Sun, 17 September 2023
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:
Sun, 10 September 2023
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:
Mon, 4 September 2023
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:
Sun, 13 August 2023
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:
Sun, 6 August 2023
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:
Mon, 31 July 2023
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:
Fri, 21 July 2023
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?
Fri, 14 July 2023
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?
Fri, 30 June 2023
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?
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?
Fri, 23 June 2023
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?
Fri, 16 June 2023
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?
Fri, 9 June 2023
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?
Fri, 2 June 2023
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?
Fri, 26 May 2023
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™ (flyfilmfest.com) 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
Fri, 19 May 2023
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?
Fri, 12 May 2023
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?
Fri, 5 May 2023
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?
Fri, 28 April 2023
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?
Fri, 21 April 2023
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?
Mon, 17 April 2023
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!
Sat, 15 April 2023
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?
Fri, 7 April 2023
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?
Fri, 31 March 2023
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?
Thu, 23 March 2023
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?
Thu, 16 March 2023
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?
Fri, 10 March 2023
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?
Fri, 3 March 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?
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?
Fri, 24 February 2023
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?
Fri, 17 February 2023
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?
Fri, 10 February 2023
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?
Fri, 3 February 2023
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?
Fri, 27 January 2023
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?
Fri, 20 January 2023
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?
Fri, 13 January 2023
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?
Fri, 6 January 2023
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?