Flylords Holiday Gift Guide 2019

jared using wills rod even though he just made fun of it
Image courtesy of Black Mountain Cinema

With the Holidays right around the corner, and Black Friday scratching at the door, the search for the perfect holiday gifts has officially begun. This year, our team at Flylords is proud to present our annual list of the hottest fly fishing gear on the market. From any preference and price range, we have something that’s sure to make you the best catch of the angler in your life.

Contents

Fly Fishing gifts under $100

Fly Fishing gifts $100-$200

Fly Fishing gifts $200-$300

Fly Fishing gifts $300 and over

Unique Gifts

 

Fly Fishing gifts under $100

1. Buff Merino Wool Neck Warmer

marino neck warmer
Image courtesy of Buff

Staying warm has never been easy. Made of super-soft Merino wool, this product offers maximum comfort paired with Buff brand quality.

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2. Duck Camp Co. Women’s Longsleeve Bamboo Crew

duck camp co
image courtesy of Duck Camp co.

Treat the lady-angler in your life to the gift of comfort and style with Duck Camp Co’s featherlight bamboo crew neck.

buy now button

 

 

3. Tacky Fishing Original Fly Box

tacky fly box
Image courtesy of Amazon

A perfect stocking stuffer for the angler who ties more than they can tote. The Tacky Fly box is a classic that should be a staple in any anglers pack.

buy now on amazon

 

 

4. Orvis Trout Bum Quilted Jacket

orvis quilted
Image courtesy of Amazon

Appropriate for a day on the water, or a night on the town. This quilted jacket is a snug fit for anyone looking to pair style with practicality.

buy now on amazon

 

 

5. Rail Riders Faroe Island Field Shirt (Editor’s Choice)

rail riders faroe island shirt
image courtesy of Railriders.com

Built with some of the toughest materials available, this field shirt is up to any challenge you can put it to. A perfect gift to those who are never satisfied with average.

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6. Buff Aqua Gloves

buff aqua glove
Image courtesy of Buff

For those who can’t keep out of the sun. This is the perfect gift to make sure you or your loved one’s hands stay protected from long exposure from harmful UV rays and salty abrasion. Just remember once you catch a fish to keep your hands wet!

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7. Yeti Rambler 16 oz. Stackable Pints

yeti cups
Image courtesy of Yeti

The perfect gift for the Yeti fanatic in your life. These low profile 160z. stackable cups are a perfect home for a frothy beverage enjoyed on the water.

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8. Flylords Bear Tee

grateful dead t shirt

This is your chance. Finally, a shirt worthy of replacing the 25-year-old, pizza stained, Europe ’72 Tee that the deadhead in your life won’t remove from their body. These officially licensed Grateful Dead tees are one of the hottest items in our shop, so make sure to get yours before supply runs out.

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9. Marsh Wear Clothing Rutledge Vest

march wear rutledge vest
Image courtesy of Marsh Wear Clothing

When looking for outerwear, this vest from our friends at Marsh Wear Clothing immediately caught our eye. Designed with the all-around sporting enthusiast in mind, this vest delivers the versatility and comfort your outdoor lifestyle requires.

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Fly Fishing Gifts $100-$200

 

10. Benchmade Turret 980 Folding Knife (Editors Choice)

benchmade 980
Image courtesy of Benchmade

The Benchmade 980 is a knife that sets the standard when it comes to quality and endurance. Tried and true, this is the perfect gift for anyone who’s constantly putting their gear to the ultimate tests and depends on consistency and strength.

buy now on amazon

 

 

11. Scientific Anglers Grand Slam Amplitude Fly Line (Editor’s Choice)

scientific anglers amplitude line
Image courtesy of Amazon

When it comes to saltwater fly fishing, there is no easier way to lose a fish than with faulty line. Make sure your angler is loaded up with the best fly line in the game before their next trip in the salt.

buy now on amazon

 

 

12. Biolite Camp Stove 2

biolite camp stove
Image courtesy of Amazon

This thing must’ve come straight from NASA. With the ability to turn fire into electricity, this is a perfect gift for those who care to push their adventures to the edge of the map without losing their ability to document them.

buy now on amazon

 

 

13. Simms Pro Wading Staff

simms pro wading staff
Image courtesy of Simms

Wading over slippery rocks in fast currents is the most dangerous thing you can do as an angler. This holiday season, make sure those who are closest to you have the tools they need to stay out of harm’s way when on the water.

buy now button

 

 

14. Howler Bros Merlin Jacket – Blackout (Editor’s Choice)

Howler Bros Blackout
Image courtesy of Howler Brothers

The iconic Howler Brothers Merlin is now available in Blackout. This all-black coat is the perfect gift for the angler who values quality fabrics and who’s color pallet may indicate the second coming of the late Johnny Cash.

buy now button

 

 

15. Axis Go Waterproof Phone Housing (iPhone 11)

axis go phone case
Image courtesy of Amazon

Ever wonder how we get those insane underwater shots? Well, Axisgo underwater cases are the secret to success. For the phone photographer, there couldn’t be a gift out there that offers more bang for its buck. (Available for all iPhone sizes)

buy now on amazon

 

 

16. Fishpond Nomad Mid-Length Net

fishpond nomad mid length
image courtesy of Amazon

Sometimes the difference between the fish of a lifetime, and a night of sorrow is just a few inches (trust us, we’d know). With this gift, you give the gift of a better night’s sleep as well as a practical means of safely handing big fish.

buy now on amazon

 

 

17. Stio Azura Jacket

azura jacket
Image courtesy of Stio

For the mountain man in your life, trust the brand that lives for the mountains. The Stio Azura is not only a great looking design, but is lightweight, environmentally conscious, and affordable.

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Fly Fishing gifts $200-$300

18. Orvis Ultralight Wading Jacket

ultralight wading jacket
Image courtesy of Amazon

This jacket is perfect for the traveling angler in your life. With its sturdy, lightweight design this jacket can be packed into just about anywhere hassle-free, to ensure dryness and comfort.

buy now on amazon

 

 

19. Patagonia Stormfront Pack 30L

 

patagonia pack
image courtesy of Patagonia

Making our list as the bigger, badder, sexier sibling of the original Stormfront pack, this pack does not mess around. For those who need gear that can put up with the harshest conditions, this Patagonia pack has got your back.

buy now button

 

 

20. Costa Del Mar Diego Polarized Sunglasses (Editor’s Choice)

costa diego

New and improved, Costa presents their newest line of Outdoor Sunglasses: The Diego. Freshwater or Saltwater, these are one of the most dependable, as well as functional shades you can gift someone who loves to fish.

buy now on amazon

 

 

21. Yeti Hopper M30 Portable Cooler

yeti hopper
image courtesy of Amazon

For those who live by the Yeti name, this is a great way to keep your drinks/ food icey and fresh without having to lug around a boxy hard cooler. This holiday season, give the gift of mobility with this incredible soft-body cooler.

buy now on amazon

 

 

22. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL Backpacking Tent

big agnes tent
Image courtesy of Amazon

Do you know an angler that spends more time in a sleeping bag than in their own bed? Well, the Big Agnes Copper Spur Backpacking tent is tested and proven to be one of the best lightweight backpacking tents you can find on the market right now.

buy now on amazon

 

 

23. YETI LoadOut GoBox Divided Cargo Case

yeti box
image courtesy of Amazon


Back so soon with another great piece of gear, we bring you the YETI GoBox. This case is perfect for holding expensive camera equipment, tools, reels, flies, you name it. Whatever you need to be kept safe will be kept safe in this fortress of a cargo case.

buy now on amazon

Fly Fishing gifts $300 and Over

24. Denver Outfitters Classic Rod Vault 3

denver outfitters rod vault 2
image courtesy of Denver Outfitters

For the angler who is sick and tired of breaking down their rod, or risk their rod breaking during every move to a new spot, Denver Outfitters has you in mind. The rod vault is the perfect gift for the angler with no off-switch.

buy now button

 

 

25. Mavic 2 Pro Aircraft

mavic 2
Image courtesy of DJI

When it comes to filming with a drone, there is no better option than the Mavic 2 Pro Aircraft. The choice of professionals everywhere, this drone is the perfect gift for the restless filmmaker who’s ready to turn their productions legit.

buy now button

 

 

26. Orvis Mission Spey Rod (Editors Choice)

orvis mission
Image courtesy of Trident Fly Fishing

Orvis, a company whose name has helped define fly fishing, has recently released their new Mission Spey and Switch rod. When it comes to fishing for big fish like salmon and steelhead, you need big tools; that’s why Orvis has invested all their effort and brainpower into engineering this exciting release.

buy now button

 

 

27. Orvis Women’s Pro Waders

womens waders pro
Image courtesy of Orvis

Know someone who’s waders are made of more duct tape than wader? Well, this holiday season swap out the patches for Cordura shell, and bless the angler in your life with the waders made for made for pros but preferred by everyone.

buy now button

 

 

28. Ross San Miguel Reel (Editors Choice)

san miguel reel
Image courtesy of Amazon

When it comes to engineering Reels, few do it better than Ross. With the sleek new design of the San Miguel Reel manufactured to stand the test of long battles, this reel is a must-have for anyone looking to upgrade their rig.

buy now on amazon

 

 

29.Patagonia Foot Tractor Wading Boots

patagonia boots
Image courtesy of Patagonia

Our friends over at Patagonia have been working hard in order to deliver their new Foot Tractor wading boots. These boots are built tough, made to last, and are a perfect way to give a gift that’ll keep on giving many years down the road.

buy now button

 

 

30. Axis Go Underwater Housing for DSLR

Axis go
Image courtesy of Aquatech

So you’re ready to take your photography to the next level. The AxisGo underwater camera house is the best way to change the game with amazing underwater shots, without ever having to worry about the safety of expensive camera equipment. (We shoot almost all of our underwater shots with this rig)

buy now button

 

 

31. Outcast Stealth Pro Inflatable Pontoon Boat

outcast osg
Image courtesy of Amazon

Every year millions of anglers suffer from entanglement due to tight casting conditions. But now, you can help those in need with the simple donation of an Outcast Stealth Pro inflatable pontoon boat. Deliver all of the versatility of a boat, without the outrageous price of extra weight.

buy now on amazon

 

32. Danner Mountain Light Boots

danner boot
Image courtesy of Danner

Constructed with full-grain leather and Gore-Tex liner, these boots are an updated take on an old classic. Perfect for those who enjoy hiking and depend on strong boots to take them down roads less traveled.

buy now button

33. Mac Book Pro (16 inch)

Mac book pro
Image courtesy of Apple

Lightning fast, dependable, perfect for editing those incredible fly fishing adventure shots…need we say more? When looking for a new laptop, check out the model trusted by Flylords, the Mac Book Pro.

buy now button

 

 

Unique Gifts

34. YETI – Tarpon Book

tarpon book
Image courtesy of YETI

Packed to the brim with breathtaking shots captured by guide David Mangum and team, there isn’t a book that exists that’s quite like this one. A perfect gift for the Angler who’s blood consists of salt and adventure, this book is sure to complete any literary collection.

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35. Wade Deep “The Frost” Hat (Support Small Businesses)

wade deep hat
Image courtesy of Wade Deep

If you follow fly tying mastermind @Svendiesel, then you’ve probably heard about this insanely cool collection of lids. Brought to you by Wade Deep, a company that’s making a splash in the fly fishing industry, these hats are not only stylish, but functional. Designed with a built-in rubberized fly patch, these hats will ensure you never have to rip your seems or worry about losing loose flies ever again.

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36. Bad-Ass Fish prints – Jake Keeler (Artist Spotlight)

jake keeler
Image courtesy of Jake Keeler

When it comes to creating fish inspired art, absolutely NOBODy does it quite like Jake Keeler. Feeling as if these prints are drawn straight from a Nordic epic, these prints take a refreshing departure from your traditional painting of a grip and grin, and will surely act as a conversation starter during any gathering.

buy now button

 

 

37. A copy of Live the Stream: The Story of Joe Humphreys (Editor’s Choice)

live the stream
Image courtesy of Live the Stream

If you haven’t seen this movie, you’re missing out on a lifechanging experience. “Live the Stream: The Story of Joe Humphreys” focuses on the life of the legendary angler, philanthropist, and educator, Joe Humphreys. Nomadic Studios encapsulates the true spirit of Fly Fishing through a visual and cinematic achievement that will inspire new anglers for generations to come. This holiday season, share the gift of “Live the Stream” with someone who has a passion for fishing, nature, and timeless tales.

buy now button

 

 

38. Flylords Reel Pouches

flylords reel pouches

Here at Flylords, we know that reels are expensive. So, why not treat them and all their beauty in a way that shows we care. Introducing: The Flylords Quilted Rod Case. These inexpensive cases are a great way to keep your rod safe and sound whether it’s mid-transit or tucked away for a long winter.

buy now button

 

 

39. Custom Fish Skin Filet Knives Trout stickers- Kayla Lockhart (Artist Spotlight)

filet knives
Image Courtesy of KCandKayla

While catch and release is our go-to, nothing beats enjoying a meal you caught by a roaring campfire. With this tradition in mind, we recommend taking a peek at our friend Kayla Lockhart’s elegant hand-painted filet knives. Each knife can be customized to match any species you prefer, as well as mountainscapes, treelines, or any other outdoor design that holds a special place in your heart.

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40. Customized Abel Reel

tarpon reel
Image courtesy of Abel Reels

 

Speaking of incredible handpainted gifts, our friends over at Abel reels offer an extensive number of incredible and unique patterns in order to make the perfect reel. Freshwater, saltwater, trout or Tarpon, there’s a design that will channel the spirit of any angler.

buy now button

 

 

41. Ombraz Armless Sunglasses

 

ombraz
Image courtesy of REI

When it comes to sunglasses, Ombraz is far from traditional. With their armless design, these glasses are low profile, and up to the toughest challenges you can present to them. Available in a plethora of colors, these sunglasses are a great gift for those who cant seem to go a week without breaking their shades.

buy now button

42. Take Someone Fishing!

Whether it’s their first time on the water or their 10,000th, there’s no better gift to give than bringing someone on an adventure. Push aside all the premonitions that clutter the meaning of our true mission as anglers, and go make some memories that could never hold a price tag.

buy now button

 

Back to Top

 

Header photo courtesy of Black Mountain Cinema

The Ultimate Fly Fishing Gift Guide (2019)

On the Water with Ross Reels New San Miguel Reel

An Inside Look at YETI’s New Book TARPON

 

First blog post

This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

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Video: Fishermen Rescue Bald Eagle being Attacked by Octopus

Yes, you read that title right…

Some readers suggest the Eagle went for the octopus first, not realizing how large and dangerous this meal was going to be…

Either way, it was great to see this Eagle fly away safely – cudos to the fishermen!

Fly Fishing Destination Video of the Week: Frozen Guides

In this week’s Fly Fishing Destination Video, Brothers on the Fly bring us to the frigid landscape of Iceland to fish for magnificent trout and char. In this adventure, we follow Icelandic guide, Matti Hakonarson, and his client, Duncan as they brave the bitter temperatures of Iceland’s early spring in pursuit of something greater than just catching fish. Nothing warms frosted fingertips like boiling blood and coursing adrenaline so strap in and enjoy a heavy helping of wanderlust.

Tune in every Friday for a new installment of Fly Fishing Destination Videos and make sure to sign up for our newsletter below in order to keep up with new content published daily.

Video courtesy of Brothers on the fly.

Fly Fishing Destination Video of the Week: Fly Fishing Dorado in the Upper Paraná River

Photo Essay: Why you should fish in Iceland…

Eric Clapton’s Two Record-Setting Icelandic Salmon

A Good Ole Louisiana Redfish Trip

Recently I had a trip to Louisiana with some old and a few new friends. Each group trip is different, but they all have a few common threads: excellent fishing opportunity, friendships, laughs, and a deep passion for catching fish. What is it that drives that passion for catching fish? Initially, my passion was driven by all the new learning. Then, it was a particular style, and it changed to lifestyle, went back to learning, later on to a specific species, and so on. More recently, it’s been the adventuring and friendships that have been extra special.

I enjoy the planning and talking to friends about what could and what-ifs of an adventure. The pouring over maps, flipping through magazines and old books, and of course, searching the web for hours and hours. Lastly, let’s not forget the run-up to your trip and the frantic fly tying, leader and line preparation, then making the packing list.

On this trip down to Louisiana, to chase reds, it was about getting the tug with some good old boys and having a blast. Our objective was simple, a trip for a species that is strong and willing to bite — a confidence fish instead of a confidence fly per se. Put the fly in their face, and a redfish will willingly eat it. Refusals are far and few between, and with the right guide, you’ll get plenty of shots.

Saltwater fly fishing can be challenging, and fishing for reds is an excellent starter pack. You get that powerful saltwater fish without having to have a long game in the casting bag. In fact, the short game is what can really be a difference-maker for you on having a great day instead of a good day.

Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t easy. It’s easier, yes, but not easy. You still have to see the fish, get the fly in their face, and convince them to eat. However, compared to other species, it can seem like a walk in the park. Hell, you’ll likely see a bunch of sheep head on your trip, and catching them in comparison is, for example, much more difficult.

Adventure is a given on any trip with my buddies, so we have that in check. Friendships are too, but it’s different with fishing buddies. I’ve found that the level of serendipities moments goes through the roof. What is it about fishing that can bring a group together Perhaps never knowing exactly why or what lead to the catch and that constant questioning? Maybe it is the tall tales or the fleeting moments of success. Regardless, I’m always wishing I had a few more days and looking forward to the next trip with my crew.

Article and photos from Christian Bacasa of Dupe a Fish, check them out online at www.dupeafish.com or on Instagram at @dupeafish.

Potential World Record Redfish Caught on the Fly

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2020 Fly Fishing Film Tour Stoke Reel

The Fly Fishing Film Tour is one of the largest traveling events in the fly fishing world, and they just released a sample of some of the amazing films that we will get to see in the 2020 Fly Fishing Film Tour. This year’s tour features some incredible fly fishing footage from around the globe, covering the flats, streams exotic locations and conservation stories we all crave each year!

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for our “Behind the Lens” series presented by the tour where we will go behind the scenes with the creatives behind this year’s films!

2020 Tour Locations:

For the full list of locations on this year’s tour, check out F3T’s full list, here!

 

 

Video of the Week: Northern Natives

In our latest video of the week, we take a look at the newest film from WildFly Productions. In the film, WildFly teams up with the boys from BlueLineCo to head north in search of some bull trout.

As you can see from the cover photo, they end up finding some bull trout that are eager to eat their prototype streamers. They also run into some cutties along the way. Be sure to watch the full film to see some exciting streamer action straight from the north.

This is the first episode of a series from WildFly, so be sure to keep up with them on YouTube for the future episodes!

The video of the week is selected and written by FlyLords team member Conner Grimes (@doublehaulmedia).

Throwback Video of the Week: High in the Lowlands

Video of the Week: Desert Buffet

Video of the Week: Union Jacks

Salmon River, NY Report: Dec. 12, 2019

Featured image from @flywithme_adk_ang

We are incredibly excited to launch fishing reports for the Salmon River in New York, brought to you in partnership with our friends at The Salmon River Newbie. We will be updating these reports all Steelhead season to help you decide when to head north and brave the elements for a shot at some Great Lakes Steel!

Lower Section, Salmon River

Summary

The river continues to produce typical Steelhead days and then less than mediocre days. Due to the quick warmup and snowpack, the water level was raised to 1000 CFS with 1300 CFS at Pineville. Due to this rise in the water levels, the visibility was not great. High water levels on the river were causing most fish to move to the outside. Some anglers were able to find fish outside of the usual spots. During high water periods, we recommend that you be cautious of literally stepping over fish as you try to wade. The fish are going to be closer to the banks.

As of Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, the predicted water level has gone from 750 CFS to 1000 CFS. At this time there is no weekend water level. We should assume due to precipitation and warmer weather that they will stay at 1000 CFS or higher. Please keep up on Instagram Stories at @salmonrivernewbie!

If you look on the map, there are two additional icons to look at for better reports.

The ice cube icon is for shelf ice or ice. This is to caution you of shelf ice, which can be dangerous. Please note that we can only give you a report on areas where our anglers are fishing and send us reports.  We cannot cover the whole river during this time, so we recommend that you use caution when stepping out to fish on the river.

The snowflake icon is for slush or heavy snow. This is just to give you an idea that slush is causing issues.

 

Section-By-Section Report:

Douglaston Salmon Run

The DSR was reporting mixed results due to the higher water level.  The anglers that I spoke with were able to find fish down low and up on top of the run.  The middle, which has been good during the lower waters, was not as productive.

Town

Anglers reported having success from Little Black Hole, The Town Pool, and offshoots of the river in town.  Parts of the upper Ball Park were productive.

Altmar

Again received reports from above 2A to the Railroad Tracks that there was some activity.  As for the concentration of fish, it will be between Trestles to the Lower Fly Zone. In these sections, if you are swinging it, will be tougher to find success.  Most fish because of the concentration of eggs, fishing pressure, and cold will only grab if it gets down to them and directly in front of their faces.

Reports Provided by The Salmon River Newbie

For more detailed, daily reports go to www.salmonrivernewbie.com

Aussie Teen Rescues Hundreds of Native Fish From Drying River

From Tenterfield High School Facebook

Stuart Moodie, a 13-year old from Tenterfield, New South Wales, Australia, is on a mission to save the native fish of the river that flows through his family’s farm. New South Wales and other parts of Australia have been suffering through one of the worst droughts on record, which spurred the youth to take action to protect his favorite fish from waterholes as they dry up.

From Tenterfield High School Facebook

According to his father, Stuart’s love of fishing has been a life long obsession, and seeing his treasured fish suffer is something the teen could not bear.

“I’ve been going down early every day after school and catching the catfish and cod and taking them out and putting them in a dam, keeping them alive as much as I can,” Stuart said.

Stuart has mainly been using hand-fishing techniques to find and rescue the fish, “I got used to getting in the waterhole nearly every day, got used to the fish feeling me and every time they touched me I push their head into the mud. It’s just easiest to keep them calm and catch them,” Stuart says.

Stuart and his trusty assistant. Image from Tenterfield High School Facebook.

In addition to saving native fish, the teen has also utilized the lower water to help remove and kill invasive carp that are in the river system, even getting knocked in the mud by a carp over a meter long.

To read more about Stuart’s fish saving mission, check out this article from ABC North Coast:

Country boy saves fish by pulling them from shallow water in drought

Stuart Moodie saves fish at home in Tenterfield in far north New South Wales Cod and catfish get stuck in waterholes that are too shallow for them to survive The youngster pulls the fish out with his bare hands and moves them on ‘I push their head into the mud.

What is a Tiger Muskie?

Image by Tyler Commons

While there are few muskie anglers in this world, fishermen tend to ask this same question: “What is a Tiger Muskie?” The answer is quite simple and lies in the name of the animal; however, some still don’t understand the difference between the muskie and its tiger hybrid. This isn’t surprising due to the very few visual opportunities fishermen get. Many chase the apex predator of the northeast and fail to get a follow, let alone land one. It’s as if only muskie addicts can tell the true differences between the two… To be a muskie addict, one needs to understand that getting skunked is inevitable and a follow is close enough to a win for the day. The countless hours spent on the water and research put into this river wolf will indeed pay off.

Photo by Eric Ratliff

To begin, let’s get some things straight about a tiger muskie. A tiger muskie is a hybrid, carnivorous fish offspring of the true muskellunge and the northern pike. It lives in freshwater and its range extends to Canada, the Northeast, and the Midwest United States. Here are some personas that make the tiger and purebred muskie different.

Identification 

A muskie is not a freakin pickerel or pike… “Oh man, I landed a 15’’ muskie the other day! Beautiful green colors and design!’’ No sir… That’s most likely a chain pickerel. The misinterpretation is understandable due to the similarity in shape and fight. As far as identification, the easiest way to identify tigers is to look at its irregular, vertical, and dotted pattern. The irregular stripes come from the muskie and the dark dots are from the pike. Mix them and you get a very unique design. Also, the fins on a tiger resemble more of a pike with a more pointed tip. You can see this best by observing the caudal fin on the tail end.

A diagram of how to identify muskie vs pike. The key points are: Is the tail pointed or rounded? Are the markings dark or light? How many pores are there on the lower jaw?
Image from: https://fishingbooker.com/blog/muskie-vs-pike-all-you-need-to-know/

Reproduction

So, if you get a mommy muskellunge (Esox masquinogy) and a daddy northern pike (Esox lucius) to hookup (pun not intended), an extremely sought after and beautiful fish will be made… A tiger musky (Esox masquinogy x lucius). Muskies spawn in the spring and will work their way up into very shallow waters to lay their eggs. Sadly, tigers are a rarity due to their inability to breed. The poor infertile ‘skis are alone and confused with their gender… Buzzkill.

Photo by Joshua Medill

Location

Pure muskies and tigers are native to mid-west and northeastern regions of North America all the way up to Canada. We still tend to forget some of the more southern states that have outstanding muskie fisheries like, WV, TN, KY, and more. They thrive in cooler lakes, highland/timber reservoirs, and rivers. During the spring spawn, you can even catch them in fairly small creeks that are tributaries to larger bodies of water. Luckily, for you westerners that want in on the action, tigers are stocked out west. And I promise you that it doesn’t make them any easier to catch or smaller than the east coast…

Photo by Joshua Medill  

Size

Since the muskie is the largest in its family, tigers also have the ability to grow to impressive lengths. Tigers actually grow at a faster pace (studies showing that they grow 1.5 times faster than a purebred muskie). Like other hybrid species, tigers aren’t as susceptible to disease and stay strong. Nevertheless, regular pure bread muskies still win in overall size. It just takes a few more years to surpass the tiger.

Photo by Sean Kearney

Now it’s time to get into some of the basic knowledge of a muskie as a species and discuss their:

Nicknames

While many know, muskies are a very sought-after fish due to its sheer size and rarity. This high demand called for several nicknames. To name a few there is Esox, river wolf, ski, lunge, ugly pike, the fish of 10,000 casts, freshwater barracuda, Great pike, and many more.

Photo by Collin Terchanik

Diets

Being on top of the food chain, muskies tend to eat any living thing in sight. These aren’t one of those ugly-ass carps my friends, so keep your corn and dough balls at home. Its main diet consists of any species of fish (including its own) that it can get its mouth around. The diet also includes small birds, frogs, large worms, rodents, and other small mammals. There are even some rumors stating that small dogs have been taken by monster muskies… So, keep a close eye on the dog while having a lake day.

Photo by Eric Ratliff

Behaviors

Muskellunge are ambush species and will either cruise or wait amongst vegetation/coverage before striking at their prey. They are very patient when feeding too. Another tactic of theirs is to stalk the prey several feet before initiating it, which is why we like to figure eight when finishing our strips. Another good note is that muskie have a daily route when feeding. They tend to be in the same locations every day, so if you know there are muskies in the area, try hitting spots at different times of the day. A study by Dr. Ed Crossman of the Royal Ontario Museum proved that water temps trigger these routed movements. In the spring when water climbs past 59 F, muskies head to their summer homes and lay low. Then the opposite happens in the fall, once the waters go back down past 59 F they become more active again and rise from the depths. This answers part of the question of why muskies are more active during the spring and fall.

Photo by Eric Ratliff

Catching Tiger Muskie

After putting in some time and getting those first few follows and reassurance that there are indeed tigers in a river system or lake, you can now concentrate on other important tactics in targeting them. Here are a quick 5:

  1. Strong Minded – Any musky angler will tell you that fishing for these beasts takes strong concentration. You will at times catch yourself getting lazy throwing that huge fly around and miss opportunities all day. Strip the streamer each time with a purpose and focus on the goal. You are going to have a lot of days of this constant mental battle and seeing no action at all. Be confident in your casts and fly outfit. Never give up until you pull the fly out of the water after your final figure eight for the next cast.

    Photo by Nick Kelley
  2. Match the Hatch – Each body of water has prevalent fish species that muskie target. If there are trout or suckers in the system, throw a 9-12’’ Double Buford rainbow trout pattern. If that doesn’t work, change to a different sized T-Bone sucker imitation. Keep changing patterns and presentations, muskie love struggling movement. Almost like a cat with a chew toy. Anything large and a solid movement in the water will entice a muskie from its coverage.

    Photo by Justin Carfagnini
  3. Cast like a Semi-Pro – You need to have the ability to make long casts and cover water. Most recommend an 8 -10wt rod, heavy shooting line, and a large arbor real with a good drag system. Having the casting stamina is a large part of getting a muskie’s attention. Due to so few and pickiness, you just gotta keep casting. However, the cast doesn’t need to be pretty and quiet like you see on a dry fly-casting tutorial. Just get that sucker out there and you’re set.
  4. Seasonal Predators – You can catch a ski any time of year, but the best times are said to be in the fall as they bulk up for winter or the spring when temps are comfortable and they are getting ready to spawn. You will see many more follows and in turn get more takes during these times. Also, be aware of the moon phases! This river wolf howls at full moons(not literally) and is more active like other fish. If you see one, just know there are most likely there more around.

    Photo by Eric Ratliff
  5. Strip Set – If you finally get the chance to hook into a muskie, make sure you set the hook properly. This could be your only chance for a while! Strip set the hell out of it and lift the rod hard… Then do it again to be sure you are set in. They have a fairly hard mouth that can be difficult to penetrate.
Photo by Kyle Petera

At the end of the day, a muskie is a damn muskie… Tigers are still stingy as hell and takes the same time to find one as a purebred. With a few visual and biological differences, the tiger muskie still behaves the same as its parent and can be found in all the same places. Now that you know that pickerel and pike aren’t muskie, and understand the difference between tiger muskies and pure breeds, we can now identify this beautiful species appropriately. Muskie fishing isn’t for everyone, but for those who do decide to give it a go, good luck.

When the Stars Align – Giant Kyped Brown Trout

Sometimes the stars align, and sometimes they don’t. Fly fishing is notorious for leaving us with a plethora of “what if’ moments that haunt us when we sleep. “The one that got away,” isn’t just a saying, but a harsh reality that most experience far more often than they would like to admit.

In these periods of fishing hardship, I find myself second-guessing my motives. “Why am I out here?” “Is this really worth it?” It becomes easy to separate the real ones from the weak ones. Subzero temps, frozen guides, and fishless days are what make or break a fly fisherman. This sport is demanding. True grit is required, and without it, dreams stay dreams.

At some point, the opportunity presents itself. The countless hours and numb fingers pay off in one magical moment. The fish of your dreams comes out to play, and everything comes together in perfect harmony. Time itself freezes. Screaming drag, racing heart, 27 inches; kype. The moment when adrenaline sucks the cold from your bones, surroundings fade, and there is nothing in the world but you and that fish.

It’s what we are all after; that shining feeling of success. It drives us day in and day out, cast after cast after cast. The ever-elusive fantasy fish always lurks somewhere in the depths. Maybe today’s the day, maybe next year.

Any true fly fisherman understands that these moments do not happen all the time. They must be earned through dedication, suffering, and unwavering passion. Without putting in the hours, you never know what is truly possible. Your one moment may be waiting just behind the next bend, in the next riffle, or on your next cast.

Next time you find yourself with little motivation, questioning if getting out of bed at 4:00 am is even worth it; the answer is simple. Maybe. Just maybe; but you’ll never know until you’re out there, on the stream, in the moment, with nothing on your mind but the fish of a lifetime. Grind, grind and grind some more because sometimes, the stars align.

Angler and article by Ameen Hosain, check him out on Instagram @thefishboulder. Additional photos from Mark Rauschenberger (@markierausch), who was able to provide Ameen with mental support in landing this epic fish.

Breaking First Water, Dawn Till Dusk Fly Fishing

What Salmon Should We Be Eating?

Featured image by Ken Morrish

As more information regarding the environmental impacts of consuming farmed salmon comes to light, those of us who enjoy eating salmon are left with mainly one question:

Which type of salmon should I be putting on my plate? 

Courtesy of the Wild Salmon Center

According to the Wild Salmon Center, it’s Wild-caught Alaskan Salmon.

Wild-caught salmon can come from both hatcheries and natural, wild reproduction. The main reason these fish are the best for you to consume is their life in the wild. These fish have come to maturity in the wild and maintained a natural, marine diet, not pellets that rain from the sky. There are still healthy, wild stocks of pacific salmon, especially in Alaska, due to their sustainable yield management practices, which ensure the long term health of the fishery, by only harvesting the amount of fish that will not impact the long term health of the fishery.

Rich Meyers, Head Chef for both professional soccer teams in Portland, Oregon, has his answer: Wild-caught, Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon. Rich was a pioneer of farm-to-table cooking in Portland 20 years ago. Currently, he and his team are using their choice both as means of feeding their players the highest quality of salmon, and as a means to protest the ongoing fight against the Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska.

“When I have a product like Bristol Bay sockeye, why would I ever buy Atlantic farmed salmon?” said Meyer. “I’ve explained to everyone here what I know about it: that it comes from a pristine part of Alaska, that it’s a well-managed fishery. I’m proud to serve it, and everyone loves it.”

For more information on which salmon you should be eating, and amazing recipes for preparing them, check out this article from The Wild Salmon Center!