Every now and then I get the urge to catch a mess of panfish for a fish fry. Where I live that generally means rock bass, which are in abundance. In fact, they’re common enough to be considered a nuisance fish on most lakes around here. A trick to keep catching larger panfish if your catching runts is to keep moving to find a larger school of specimens. I’d be lying if I told you there was a lot of skill in catching them. They’re plentiful, overly aggressive and will happily take woolly buggers or any other reasonable impersonation of…
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This past weekend I embarked on one of my favorite activities: fishing an unfamiliar stream for wild trout. And when there I made sure I was armed with a box full of great summertime flies, terrestrial patterns. A few days earlier I'd had a conversation with the district fisheries biologist. The gist of our conversation was how great it is to see streams that had suffered from pollution, which in most cases around these parts is acid mine drainage, come back to life to become wild trout streams. He mentioned a particular creek and how his agency had sampled it…
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Jeff Blood with a steelhead caught on an egg-imitating fly.   Though they lack the glamour of a dry fly and the rich tradition of a wet fly or nymph, egg-imitating flies are one of a fly fisher's most productive offerings. While the three trout species of which I am most familiar — browns, brooks and rainbows — make good use of eggs at various times over the course of the year, it's the latter that seems especially susceptible to egg patterns. Take for instance a late season steelhead trip I made last month on a Lake Erie tributary. Typically the…
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When I first started tying flies, I tied bucktails. That's fairly standard for most of us because bucktails are relatively uncomplicated and inexpensive to tie. When I gained competence tying those patterns, I moved onto other things because I thought nothing this simple and unsophisticated could be deadly on fish. So I fly fished for years without giving them a fair shake. Boy was I wrong. Even though they are simple, they work. But that's the problem with bucktails. Their simplicity lulls you into thinking no thought went into these patterns. Actually, the good ones contain a whole lot of…
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 You've heard about the simplicity and effectiveness of fishing with a tenkara rod and decided to give it a try. After reading a few stories about this traditional Japanese method of fishing, it sounds so easy you grab your new rod, some line and a leader and sprint to the stream.                        But not so fast! While simple, a tenkara is set up in a unique fashion. For example, with no reel, where do you attach the line? Well, read on. We've got you covered. Follow these simple steps to set up your new tenkara rod. Step 1 Remove the…
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Originating in Japan, Tenkara-style fly fishing has existed for at least the past 200 years, but it may have been used far earlier. It is one of the most popular methods of angling among fresh-water mountain anglers in Japan. The style, similar in form to Western-style fly fishing, uses the weight of the line to cast flies into the water. But unlike Western fly fishing, there’s no reel involved with Tenkara fishing. Instead, the rod for this technique is far longer than typical fly-rods—anywhere from 11 to 15 feet long—and the line is about as long. In this way, the fisherman…
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“On the Big Blackfoot River above the mouth of Belmont Creek the banks are fringed by large Ponderosa pines. In the slanting sun of late afternoon the shadows of great branches reached from across the river, and the trees took the river in their arms. The shadows continued up the bank, until they included us.”  Norman McClean brought attention to the Big Blackfoot with his memoir "A River Runs Through It." But the river was special long before the book. The trout, cut banks, boulders and fast water make this a world-class, blue-ribbon fly-fishing river. It’s no walk in the park,…
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Twin brothers Ben Kurtz (left) and Will Kurtz, along with founder John LeCoq, are partners in Denver-based Fishpond, which produces fly fishing gear found in retail stores nationwide — including Bass Pro Shops. Standing in the parking lot of a small fly fishing brand in Denver, I am surrounded by the sights and sounds of an industrial park. But as I open the front doors of Fishpond, I step into a world dedicated to the outdoors. Dogs run between a decorative canoe and dozens of fly fishing vests hanging on display racks. Large photographs of mountain lakes decorate the walls and…
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While matching the hatch, choosing casts and deciding where to fly fish are all crucial factors in order to land the Big One, water levels have just as big of an impact. Spring is here and, after that hard winter, you’re going to see some dramatic changes in water levels due to the rain and runoff. How will these changes affect fishing? Hard to say, exactly, because we can’t predict the weather 100 percent accurately. But we can make some assumptions, and we can think about what changing water levels do to fish populations and how they affect your day…
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Although to some it may be hard to comprehend how anyone could want to fish with 2-plus feet of snow in the woods, anglers boldly found their way to the rivers this past weekend. In most years the trout opener in northern Wisconsin draws crowds of anglers to the banks of famous rivers like the Brule or Sioux in search of steelhead. This year anglers found fortune in just making it to the banks and seeing the river run wild. Gear With record setting cold and snow this winter, early spring fishing takes on a whole new understanding. Not only…
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