Fishing Soft-Hackles

  • By: Dave Hughes
  • Photography by: Dave Hughes
Sylvester Nemes on the Yellowstone River

I first met sylvester nemes through his 1975 book, The Soft-Hackled Fly. It was a small book, tightly focused on its single subject: wet flies tied with bodies of silk thread, sparse hackles, rarely anything extra. Sylvester’s prose reflected his subject perfectly. It was spare, compact and didn’t stray from its subject. Which is to say, the book was beautifully written. Best to me: It was—and is, because it’s still in print under the title The Soft-Hackled Fly and Tiny Soft Hackles—one of those rare books that enthused me to immediately sit down at the vise, tie a bunch of the flies described, and rush from there to a stream to fish them.

The flies, and the methods described, worked. Sometimes they worked wonders. One of my favorite days with them came on a gloomy fall float of Utah’s Green River, downstream from Flaming Gorge Dam. Few trout rose all day. My friends and I tried pestering them to attention with weighted nymphs tumbled along the bottom, which turned out to be ineffective—and because it produced few trout, was also very little fun.

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
  • , Will Rice
  • , Greg Thomas
  • 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
Fly-Girl

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.

Before Hell Freezes Over

  • By: Jim Butler
  • and Greg Thomas
  • Photography by: Barry Beck
  • , Cathy Beck
  • , Jim Butler
  • , Mark Lance
  • , Jeff Edvalds
  • , Jim Harris
  • and Greg Thomas
Man holding fish.

We all have one: A list of places we just have to fish sometime. Some we’ve never been to, some deserve a return visit. They’re the places that occupy our daydreams, when we’re stuck in a meeting and wish we were somewhere else, when we’re shoveling the drive after yet another dumping of snow… These are places where the weather’s always good, the tides are in our favor and the fish are on the feed (in those daydreams, anyway). Our lists include familiar waters (perhaps because there’s a certain comfort in that familiarity, but also because the fishing can be terrific) mixed with plenty of exotic locations we may never get to. But we can dream, can’t we?