Off the Water

  • By: Jim Dean
A-Bar Ranch

Fly fishermen were shocked and saddened when eastern Idaho’s fabled A-Bar closed in 2008 [see “Last Call,” March 2010 Fly Rod & Reel] but the good news is this: The A-Bar, legendary among parched trout fishermen, road-weary travelers and rambunctious locals, was purchased by TroutHunter, its next-door neighbor, and is being refurbished with plans to reopen this summer.

“Our goal is to fix the roof, do some painting and repairs and reopen on July 4, 2011, or as soon after that as possible,” says Rich Paini, one of the A-Bar’s new co-owners. Other partners include Paini’s wife, Millie, Jon Stiehl, Allen Ball and renowned fly tier René Harrop.


  • By: John Gierach
  • Illustrations by: Bob White
Promise of the coming day.

As businesses, fishing lodges are rarely big money makers, and there’s a surprising mortality rate. The editor of a sporting magazine once told me it’s not all that unusual for him to assign a destination story on a lodge, only to have the place close before the article runs. Think about it: You’re operating what amounts to a hotel, a restaurant, a guide service, a travel agency, a small airline, a modest navy and sometime medical evacuation unit, and you have to make your nut in a season that can be as short as eight or 10 weeks.

Picture This

  • By: Val Atkinson
  • Photography by: Val Atkinson
Light is Everything

Fly-fishing, travel and photography go together like ABC. Documenting our adventures afield can be a very satisfying part of our experience, whether we’re traveling far away or just down the road. But too often anglers spend a small fortune on equipment, travel and perhaps a camera as well, and after returning home they are disappointed in their pictures.

Pay to Play

  • By: Will Rice
  • Photography by: Cathy Beck
  • , Greg Thomas
  • , Will Rice
  • and Barry Beck
Private Waters

When i was growing up in southern Idaho, private property meant, “Close the gates behind you and don’t spook the cows.” The rare No Trespassing sign just meant a grouchy old farmer didn’t like his neighbors. But by simply asking permission we were able to hunt pheasants in the stubble-fields and fish for rainbows and cutthroat in the moss-filled spring creeks. In exchange, we occasionally dropped off a couple of fish or a brace of mallards for our hosts.

Fly Girls

  • By: Stephen Camelio
  • Photography by: Dusan Smetana

Not every family fishing vacation has to involve all the members of your clan. Heck, not even everyone who joins the fun has to be a blood relation; just ask Oprah Winfrey, who this past fall went fly-fishing with her best friend, Gayle King, during their girls’ trip to Yosemite National Park. We all know that women pick up the rhythm and feel of fly-fishing quite quickly, so it stands to reason that one of the fast-growing types of angling vacations are for women only.