Pro Tips: Secrets of a Knot Junkie

The author has developed his knot skill over the years, enabling him to fight big fish with confidence.It was on my first saltwater trip to the Everglades that I came to understand the importance of tying good knots. I had made the long trip from northern New York to Flamingo with one of my college professors (and fishing buddies) to chase snook, tarpon, and redfish from a canoe. We were working Coot Bay, a fairly good-size piece of water, by casting bunny flies to the edges, just like we would for pike back home. Many hours had passed, but we’d seen little more than needlefish, small snappers, and the occasional alligator or crocodile in the mangroves. We got to the far end of the bay, close to Tarpon Creek, when I learned the lesson I had so sorely needed and have never forgotten since. A huge snook came charging out of the...

Pro Tips: To Catch More Fish, Do Your Homework

There is an old adage in angling that “ten percent of the fishermen catch ninety percent of the fish.” While the numbers aren’t that important, there are people who are super fishy and catch more than others. What are the things that they do differently, and how do you join the ranks of the elite? Read on for tips and tricks to help up your game! I work at a middle school. Most kids don’t like doing their homework, and it becomes pretty obvious when grades come out who is doing their homework consistently. For fly fishers, homework is a big part of the equation, too. I know: it sounds kind of weird, but it’s true. While fishing homework might sound boring to some, I think it is a fun and exciting activity to engage in when you aren’t able to get on the water. When you are interested in new techniques,...

Introducing the Mother of All Trout Slams

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" text_align="left" video="" box_shadow_on_row="no"][vc_column][vc_column_text]A couple years ago, I wrote about how fun it was to complete the new Utah Cutthroat Slam, and I also scored the Wyoming Cutt-Slam way back in ’04. These programs are fun, educational, and even raise money for conservation. Other states–such as Nevada, California, and Arizona–have similar programs, and anglers from around the country have enjoyed the challenges provided by each. But there’s never been anything like the Western Native Trout Challenge, launched today by the Western Native Trout Initiative. Although there are 21 species of native trout and char across the participating states, low populations exclude three, which means anglers can attempt to catch 18 different species across 12 states. There are three levels of achievement:The Western Native Trout Challenge website has all the relevant info: rules, list of species, maps showing the range of each, and more! The participating states are...

Video: Top 5 Flies for May 2019

In this month’s “Top 5” video from Trouts Fly Fishing in Denver, Regional Manager Tanner Smith fishes some Wyoming still waters with former Trout Bum of the Week Bob Reece. With serious runoff kicking in across the Rockies, many anglers will be looking to lakes and ponds, so this month’s top five are all Stillwater flies. (Click the fly names to learn more about each fly.) 1. Balanced Leech2. Tak’s Crystal Chironomid3. Tim’s Chromie4. Sexton’s Booby Leech5. Guide’s Choice Hare’s EarWritten By: Phil Monahanwww.orvis.com...

Spring Fishing on the Lakes

The spring lake fishing has been excellent. The cool mornings and mild afternoons have the fish active and feeding. This is a fun time of year because you have a good chance at catching that big fish you've been dreaming about. After the long winter we had the fish are hungry and ready to beef up now that the ice is off and the insect life has shown up. There are a few different ways we like to fish the still waters once the ice has left. One effective way is to throw streamers. The fish are looking for big meals and are willing to chase down a good meal. Streamers are also a good way to focus on larger fish. Stripping a long shorelines and off structure is very effective.[caption id="attachment_53087" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset[/caption]Another way we like to fish is chironomids under a strike...

Video: How to Tie Reece’s Rolling Stone

Bob Reece is a junior-high science teacher from Cheyenne, Wyoming, who spends his summer guiding for North Park Anglers in Walden, Colorado. He also works with the Cheyenne branch of Project Healing Waters and runs a fly-fishing club for 7th and 8th grade students at the school where he works. You can learn more by visiting his Reece’s Thin Air Angler website. We have previously featured his Hot Amber Caddis Nymph, Hindsight trailing streamer, Missing Link dry fly, Simple Mini Leech, Fusion Nymph, and Beefcake Beetle. In this video, he ties a great imitation of a stonefly nymph. Here’s how Bob describes Reece’s Rolling Stone: Throughout higher elevation freestone rivers and streams, various species of large stone flies serve as a significant food source for the trout that inhabit their waters. The life cycle of these insects can last multiple years. As a result of this, they are available to trout in...

Video Pro Tips: Intro to Fly Fishing with Soft Hackles

Soft Hackles have been around for a long time, but I know that many anglers don’t confident fishing these sparse patterns. Here’s a good video from the folks at Silver Bow Fly Shop that offers three simple techniques for fishing Soft hackle patterns and explains where and when to fish them. The tandem-rig set-up—with a beadhead Soft Hackle on top and a standard, smaller pattern below—can be especially deadly. So watch this video and then add some Soft Hackle flies and strategies to your arsenal.The Sparkle Soft Hackle is a productive pattern that offers great action in the water. Photo via orvis.com...

Classic Pro Tips: How to Become a Fly-Fishing Guide

The author poses at the headwaters of Alaska’s Gibraltar River in 1995. When I decided that I wanted to spend my summers a fishing guide—I was in graduate school at the time—I didn’t really know how to go about becoming one, so I used a shotgun approach. I applied to literally every lodge and outfitter I could find in Alaska and the Rocky Mountain West. In my cover letter, I explained that, although I had no guiding experience, I would be willing to do grunt work just to get my foot in the door. Hardly any of the people to whom I’d applied even bothered to write back, which was kind of disheartening. But one day, I opened a letter from Alaska and was shocked to find a job offer. It was the first step in a career that took me to three different lodges in Alaska and one in Montana—places I...

Pro Tips: How to Untangle A Knot in Your Leader

The Wind Did ItFly fishermen are masters of euphemism when it comes to tangled leaders. “Oh, look. I’ve got a wind knot,” an angler will say on the even the most flat-calm day. Sorry, my friend, but the wind had nothing to do with that knot, which was surely caused by a flaw in your casting motion. Such knots are usually caused by tailing loops (an easy-to-fix problem) or an overly violent acceleration or stop at one end of the casting motion. If you’re fishing a tandem rig, these flaws are compounded by the two flies’ tendency to spin around each other if given half a chance. But once you’ve made a mess of your leader, what do you do? When it comes to tangled leaders, I’ve always divided anglers into two camps: cutters and untanglers. Cutters believe that anything but the simplest tangle isn’t worth bothering with, so instead they...

Pro Tips: 5 Keys to Fishing During Spring Runoff

If you have lived in the West for very long, you know that it is a fool’s errand to claim that spring has sprung before you turn the calendar to May. Spring in the Rockies is glorious, if not temperamental. As I write this, it is 55 degrees and rising, not a cloud in the sky. It’s hard to imagine that one short week ago, snow was dumping from that same sky. But these mountains are moody, and so it goes. What does this beautiful weather mean for the angler, who is itching to get out and make the most of this long-sought-for sun? It means high water, everywhere. The run-off game is a long one, so here are a few tips for those of you who want to get out and fish even when the waters rage. 1. Fish the Edges. High water equals faster currents, and most fish are...