? I have heard that this can dislocate their jaw.

I am taking my first guided trip. Should I do a float trip or a walk/wade trip?

Direct download: Fly-fishing_from_a_kayak.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:15pm EDT

Back in 2008 when I first began this podcast I had two dreams—that I would have my two literary heros, John McPhee and Thomas McGuane as guests (they are both passionate fly fishers). I was lucky enough to record a podcast with John in August of 2021 and this week's podcast is with Tom McGuane [44:36], author of 20 highly regarded novels, screenplays, collections of short stories, and what is in my opinion the finest book of fly-fishing essays ever written, The Longest Silence. Most people who interview Tom want to talk about his crazy days in Key West in the 1970s, , fishing for tarpon with Jim Harrison, Guy de la Valdene, Jimmy Buffet, and other notable characters. However, in the podcast we talk about what he is doing now—his fascination with small-stream trout fishing, why he would rather wade than fish from a boat, his opinion on guides who yell at their clients, and how to grow old gracefully and still continue to fish with a fly rod. It was a real honor to chat with him and I know you'll enjoy this very special podcast.

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

What is that white rod that Pete Kutzer uses in your casting videos?

Is there a written history of Orvis?

What is the best reel lubricant, and how should I maintain my cork drag surface?

Can dumbbell eyes damage fly rods? If so, what should I do to keep flies tied with them from hitting my rod?

Do trout eat those little black and brown stoneflies that hatch during the winter and early spring?

 Can you explain when I would use weighted flies vs. split shot vs. poly leaders when fishing nymphs?

Can you compare the relative advantages of the 10 1/2-foot 3-weight and the 11-foot 3-weight Blackout rod?

I saw people catching fish on nymphs. I tried exactly the same patterns and didn't catch anything. Why?

I have a reel that takes a 9-weight line. Can I get an extra spool and put it on my 7-weight rod?

Why am I not catching anything when fishing nymphs in the winter?

Great tips from a world traveler on taking your vaccination records with you, and warnings about carrying gear when traveling to Mexico or New Zealand.

What environmental cues will tell you when specific flies are hatching?

Is it true that emerger patterns are more effective when they look messy?

How do you explain when trout take smaller insects and ignore bigger ones?

Direct download: A_life_in_fly_fishing_with_Tom_McGuane.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:47am EDT

This week, we go into great detail about the life cycle of caddisflies and the various species found in the eastern United States. Tom Ames [33:05], author of the book Caddisflies is my guest and although we go into great detail on the various types of caddisflies, don't let it overwhelm you, as imitating these insects is merely a matter of observing what stage of their life cycle is present and what the trout are eating. It's not something you can predict in advance—you need to arrive at the river and then figure out the puzzle by your powers of observation. But this podcast does get geeky so be prepared!

Our Fly Box questions this week are much more basic, a good counterbalance to our discussion of caddisflies. Questions and tips include:

I want to go beyond my typical attractor patterns and match some hatches. What basic flies do you recommend?

A great tip from a listener on fixing rough fingertips for fly tying

Tom's thoughts on the Murdich Minnow fly

What three lines should I get for fishing lakes?

Why don't more people wear PFDs?

What color of Clouser Minnows should I get for smallmouth bass?

Can I tie my second Euro nymph fly onto the bend of the other fly, or can I leave a tag end long on the knot to the first fly and use that?

Several rod selection questions

Can I double haul with my bamboo fly rod?

Is it a good idea to pinch the line against the cork to put added pressure on a running fish?

Tips from a listener on wearing felt boots on a trail and drying out wading boots.

What rod is best for practicing my casting skills?

Direct download: caddisflies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:23am EDT

This week is my guest Seth Berger [1:00:18], Fly Fishing Travel Specialist with Orvis Adventures. In his job, Seth visits Orvis-endorsed operations around the world and always packs his fishing gear, so he's a great resource for advising us how to travel with rods, waders, and flies—how to pack them, what to carry on, and pitfalls you should avoid. Seth also talks about what to pack, and items that are often forgotten or ignored by traveling anglers. Anyone who gets on a plane, whether it's a short hop or an international flight, will benefit from his knowledge.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and comment that run the gamut of the fly-fishing experience, including:

A listener who recommends the mono rig method, which is different from the standard Euro nymphing setup. And tries to tell me 20lb. mono casts just as easily as fly line (I'm not buying it)

Why not put a tippet ring on the end of a poly leader? I've used straight monofilament for a leader for bass and bream.

Why do I need a tapered leader, and do I need tippet?

When you fish two dry flies, what should the distance between them be?

Do I need to learn entomology to pick flies?

Is there any difference between picking flies for small streams vs. bigger rivers?

What do you look for to help you choose a fly?

Can I fish steelhead with my 9-foot 5-weight rod?

Is it true that lighter lines cast better in the wind because they have less air resistance?

Have you ever fished with just a bead on a hook?

Some great suggestions from a listener on how to keep fly tying materials away from young children.

I am coming from Korea to the US. Will I have problems brining flies and fly tying materials into the country?

Have you ever tried wiggle nymphs?

Why do Euro nymphers stand in the water and make short upstream casts while people with conventional lines try to fish as far away as possible?

Why don't we see a lot of blue streamers?

How deep can I effectively fish with a fly rod?

How can I tie patterns with partridge feathers smaller than size 16?

Direct download: traveling_with_fly_fishing_gear.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:14am EDT

Capt. Pete Scafaru [32:53] is a new Orvis-endorsed guide in New Orleans (he's not new at guiding, just new to the Orvis program), and he shares his vast experience on what to expect at different times of the season, how to present the fly, and how to target redfish in shallow water. Regardless of where you fish for redfish, his tips will be valuable.

In the Fly Box, we have some questions and tips that I think will be of interest to all fly fishers, including:

What tips or tricks do you have for an older angler who has problems threading small flies?

A tip from a listener about how he attaches a dropper nymph to his tippet with a clinch knot so he can change either fly without re-tying both flies.

A tip from a listener on how to estimate measurements using parts of your arms and fingers.

Why does Orvis not sell a 7-weight Superfine Glass fly rod?

Do you ever use indicators when fishing nymphs on small mountain brook trout streams?

Can I fish soft hackles during the winter?

Why are people so nasty when I post fly-tying videos on social media? Do you get those kinds of comments in the podcast mailbox?

Does it matter where I put my wing case on Perdigon nymphs, and why are some Perdigons relatively fat? I thought "thin for the win" was the mantra for these flies.

Why would people throw streamers on Euro-nymphing rods?

I bought an old 7½-foot, 6-weight Madison bamboo fly rod. Will this be better with a 5- or 6-weight line, and will it be OK for general trout fishing?

Direct download: redfish_with_pete_scafaru.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:07am EDT

This week, my guest is Joshua Simmons [44:00], who with his brother Caleb hosts the podcast "Dads on the Fly". (It's not just for dads, it's for moms and families as well, but they just both happen to be dads and brothers who wanted to give back to the world of fly fishing.) In their podcast they explore the ways families can get together through fly fishing, and have talked to many people across the country about this subject, so Joshua has a lot to share from his conversations and research. If you have always wanted to bring your family together in fly fishing, you'll pick up some great suggestions.

In the Fly Box this week, we have an eclectic mix of suggestions and questions, including:

Why do I have trouble mixing my dubbing in an old coffee grinder? It comes out like rope. I

 have trouble tying with a hackle cape with thick stems. What can I do?

I have trouble hooking steelhead. What am I doing wrong?

A comment from a listener on the growing movement that helps fish and game departments protect all aquatic species, not just gamefish and game animals.

How can I practice casting before my next bonefish trip?

What footwear do you recommend for wading the flats?

It seems like I can get closer to bonefish wading that from a boat. Is that usually the case?

I have a new baby coming. How can I childproof my tying area?

Phil Rowley says that eutrophic lakes offer the best trout fishing, but all the eutrophic lakes I fish in New Hampshire are too warm for trout. Why the disconnect?

Someone told me to switch from left-hand wind to right-hand wind when I go saltwater fishing (I am right-handed). Should I heed their advice?

Why don't more fly anglers wear a PFD?

If Tom had one final trip, where would he go?

A great tip from a listener on pre-rigging flies at home

I can't cast a Euro rig with my 905 rod. Should I invest in a specific Euro nymphing rod and what will it give me that my current rod does not?

Direct download: dads_on_the_fly.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:38pm EDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is there a time when one is better than another?

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

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

What is a Bimini twist used for?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I lost a big fish by following it downstream.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where can I find trout in winter?

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

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

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

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

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

What is the best beginner outfit for saltwater fly fishing?

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

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