Garner’s White Trash Bass Fly

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Watch This Great Tying Video!


How about really big bass? Striper fishing rivers in the south during the summer can be off the hook but it can also be challenging. Those big bruisers can get pretty damned selective and you a pattern that will get them moving.

Nobody knows this game better than Garner Reed. Today Garner is going to share a pattern he developed for catching big striped bass and spotted bass on the Etowah River. He calls it Garners White Trash and it gets the job done.

Watch the video and learn to tie this great bass fly.

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Reece’s Surface Assassin

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Watch the Video!

By Bob Reece

For many fly fishers there is nothing more enchanting that watching trout sip emerging insects from the water’s surface.

This allure can often lead to frustration without the proper pattern and presentation. While the fly fisher is responsible for presentation, Reece’s Surface Assassin is the appropriate pattern.

Both emerging mayflies and caddis flies display some common characteristics when viewed from below. A smooth shelled abdomen along with the husky remains of gills, legs and antennae dangle below the surface film. Simultaneously the glistening exoskeleton and compressed wings of the “new” insect emerge on the water’s surface. Reece’s Surface Assassin, in its wide array of colors, effectively displays this combination of traits to feeding trout.

When fishing this pattern I typically use it as a solo dry. However, in heavy emergences I do rig two Assassins as double dries. I always connect them eye to eye using a non-slip mono loop knot to attach each fly. This allows

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Winter Fly Fishing – Midges 101

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Sometimes smaller flies mean bigger rewards.

There’s no doubt there are times when big flies are the ticket for catching big fish. However, when you find yourself fly fishing on technical trout water and the bite is extremely tough, in many cases, it can provide you with big rewards if you put up those big gaudy fly patterns and break out your midge box. This especially holds true during the cold months, when you’re fly fishing to educated trout on technical spring creeks or high-pressured tailwaters. As fall passes, and we find ourselves smack in the middle of winter, most of our larger bug hatches will have long faded. This time of year, most trout will transition into consistently feeding on the most abundant food source that requires the least amount of energy to consume. On many of our trout waters during the winter, the most predominant aquatic bugs available for trout to eat, day in and day out, are midges.

Now, it’s true that the colder the water, the lower a trout’s metabolism will be. It also is true, that the lower a trout’s metabolism is the less calories it is required to consume daily to survive. That’s because a lower metabolism burns off less calories. But what’s not true, and a very common misconception among trout anglers, is that all trout feed in less frequency when their metabolism is lower in the winter. What many anglers don’t realize is there’s a direct correlation between the feeding frequency of a trout and the food value of what it’s foraging on. For example, one could argue that big mature trout that primarily feed predatorily on large food sources (crayfish, sculpins, baitfish, mice, and juvinille trout), do feed in less frequency during the winter. However, that’s probably because the food sources they are targeting and foraging on have a much higher overall caloric value, which in turn, allows them to meet their food requirements faster. All it takes for the predatory feeding trout to meet their survival food requirements during the winter is to eat one or two big ticket prey items a day.

Small trout however, and even most mature rainbow trout for that matter, spend most of their lives as drift feeders (eating food that drifts downstream in the current–mostly aquatic bugs), not predatory feeders . The food sources of drift feeders are much smaller in size than the predatory trout food sources, and also worth far less in food value. This requires them to feed on a much high number of food items over longer periods, so they can meet the same caloric requirements of the foraging predator trout. Furthermore, during the winter, the most abundant drifting food sources, in most instances, are midges. The caloric value of a single midge is only worth a tiny fraction of an average sized aquatic bug, and those larger aquatic bugs are still only worth a small fraction of what a large predatory foot item is worth. This unfortunate fact, gives drift feeding trout no choice but to search out water that provides them shelter from the excessive current and look for

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Keep Your Flies Below Your Eyes

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Watch the video!

By Justin Pickett

The dense canopies of the southeastern streams that I grew up on have groomed my casting stroke over the years.

Favoring function over style, I adopted a low, sidearm casting stroke that has served me well over the years. For my clients that haven’t spent much, if any, time on these Rhodo-infested streams, I recommend they take a peek at their surroundings before casting. There are always vines, limbs, and leaves lurking over the water, waiting like Venus fly traps to snatch their fly from flight. The best piece of advice I give these anglers though, is that they will keep themselves out of the most trouble by simply keeping their flies below their eyes.

Whether that be with a water haul, a roll cast, or a sidearm presentation, this gives my client a reference point of where they need to keep their cast. It also

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The Incredible Ethical Egg

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By Herman DeGala

When I started fly fishing years ago, I was told that fishing egg patterns was indicative of questionable angling ethics.

What I discovered was that it was not so much the flies themselves, but how they were used. I don’t fish to spawning fish and won’t fish over redds. I do, however, fish behind redds, where fish are looking for an easy meal, or to fish in other parts of the river during spawning season. I don’t think it is a coincidence that this fly works particularly well during the spring and fall.


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Fly Fishing, Always Have a Plan B

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Just about every fisherman out there is familiar with the saying, “never leave fish to find fish.”

I live religiously by this common sense fishing advice. It’s saved my butt many days on the water guiding, and keeps me from straying away from productive water when I find myself being drawn away to fish other spots upstream that look great. Always remember that fly fishing is full of hot periods and cold periods of catching. So when fishing it’s hot, you want to capitalize on it as much as you can before it goes cold. Sometimes it can be hot fishing for several hours, while other times you may only have one hour of hot fishing, such as when a hatch is in progress. Quite often anglers can have more success sticking around fishing one area throughly, when it’s producing, than fishing a bunch of spots partially. Every stream is different of course, but it’s generally safe to say that some sections of water always will be fishing better than others througout the course of a day. A fly fishers job is to determine where those hot sections of the water are and fish them.

Here’s some more common sense fishing advice for you all. Don’t continue fishing water if all you’re doing is striking out. Learn to cut your losses and be quick to move on in search of more productive water. Let’s face it, time flys on the water, and if you’re not careful, you can blow threw an entire day before you know it. No place is this more true than

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G&G 2020 Photo Contest Winners

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The best fly fishing photographs of 2020 are on the board!

We had so many great submissions this year, it was pretty tough on our judge, Tim Johnson, but he’s a trooper and came through with some awesome selections. Three talented photographers will be fishing in style with some awesome new Orvis fly rods and reels.


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Leader Materials Revisited

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By Louis Cahill

So which is actually stiffer, monofilament or fluorocarbon?

A while back I wrote an article on understanding leaders. While talking about the different materials used in fly leaders I mentioned that mono is stiffer than fluorocarbon and I got called out in the comments by a couple of readers. Rightfully so. One of my pet peeves is when people talk about fly fishing from a narrow perspective, forgetting that there are many different kinds of fly fishing, and damned if I didn’t do it myself.

So what’s the answer? Which is stiffer, mono or fluorocarbon?

The answer is, it depends.

When I wrote that mono is stiffer, I was thinking about casting and I was thinking as a saltwater angler. I totally ignored how most anglers use the material. One of the fundamental differences between the two materials is that mono

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Shea Gunkel’s Shot Glass Baetis

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By Bob Reece

Baetis Mayflies are an integral piece of the food web in many trout inhabited watersheds around the world.

While their physical size is minimal, their population numbers can be immense. These significant numbers frequently draw the attention of feeding trout. These periods of responsiveness can take place during any month of the calendar year, depending on the characteristics and location of the body of water.

The wide spread nature of this insect should be a significant indicator to fly fishers as we make decisions regarding pattern selection for our fly boxes. I believe that it is essential to dedicate at least a portion of our available fly inventory to this small but significant bug. In our current world of fly fishing the market is filled with various Baetis imitations. Through my extensive time on the water, I have found one, year round producing pattern that I believe to be in a class of its own. Shea Gunkel’s Shot Glass Baetis.

When Baetis nymphs reach maturity, they buoy their way to the surface with the help of a small bubble of gas. Gunkel’s pattern takes this key element into account by applying a transparent glass bead in the thorax of the pattern. This transparent component placed in the anatomically correct location, perfectly matches the food profile seen by feeding trout. Additionally, the thin profile of the abdomen, downward tucked tail fibers and clear coat on the fly’s dorsal surface; round out a pristine pattern that satisfies the most selective trout.

Gunkel spent years tweaking and adjusting this pattern before it became available through Umpqua Feather Merchants. The only aspect of the pattern that

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Spring Fishing on Tributaries for Wild Trout

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Several of our blog followers on numerous occasions have asked Louis and I if we ever catch small trout? Jokingly, they mention, “All we see are trophy size fish in most of the pictures on the blog”. I assure you all, we catch plenty of small fish, and Louis and I both appreciate and photograph them on the water with the same gratitude and respect. It’s just fair to say, that a large portion of anglers out there are constantly striving to catch a trophy class fish. We tend to use our big fish photos as motivation and assurance that persistence pays off. However, it’s important to note, in most cases, there’s no distinction in our fishing technique. We pretty much fish the same way for all sizes of trout. We approach the fishing spots the same, we make the same casts and presentations, and we fish the same fly patterns. It really just boils down to whether or not it’s a numbers day or a big fish day, and we’re generally happy with either. Location does play a factor though for size of trout, but remember, a trophy fish should be defined by the water it inhabits. A 14-inch trout on a small creek has just as much right to hold the trophy status as a 20-inch fish on a big river.

Right now we’re well into the Spring fishing season. Water temperatures are

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