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Vail Resorts Snowmaking Tank Suspected Cause of Large Scale Fish Kill

Sad news coming out of the Vail Valley today. Over the weekend a large-scale fish kill hit two beloved tributaries in the valley, Gore Creek and Mill Creek. The kill’s suspected cause is a snowmaking solution holding tank that accidentally discharged into the two streams affecting 1,500 feet of both streams, leaving death in its wake.

After noticing the spill, Colorado Parks and Wildlife sent a team to investigate and they found a blue-grey tint to the water amongst the dozens of dead fish, some of which measured over 16-inches.

According to Vail Daily News, “Parks and Wildlife officials took water samples and recorded the totals of dead fish found, which included 85 mottled sculpins, one cut-bow, 16 rainbow trout, one brook trout, and 17 brown trout.”

Gore Creek has long been hailed as one of the Vail Valley’s most revered wild trout streams after many years of restoration efforts, and it’s a shame to see so much aquatic life lost in such a short window of time.

Holly Loff of the Eagle River Watershed Council remarked that the confluence of Mill Creek and Gore Creek was previously a very healthy piece of water.

She further remarked, “We don’t have all of the facts yet, so it is hard to know what happened. However, the report that I read said 85 mottled sculpin, one cuttbow, 16 rainbow trout, one brook trout and 17 brown trout were found dead. That diversity of fish, particularly with the high number of our native sculpin, which are food for the trout, is a sign that Mill Creek was pretty healthy in that stretch. This is really a shame and extremely disappointing after all of the restoration work and community education to improve the health of Gore Creek.”

You can read more about the developing story, here.


Chasing Kings: Great Lakes Salmon and How to Catch Them

Fall is a special time on the shores of the Great Lakes. After a long, wet summer, the nightly lows are finally hitting the 50s, the maples are starting to get that telltale reddish hue and the salmon of the Great Lakes are coming in closer and closer to the spawning tributaries that they will be running over the next month or so. Migrating along with the salmon is a hyper-passionate group of anglers from all across the northeast, looking for a chance to hook, fight and maybe land their first Lake Ontario salmon of the year!

The Great Lakes are home to several species of salmon, with only one of those being considered a native fish to the drainage, the Atlantic. The others include the Chinook, Coho, and Pink salmons, all of whom originally hail from the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific varieties were first introduced into the Great Lakes in the 1960s when Dr. Howard Tanner chucked the first netful of Coho salmon smolts into a tributary of Lake Michigan.

Since then, thousands of salmon have run the Great Lakes tributaries, and thousands of more anglers hit the river banks to get in on the action. Perhaps one of the most iconic places to do this is New York’s Salmon River in Oswego County. For many of us, that river is the focus of many long car rides, long hours behind the tying vise, and even more hours swinging flies and drifting indicators waiting for the inevitable tug, and exclamation of “FISH ON, COMING DOWN!”

In this article, we’ll give you a little primer on how to cash in on this season’s salmon run, from what rods to use, where to best target the fish in the river, and what flies to use. Check it out, below!

Great Lakes Salmon Fly Fishing Gear

A 9-10 WT Rod Setup

The salmon of the Great Lakes are powerful and aggressive animals. Once hooked, Chinook and Cohos will go bonkers, running up and downstream while violently headshaking and cartwheeling through the air, and you’ll need a heavy rod with a strong reel to put the brakes on them and bring them to the net. If you’re looking to save your shoulders from overwork, its definitely worth considering a spey or switch rod to give you better leverage on these powerful fish!

Lots of Flies

You’re going to want to have a plethora of flies available when you’re chasing salmon on the Lake Ontario tributaries. Losing flies is all a part of the salmon fishing experience, as you may break off a few big fish as they do their best to win the battle at hand. A few popular patterns include egg-sucking leeches, estaz eggs, zonker streamers, wooly buggers, intruder-style flies and sucker spawns. If you’re looking for more specific recommendations, we highly recommend reaching out to a few of the local fly and tackle shops like All Seasons Sports, Fat Nancy’s, or Malinda’s Fly, Spey & Tackle Shop!

Waders with Cleats

Cleated wading boots are essential when you’re wading. The Salmon River and many other tributaries can be slick to wade on their best days and can be downright dangerous at high flows. Depending on your wading boots, we highly recommend drilling a bunch of studs in to make sure you’re sure-footed as you fight in an angry King Salmon.

A Big Net

You’re going to want to bring a large net to the tribs. Salmon fight hard all the way in, and having a large, rubber net will not only ease your fish fighting stress but also protect the fish on the end of your line! While you can certainly attempt to land a salmon without a net, you’ll likely lose more than your fair share in those final moments of the battle when all it takes for the fish to break off is one powerful shake of their head.

How to Find and Hook Great Lakes Salmon

Read Reports and Talk to the Local Shops

The best way to figure out when the salmon are running or where the bulk of them are in the river system is through on-the-ground fishing reports. Lucky for most anglers, there are a plethora of local shops and guides that post regular reports throughout the season. Prior to your trip up, we recommend reading the reports from the Douglaston Salmon Run, the Salmon River Newbie, Oswego County’s Fishing Reports & Conditions Page, or call one of the previously mentioned local shops.

Cover Water and Fish the Choke Points

When they’re running, salmon are typically easy to find, all you really need to do is wait until they blast past. That being said, when the salmon aren’t moving through your zone, the best thing you can do is hike up your waders and start walking, scanning every eddy, pocket, and piece of soft water until you see those black backs stirring around on the river bottom.

Salmon will always take the path of least resistance upriver, and you want to key in on that path. Identifying choke points (areas where the bulk of fish have no choice but to run through) is absolutely key if you plan on having banner days on the rivers.

“Tails in the Mornings, Heads in the Evenings”

Some of the hottest salmon action happens in the first and last hours of the day. Salmon will take full advantage of the dark of night to push through shallow, exposed sections of the river on their way between resting holes. Typically you’ll find fish sitting in the tail out of a hole in the morning, and as the day progresses they’ll move further up, staging to push into the next section of water as the sun drops to the horizon.


Guide To Trout Spey – Rods, Gear & Techniques

The sun rose and I found myself standing on the bank of the river sipping my coffee and staring into the churning mud that was, just a few hours ago, my favorite steelhead river. My buddy Brad came walking up the bank and asked if I was ready to go, I reluctantly said why not? I grabbed my fly rod and we headed upstream toward a few of our favorite steelhead holes.

The fishing proved to be uneventful and exclusively swinging small flies through fast muddy water did not make it any easier. After a few hours, I sat down on a fallen tree and began searching for a fly that I had confidence in. Brad on the other hand changed rods back to his 4wt switch and began fishing shallow riffles for dollies. A few casts in, he hooked one, a few more casts, another! I sat and watched, commentating and netting his fish. After a dozen or so he pushed the rod toward me and said “Catch a few man, at least there are fish to be caught”. I had never fished such a light two-handed rod.

The first cast went as well as you may imagine, abysmal. After a few more attempts, a fishable cast was presented and a swing was made. Allowing the small black leech to hang and waver in the current at the end of the swing amounted to a welcomed tug on the line. The fish fought as hard as it could for being 12 inches long but the light set up made for a fun tug or war. It was addicting really, and we traded off on the 4wt for the remainder of the day. Shortly after the week ended and it was time to make my way home, I found out a light two-handed rod was referred to as a “Trout-Spey” and immediately ordered one.   

trout spey fly fishing
Jacob Powell from Airflo Fishing casting a trout spey on the Gunnison River in Colorado.

What is “Trout Spey” or “Micro Spey”?

Lighter two-handed rods between a 1wt and a 5wt, all fall within the realm of the newly named rod class called the Micro-Spey or Trout-Spey. Although trout have been targeted on spey rods since the invention of two-handers, this newly named classification of rods has found its niche in the Fly Fishing Universe. The basic concept follows the same casting rules and styles or traditional Spey Casting but allows the angler another avenue to target their favorite trout species, and damn, is it a fun way to fish!

Trout Spey fishing still requires a waterborne or an arielized anchor and a “D” Loop to load the rod but is lighter and more forgiving than a traditional full-sized two hander. Below you will find tips on why, how, and where a trout spey may be applicable for you, enjoy!

trout spey cast

Why choose a Trout Spey?

A trout spey can be used to minimize backcasting when fishing close quarters on tight streams but they are also often used on larger rivers when swinging flies for trout. They allow an angler to achieve maximum distance with little effort or stress while casting but also, allow the angler to fish smaller rivers where a backcast or a large “D” Loop may not be feasible.

The additional length of the rod allows you more leverage to land the “big one” all while using a lighter rod. In general, the line class on a trout spey is equivalent to two-three weights higher on a single hand rod. For example, an 11’ 2wt trout spey would be equal to a 9’ 5wt single hand rod.

Choosing a Trout Spey Rod:

There are many options when choosing a light spey rod for trout. It is all based upon the type of water and size of fish you will be targeting. In general trout-spey rods fall between a 1wt and a 5wt and are between 10’6” and 11’6”. For the beginner, a great starter rod would be an 11’ 3wt as lines for this rod are easy to find in both Scandi and Skagit Options.

GLOOMIS IMX-PRO SHORTSPEY $605.00

Redington Claymore Trout Spey $349.00

Choosing a Trout Spey Reel:

You will want to select a reel approximately two line sizes heavier than your trout spey rod. For example, if you are fishing an 11’ 3wt rod, you will want to look for a reel in the 5-6wt range. This will help balance the longer rod better without having to add any additional weight to the bottom handle. This will make casting much more comfortable.

Abel VAYA Fly Reel $495.00

3TAND REEL STF SERIES

Understanding the Fly Line Setup for Trout Spey:

Unlike your single-handed fly line setup a line setup for a trout spey is a little more complex. From the reel, you will first have the backing, then from the backing you have what’s called the running line. This running line or shooting line has no taper. From your running line, you attached your shooting head. The shooting head for trout spey setups can be either a skagit style or a scandi style. See the full explanation below. After you have your shooting head-on, then comes your leader, more often than not a sinking leader, and then your tippet. The grain weight of the shooting head matches the weight of your rod. When purchasing a trout spey line, be sure to purchase the correct grain weight shooting head.

11′ 3 Weight Trout Spey Rod spooled with backing, running line, and either a 240-grain Skagit Head (Skagit Scout) or a 240-grain Scandi Head (Rage Compact).

Skagit Lines for Trout Spey Setups:

Skagit style trout spey lines are the most popular as they can effectively cast trout spey streamers. These types of lines have shorter and fatter heads making it easy to cast these heavier flies, they can be even be used to fish indicator rigs. They are more aggressive than their Scandinavian counterparts and carry more mass allowing you to fish heavier sink tips and bigger flies.

The Skagit Scout from Airflo is a great skagit style shooting head for a trout spey. This 240-grain head matches well with an 11′ 3 weight rod.

Skagit Style Trout Spey Fly Patterns from Oliver Ancans

Scandi Lines for Trout Spey Setups: 

Long Scandi lines are ideal for fishing small soft hackles and wetflies on light two handed rods. They allow you to make long casts and allow for delicate presentations to the finickiest of trout and grayling. Scandi lines also allow for anglers to cast full-floating dry fly set ups if you prefer to skate surface flies to entice a trout to bite.

The Rage Compact from Airflo is Scandi style shooting head that provides anglers with a little more power than your normal Scandi head. The line can effectively cast flies in wind with ease. 

Scandi Style Soft Hackle Trout Spey Flies courtesy of Johnathan Farmer      

Sink Tips / Sink Leaders / Poly Leaders for Trout Spey”

The Airflo Polyleader is the perfect leader for Trout Spey.

Carrying a wide range of tips is always a good idea. This will allow you to fish multiple types of water to be prepared for every situation you may encounter. Be sure to select a tip that will reach your desired depth and do not be afraid to change them out to match the depth where the fish are feeding. Tips are offered in a wide range of sink rates ranging from T-6 to T-14. Airflo makes a Polyleader Set with different tips varying based on sink rate.

Trout Spey Leader and Tippet Rigging Set up:

Your leader set up will depend on your shooting head and sink tip selection. If you choose to fish a Scandi Line, you will want a slightly longer tapered leader 6’-9’ and to fish a lighter tippet to protect those smaller hooks. Be sure to appropriately match your tippet size to the fish you intend on targeting to ensure that you do not have to overplay the fish to get them to the net.

For Skagit lines your leader should be much shorter and does not need to be tapered. Fishing a leader between 2’-4’ will allow your fly to sink and match the depth of your sink tip. With a Skagit line and a larger fly, you will want to bump up the tippet size as larger flies often get hit harder and there is nothing more annoying than snapping a fish off on a hookset.

Water to Target for Trout Spey

When swinging flies, a good rule of thumb is to find water that is flowing at a steady walking pace. After you have located such a stretch of water, you will want to present your cast 30-45 degrees downstream, this will allow for a proper swing. From that point, you can mend your line and choose to lead your fly to speed it up or follow your fly to slow down your swing, whichever is appropriate for the fishing situation. As soon as your fly has stopped swinging, be sure to allow it to hang for a few seconds as fish will often follow a fly and take after it has stopped moving. Following the pause, it is as simple as cast, swing, set, and repeat (not necessarily in that order).

Fishing a trout spey is a blast and very applicable on many rivers and in areas that may not have been easy to fish with a full size spey rod or a single hand rod. We suggest asking your local fly shop if they can order a trout spey set up and I bet you will not regret doing so. After all, who doesn’t love buying new fishing gear?

Words and photos by Oliver Ancans (@Olleyeh). 

For more information on finding the right Airflo fly line, check out https://airflousa.com/ and be sure to follow them on Instagram at @airflofishing.

Huge Brown Caught on Trout Spey Rod

April Vokey’s 3 Tips for Improving your Spey Cast

12 Year Old Catches Wild Steelhead on Spey Rod

 


Fishing Tips: Hook Sets

There’s a whole lot more to “setting the hook” than what meets the eye. Check out this video from Huge Fly Fisherman to get the tips you need to improve your hook setting.


Featured Fly Tyer: Svenddiesel

Meet Svend, an avid fly tyer, father, husband, angler, and bbq enthusiast. Svend is not your normal fly tyer, his patterns are creative, colorful, and full of never-before-seen materials. We caught up with Svend to learn more about him and his fly tying, check out the full interview below.

Tune in on Friday, October 1st from 6:00 PM -7:00 PM MST as Svend goes live on the Flylords Instagram to tie up some flies. 

Flylords: Who is Svenddiesel?

Svend: That’s easy, it’s me. It was a nickname given to me by my high school flag football team, which seems like forever ago. Since my middle name is Svend and Fast and the Furious was ever so popular at the time, Svenddiesel just clicked and stuck. I figured it would be a great fly-tying social media account name.

Flylords: How long have you been in the fly-tying game, and what inspired you to start tying?

Svend: I have been in the fly-tying game just a little over 5 years. I was inspired to start tying because I became frustrated with flies I had purchased that were falling apart after a few rising trout used them as chewing gum. I remember the exact moment, I was looking at yet another caddis fly where the hackle had come undone and I thought, “I bet I can make this, and I can make it stronger.” A few weeks later I saw Sundance Resort offering a free fly-tying night and I figured why not. I have pretty much grown up at Sundance skiing, hiking, and biking, worked there for 5 years as an instructor, why not add fly-tying to the list? I took classes as often as I could the next summer where I realized that my flies can fall apart just as easy, but I discovered that I love tying them anyway.

Flylords: Without a doubt, you’ve got quite a few tying set ups. Do you have a go-to?

Svend: I have a tool addiction. I am not afraid to admit that. Some vises make tying certain flies more enjoyable. It’s that simple. All vises have their pros and cons, but by owning one vise I would have never known that. I’m not saying tyers need multiple vises or that they need to spend a ton of money on a vise. If it holds a hook, it works; but just like any car will get you from point A to point B, some cars are more fun to drive. I have kept most of the vises I have tied on for memories sake, and it’s also fun to get out a vise you haven’t tied on in a while and see if the pros and cons are still the same. As for tools, anything that makes the tying process easier is worth a try. A few of my favorites are the Stonfo Roto Elite dubbing tool, J-Vise bobbins, and more recently the Dr. Slick angled scissors.

Flylords: You’ve created a few of your own flies at this point. What’s your creative process look like when going about creating an original design? (where do you start? How do you choose materials, etc…)

Svend: In my opinion, everything has been tied by someone, somewhere to one degree or another. As new materials become available, we can adapt and change existing patterns for better or for worse, but a leech is still just a leech no matter what material you use or how you tie it. I love new materials, though. I am drawn to taking a new material and playing around with it and then thinking how that material could improve a pattern by giving more movement, more attractiveness, or make it more irresistible to the fish I am targeting. Then I tie it and test it. There are many flies that end up dropped in the scrap pile and vacuumed up and discarded. As cliché as it sounds, you must fail a lot to succeed.

Fly patterns is a topic that many people get triggered about and I can respect that. Pattern stealing or tweaking is a thing and people who have worked hard to get the credit they deserve. I have been accused of this many times, but I am not really in the tying game for patterns or recognition and its hard to know that someone posted a “new” pattern 2 years ago in the archives of their feeds. It is all about having fun and catching fish.

As for creating a pattern, I worked on the Cray Cray for a few years. I tied and fished different crayfish or crawdad patterns until I finally combined and changed it enough that I thought it could be “original,” but still just a Crayfish/Crawdad pattern. I shipped a few off to friends to fish and give me feedback, talked to several shop managers and showed them the pattern to see if there was anything like it in their fly ordering catalogs (asking them to be discrete about it), and concluded that it was unique and felt comfortable throwing a name to it other than a crayfish/crawdad. I contacted a few fly manufactures and finally connected with MFC who is currently producing Svend’s Cray Cray. Its quite the process and takes more time than I realized. Most of the time when I think something is original, someone else has already done it, or it is so close to something else that I just tie and fish it.

Flylords: Do you have a favorite fly to tie, or more importantly, a least favorite?

Svend: I love tying streamers. I know it’s a huge category, but I love that you can take a streamer pattern and there are hundreds of different materials and substitutions that can work with that one streamer. Swapping out the body material, adding more flash, making a tail using feathers, creating a resin head with eyes, inverting the whole fly to ride hook point up, making your own dubbing brushes, or just using dubbing loops, the possibilities are endless and the only way to test it is to fish them.

My least favorite fly is not as much the fly but being rushed to tie the fly. I think that tying for me personally is a huge stress relief in my life and being rushed doesn’t make it as enjoyable.

Flylords: In terms of all the gear out there involved in the fly tying process, whats one piece of equipment you could never live without?

Svend: A vice. Many know that I am a tool junkie and tie on multiple vises. Each one serves a purpose and I enjoy tying on several different brands and models. I have tied in hand and can accept there is an appeal to it, but I prefer to have a vise holding the hook. So, if it came down to never owning a vise again, I would probably buy my flies from the shops or many of the friends I have met through social media.

Flylords: Which part do you enjoy more: fishing the flies, or tying them?

Svend: I love fishing the flies more than tying them. But, I have come to realize that I can tie a fly every day, but I can’t fish every day. Tying at times has been more fun than fishing, but it doesn’t come close to being on the water with rod in hand.

Flylords: What’s a word of advice you wished you had that you’d give someone who wants to get into fly tying?

Svend: Keep fishing. As fun as fly tying is, it has definitely taken time away from being on the water. If you do want to tie your own flies, sign up for a class at your local shop or find a local mentor or club that you can join. It makes the process a lot easier than searching YouTube for hours and googling “fly-tying slang”. If you are one who learns from books, Charlie Craven has a great beginner fly-tying book that will teach you the basics and a few go-to patterns that I had fun working through. But the best advice would be to invest your money in a good vise, scissors, and bobbin. After that, just buy the materials for flies that you fish and in the colors and sizes you fish, and then build from there. Tie a fly 3 times, a dozen times, or as long as it takes to get it how you like it. Lastly, don’t cheap out on hooks. We are often looking for good deals or sales to save a few bucks, but the foundation of every fly is the hook and if you tie a few dozen on hooks that bend out, you just wasted hours of your time not to mention losing a potential awesome fish.

Flylords: Do you sell your flies? How does the production-mindset effect your enthusiasm for tying?

Svend: I do. I had goals of having a website full of flies that I love to tie and fish. Instead, I have been so swamped with trying to get orders out the door while work and family have only got busier. I have only had time to get a handful of patterns up and I am continually trying to keep up with those orders. Many do not know that this is a hobby for me. I am on the road for a business I own around 50-70 hours a week and then try to make it to as many of my kids sports and activities as I can. I have learned that production tying is not something I love, but when you have 14 dozen clousers sitting there in a pile …. It’s a pretty good feeling of accomplishment.

Flylords: Who are some people in the fly fishing/ tying industry you’d say you look up to/ look to for inspiration?

Svend: This is an ever-changing thing for me. I am often distracted by patterns and styles and seem to go in phases. When I am tying one type of bug, there are many who specialize in that who I look to for tips and tricks. Many of the people I admire are behind the scenes and do their own thing, they do not care about what all the “cool kids” are doing, but instead remember why we tie and why we love to fish. Being active on social media does have its perks. One can connect with tyers all over the world and most of them respond to messages or questions. I find this pretty cool and amazing that one can message tyers all over the world rather than just locally at clubs and shows.

Flylords:  Has any of your family gotten involved in the tying game? Think they’ll ever catch the bug (no pun intended)

Svend: My boys have shown interest over the years, it comes and goes. I learned early on that I should not force something on them or they might end up hating it. So, if they want to tie flies, I get out another vise and we do it. My daughter thinks all the drawers of tying materials are her treasures. It’s hard to tell her what bucktail really is when she keeps telling me how pretty it is. As for my wife, I actually took her on a date night up to a tying class when I was first learning. She was better than me and probably still is.

Flylords: What’s one of your favorite flies that you’ve ever shared over social media? Why is this?

Svend: I would say the Heavy Hitter or Poor Man’s Sow bug. It is fun to tie. The idea came to me to segment the body using beads and then resin over it for durability. It’s a fly that is inspired by a few different patterns out there, but combined into one really fun tie. It’s been a lot of fun watching them go viral on social media platforms such as TikTok and seeing the many people out there who like watching fly tying who are not necessarily anglers or tyers themselves.

Flylords: Do you have any tying rituals? A certain drink/ food? Music? Do you have tv or YouTube on in the background?

Svend: I would say I have some form of media going in the background. iTunes Radio, Spotify, Netflix, Hulu …. Something to help me get my mind offs the stresses of my career and lets me focus on the small things in life such as a size 18 or 20. I stopped eating and tying when I learned more about the materials, where on the animal they come from, and the processes they go through before being packaged.

Flylords: How can people get their hands on some sweet Svenddiesel merch?

Svend: www.svenddiesel.com The website makes it easy for me, at least when I can keep the correct sizes and colors in stock. I can’t ever seem to figure out what will be popular and in what sizes and colors, and sometimes they go fast. But, it has been a learning experience and I am very grateful for the support the community has given me.

Thanks to Svend for the time and be sure to check out him on Instagram at @svendiesel.

Featured Fly Tyer: Lance Egan

Featured Fly Tyer: Hugo Harlin


Top 7 Best Vehicles For Fly Fishing

There is that age-old moniker of how it matters little about getting to the river, just as long as you get there. But today, that seems to be a lost saying, and the way you show up to the spot seems as important as the time spent on the water. With Youtube stars being born with their rigs nearly taking more of the spotlight than the actual selfie filmer landing their catch, the year of 2021 has shifted the paradigm. Van lifers, yoda freaks, and the stubborn like a rocks still hold relevant, however. Here is our newest list for the year on the top seven trendiest fishing rigs this time round.

1. The Ordinary: Pickup Truck

Show up at any fly shop in the state of Montana at 6 am in the summer months, and surely there’ll be a half dozen or more guides all parked out front with their clients drinking coffee, bullshitting about the day ahead with their trucks and Ro drift boats in tow. The tried and true pickup truck could arguably be considered as the original fishing rig. With models ranging from the ever-popular Toyota Tacoma and Ford Rangers on the smaller end to the Chevy and Ford half ton vehicles and up, for the larger scale, the choice is up to you given your need.

With adorable little four banger engines for the lightweight affordable angler with little need for towing anything other than their backpacking equipment or belly boat to the power stroking diesel driven angler hauling their power boat to the dock for a jaunt offshore chasing yellowfin tuna.

Photo: Toby Nolan

The pickup truck in its basic form is here to stay. Looking to be that way for a while down the road.

2. Reliability: SUV

Though they aren’t trucks, they can come with all the power mentioned in the pickup truck department with a more van like appeal. No need to worry about buying a camper shell or regular truck camper, as you can fold the seats down and have ample room for yourself to sleep and stow all necessary gear for a weekend on the water. With the Chevrolet and GMC Suburban’s and Tahoe’s hitting the sizeable range for all the towing needs of the offshore angler to the smaller Subaru Outback’s and Forester’s for the economical angler that values gas mileage more than power train.

The author Sean Jansen’s Subaru Forester

Take it from our author, while living in his for the last two years, the SUV has all the necessary space for the angler while getting to the fishing spot spending more at the local fly shop then at the pump. Regardless of your choice, most come with All wheel drive or 4×4, making them a reliable choice. With prices ranging from near gangster at the brand-new models to a steal of affordability for a ten year or older model, the versatility of SUVs are a normal sight in the fishing community.

3. Versatility: The Pickup Camper

Photo: Dan Zaz Mainline Overland @mainlineoverland

We mentioned just the basic form of the pickup above, but this section is meant for those that are willing to flip a few more bucks for extracurricular activities that the truck can be known for. Arguably as the most versatile option on this list for the angler, a truck bed can hold a basic storage shell where you can build your own platform in the back for the weekend or more.

Tow a boat and have camp at the ready. Photo: Pat Perry.

Or one could simply buy the latest slide in cab over camper rig and hit the campsites near the casting spot. Campers and shells range and what you choose is dependent on your needs, but largely the reason anglers buy trucks are for the camper setups available.

4. The All-Rounder: The Van

Not just for the climbing bum or wannabe Youtube star, the van can and has proven to hold its own for the traveling and die-hard angler. With ample space to build your sleeping platform, all other necessary needs can fall into place easily with some simple planning. Jump online and all the inspiration needed can be found for your build of choice. Mikey Wier, of Trout Unlimited is on his third Dodge Sprinter and for good reason.

 

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A post shared by @tightloopsfly

 With models ranging from the turbo diesel to a now turbo V6 gas engine and AWD that Ford just came out with, the new normal of the van in the fishing community will be here to stay. Just wish the price tags for these things would become more reasonable.

5. The Complete Package: Bus/Alternative Vehicle

Photo: Wild Fly Productions

Jump on the internet and arguably the most popular video series as of late are our friends over at Wild Fly Productions. Last year they bought a 1993 diesel short bus school bus for under two grand and built it out for the ultimate dirtbag angler vehicle. And so far, it has faired well. With what they quote as a, “0-60mph in infinity because it doesn’t exist,” what they lack in speed they offer in space. With a number of them for sale all over the U.S. and certainly globally, their price makes them an irresistible appeal to even those that will never buy one.

The same could be said for ambulances or even old mail delivery vehicles. With all kinds of space to make even the most expensive vans on the market jealous, the only thing you won’t have with these vehicles are stealth, and for some that may be a deal breaker. But for those that don’t care, this is a great way to get to the spot with almost the change found in your sofa or the end of the year bonus from work.

6. Traveling Light: The Motorcycle

Photo by: Mark Quigley

For you crazy anglers that prefer to travel light with the ability to trail ride along rivers, a motorcycle is your way of transportation. It allows you to reach narrow-untamed roads and trails that no other vehicle can handle. With the large saddle bag attachments and other compartments, you can pack all the fishing gear plus overnight necessities. Talk about getting to water that other vehicles can’t get to.

7. The Old Classic

Photo: Jesse Packwood.

This last section we left wild, and for good reason. There are numerous vehicles we could have fit into this list, and this last section is for you to decide. For what angler doesn’t dream of having an older model classic or a beat-up old truck or camper setup that brings back nostalgic memories of days past? Whether that be a newer truck that’s seen better days or a classic 60’s Land Rover fully restored glowing on the shores of your favorite river, the old trusty had to make it onto this list.

Riding with Clyde. Photo: Larry L. Littrell 

And it doesn’t even need to be a classic, could be a crummy old sedan, or grandma’s old Cadillac. Copi Vojta, editor of The Fly Fishing Journal mentioned how he loves rocking up to his classic PNW river in his Toyota Prius. The Drake Magazine’s “Ride with Clyde,” follows the fly fishing adventures of a 1974 Mercury Marquis. Perhaps in summation, it really doesn’t matter how you get to the spot, as long as you get there and pursue the one goal that started the whole process of wanting a car, to begin with, to go fishing.

What is your favorite fly fishing vehicle? Drop it in the comments below.

Article from Sean Jansen, an avid angler and writer based in Bozeman, Montana. Follow along with his adventures at @jansen_journals.

Header photo by Gabe Boline.

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Video of the Week: A Summer Carp Mission

Image Courtesy: Joseph Evans ans Bradley Funkhouser

In this Video of the Week, we catch up with Joseph Evans and Bradley Funkhouser on a guide’s day off expedition to chase after some rocky mountain bonefish, or as they call them. Marp. Joe states that “this last summer in 2021 has hands down been one of the roughest seasons for guides and wildlife in the pacific northwest. From droughts to fires, the struggles have been endless. However, there is one species that has been thriving through it all and an absolute blast targeting on the fly when trout are no longer on the mind.”  Once the boys dropped the boat in they were immediately surrounded by carp “marping” their way around the shallows. So sit down and enjoy as the boys target these marp with everything from leeches to chubbies. 

Joseph Evans and Bradley Funkhouser guide out of Picabo Angler in the greater Ketchum, Idaho area. Make sure to follow these guys for more killer content and some awesome fishing adventures.

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Urgent Skeena Message from British Columbia Federation of Fly Fishers

'Ksan at Skeena/Bulkley confluence
'Ksan at Skeena/Bulkley confluence by Sam Beebe (Flickr Creative Commons)

British Columbia’s steelhead population is facing an unprecedented crisis. As of Aug. 31st, the official count of adult steelhead in the Skeena River watershed reached the point of “Extreme low abundance”. Please read the press release below regarding the crisis, and join those working to conserve these iconic anadromous fish!

From the BC Federation of Fly Fishers

“Dear member clubs, individual members, friends of the BC Federation of Fly Fishers, members of the media, and the public-at-large:

It is with deep regret that we are sending this URGENT MESSAGE, due to the current extreme conservation crisis facing the Skeena River steelhead.

According to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development, on August 31st, 2021:

“An estimated 5,280 adults have entered the Skeena watershed, 23% of the historical average to date. This is estimated at the Tyee Test Fishery and is below the extreme conservation concern threshold for this species (~8000 spawners). Extreme low abundance is corroborated by in-season observations at the upper Sustut River fish counting fence and captures at the Bulkley River canyon at Witset.”

We, therefore, request that you:

  • refrain from targeting steelhead within the Skeena River watershed
  • please share this message widely;
  • as a recreational angler, strive to do everything in your power to save the last runs of steelhead in British Columbia, including not fishing these majestic fish when other sectors are persisting in targeting them, against the scientific evidence for putting conservation first.

In short, we must each do our part to ensure that every steelhead in this crisis makes it to its spawning ground and that we cause 0% mortality.

Please contact the President of the BC Federation of Fly Fishers, Myles Armstead, with any comments or concerns at MylesArmstead007@GMail.com.


Patagonia Releases Updated Stealth Pack Collection

2021 Patagonia Stealth Fly Fishing Packs
Blane Chocklett rigging up with the new Patagonia Stealth Sling Pack

From Patagonia:

Patagonia Fly Fishing has reimagined its line of iconic Stealth fly fishing packs. Now featuring 100% recycled nylon ripstop outer fabric and a 100% recycled polyester lining, the Stealth packs are remarkably light. Even better, the recycled materials are quiet, conform to your body shape, and won’t hinder your casting stroke. Built to swallow gear and keep it organized, the packs come loaded with easy-to-use features and fully customizable storage options designed to keep you focused on the fishing.

“Stealth packs have evolved to a point where they are essential pieces of on-the-water equipment,” said Matt Millette, Patagonia Fly Fishing’s head of marketing. “It’s a challenge to reimagine the performance of an iconic product, but the team nailed it—all while minimizing our footprint. We could not be happier how they perform on the water. The Stealth Work Station has quickly become a team favorite. The simplicity and utility of this small but mighty pack make great days better.”

The New Stealth Pack Collection

Stealth Sling 10L

Patagonia Stealth Sling 10L

You shouldn’t have to compromise between carrying the gear you need and carrying it comfortably during a long day on the water. The Stealth Sling combines the gear-hauling possibilities of a pack with the tactical advantages of a light, on-the-go minimalist approach.

The padded, water-resistant shoulder strap can be easily customized to adjust to left- or right-handed carry, all body shapes, and all layering conditions. Both the strap and pack front offer integrated magnets, a fly patch, docking stations, and gear-attachment points to keep essentials close. A large, dual-entry pocket is perfect for a water bottle or jacket, while the large front zippered pocket features two stretch sleeves. An integrated net holster allows for right- or left-handed carry.

The large front pocket features two stretch sleeves big enough to hold fly boxes, multiple tippet spools, and leaders. The main compartment is divided into two sections with additional stretch sleeves and a removable waterproof pocket.

Stealth Hip Pack

Patagonia Stealth Hip Pack 11L

Meticulously engineered and ruthlessly field-tested, the 11-liter Stealth Hip Pack is designed to allow anglers to move fast and cover water. And while it’s tough as nails, it’s also light and comfortable, meaning it won’t slow you down during an all-day expedition.

Integrated magnets are ergonomically positioned on the belt straps to hold flies, nippers, or hemos for quick, efficient fly changes. Each strap also houses a generous, zippered pocket. On the pack bottom, a large, dual-entry slide-in sleeve is perfect for a water bottle or jacket. The front of the pack offers multiple latching points and dual tool docks. On the reverse, an integrated sleeve allows you to securely stash a net for either left- or right-handed carry. A removable shoulder sling adds an extra layer of security.

Inside, the pack features two fly-box-swallowing compartments separated by a divider with two stretch sleeves perfect for leaders, tippet, and other small essentials. A removable waterproof pocket keeps phones and fobs dry.

Stealth Backpack 30L

Patagonia Stealth Pack 30L

Packing a lot of gear shouldn’t turn a bug-slinging trip into a bug-slinging slog. The customizable, 30-liter Stealth Pack is built for confronting the unexpected and being prepared for everything—temperamental weather, multiple hatches, or the knowledge that there’s a prime chanterelle patch at the end of the hike in.

Externally, the Stealth Pack features a large, side-entry front pocket, dual side pockets for water bottles or rod tubes, and multiple lashing points and tool docks to keep essentials close. A zippered top pocket allows for quick access to often-used gear. The padded shoulder straps are fully adjustable and resist water intake, while an integrated magnet, fly patches, docking stations, D-rings, and gear-attachment points are intuitively placed. The padded back features an integrated net holster.

Inside the enormous main compartment, a removable waterproof pocket keeps your phone dry. A padded sleeve accommodates a hydration system or protects a laptop up to 13 inches when you find yourself off the water.

Stealth Work Station

Patagonia Stealth Work Station

Sometimes, all you need is a single fly box, a tippet spool, and a good pair of boots. The minimalist Stealth Work Station was made for those times—a low-bulk, lightweight, and versatile pack that keeps your essentials front and center.

Engineered for the on-the-go angler, this water-resistant pack is designed to be used with wader suspenders but can also be attached to wader belts, other packs, or even raft straps. Externally, the pack features a stretchy front pocket big enough for a fly box. The pocket is flanked by two fly patches, two gear docks, and gear-attachment loops. An ingeniously integrated magnet holds flies or tools for quick and efficient rig changes.

Inside the large zippered main pocket, the Work Station features two fly-box-swallowing compartments, separated by a divider with two stretchy sleeves perfect for leaders, tippet, and other small essentials.


Angler Lands Potential Redfish X Black Drum Hybrid

Hybrid Redfish/Black Drum
Hybrid Redfish/Black Drum

Hybrid – (n) – (reproductive biology) The offspring resulting from the cross between parents of different species or sub-species.

Hybridization is not a completely uncommon occurrence in the wild. In fact, wild Tiger Trout and Tiger Muskie do happen on occasion when the right conditions line up in the sweetwater. However, a hybrid Redfish and Black Drum has only ever been spoken of in hushed tones…until now.

“I caught what will most likely be the craziest fish of my entire life recently. While out fishing with my friend Billy we came across a small school of black drums. He pulled one out of the school and when it was my turn I hooked something that was a little different. Once the fish broke the surface and turn sideways we both knew what we had in our hands. We had a true Black Drum/Redfish hybrid. These have been bred in captivity but have never been documented in the wild before. We were beyond ecstatic to say the least. We released the fish and let FWC know about the capture. The photos are currently under review by the FWC.” – Kieran Hoffman (@KieranHoff)