p>In a long list of best places to fish, Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula—and the opportunity it provides for adventure and giant rainbow trout—sits at or near the top for most fly fishers. And photographer Valentine Atkinson is no different: On a recent journey to Kamchatka he wrecked a camera body, a lens, a pair of sunglasses and two fly rods, and he was pitched out of a raft while he was at it. He set up his tent at night, took it down in the morning, ate mostly sustenance fare of canned corn beef hash and homemade borscht, and saw enough grizzly bears to keep one ear open at night. Despite those challenges Atkinson says it was one of the best trips he’s ever taken (he’s fished 30 countries), and his companions on the adventure, to a man, said it was the best fly-fishing for rainbow trout they’d ever experienced, times 10.
- By: Robert S Tomes
Over the past decade, fly-fishing for northern pike has gained a solid footing with North American anglers looking for a new fix. Lured by the prospect of a visual—and often violent—take and a good fight, fly-fishing for pike is consistently fun and mostly lacks the pretentious attitude that trout and salmon fishing sometimes encourage.
It should come as no surprise that chasing pike with flies has taken hold in Europe, too. Known by different names depending on the language, pike fly-fishing is now an accepted and growing sport in countries as diverse as France, Denmark, Holland, The Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Just last year, an international pike fly-fishing tournament was held in Finland and included teams from Canada, England, Holland and Finland (Finland won).
- By: Chris Santella
- Photography by: Jim Klug
Thanks to an agreement between an Italian company (Avalon) and the Cuban government, anglers have fished Cuba’s Los Jardines de la Reina (The Gardens of the Queen) for the past 18 years. Tales of Los Jardines’ unblemished and underexploited waters make the archipelago a sought-after flats destination . . . especially in spring, when migrating adult tarpon pass through and anglers get their shots at 100-plus-pound beasts.
- By: Jeff Erickson
- Photography by: Jeff Erickson
- and Greg Thomas
You can chase cutthroats on easily accessed streams, such as the Snake, near Jackson, or head out from there to reach remote, wilder waters that are full of cutthroats and are visited by few anglers.
- By: Matt Harris
- Photography by: Matt Harris
Taimen are fish of legend, murderous, malevolent beasts armed with a nightmarish dental array and a cold-blooded, primeval killing instinct. These malicious assassins possess catholic tastes, and anything from lenok and grayling to rats, ducks, bats and even fellow taimen regularly fall prey to their swift, savage attacks. Taimen often hunt in packs, a habit that has earned them the soubriquet “river wolf” and conjures a frightening image to anyone who wades waist-deep into a taimen river.
Taimen broadly resemble long, lean brown trout, but unlike their smaller cousins, grow to truly enormous size. They populate a huge catchment that stretches across Asia, from the Volga and Pechora Basin in the West, to the Pacific seaboard and Sakhalin Island in the East, and their prodigious bulk and nerve-shattering strikes spawn countless stories, some little more than fanciful myths, others incontrovertibly based in fact.
- By: Thierry Bombeke
- Photography by: Val Atkinson
The Ambien failed badly, giving me just 45 minutes of sleep during a 36-hour slog from coastal Maine to New Zealand, specifically the pastoral town of Murchison, where I started the first leg of a three-lodge, eight-day trout blitz.
Fortunately, fatigue was overridden by the adrenaline high that comes with visiting an exceedingly exotic new place that, amongst other wonders, harbors large brown and rainbow trout in good numbers. Within minutes of my arrival at Scott and Leya Murray’s beautiful River Haven Lodge, we were on the banks of a nearby freestoner, Scott rigging my 9-foot 5-weight with an 18-foot leader and a strike indicator, the mono tipped with a dark beadhead caddis.
- Photography by: Greg Thomas
The young French martial-arts expert and gym teacher had saved up to accompany legendary salmon angler Pierre Affre to a river some contend represents the best chance for a truly big salmon: the bronze-tinted Kola, near Murmansk in Russia, and namesake of the remote peninsula east of Finland.
- By: Ted Leeson
Whether you’re out for a day or gone for the week,
not every minute of every fishing trip is consumed with working the water. There’s no point in treating angling like a job—it’s much too important for that. So you take some time to knock off for lunch, knock around camp, or put your feet up and knock back a cold one.
- By: Val Atkinson
- Photography by: Val Atkinson
I first learned about something called the exotic grand slam years ago in an old British sporting journal. The British have a history of concocting new ways to entertain themselves, including those mammoth expeditions to Everest and the South Pole. They also invented the sport of lion hunting from horseback, the trick being to dismount before actually shooting the charging lion. That game never appealed to me, but the exotic grand slam did. To take the slam you have to catch three challenging species that live on different continents:
1African tigerfish, in either the Okavango Delta or the Zambezi River and its tributaries, which are full of crocodiles and hippos, and venomous snakes like the puff adder and the black-necked spitting cobra.
- By: Brian O'Keefe
- , Ralph Bartholdt
- , Jeff Erickson
- and Kirk Deeter
- Photography by: John Sherman
- , Brian O'Keefe
- , Tim Romano
- , Ralph Bartholdt
- and Jeff Erickson
Sandpoint, idaho—calvin fuller has a pet bass that weighs a pound and a half and eats chicken burritos. He hooks it during lunch breaks less than a block from Sandpoint, Idaho’s main drag, under the watchful eyes of coffee-sippers at Starbucks.
Fuller, a local outfitter who operates the area’s only fly shop, cuts between storefronts and down an alley to reach the banks of Sand Creek, then casts a bug-eye streamer. I watch the fat line he’s throwing off a Sage Bass Series rod and it goes tight. He and his pet play again.