I recently added up the mileage: During the past 20 years I’ve driven more than 500,000 miles in the West, many on dirt roads, which I prefer over payment, and often through bottomless mud gumbo, ice or snow. During that time, I’d never left the road, although I did whack five registered black Angus cows on a memorable August evening and I’ve taken out two mule deer.
Where the rejuvenated fishing on this classic trout river is far better than you might have heard.
- Photography by: Greg Thomas
René Harrop has lived and breathed the Henry’s Fork fishery for decades. His company, House of Harrop, produces some of the leading flies for the area; he was a founding partner of Trouthunter, a top fly shop on the river; and his artwork, writing and overall philosophy of fishing have inspired and enlightened countless fly-fishers, on the Henry’s Fork and elsewhere. Harrop lives in Last Chance, Idaho. We caught up with him there.
- Photography by: James Anderson
- and Greg Thomas
The interesting wrinkle about the ICAST trade show (the all-tackle fishing-industry gathering held by the American Sportfishing Association) in Las Vegas this past July was just how many fly-fishing retailers were there inspecting new products for possible inclusion in their shops in late 2010 or early 2011. Except for a few exhibitors at the show (St. Croix and G. Loomis among them) who had hot products to introduce (by way of the new graphite technologies we described in the last issue of FR&R), the rest of the crowd was there to inspect the scene…kicking tires, so to speak.
Touring Chilean Patagonia's trout-saturated Aysen region. “Okay, you’ve heard the hype—every fish in the river’s rising when the hoppers are on; but it’s true. And the number of fish you’ll catch is, well, obscene."
2010 Robert Traver Fly Fishing Writing Award - Second Place
What was strange about that day, what caught Jim Mapleton off guard, was how hard he was working. At 59, he was no stranger to grief; he’d long ago learned how to pace the workday, how to parcel out his labor and save muscle for the next day. And yet here it was only noon and already his wrists were stiff, his elbows on fire, his shoulders wired with pain. Sweat soaked the front and back of his shirt, dripping from his brow and under his beard. He doused his baseball cap in the cold Oregon water and concentrated for a moment on the tendrils of river running down his neck.
- Illustrations by: Fred Thomas
Sarah Briston paints classic salmon flies that were inspired or created by some of the best-known fly tiers in the world. And since I collect flies like some people collect baseball cards, it’s not surprising that folks like me are smitten by her colorful, highly rendered and wondrously beautiful artwork.
What do you think about the new rubber alternatives to felt soles on wading boots? Do they grip and wear as well as felt? And do they achieve their intended purpose of reducing the spread of various invasive “nasties” from stream to stream?
Last October, While taking a break between passes through a pool on the Klickitat River in Washington state, Jeff Cottrell said to me, “I think you’ve become a steelheader.” I took it as a compliment, even though I didn’t really know what he meant. Probably just that I’d worked the entire run methodically, starting higher than some would and fishing so far into the tail that the fly ticked gravel on my last swing.
- Illustrations by: Bob White
Our 2010 Robert Traver Fly-Fishing Writing Award winning story, recognizing “distinguished original essays or works of short fiction that embody an implicit love of fly-fishing, respect for the sport and the natural world in which it takes place, and high literary values.”
- Illustrations by: Peter Corbin
Big Indian Creek is a small stream that originates in a glacial basin on the flank of a mountain in far-eastern Oregon. It runs high into July, holds its water well through summer, and finally subsides to mildness in autumn of the average year. The water gets thinner then, which is true of nearly all streams, small or otherwise: if the source is anything but a stable spring or tailwater release, the water is lowest late in the season.
- Photography by: Dave Hughes
There’s much to ponder in Rivers of a Lost Coast, an award-winning documentary about a minor apocalypse—make that major for West Coast salmon, with many runs already extinct or on the verge; and catastrophic for California’s steelhead, now so diminished that conditions call for a new word or one I don’t know yet. If decimation means taking one of 10, how do we describe a process that leaves roughly that? And when so much of what’s left is spawned hatchery product returning from the Pacific for factory-pool reunions?
Travel to Chilean Patagonia • Meet Cholo and learn traditional and new Spanish fly-tying methods • The Henry's Fork is fishing like a champ • Sporting Life by John Gierach…
Cholo, my companion and knowledgeable fishing guide, called me for lunch. Might as well, since the Órbigo river ran low and we’d found only a few taciturn trout. Over cheese, nuts, fruit and wine, we spoke of fly patterns and the past. Several years ago, I had fished southern Spain, but now I was in Northern Spain, León’s ancient heart of fly- fishing. World-class rivers—including the Esla, the Porma, the Curueño, the Torio and the Órbigo—flowed not far from León.
- Photography by: Darrel Martin
In a rare stroke of luck, or something, the occupants of the middle and window seats next to me on the plane to Houston, from where Pat Dunlap and I would jump to a flight to Belize City, weren’t a fat guy and an anxious mother with a screaming infant. Instead, our neighbors were two 20-something cocktail waitresses who each worked their way through four Screwdrivers before we touched down.
“We’re going to the Bahamas to party,” said the blonde in the tank top, after drink number one. “Where you headed?”
"The Force/MV1 is rated at 190 to 220 grains and the Force/MV3 at 350 to 400 grains. The rods feature an angled-forward stripping guide (to aid in shooting line), a handsome triangular reel seat and a super-aggressive rod taper..."
Perhaps the only common denominator among all the guides I’ve ever known or fished with, on rivers or lakes, flats or inshore waters, is that every last one of them relied on some kind of gear or tackle bag. Experience teaches, often harshly, the two fundamental, equipment-related precepts of an angling life: first, if you don’t have something, you’ll end up needing it; second, if you don’t keep it packed and ready to go, you’re going to forget it.
After a couple years of sparse steelhead returns on western British Columbia’s fabled Dean River, anglers found reason to rejoice this summer as…
Readers respond about David Hughes, the A-Bar ranch and angler of the year.
“There is an expression in wine tasting that a fine wine must ‘blossom in the mouth and spread out its peacock tail.’ The metaphor that connects feather with wine is not all hyperbole. The finest feather is the rich, full-bodied and mature feather. The feather connoisseur recognizes the sweet, rich mahogany of coachman brown and the cool, dry flavor of a light Cahill. A warm and subtle bouquet of light explodes as it passes through a fine hackle. After all, the birth of a fly begins with a delicious hackle.”
- Photography by: Darrel Martin
Exclusive Report: No one has a clue what will befall fish in the biggest toxicology experiment in U.S. history. Our Conservation editor examines the situation...
Along about late June, we began receiving fishing reports that the Yellowstone region was bursting with great fly-fishing. Here’s an update: Dick Greene of Bud Lilly’s Trout Shop in West Yellowstone says: “We had high-water issues early in the season, but the water cleared fast. The salmonfly hatch was a good as I’ve ever seen it…the bugs exploded…
The first book I ever read cover to cover was Ray Bergman’s Just Fishing; I was 12. It was gospel. Bergman’s Trout followed. He far surpassed Shakespeare and Chaucer—neither of those guys could fish worth a damn, and I didn’t understand what they were saying anyway. Something about this guy Romeo getting hung up on some girl, having family problems…hey, I had my own problems!
When there is no hatch coming off the water, none is predicted, there hasn’t been one in days and I have the chance to do a little fishing, my favorite go-to fly is the Brown Stone Nymph. I always look for a stretch of water that is boulder-strewn with fast-running water between the rocks. It’s usually the place where some big brown trout are hanging out near the bottom just waiting for a fat, juicy mouthful. The thought process here is: “They have to eat, don’t they?”
- Photography by: A. K. Best
Symbiosis in magazines…"We’ve been in business for 31 years because of you, our dedicated audience, and we truly value your readership."
The most frustrating part of fishing the saltwater flats with a fly rod, especially for someone new to this part of our sport, is the casting. I find that most new fly-casters, and even some intermediates, don’t like to practice away from the water; they feel it’s too much work. And it is a bit of work, at the beginning, but once we bypass that entry-level stage with saltwater tackle, say to the intermediate and up levels, casting is no work at all. Rather, it’s pure pleasure. Personally, I love to cast.
- Photography by: Chico Fernandez