The New Chrome
Only 60 years ago, West Coast steelhead streams churned with silver-plated natives. Waves of naturally reared steelies ascended their natal rivers, hellbent on reaching the same gravel beds from which they had emerged four or five years before. A modern steelheader need only read the accounts of such early anglers as Roderick Haig-Brown and Enos Bradner to appreciate how truly aggressive and plentiful these fish were.
WEB BONUS: More on Yvon Chouinard
Recently returned from the Gaula in Norway, Yvon Chouinard bucked the trend of using the giant tube flies and enjoyed great Atlantic salmon success with small Eastern Canadian patterns. "We landed some fine 20-pounders and turned them all loose," he reported, despite the tendency in many countries to keep large Atlantic salmon.
The first steelhead fly that fell from the tying vise into my 10-year-old palm was a standard Skunk tied on a 2X heavy Mustad, down-turned eye, sproat, size 4 hook. The tail was an irregular clump of webby red neck hackle fibers, tied in too short, like the tail of the green Woolly Worm I'd finished a few minutes before. The body was medium black chenille over-wrapped with oval tinsel, one size too thin, followed by a thick black saddle hackle so spiky that the first four wraps were about four sizes too small; the fifth and sixth wraps grew progressively two sizes too big. The tips of those last wraps lay back beyond the ragged red tail when I preened them to clear a space for the wing.
High Desert Holy Water
As I pulled up to the gate at Nighthawk, a riverside sanctuary I stumbled across after a 10-year search for Thompson River property, the pungent odor of sagebrush filled my nostrils-ambrosia to this desert rat. Serenaded by a couple coyotes, I pitched the 40-year-old Eureka Drawtite tent and lit a fire. The cliff across the river, now a gigantic drive-in screen illuminated by the projector moon, erupted as another irrigation-triggered avalanche crashed to the river. And then there was gratifying nothingness. Silence.
2009 Angler of the Year
The laughter, resonant with enthusiasm, is penetrating... even from across the river. The man is having a good time but who doesn't when they're catching fish? It's obvious from a glance at this behavior that size is unimportant: Nine-inchers elicit the same commotion as do fish twice that length. These trout are special in another way. They're rising in a run beside an island in Grand Teton National Park (GTNP), where more than 30 years ago the man taught his own son and daughter to fish with a fly rod and a tiny piece of worm.
- By: Darrel Martin
- , Joe Healy
- and Ted Leeson
- Orvis Pack & Travel Sonic Seam Waders
- Hardy Perfect Reel
- Smith Interlock Sunglasses
- ExOfficio Give-N-Go Underwear
- The Patagonia Pack Vest
- HMH Standard Vise
Fly-tier Matt Minch, of Gardiner, Montana, is locally known for his profoundly effective nymphs. Matt likes to spend more time fishing than tying, so his flies are easy to tie, impressionistic and durable. They are especially effective in early fall, when nymphing deep slots for the first runner browns. They have proven themselves all over the world, from New Zealand's South Island to the American Midwest.
Fall Blitz at Clark Canyon
Jerry Kustich shook his head and said:“Man-o-man, there are some beautiful fish in here.” Kustich, a bamboo-rod builder and co-owner of Sweetgrass Rods in Twin Bridges, Montana, had just released a 22½-inch brown trout into frothing waves. Kustich and I had been planning for several
Whenever folks ask me where I live, I adopt my best body-builder pose, arm curled tight, and point just below my wrist on the inside of my forearm. My anatomical reference is to Wellfleet, on outer Cape Cod. Everyone laughs, but the biggest cackles come from Michiganders because they know what it's like to chart geography on a body part. (Michigan is known as the Mitten because of its resemblance to the hand shoe.) But, then again, they may just find humor in the fact that I need to hit the gym and grunt out a few hundred more bicep curls.But no gym time for me now because it's fall on the Cape and that's fishing time. Vacation crowds leave in droves around Labor Day, and we anglers have the entire sandbar to ourselves. There are few vehicles waiting at red lights and beach parking lots are virtually empty (and non-permit parking is generally allowed). Vehicles with bike racks disappear and are replaced by rigs with rod racks. By Columbus Day, the restaurants are closed, and it becomes increasingly difficult to get a cup of coffee or some junk food to chow on in between midnight fishing trips.
The 2008 Robert Traver Fly-Fishing Writing Award 2nd Place Story:
"Last summer I invited death to go fishing on the Weber River. On the way there we listened to Morning Edition on NPR. The stories were sadly familiar: A suicide bomber killed himself and 40 other men, women and children in a market in Baghdad; two American soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb that had been stuffed into the chest of a dead dog; the body of a missing college girl was found inside her car in a river near her home town."