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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.

Last week we looked at urban fly fishing in the Rockies.  This week we venture into the American south with Orvis Atlanta fishing manager Devin Lancaster for an expert look at how to find and catch interesting fly-rod species within your own city limits by using a method he calls Blue Dotting.  You'll need to listen to the podcast to find out exactly what that is.
 
In the Fly Box this week, as usual we have some interesting questions and helpful tips, including:
  • If I am fishing for smallmouth in a river that also hosts trout and the water temperature is 68 degrees, what should I do?
  • How can I cast to smallmouth in a river where I have almost no back-cast room?
  • In lakes with multiple species, when fishing from shore should I expect to find different types of fish at different times?
  • I have difficulty setting the hook on trout with a "trout set" and do better with a strip set.  Why is the 'trout set" recommended for trout?
  • Do you have any tips on fly fishing for walleye?
  • Why do some nymphs call for a partridge collar and other nymphs use a CDC collar?  Is there any difference?
  • A listener relates that the Ralph Cutter podcast on wading safety literally saved his life.
  • Are all the new Helios models four times as accurate, or just the 905?
  • Are there any dry flies tied with cork these days?
  •  How can I get my fly into a deep pool directly below a waterfall?
  • What do you know about the old PM-10 and T-3 Orvis rods?
  • Is a double or triple surgeon's loop better than a perfection loop in lighter tippets?
  • Does hook shank shape affect hooking qualities?
  • How can I swing wet flies in small streams?
  • A great tip from a listener on wearing wool socks underneath neo socks when wet wading to avoid sand between your toes.
  • Is a George Harvey leader the same as a braided leader?
Direct download: The_Secrets_of_Blue_Dotting_with_Devin_Lancaster.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

It's no secret that the more popular trout rivers in the Rocky Mountains have gotten more crowded in the past few years.  Yet there are so many species of fish that are fun with a fly rod, closer to home, and that live in places that are far less crowded.  Davis James shares his experience with the "25 On the Fly" event, where anglers in the Front Range try to catch 25 different species of fish on the fly rod in two days (no one has ever done it).  He share his tips for what species are available, how to find them, what tackle to use, and what fly patterns to try.  We all need to embrace these wonderful fish to have fun closer to home and to take pressure off our more productive trout streams.
 
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips from listeners, including:
  • What percentage of the time do you use a dry dropper or double dry rig?
  • What weight fly rod is best for panfish?  And what flies should I use?
  • How do we ensure our fly fishing traditions are passed on to the younger generation?
  • How can I make my dry dropper rig drift tight to the opposite bank?
  • Is fly fishing for carp popular in Europe?
  • How do I organize and carry my wide assortment of trout flies?  How does Tom do it?
  • How can I fish for panfish and largemouth bass in an old gravel pit that drops off steeply?
  • A great tip from a listener about how to tie a more durable egg pattern
  • I was fishing a double dry rig for fish rising to small mayflies and my imitation was perfect but I didn't fool as many fish as I should have.  What should I have done differently?
  • I have trouble threading my tippet onto a small dry fly.  Can I tie the tippet to the bend of the hook instead?

I get lots of questions about polarized sunglasseshow are they made, what exactly do they do, glass vs. plastic, what color lens should I pick, and do expensive ones really offer an advantage?  And why can't I get clear polarized sunglasses for low light?  My guest, Renato Cappuccitti [41:51], is an expert on polarized sunglasses and will answer your questions and mine about one of the most essential pieces of gear.
 
In the Fly Box this week we have some thoughtful and interesting questions and comments, including:
  • Why can't I get braided leaders any more?
  • Can I just put a long level tippet on a braided leader?
  • My brook trout stream does not seem to have any fish larger than five inches.  Do you think there are any bigger ones in there?
  • I was fishing a sulfur hatch and it started raining and the fish turned off completely.  Why do you think this happened?
  • How can I eliminate wind knots when fishing a dropper rig?
  • My girlfriend has trouble stripping in fish.  Do you have any tips for improving her coordination?
  • What are the pros and cons of furled leaders?
  • My floating line starts to sink after fishing for a while.  Can I apply gel flotant to it?
  • A listener reminds us that for many balance problems while fishing the best place for help is to find a licensed physical therapist
  • My fly line broke eight feet from the tip.  Can I still use it?
  • How many leaders should I carry in my leader wallet?
  • A listener reminds us that too often when wading we worry about dropping our rod or phone in the water at the expense of safety.
  • An expert on UV cure adhesives gives advice on using the right wavelength of light and the correct amount of time and distance to use the light.
  • If you have a 9-foot 5-weight and a 10-footer in the Helios models, what reason is there to have a 9-foot, 5-inch model?
  • How can I avoid putting a set into my bamboo fly rod?
  • How can I catch brook trout in high water?
 
Direct download: All_About_Polarized_Sunglasses_with_Renato_Cappuccitti_of_Bajio_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

 
What is a delayed harvest stream and how do the regulations work?  Do you use different flies and methods for hatchery fish?  How far do hatchery fish move and in which direction?  You'll learn the answers to these questions and many more with Dustin Coffey [46:39], the winner of the 2024 Orvis Endorsed Guide of the Year award.
 
In the podcast this week, as usual we have some interesting and thought-provoking questions, including:
  • Does fly line color matter?
  • Why don't my subtle baitfish patterns work in Patagonia?
  • Can I use my big brown trout streamers for Atlantic salmon since they are related to brown trout?
  • How deep do you insert studs when adding them to felt-soled waders?
  • How do I get my streamers deeper when fishing for sea-run brook trout in rivers where weighted flies and sinking lines are not allowed?
  • Is it acceptable if I troll from a kayak for striped bass, and what rod should I use?
  • A listener writes in to tell us that the orange goo found in some rivers is a natural phenomenon
  • What do I use for a practice streamer when casting on my lawn?
  • Does the noise from my wading shoes and wading staff scare trout?
  • Do trout live in streams with mucky bottoms?
  • Any other casting methods besides the roll cast I can use on smaller streams?
  • I fished over some rising trout with my nymph rig and didn't catch them.  Should I have switched to a dry fly?
  • How should I rig for pike?
  • What are the pros and cons of using an 8 ½ foot rod vs. a 9-foot rod in Colorado tailwaters?
  • When do you put down your rod and take photos?
  • How can I get the cement off my hooks when I want to re-use the hooks from beat-up Clouser Minnows?

Breckenridge Outfitters is this year's winner of the Orvis Endorsed Outfitter of the Year Award and Tim West [44:07] is the glue that holds this fabulous guide service together.  In the interview, Tim talks about how to decide which fly to tie on at the beginning of the day, or when you first approach the water.  Do you start with a streamer, a nymph, a wet fly, a dry fly, or some combination of them?  What clues should you observe to decide which one to try?
 
We have some fascinating questions this week in the fly box, questions I am sure many of you think about yourself, including:
  • Can you explain the difference between fast, medium, and slow fly rods?
  • I noticed a bright orange sludge-like material on the bottom of my stream.  Should I stay away from this one?
  • Do you think kayaks spook trout more than belly boats?
  • After a rod, reel, and line, what piece of gear should I consider next?
  • When tying to fill a fly box, should I tie one of each pattern or 4 or 5 of the same one?
  • Is there a disadvantage of using a perfection loop instead of a non-slip mono loop when tying on a streamer?
  • If I see a heron in a pool in a small stream, should I move on and avoid that pool?
  • Would it work to have a leader with a very long butt section, a short transition section, and a very long tippet?
  • Why do trout eat or reject an imitation of a midge pupa in a lake?
  • Do you think a 5-weight outfit is a good rod for taking to Alaska?
  • Why don't my marabou flies stay fluffy once they have been used?
  • A listener tip for tying a dropper to the bend of a hook.
Direct download: Whats_the_first_fly_to_tie_on__With_award-winning_outfitter_Tim_West.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

 
Carp are difficult any time but around spawning time they can be extremely frustrating.  But they can be caught on a fly.  You need to know where to look and which fish to target.  Guide Rowan Lytle [44:38] has it dialed in, and if you always wanted to catch a carp on the fly you need to listen to this podcast.  Rowan, not yet 30 years old, has already caught 202 different species of fish on a fly rod, and some of them will surprise you.  But you'll need to listen to the podcast to find out what they are.
 
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips from listeners, including:
  •  I tip for taming your line and leader when you don't use a hook keeper
  • How far do I hold my UV lamp form the fly when curing UV epoxy?
  • What do I do on my local lake when the Power Bait crowd out-fishes me?
  • How do I catch catfish on a fly rod?
  • Do you fish different caddis pupa patterns for cased vs. uncased caddis?
  • How do different holes in a river change throughout the season?
  • Should I fish dry flies and nymphs in a lake different from the way I fish them in streams?
  • Do weed guards on flies actually work in thick vegetation?
  • If we see mayflies about size 12 hatching in our lake, should we use a size 12 nymph or one smaller?
  • What is the difference between flow, thin, and thick UV resins and when should I use each one?
  • My size 20 grizzly hackle keeps breaking.  Do you have any tips for keeping tension and not breaking the stems?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of buying a complete outfit vs. separate components?
  • A tip from a listener on whether to use your wading staff upstream or downstream of your position.
  • I want to start tying flies.  What pattern would you recommend I start with?  
  • What are your favorite bass and bluegill flies?
Direct download: Secrets_of_Carp_Fishing_Around_Spawning_Time_with_Rowan_Lytle.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

 
My guest this week is Sarah Foster [54:15], executive director of The American Museum of Fly Fishing, on why she thinks learning about the history and traditions surrounding fly fishing are important and add to our enjoyment.  She talks about recent exhibits and acquisitions, and what is in store for the future of the museum.  It's a must-see for anyone visiting southern Vermont.
 
In the Fly Box this week, we have some especially interesting questions and tips from listeners, including:
  • Why do I keep getting strikes on nymphs while stripping them upstream like a streamer?
  • Is the throat of a pool a common place to find trout feeding?
  • At what temperature does a brown trout start to actively feed?
  • When I see a pod of rising trout, why can I only fool one fish even though the other ones continue to feed?
  • How do older Orvis bamboo fly rods compare to contemporary models?
  • I found eggs in holdover brown trout in the spring.  Were these fish that never found a mate?
  • I have trouble with rabbit's foot hair coming loose on my flies.  How do I secure it better?
  • If you only had one line for striped bass from shore, what line would you choose?
  • How much time before the incoming or outgoing tide should I fish for striped bass?
  • Can you explain exactly what a shock tippet is?
  • What is your "last fly" during the evening hatch when it gets tough to see?
  • Do polarized sunglasses lose their effectiveness over time?
  • A listener gives a tip for an easier way to tie a surgeon's knot
  • A listener gives a caution about fishing below sewage treatment plants after a major flood event
  • My 70-denier thread keeps breaking.  What could be the problem?
  • What feathers from a chicken are useful in fly tying?
  • I fish a 6-weight rod and want a different rod for smaller streams.  What should I pick?
  • I always use a wading staff.  Is the metal tip on the staff an alarm clock for trout, and have you ever put on a rubber tip to prevent this?
Direct download: Are_Fly-Fishing_Traditions_and_History_Important_with_Sarah_Foster.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Scott [41:18] is an assistant professor of motor control and learning at Long Beach University, as well as a fly fisher and podcast listener.  He has a small number of quick tests you can do at home to check your balance, and then simple exercises you can do at home without any special equipment to improve your balance in a matter of weeks.  Wading safely and comfortably on a river involves both balance and confidence, and what you learn here will give you help with both.  You'll enjoy your time on the water more.
 
In the Fly Box this week we have so many great tips from listeners that I may be able to retire and turn the podcast over to you.  But we also have some interesting questions that I'm happy to answer as best I can.  Some of these include:
  • A listener suggests when a self-inflating PFD may be a good option
  • Two listeners weigh in on how to access scientific articles on fisheries science with paying a fee for access
  • A listener offers a great suggestion on how to easily attach a dropper to the bend of a hook.
  • Should I be concerned about fishing below a sewage treatment outlet?
  • A listener tells a great tale of his momentous catch on one of the new Helios rods
  • Should I be concerned about angling for fish when they are on their spawning run?
  • With the new Helios rods, do you still prefer the F version for trout and the D version for salt water?
  • If I dispose of the shiners I catch will it help the local trout population?
  • What do you think of using an indicator with a big nymph or crayfish fly for early season smallmouth?
  • Can you explain the difference between a shooting head and a sink-tip line?
  • A listener gives some expert advice on the choice of insect repellents
  • I am having trouble with short roll casts.  Do you think it's my casting technique?
  • Is it helpful to pre-treat dry flies right after you tie them?
  • If I fish an indicator and split shot and a nymph, should I use a double taper or weight-forward line?
Direct download: How_to_Test_and_Keep_Your_Balance_When_Wading_with_Scott_Ducharme.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Ralph Cutter [36:53] is an extremely perceptive, pragmatic angler with a lifetime of experience in white water, both fishing and in watercraft and water rescues.  He feels that what we’ve been taught to do if we fall in wearing waders is all wrong, and he has a number of tips for getting to shore safely that most of us don’t know about.  He also recommends a second wader belt for wading in very tricky waters.  He’s proven this through countless experiments on the water.  If you spend any time at all wading in rivers, you must listen to this podcast—or you can read an article in Fly Fisherman magazine he wrote a number of years ago through this link: How to Wade Safely and Get Out of Dangerous Situations - Fly Fisherman

 

 

In the Fly Box this week, we have questions that range from the very basic to more advanced, and tips from listeners as well, including:

  • Why do my CDC dry flies sink like a rock?
  • I am not feeling strikes when I am nymph fishing.  Are there improvements I can make to feel more fish?
  • Would a longer rod help more in nymph fishing?
  • Why aren’t knotless leaders marked with a small segment of color so that the butt, tippet, and transition sections are clearly demarcated?
  • A listener clarifies the issue of whether northern strain brook trout were ever stocked in the southern Appalachians
  • If I want to fish pools that are 8-10 feet deep with a Euro rig, do I need an 8-10-foot tippet?
  • What do I do if I am fishing a dropper rig and my upper dropper tippet breaks off or gets too short?  Do I need to tie another surgeon’s knot?
  • If I am fishing straight upstream, do I need to mend my line?
  • If my hook bends after removing it from a snag and I bend it back into place, will that weaken the hook?
  • I have trouble tying a dropper onto the bend of a hook.  I lose tension and pressure before cinching the knot down.  Do you have any tips to help this?
  • The water temperature was in the 40s and there was a mayfly hatch, but I only caught fish on nymphs and nothing was rising.  Why did this happen?
  • Does choosing a fly rod really depend mostly on the size flies you’re throwing?  When I fish a small bass fly, I don’t want to try to land a bass on my 3-weight.
 
Direct download: This_Podcast_May_Save_Your_Life_with_Ralph_Cutter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

The use of the natural toxin rotenone to remove invasive, non-native species of trout to protect native species is a controversial topic. Does it really work? What does the poison do to the insect, mammal, and bird populations? Ted Williams [52:36], a proponent of these tactics in selected waters, discusses where reclaiming populations has been successful and also places where it would not make sense. Ted is one of the foremost environmental writers of our time and is never afraid to stick his neck out, so you may agree with what he says or you may not, but you’ll learn some important biology in the process.

 

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

  • A plug for Trout Unlimited’s “Trout in the Classroom” projects
  • What is your favorite rod for small streams, what size flies do you use, and where do I find the biggest trout in small streams?
  • Can I use nymphs in small streams?  They have not worked for me.
  • How do you test water temperature?  Do you need to suspend the thermometer deep in the water?
  • How can I catch walleye on my fly rod?
  • At what water temperature should I fish for bass?
  • How long do you stick with one fly before changing it, and what do you look for in new water?
  • Have you found any difference between painted and unpainted flies on streamers?
  • I want to do some writing about fly fishing.  How do you handle criticism when you do this?
  • What is the best practice for tipping guides?
  • Do you recommend studs for rubber-soled waders, and how often can you remove them and then put them back?
  • On cloudy days I can’t see as much with my polarized glasses?  What should I do?
  • How long does it take for trout to get back into their normal positions after a flood?
  • Should you present streamers differently in the early season than you would later in the spring?
  • The dry fly on my dry/dropper rig keeps twisting.  What can I do to avoid this?
  • How do you get your fly to fish in deep water running along the bottom?
  • I keep breaking my tippet where it connects to my tippet ring even though I am using a lighter tippet to my flies.  What can I do?
Direct download: How_to_Preserve_Native_Trout_Species_with_Ted_Williams.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

 

This week, my guest is guide BJ Gerhart [33:50], a longtime veteran guide at Three Rivers Ranch in Idaho and one of the savviest anglers I know.  He shares his tips for getting around the common problems of early season trout fishing, mainly cold water and high flows.

 

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

  • If adult trout can’t see UV light, as you said in last week’s podcast, what should I do with all the UV and flashy materials I have in my fly-tying collection?
  • What kind of standard trout flies are closest to the kebari flies used in tenkara fishing?
  • When fishing a dry dropper, all the trout took my dry fly yet when I removed the nymph I stopped getting strikes.  What caused this?
  • Why are beads on nymphs usually gold?
  • Why is my casting worse when I use beadhead flies?
  • What are the main differences between the 9-foot and the 8-foot, 5-inch Helios rods for a 10-weight line?
  • Why is fly fishing for salmon in Great Lakes streams not as popular as steelhead fishing?
  • When choosing a fly line for a two-handed rod, should I add the grain weight of the sinking head to the grain weight of the Skagit head?
  • A great tip for wading safety with a buddy
  • A listener raves about the Orvis rod repair team
  • Do you think I should stop trout fishing at 60 degrees just to be safe?
  • Are there public resources I can use to find out if a river might be too high to fish?
  • A listener gives a tip for adding a long mono rig easily without the need to tie a clinch knot to the permanent loop in a fly line.
Direct download: Tips_for_Early_Season_Trout-Fishing_Success_with_BJ_Gerhart.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Can trout see color?  Can they see UV light?  How does a trout's window on the outside world affect how they feed and how they notice predators like us?  How can a trout see so well at night and also in bright light when they have no eyelids, and their pupils don't constrict?  Jason Randall [31:10] is an experienced fly fisher and scientist, and he stays up on the latest scientific papers on trout and also talks to leading scientists, and is one of the best at distilling this information for us ordinary anglers.  This is a fascinating podcast and Jason does a great job of explaining trout vision.
 
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions but also a bunch of great tips from listeners, including:
  • When water is low and the sun is bright, what tactics do you recommend for Great Lakes steelhead?
  • Four great fly-tying tips from a tier in the UK
  • I am looking at the 10-foot Helios rods.  For all-around fishing, should I get the 3-weight F model or the 4-weight D model?
  • A guide from the mid-Atlantic shares tips on targeting snakeheads
  • A young fly tier asks for advice on a moderately priced vise for tying bass flies
  • Why do my 9-foot 6X knotless leaders keep breaking?
  • A new fly fisher from Ohio recounts a wonderful experience he had on the river
  • A listener provides some great tips on rooftop rod carriers
  • A listener asks for suggestions for a book on the history of trout in North America
 
Direct download: New_How_Trout_See_with_Jason_Randall_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

My guest this week is Brandon Hoffner [35:55], executive director of the Henry’s Fork Foundation, and the topic is the diverse habitat and trout-fishing opportunities of this world-famous river that has influenced so many anglers, techniques, and fly patterns over the years.  Like all trout rivers today, the Henry’s Fork also has its share of environmental issues and we’ll explore how the Henry’s Fork Foundation works to maintain this magical fishery.

 

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

  • What is the advantage of a 9 ½-foot rod over a 9-footer or 10-footer?
  • A great tip from a listener on how to remove salt water from flies you have fished
  • When would you use a Tenkara rod over a traditional Western rod?  And do you have a favorite Tenkara rod?
  • Does Tom Rosenbauer actually tie the flies in the Orvis Tom Rosenbauer fly selection?
  • What is the history of the famous Orvis Far & Fine graphite rod, and what line would you put on it?
  • For small creeks, is it better to use a 2-weight or a 3-weight line?
  • What can I substitute for goose biots on the tail of a stonefly nymph?
  • Can you explain the pros and cons of polyleaders vs. sink-tip fly lines?
  • What are the best fly lines on the new Helios 7 ½-foot 3-weight rod and the new 8-foot, 5-inch 7-weight rod?
  • A listener talks about how he uses the new Orvis wading staff as a hiking staff as well.
  • Will the heat inside a car in summer hurt my Orvis raincoat?
  • A call from Captains for Clean Water with some great news from the Everglades
Direct download: All_about_the_Henrys_Fork_with_Brandon_Hoffner_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

The Montana Supreme Court recently reversed a decision that would have blocked a copper mine on the headwaters of the Smith River.  Where we thought we had a win in preventing a mine in the wrong place, we now may have to live with that mine.  David Brooks [33:02] on Montana TU tells us how, at the very least, TU and other organizations convinced the mine to put in a number of mitigation solutions that were not in their original plan.  Trout Unlimited has one more hail Mary on this issue, which you can learn about in the podcast.  This is a tough subject to listen to, but we learn that we can never give up on environmental issues, even when it looks like we've won. 

(To sign a petition in support of Trout Unlimited's position preventing the mine from expanding onto public land, click here https://montanatu.org/protect-the-smith-sign-the-mineral-withdrawal-petition/

 

In the Fly Box this week, we have some more fun and positive topics, including:
  • What is a tailing loop in fly casting?
  • To practice casting for a saltwater trip, should I just use yarn or should I use a hookless fly similar to the size I will be casting?
  • What is the purpose of a wing on a wet fly?
  • Does the loop at the end of a fly line cause energy loss?
  • How can I photograph striped bass beneath a bridge?
  • Can I keep fly rods in my cartop quiver in hot weather?
  • A great tip from a listener about using white poster board on the surface of an old rolltop desk.
  • Another tip from a listener on using inexpensive drill gauges to size hunks of deer hair and beads.
  • Would a one-piece rod be better than a four-piece rod?
  • How do I keep debris from drifting downstream when fishing the top of a riffle?
  • What is a good all-around fly line for bonefish and redfish?
  • I had a fishless day and then a guy with a spin rod caught a trout right in front of me.  Should I have switched to a streamer earlier?
Direct download: Disturbing_News_on_Montanas_Smith_River_with_David_Brooks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:01am EDT

Josh Miller [43:10] is a guide and has been a competitive angler and coach for years and he, like many young fly fishers, is an innovative angler who doesn't rely only on older methods of fly fishing but develops his own techniques based on how he wants his flies to drift.  This is a geeky one with some rambling, but I think Josh has some thought-provoking ideas that will get many of us thinking.
 
In the Fly Box we have some interesting questions and tips from listeners, including:
  • What model of an older Orvis rod do you still fish?
  • Do you have any tips from casting a Spey rod from the beach?
  • The head on a fly I tied unraveled.  Was it because I used Superglue and half hitches?
  • A tip from a listener on a product that will sharpen fly-tying scissors.
  • What conditions are best for fishing a bamboo rod?
  • Can I underline a fiberglass rod?
  • Can I cut the taper off an old WF5F line to make a lighter line for small streams?
  • How can I get my fly-tying thread to jump backward so I can tie in tricky materials?
  • What kind of setup do I need for catching snakeheads on a fly rod?
  • Why do smaller streams produce smaller trout and bigger rivers bigger fish?
  • What kind of PFD should I get for wearing under a fishing vest?
  • Why can't I find good brown and grizzly dry-fly hackle in size 12?
  • What do I need to do to switch between conventional nymphing and Euro nymphing?
  • Do most communities have fly-fishing clubs and how do I find them?
  • If I am going from a small stream to a lake, should I lengthen my butt section or lengthen my tippet?
Direct download: A_New_Way_of_Fishing_a_Dry_Dropper_with_Josh_Miller.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

This week, my guest is Orvis rod designer and my fishing buddy Shawn Combs [14:05], who uses the new Helios rods as an example of how a new rod series is developed.  What kind of input goes into a new rod design?  Why do we keep making new rod series?  How are they tested?  How many prototypes of a new rod are built before we decide on the final model?
 
The Fly Box is short this week because I've caught up with questions and am doing this before I leave for a couple weeks.  But they're good ones, including:
  • Do I need to set the hook in a different manner with a glass fly rod?
  • Is there something about the new Helios rods that is not covered on the web site and catalog copy?
  • Is there a place where I can still pick up a Helios 3 rod?
  • I am going to Cozumel and will be wade fishing from the beach.  What should I know in advance?
  • A listener gives some great tips on fly fishing for trout in Missouri
Direct download: FlyRodsDevelopSCombs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

This week, my guest is educator and aquatic entomologist Anna Le [18:57], who introduces us to the amazing world of trout-stream invertebrates.  She tells us how to gauge the health of a river by looking at the bugs, and also how we can all be citizen scientists and alert the authorities when we see a decline of important indicator species.
 
In the Fly Box this week we have the usual mix of difficult and easy questions, plus tips,  including:
  • A great tip from a listenerdon't try to fish while you are wading.
  • Can I put an 8-weight line on my 7-weight Pflueger Medalist reel?
  • A funny story from a listener on another way to break a fly rod
  • As I get older my eyesight and finger dexterity are not what they used to be.  Is there an easier knot for attaching flies to my tippet?
  • Why don't more people fish for chubs, and why are they considered a trash fish?
  • Do you have any recommended cicada patterns?
  • A listener who is also a toxicologist warns that not all fly-tying materials are harmless and gives tips on how to avoid undue exposure to them.
  • I have trouble tying tails on size 18 and smaller flies.  Do you have any tips?
Direct download: TroutStreamBugsAna.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

This week my guest is Charlie Schneider [45:30] from Cal Trout, a great organization that Orvis has supported over the years because they are really effective in protecting wild trout habitat.  Charlie talks about the many species and subspecies (or races depending on whether you are a lumper or a splitter) of wild trout found in California, some of are unique to California.   The incredibly diverse topography and geology (and proximity to the Pacific Ocean) contribute to this array of salmonids and it's fascinating to get an overview of them.
 
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips, including:
  • Why do I have trouble Euro nymphing in slow pools when I have such good luck in faster water?
  • I catch steelhead from Lake Ontario tributaries during the colder months but I don't catch trout there during the summer.  Why?
  • I am having trouble casting a Euro rig.  What tips can you give me?
  • How can I wean myself off my spinning rod when it's so much more successful that my fly rod?
  • What are your thoughts on the Non-Slip Mono Loop for dry flies?
  • Have you ever tired the Australian Braid Knot as a replacement for the Bimini Twist?
  • Which is more important in choosing a line size—the size of the fish or the size of the fly?
  • Can trout spill over a dam into streams below?
  • Can you give me some tips on catching cutthroat trout?
  • How can I tell if there are trout in a small stream?
  • I am 17 and can't afford a hackle cape.  Is there any way to save money on a cape,  and what color would you recommend I start with?
  • Is it so bad if I want to keep a few wild trout to eat?  Why the big emphasis on catch and release?
  • What is that protrusion on the opposite side of the spool from a reel handle?  It can't be a counterweight.
  • If I have a medium-fast 5-weight rod, will a 6-weight line make it more of a medium action?
  • I lost 30-40 fish in the tail of a pool swinging flies.  What was I doing wrong?
  • How do you select deer hair for Comparadun wings?
Direct download: CaliforniaTroutCharlieSchneider.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

My guest this week is Charity Rutter [39:50], a great friend and longtime guide in the Great Smoky Mountains.  She and her husband Ian have just finished a great book (I read the manuscript and loved it) and although it won't be available until April, you can pre-order it  here: 

https://randrflyfishing.com/store/fly-fishing-guide-to-great-smoky-mountains-national-park/

Charity shares her secrets for making more out of your time on small waters, and although she concentrates on her area, she has fished small streams throughout North America and her tips will help you no matter where you fish.

 

In the Fly Box this week we have a nice assortment of questions and tips on fly fishing and fly tying, including:

  • Why do you hate hook keepers so much?

  • Is it true that you should not hook your fly onto your stripping guide?

  • A listener recounts his first experience with selling flies he tied himself.

  • A number of people chide me for not using a wading staff—yet.

  • Will it hurt my fly line if I stretch it first before fishing?

  • A listener gives some good advice on how to get out of a dangerous situation while wading, and how to prevent your waders from acting like a sea anchor.

  • A tip from a listener on how he deals with litter during a day of fishing and one on how he carries rods on the back seat of his vehicle.

  • A listener tells me how pleased he was with Orvis reel repair service.

  • Should I wear socks when wearing the new Pro Approach Hikers in salt water?

  • Can I Euro nymph in lakes and ponds?

  • A tip from a listener on making more durable peacock herl bodies.

  • Where should I put the heavy section of mono on a shock leader?

  • A listener shares a tip on playing darts during the winter to keep those casting muscles in shape

  • I used rubber soled wading shoes on slippery rocks and had poor traction.  Should I stud them or just get a pair of felt-soled boots?

  • In a remote lake with an inlet and outlet, will trout move into the outlet as well as the inlet?

  • How can I keep my dropper and tippet from slipping off my barbless hook when fishing with a dry dropper?  And what knot is best when attaching a dropper to a hook bend?

  • I have a 9-foot 5-weight rod and want a rod for fishing for panfish and streamers for trout.  What rod should I get next?

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

Lindsay Kocka [42:30] is a fly-fishing instructor, formally trained natural movement and strength coach, mobility specialist, yoga teacher, and mindfulness educator.  She taken her fishing experience and formal training to come up with a method to help us wade stronger and more confidently.  Regardless of your age, you'll benefit from this podcast, which will give you lots of tips on how to feel more comfortable and confident on the water.  You'll also learn about how to get your body and balance in better shape for your upcoming trips on the water.  
 
In the Fly Box this week, we have an unusually large number of useful tips from listeners, as well as the usual questions for Tom, including:
  • Will my Clearwater fly lines be OK in salt water?
  • Why don't we use grain weights instead of the AFTMA number system for identifying the weights of trout fly lines like we do for double-handed rods?
  • The fly shops are always out of my favorite fly pattern, the Purple Haze.  I just want to tie those.  Should I start with a kit or should I just buy the materials I need for that fly pattern?
  • A tip from a listener on how to attach a fly so that it does not twist your leader
  • When you work a section of water, should you work the near seam or the far seam first?
  • A tip from a listener on how to replace the permanent loop on your fly line with a new one
  • A tip from a listener on how to remove burrs or grooves in your fly-tying bobbin
  • A tip from a listener on why you should save old waders, and how to use them to patch new ones.
  • A tip from a listener on why it is important to support your local fly shop
  • Tips from a blind fly fisher on methods he uses to enjoy fly fishing, and a couple tips from him on how to make threading a fly easier—something that all of us can benefit from.
  • Tips from a listener on practicing your fly casting from the position you'll most often be fishing from.
  • What is the etiquette when wading anglers and boaters cross paths on the water?
  • Why would someone pick a 91/2-foot or 9-foot, 5-inch rod over a 9-footer?
  • What tips do you have for casting a sinking leader?
  • Can I keep my rods set up in or on my car for extended periods?
Direct download: WadeWellLindsayK.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

All about Floating Fly Lines, with Josh Jenkins
 
What is the difference between freshwater and saltwater fly lines?  How about warmwater and cold-water lines?  How long do fly lines last?  How do you care for a fly line?  How do you clean a fly line?  Why do we have over-weighted fly lines?  These are questions I often get for the podcast, so I asked Josh Jenkins [49:28], head of R&D for Scientific Anglers, to answer these questions and more about floating fly lines.
 
In the Fly Box this week, as usual we have some great questions and helpful tips from listeners they want to share with you, including:
  • What is the best rod length, line size, and leader for brook trout?
  • Can I throw a small Woolly Bugger with my 3-weight rod or do I need a heavier rod?
  • Are there any fly-tying materials that could have a negative health impact?
  • Do you know of a source for those bags used to hold fly-tying materials?
  • What flies can I use ruffed grouse feathers on?
  • Should I use my heavier nymph as my point (lower) fly?
  • I am looking at an Amplitude Creek line for small streams but it states the line is one size heavier.  Will it spook the brook trout I am after?
  • How many flies do you lose every season, and how do you lose most of them?
  • How long should I expect a fly to last?
  • I love carp and bass fishing and have always been underwhelmed by trout fishing.  What am I missing?
  • Are 6-piece rods any good, and would you take one on a long trip?
  • I got some old feathers that are bug infested.  How can I clean them to make sure all the critters are gone?
  • A useful tip from a listener—to slow you down and help you observe a river better, don't string up your rod until you get to the river.
  • What do you do when you change species?  Do you have separate fly boxes for each?
  • When coming up with a new fly pattern, how do you decide hook style and thread type?
  • Tip for keeping young kids away from a fly-tying areause a baby gate
  • What is the most versatile fly for catching bass, carp, and panfish?
  • I get seasick.  What is the best place to go bonefishing where I will find calm water?
Direct download: FloatingFlyLinesJenkins.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Are there any tricks to spotting fish on saltwater flats, especially if it's your first time?  You may be disappointed to hear that there is no magic bullet and every place you fish will offer different species, water color, and depth.  But Jason Franklin [37:36] has a lifetime of experience helping his clients to spot bonefish and permit in the water, and he gives us some solid tips on how to develop this skill.
 
In the Fly Box this week, we have an unusual number of great tips from listeners, along with some questions Tom attempts to answer, including:
  • Will a 2-weight rod give me more enjoyment  than my 7 1/2-foot 3-weight when bluelining on my local streams?  How about a 10 foot two-weight?
  • What is the purpose of tying a tippet ring on the end of big dry flies?
  • Three great fly-tying and fishing  hacks from a listener
  • A listener describes how he fixed a bobbin that kept cutting thread using a fly-tying bead.
  • What hook sizes can I cast on my 5-weight when fishing for bass?  And would it help to put a 6-weight on my rod when casting larger flies?
  • What do you think of trying weedless carp flies for fish that are in pockets between weeds?
  • If I am tying various styles of streamers in a range of sizes, should I get a rooster cape?
  • Do I need to dry out my fly line before putting my reel away?
  • I want to try a tenkara rod but my fishing buddy says it's not fly fishing.  What do you think?
  • I could catch trout on Woolly Buggers but had trouble catching them on small midges.  What should I try in this tailwater the next time I go?
  • Three tips from a listener on getting success when tight-line nymphing.
  • Is it possible to get transcripts for the podcasts?
  • What is the process for experimentation with new fly patterns?
  • A listener adds another common way to break a fly rod
  • When you talk about leader length, do you include the tippet?
Direct download: SalwaterFlatsJFranklin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

This week's podcast is a recording of a live interview I did with Sue Doroff [48:56], co-founder and outgoing president of The Western Rivers Conservancy, which does amazing work throughout the West by buying valuable riparian land, making the surrounding habitat more natural and resilient, and enhancing public access to many of our important trout, salmon, and steelhead rivers.  You'll learn how Western Rivers finds these areas, the financial model for how they do this, and how most are eventually transferred into public ownership.  It's fascinating story of how a small organization punches well above its weight.
 
In the Fly Box this week, we have lots of questions and valuable tips from listeners, including:
  • How to use forceps to smooth down weighting wire
  • How to easily reverse your tying thread using a dubbing needle
  • How do I get deer hair to behave?
  • Any tips for attaching eyes to Game Changers?
  • Why can I catch trout from tiny streams on dry flies but not on nymphs?
  • Advice on the differences between Helios and Recon rods
  • How do I get into commercial fly tying?
  • How far do stocked trout travel?
  • Can I catch a carp on my 8 ½ foot 5 weight rod?
  • Can I use split shot with streamers?
  • Advice on a fiberglass rod for bass and panfish
  • Do I need to adjust water type or tactics for browns vs. rainbows?
  • A great tip from a listener on how to avoid losing beads and hooks under your tying table
  • What should a non-angler do when going fishing with a fly fisher?
  • How can I prevent losing fish on size 24 flies?  Should I keep the barbs on?
  • Does how you tie a clinch knot have any bearing on how it rides in the water?
  • A listener suggestion for another great writer of fly-fishing essays
Direct download: Saving_rivers_with_Western_Rivers_Conservancys_Sue_Doroff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

How has fly-tying changed in the past 50 years?  It's changed a great deal in the time Tim Flagler [43:55] and I have been practicing it, and I often get questions from people about what has changed over the years.  Tim and I discuss the way information was shared, what hackle was like back then, innovations like beads and synthetic materials and chemically sharpened hooks, and advances in fly-tying tools.  Our main conclusion is that fly tiers today have never had it better, and it continues to evolve almost daily.
 
In the Fly Box this week, we have lots of rod questions and the usual queries that people can't seem to find an answer to anywhere else—and we're glad to help!  Some of this week's questions are:
  • I am taking a rod-building class and want to know what rod I should add to my quiver (and he details the rods he already owns)
  • I have heard that Florida snook fishing is best from shore during the summer, but also that the season is closed.  Can I still target them and release them?
  • What do you know about fly fishing in Bermuda?
  • Can I put a 9-weight line on my Clearwater 908?
  • What Mirage LT reel should I put on my 11-foot Blackout rod?
  • Are there any introduced cutthroat populations in the eastern US?
  • For fishing from a float tube for brook trout in Maine, should I get a 10-foot 3-weight or 4-weight rod?
  • Would it be bad to wear tick repellent when fishing?  Will it harm aquatic life?
  • Why do  reel manufacturers put the drag adjustment on the opposite side of the reel handle?  I find it cumbersome to adjust my drag.
  • How will warm springs in my river affect bass behavior and feeding?
  • What is the minimum length of rod you recommend for most trout streams, other than small streams?
  • How do stocked spring creeks in Missouri compare to Colorado rivers?
  • Where can my friends and I find a good fly-fishing coach?
  • What clothing, equipment, and flies should I take for a bonefishing trip to the Turks & Caicos? 
  • I am new to New England and have been frustrated with high water conditions.  What can I do to have more success in high water?
Direct download: FlyTyingEvolutionFlagler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:29pm EDT

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