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Look to These Organizations this Giving Tuesday

What a weird and difficult year 2020 has been — COVID, wildfires, politics, the list goes on. 2020 both harmed and benefitted fly fishing. Travel and guiding operations took a serious and substantial hit. But on the other hand, more people sought solace and recreation on the water than in recent years. Additionally, the increase in license sales seen across the country directly impacts conservation efforts.

So, as we near 2020’s final month, there is always much to be thankful for. Admittedly, it is easy to focus on the negatives of this year, but think about the positives and make a tangible impact by contributing to these fine, fly fishing related organizations on Giving Tuesday! These groups do so much for our sport, such as by advocating for conservation or responsible laws, getting more people on the water, and restoring our waterways. This list is by no means inclusive, as there are dozens of exemplary nonprofits that do so much for our sport–many of which we have previously highlighted. In any case, here are several awesome organizations to consider making a tax-deductible contribution to this Giving Tuesday!

Trout Unlimited

Let’s be honest, when folks think of fly fishing, they think of rising trout and beautiful coldwater streams. Trout Unlimited is one of the largest and effective national fishing and conservation organizations. TU works, “to conserve, protect and restore North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.” Additionally, TU goes to great lengths to recruit the next generation of fly fishers and conservationists, ensuring our sport survives as well as our fisheries. Support Trout Unlimited by clicking this LINK!

Casting for Recovery

Breast cancer affects every one in eight women, and, currently, 2.3 million women are living with this horrible disease. Casting for Recovery provides women with breast cancer the opportunity to find inspiration, discover a renewed energy for life, and experience healing connections with other women and nature through fly fishing. 10,000 women have benefited from the healing experience of a Casting for Recovery retreat. Unfortunately, COVID derailed the retreats planned for 2020, but the folks at Casting for Recovery are hoping to restart operations in 2021! Click HERE to make a donation.

American Saltwater Guides Association

Striped bass, bluefish, fluke, false albacore, these are some of the iconic species that fuel the East Coast’s vibrant recreational fishing community. However, due to complex and often irresponsible management, these fisheries and the connected economies are hurting. The American Saltwater Guides Association is a coalition of “forward-thinking guides, small business owners and like-minded anglers who understand the value of keeping fish in the water.” They advocate for responsible fishery management across all levels of government to preserve the species for generations to come. Also, The Guides Association, at the beginning of COVID, was on the front lines fighting for assistance for the fishing industry and guides financially hurt by the virus. To learn more about the American Saltwater Guides Association and donate, check out their website!

Captains for Clean Water

South Florida is home to some of the most sought after fisheries–the Keys, tarpon, the Everglades, snook, redfish, permit. This region is one of the most diverse fisheries in the country, but it is dying. Years of water mismanagement has blocked nutrient-rich freshwater from reaching the Everglades and the Keys, and the fisheries and ecosystems are feeling the effects. Captains for Clean Water works to restore the natural, southernly flow of water and restore these iconic fisheries to their former glory. To make a tax-deductible donation and help further this great work, click HERE!

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

Access to public and wild places is one of the many, MANY, amazing opportunities available in the United States of America. However, public lands and waters and our rich outdoor heritage face dynamic threats. “Backcountry Hunters & Anglers seeks to ensure North America’s outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands and waters.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers strives to “Keep it Public,” and they will fight at all levels of government to protect our public lands and waters. Donate to Backcountry Hunters & Anglers HERE!

Native Fish Society

Fly fishing and native fish are inextricably connected, but throughout the country many native fish species are declining. The fish of the Pacific Northwest serve as a great example. Dozens of species of salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest are listed under the Endangered Species Act, and dozens more are at concerning low levels. This is why Native Fish Society exists: “We envision a Pacific Northwest abundant in wild fish, free-flowing rivers, and thriving local communities.” To help further Native Fish Society’s work for the revival and conservation of wild fish in the Pacific Northwest, donate HERE!

To learn more about these organizations and to discover more that weren’t mentioned, check out our “Organization of the Month” series. No matter, which organization you may or may not decide to donate to, just know that these organizations do great things for our sport and need our support. So, however big or small, your donation will make a huge impact for these organizations and all they do!

6 Must Have Fly Fishing Accessories for Beginners

As fisherman, we have all been troubled with a time where we wish we were more prepared while on the water. Whether we forgot our net or our nippers, having the necessities is important for our success. If you are new to the sport of fly fishing, walking into a fly shop may be very intimidating. Seeing walls of gear and tools, you may be asking yourself, do I really need all of this? The truth of the matter is, there are a lot of gimmick items that aren’t 100% necessary but nice to have. In this tips and tricks video of the week, Brian Flechsig of Mad River Outfitters breaks down 6 must have accessories for beginner fly-anglers.

Must Have Accessories for Beginners:

1. Nippers

    • Necessary for cutting tag ends, strands of tippet, and opening up the eyes on hooks.

2. Hemostats

    • Great for holding flies while tying your knot or mashing the barb on your hooks. Also the perfect tool for removing flies from the mouth of fish.

3. Fly Floatant

    • Floatant is a must have tool for fishing dry flies. This viscous fluid or powder coats the fly preventing it from sinking beneath the surface.

4. Split Shot

    • Lead or tin weights that can be added to your tippet to aid in getting your flies down faster.

5. Strike Indicators

    • “The fly fisherman’s bobber.” Strike indicators are just that, cork, foam, or yarn that floats on the surface and are used to detect strikes when nymphing.

6. Polarized Eye Wear

    • Arguably one of the most important pieces of equipment when starting out. Polarized glasses cut the glare out of your vision allowing you to see more clearly in the water. Great when trying to find fish or structure.

As mentioned previously, the fly fishing market is flooded with gear, rods, reels, and tools. To ease that overwhelming feeling, having the essentials is all that is necessary when just starting out. Load up the pack with the gear on this list, grab the rod, and hit the river! Tight Lines!

Jimmy Kimmel’s New 8 Million Dollar Lodge in Idaho

Jimmy Kimmel fly fishing

Back in June of 2020, late-night host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel along with fly fishing guide/lodge owner Oliver White purchased the South Fork Lodge for an undisclosed price. We can only guess it was close to 8 million, as the lodge was on the market for 7.95 Million in 2019.

The Eastern Idaho lodge sits alongside the Snake River and boasts eight bedrooms with their own outdoor patios, two private cabins containing five suites, a self-contained four bedroom/2.5 bath river house, four fisherman cabins, and a high-end restaurant replete with outdoor, riverside seating and a grand bar It even has its own in-house fly shop and guide service.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the South Fork Lodge “will incorporate fishing art and books from Kimmel’s personal collection when it opens next spring for the 2021 season.”

20 Celebs that Fly Fish

A Fly Fishers Paradise – The South Fork Lodge for Sale – $7.95 Million

 

What to Do Instead of Going Black Friday Shopping This Year

Black Friday 2020 may look a lot different from what we’re used to, but despite limited capacity at stores, we still are finding ourselves trying to escape the consumerism madness, and that usually means something involving fly fishing and the water. As we woke up today out of our turkey comas, we figured we’d share the 6 things we’re endeavoring to do today instead of waiting in line at Best Buy for a deal on a flatscreen. Check them out below!

#1 – Go Fishing!

Why wake up at 4 am to get somewhere before someone else, if it’s not to get to your favorite fishing spot first? The thought process of waking up early to get in on a deal in some retail spot sounds very foreign and uncomfortable to this angler. I’d rather take advantage of the emptier water and relax in piece after the Thanksgiving festivities are over.

#2 – Support a Small Businesses Tomorrow, Instead

This one is huge, especially in 2020. Small businesses everywhere have taken a hit from this year’s 11-month rollercoaster ride. The business they generate in the next weeks could likely determine the future for many of them, and if you ask us, we’d rather see our local fly shops and artists be successful than cash in on a BOGO deal at a big chain store.

#3 – Take Someone New Fly Fishing

With family in town, what better way to spend quality time together than social distancing on the water. Today and this weekend, make it a point to take someone new fly fishing if at the very least to get that dose of vitamin D and boost your spirits. Whether you’re taking out your little cousin, your kid, a new friend, there’s no better excuse to escape from the early Christmas decorating chaos than dipping out to chase some fish before the real holiday madness descends.

Check out these articles about how to best introduce someone new to fly fishing:

Quarantine Fishing with the Kids by John Sherman

10 Tips for Fishing with Your Kids

The Beginner’s Guide to Fly Fishing

#4 – Reorganize Your Gear

If you find yourself with a wealth of inside time this long weekend, it might be the perfect time to get your fly fishing and fly tying gear organized for the late-fall/early-winter fishing season, or for 2021. And while you’re in the organizing spirit, now might be the perfect time to give your gear some TLC to get it back into tip-top shape.

Check out these articles on staying organized and caring for gear for some inspiration!

Extend the Life of Your Fly Fishing Gear

Organizing Fly Tying Gear

#5 – Learn to Tie a New Fly Pattern

The short, dark days of winter are the best time to get your vise out from under your desk and learn a few new patterns for your winter fishing season. We have a wealth of how-to tying videos on our page for inspiration, from complicated streamers to the simplest nymphs. Whether you’re tying for winter steelhead or spring trout, the winter is the perfect time window to make sure your fly boxes are dialed for your next adventures on the fly.

Check out our library of instructional Fly Tying videos and articles, here!

#6 – Pick Up Litter On Your Homewaters

Photo from Pig Farm Ink

Pay it forward this Black Friday and get your waders wet while cleaning up litter on your home waters. As we transition into the winter season, doing a little winter cleaning will ensure that you don’t have to look at beer cans rising from the melting snow in 2 months, and you’ll be leaving the water better than you found it.

Check out this article on how to Leave No Trace while you’re on the water!

Best Fly Fishing Gloves [2020 GEAR GUIDE]

If you’re like us, there’s not a whole lot that will keep you off the water. From freezing winter temps on your favorite trout streams to cold rainy days chasing steelhead in the Pacific Northwest, warm hands and quality fly fishing gloves are a must.

If snow is on the banks, might be time for some gloves.

There are plenty of options on the market to choose from, including half finger, full glove with fold-over “trigger” fingers, to warmer choices like half finger with fold-over mittens. Once you’ve honed in on a style of fly fishing glove, you’ll have a number of material options to consider from fleece to wool to soft-shelled synthetics. We did the work and found some of the best fly fishing gloves the industry has to offer, so you don’t have to. 

Simms Fly Fishing Gloves

No stranger to designing equipment for the toughest conditions, Simms has several offerings in contention for some of the best fly fishing gloves on the market. If you prefer fingerless gloves, like me due to increased dexterity, you’re in luck. Prefer a fold over mitten style? Simms has you covered. 

Simms Headwaters Half Finger Glove $29.95

The Simms Headwaters Half Finger Gloves are made of a high-stretch and wind-resistant Polartec fleece. I have a pair of these that have served me well through some cold Colorado winters in addition to wool gloves (see below). If you often strip streamers in cold weather, these are a great option as the fleece is water repellent and keeps your hands warm even when they’re wet. My biggest complaint with the gloves is that the fleece acts far too much like a fly patch with small flies. If you’re in the market for a pair of lightweight, packable, and most importantly warm gloves, be sure to give the Simms Headwaters Half Finger Gloves a try. While I prefer the half finger style, the Headwater series is also available in a fingerless and foldover mitt.

Simms Wool Half-Finger Glove $29.95

The Simms Wool Half-Finger gloves are unmatched in fit and all day comfort.

Traditionally, anglers have turned to wool clothing and accessories for its insulating properties and natural water resistance. Quite possibly the biggest advantage of wool, and wool gloves, in particular, is that it offers warmth and insulation even after being completely soaked through. Sure there are other wool gloves on the market but the quality and fit of the Simms Wool Half-Finger gloves are unmatched. These low profile gloves are 100% wool, come with rubber gripped palms that are great for casting, rowing, camp chores, and more. 

Simms Guide Windbloc Series $54.95

The Simms Guide Winbloc line of gloves come in a true half finger, fold-over mitt, and fold-over trigger finger styles.

The last fly fishing glove offering from Simms on this list are the Guide Windbloc Series Half Finger Gloves that are made of a four-way stretch fabric and come pre-curved in the natural shape of a hand for increased dexterity. These gloves also come with heat-pack pockets in the wrists to ensure warm hands all day long without affecting your grip and dexterity. Like the Headwaters series, the Simms Guide Windbloc Series gloves also come in a foldover mitt style.

Orvis Fly Fishing Gloves:

Like Simms, Orvis offers several styles of fly fishing gloves in a variety of materials. fingerless, trigger finger and convertible mitts are available in fleece and softshell materials. 

Orvis Fingerless Fleece Gloves $29.95

The Orvis Fingerless Fleece Gloves are made in a four-way stretch fleece.

The Orvis Fingerless Fleece Gloves are made in a four-way stretch fleece to ensure the perfect fit. These gloves also have a synthetic suede palm for enhanced grip. There’s sure to be a good fit for all anglers as these unisex gloves come in unisex sizes small through extra large. Like the fleece offering from Simms, these gloves retain their insulating properties when wet. 

Orvis Pro Insulated Convertible Mittens $79.00

Orvis Pro Insulated Convertible Mitts
The Orvis PRO Insulated Convertible Mitts are the warmest offering on this list.

The last pair of fly fishing gloves in this review is the Orvis PRO Insulated Convertible Mitts that are designed to keep angler’s hands nimble even in the coldest of weather. These gloves are made with the same fabric and insulation found in the Orvis PRO Insulated Hoody for optimal warmth and synthetic suede on the palms for a better grip. There’s also a convertible thumb and folder over mitten with elastic keeper to reduce snagging. I typically prefer a true fingerless glove but fold-over mittens are great for long walks to and from the car and when you need a little extra warmth.

FRDM Gloves:

Another glove to mention that isn’t necessarily a specific “fishing” glove but due to their unique design, the FRDM  gloves are worth a mention for anglers. The FRDM gloves allow users access to their hands or fingers without removing their gloves. Giving you a good amount of dexterity and warmth. The Vigor Liners ($26.99) are a nice lightweight addition to your kit. While the Hybrid Lightweight Glove model ($45.99) is best suited for the everyday angler and it doesn’t break the bank.

Heather rocking the FRDM Hybrid Lightweight Glove

How will you stay warm this winter?

Winter is quickly approaching (and underway in some places) which unfortunately means layering up under waders, hats, gloves, and more. I typically don’t like to fish with gloves until it’s absolutely necessary since they can be cumbersome but Simms and Orvis have taken steps to make fly fishing gloves more manageable. If you plan to spend time on the water this winter, I’d recommend picking up a pair of fingerless gloves for milder days and a pair of foldover mittens for when the weather really turns south. These tried and true options are sure to meet the needs of any angler looking for a quality pair of fly fishing gloves.  

Article by Evan Garda, he is on the Content Team here at Fly Lords. He can be found chasing trout throughout the west with his trusty fly rod. Check out his adventures at @evangarda.

Wading Safely: A Wading Gear Guide [2020]

Winter Fly Fishing Tips: Making the Most Out of Winter Fly Fishing

BREAKING: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Say #NoPebbleMine

In a devastating blow for Pebble Mine, the Trump administration’s U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied a key permit for Pebble Mine. The history of this mine’s permitting process was nothing but a roller coaster. The proposed gold and copper mine in Southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed was effectively denied under the Obama administration. However, those protections lacked permanency, and the Trump Administration quickly resumed the permitting process for Pebble Mine.

Earlier this summer, the Army Corps released and approved a final environmental impact statement, but then requested Pebble to provide a new mitigation plan. The Corps concluded that this plan was nowhere near sufficient:

Given these concerns, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finds under section 404 of the Clean Water Act that the project, as proposed, would likely result in significant degradation of the environment and would likely result in significant adverse effects on the aquatic system or human environment.

So, after years of back and forth for Bristol Bay, the fate of Pebble Mine is imminent. Pebble mine is dead, and permanent protection of Bristol Bay is attainable. The coalition behind protecting Bristol Bay has never been greater. For example, earlier this summer, conservative surrogates, Donald Trump Jr and Tucker Carlson, highlighted their opposition to Pebble Mine. It’s not only trout bums who want to protect this pristine watershed; hundreds of thousands of Americans from so many backgrounds united in saying #NoPebbleMine.

“Thank you to all who came together and made their voices heard to keep one of the world’s great watersheds pristine. Today, Bristol Bay, Alaska, is one step closer to being a protected American treasure that sustains local communities and industries and that outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy and experience for generations to come,” said Orvis President, Simon Perkins.

Trout Unlimited still seeks further protections for Bristol Bay in federal court. In the meantime, this wide-ranging coalition of recreational and commercial anglers, conservationists, and Native American tribes will now look to Congress to permanently protect the region.

“The Corps’ denial of the permit for the Pebble Mine is a victory for common sense,” said Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “Bristol Bay is the wrong place for industrial-scale mining, and we look forward to working with the people of the Bristol Bay region, Alaska’s Congressional delegation, the state, and other partners to permanently protect Bristol Bay and its world class fisheries.”

Bristol Bay Forever Pebble Mine Never

Thank you to all who participated in this long, drawn out process; Pebble Mine is dead, and it is because of your voices and the tireless work of groups like Trout Unlimited and the countless others. This victory will be celebrated and provide a bright spot in what has been a difficult year. Pebble Mine is no longer.


Breaking News: Trump Administration Expected to, finally, #SayNoToPebbleMine

Over 250 Outdoor Industry Businesses Sign Letter to President Trump Opposing Pebble Mine

Tightline Productions, Jensen Fly Fishing and the New Fly Fisher Merge

Three of our favorite content producers have just joined forces to expand their content distribution and bring their already high-production-value even higher. We’re huge fans of everything Tim Flagler, the Jensens, and the New Fly Fisher produces, and we cannot wait to see what this power trio will bring to viewers’ eyes.

From a press release from the newly formed triumvirate:

“We are very happy to announce that Tightline Productions, Jensen Fly Fishing, and The New Fly Fisher have formed a collaborative arrangement for linking complementary content across all three of our YouTube channels. We all have different strengths, and by cross-promoting content, feel that we can provide a richer, more well-rounded experience for viewers.

“This arrangement will offer viewers not only the opportunity to learn how to tie a wide range of both fresh and saltwater fly patterns (Tightline Productions’ content), it will also provide detailed information on strategies for fishing those patterns, (Jensen’s content). In addition, through The New Fly Fisher’s content, viewers can experience how these patterns and the techniques used to fish them might be employed at various destinations around the globe.”

Check out their YouTube Channels below:

Tightline Video

Jensen Fly Fishing

The New Fly Fisher

Win a Drift Boat for a Benjamin

Drift boat for a benjamin

Our friends over at the Native Fish Society are doing a pretty awesome giveaway for those anglers interested in getting a new drift boat this winter season. They are selling raffle tickets at $100.00 each, a maximum of 250 tickets, and the lucky winner takes home a brand new fully outfitted drift boat.

From the Native Fish Society:

That’s right, a brand new Ray’s River Dories Rogue drift boat, complete with a Baker Trailer and a pair of Sawyer Lite Oars could be yours for just $100! All proceeds from this raffle will go to support the work of our River Stewards on the Deschutes River to improve water quality and protect habitat for native fish, including bull trout!”

For more information check out the link here.

Float Fishing for Beginners – 10 Tips for Fly Fishing from a Raft or Drift Boat

Rowing for Fly Fishing – Complete Guide for Rowing Drift Boats and Rafts

Last of Their Line

Photo by Drow Male / Wikimedia.

Unless you’re one of those fly tyers who spend hours flipping through the latest delivery of Whiting or Metz feathers, you’re probably unfamiliar with the name “Gallos de León”. A specialized breed of chicken from the Curueño Valley in the province of León, Spain, Gallos de León are the world’s oldest known genetic hackle bird, and their capes and saddle are still widely regarded as some of the finest available amongst fly tyers. In fact, the reason the name might sound familiar is that there’s likely a pack of Coque de León feathers tucked somewhere in your tying kit for mayfly and nymph tails.

According to Bridget Ryder, a writer for EarthIsland.org, “the Gallos de León can only truly be raised within the 15-square-kilometer Curueño Valley in the province of León in northern Spain. The rural, almost unspoiled area sits at the foot of the Cantabria Mountains, out of which run over 3,000 kilometers of trout streams.”

Not only are the bird developed to fish those trout streams dwindling, so are the streams and trout in their historic home region. León is not just famous for it’s feather production but also as a historic sight for the sport of fly fishing. Fishing with flies in the region has been documented as far back as 1624 AD when “a cleric named Juan de Bergara from the city of Astorga, about 60 kilometers southwest of Curueño, was so impressed with the Leónese fishing system that he recorded it in writing. Called The Astorga Manuscript, his book described how the Leónese fishers, relying on “centuries of observation,” had developed an arsenal of 32 flies, each one matching the bugs trout feed on in every season and time of day.”

To read more about these iconic birds, and the special place they hold in the world of fly tying and fly fishing history as a whole, check out this article on the Earth Island Journal!

How to Rig a Dry Dropper Set Up for Beginners

The sport of fly fishing has grown into a widespread community filtering throughout the US and worldwide. With that, we are seeing more and more anglers converting to fly fishing to learn more about specific tactics while getting a feel for using a fly rod. The name of the game in fly fishing is versatility. Having options while on the water is one of the most important tactics to remember when first starting into fly fishing. An outstanding tactic to cover multiple areas of a water column would be to run a dry-dropper rig or sometimes called a “hopper-dropper” rig. Essentially this rig allows anglers to run a dry fly on top trying to entice any willing risers or sippers, while also covering subsurface water columns by running a weighted nymph off of the dry fly set up. As mentioned previously, this gives trout an option which leads back to the ever-so important tactic, versatility. In this tips and tricks video of the week, Courtney Despos of Trouts Fly Fishing explains how to set up a dry dropper rig.

How to Set Up a Dry Dropper Rig:

  1. Start by selecting a larger dry fly capable of sustaining a heavier nymph dropped off the bottom of it.
  2. Using a clinch knot, tie your dry fly onto your leader.
  3. Off of the bend of your dry fly hook, attach a piece of tippet with a clinch knot ranging in size from 18-24 inches. It is very important to make sure your tippet is the same diameter or smaller than your leader to ensure a smooth roll over when casting as well as preventing trout from spooking.
  4. After your tippet is added to the bend of your dry fly hook, attach a weighted nymph of your choice to the dropper end of the tippet using a clinch knot.
  5. Lastly, make sure your knots are seated tightly and all of your tag ends are snipped flush.

Running a dry dropper from early spring to late summer has been proven effective for trout fishing. Using a larger dry fly can also act as a functional indicator signifying a take of your subsurface nymph. If your goal in the fly fishing realm is to become more versatile in your tactics, the dry dropper rig is perfect for you. Its proven success time and time again is well worth it on any trout stream or river you may be tackling. Now its time to rig up and hit the water! Tight lines!

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