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The Orvis Fly-Fishing Podcast

Produced by The Orvis Company and hosted by Tom Rosenbauer, author of The Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide, this podcast will provide you with tips on how to get the most of your time on the water. Read more about Orvis at www.orvis.com/podcast.

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 EST

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 EST

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:
 
Fiction
  • 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
Non-fiction 
  • 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 EST

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: https://www.restoringriverscapes.org
 
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 EST

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