A Little Chrome Tail

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There’s nothing like a little chrome tail to start this day! What a beautiful bright steelhead courtesy of my buddy Jeff Hickman. The bright chrome strips in the tail tell the story. This is a fresh fish, straight from the salt.

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Wood is Good

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Target Woody structure and catch more fish.

“Wood is good”, shouted Sam Cornelius manning the oars, as I concentrated on drifting my flesh pattern against the never ending medley of wood snags along the Togiak River banks in Alaska, back in 2006. “When ever you see wood, drift your flies as close to it as you can, because fish are usually close by.

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What The Hell Is That?

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Every once in a while you see something you just can’t explain. I was shooting in the Florida Keys the other day with with my friend Capt. Joel Dickey. It was late in the day. The sun was hanging right on the horizon and I was making the best of the evening light. I was out of the boat, standing in wast deep water shooting Sandy Horn casting from the bow and Joel on the platform when Joel called out “we got a school of perms coming, big school”. I stayed still and quiet, excited about the chance to shoot a hookup from out of the boat. I could see the push about a hundred and fifty yards out. Joel wasn’t kidding about it being a big school. The push looked like the wake of a flats boat.

Our setup couldn’t have been better. The push was headed straight for us and fast. I could see Joel squinting into the glare. At a hundred yards he said, “no, it’s not permit”. A minute later, in a very different tone of voice he said,”oh my God that’s a f¥€king huge shark”. Now, I have heard these words before and I have seen sharks in the Keys bigger than a flats boat. You don’t have to say f¥€king huge shark to me twice. I made a little wake of my own getting back to the boat.

By this time the push was fifty yards away and closing fast. You could see the water parting off the dorsal fin. I thought about saying, “we’re gonna need a bigger boat”. Before I could it dawned on all of us that we should be able to see a fish that big by now, but we couldn’t. We could just see the push.

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“I’m Down To Seven Patterns Fuckit”

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By John Byron

MY FISHING FRIEND RON WINN SAYS THIS: “I LOVE TO TIE FLIES. I LOVE TO FLY FISH. IF I HAD TO PICK ONE… I’D PROBABLY TIE FLIES.” 

I’m kinda there too.

So when I started chasing bonefish a few years ago, I sopped up patterns like a sponge and tied a gazillion flies. Lots from Lefty’s book on saltwater flies. Many/most of Dick Brown’s bonefish patterns. ‘Five essential flies for the Bahamas.’ Drew Chicone. Aaron Adams. Tied them all. Took them on trips. 

And came home each time realizing that about 98-percent of what I’d tied stayed in the fly box. So, as a matter of self-discipline (weak) and determination (getting stronger), I’ve started to cut back on what I tie and what I carry. 

I’M DOWN TO SEVEN PATTERNS: 

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Sitting On Top Of The World

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DAN FLYNN STALKS BROOK TROUT IN AN UNDISCLOSED LOCATION.

Summer is here and for those of us in the southeast it’s time to beat it to the headwaters for a little Brookie fishing. If that’s your game, water falls like this one over a hundreds feet high are part of the program. No one is going to tell you where to find wild native brook trout. You’ll need a good topo map and some thick boot soles.

Just watch that last step. It’s a doozie.

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New Dry Creek Z Packs from Simms: Video

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The new Dry Creek Z Packs from Simms have the coolest zipper ever!

These cool new packs are loaded with features but the toothless, self healing zipper is what really makes them stand out. No teeth means no leaks and dry gear under the most challenging conditions.

Watch the video to see the new Dry Creek Z Packs from Simms.

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The Roll Cast Mend

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Do you ever find yourself on the water when a regular mend won’t provide you with a long enough drag free drift to catch trout? This usually occurs when you’re trying to get a drift across multiple currents on the far bank or when you’re trying to fish a soft seam, adjacent to faster water, that’s too far away from you to high-stick. In these two situations, a standard mend will usually not provide you with enough slack to keep your dry fly drifting naturally to the position of the rising trout or give your nymphs enough time to sink down into the strike zone.

When I find myself fly fishing in this situation,

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Western Fly Guide for Eastern Anglers

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I get asked all the time by eastern fly anglers heading out west for the first time, what fly patterns they should stock up on before they leave.

What percentage of dry flies to wet flies they should pack, what sizes, and should they pack streamers? The questions go on and on. I get most of the email inquiries from eastern anglers that are fixing to make their summer trip out west during the peak of the terrestrial season. For those that know me, you know that I’m the type of fly fisherman that carries gear for every situation on the water at all times, for the simply fact that I can’t stand being under prepared on the water. Here’s the truth though, if I’m making a trip out west during the terrestrial season, I usually lighten my load significantly and I only carrying the fly patterns that I think I’ll be fishing the most. If I’m going to be making a trip WY, MT, ID or CO I’m going to pack less nymphs, more dry flies and streamers. Colorado is a little more tricky, in which nymphs can play a larger roll than the other western states I mentioned, but if you travel their during the peak terrestrial season, my packing suggestions should work just fine.

Why do I lighten my load this time of year,  you ask? Because the trout generally are easy to convince to rise to the surface and take a dry fly this time of year, and when they don’t want to rise to the surface, they almost always will devour a streamer. It’s not rocket science, the fish are optimistically looking up since a large portion of their food is found floating on or close to the surface during the summer months.

Let’s say I’m traveling to Jackson, WY in August, which is probably the most popular requested area out west that I receive questions about. Below are the fly patterns I will stock up on.

Dry Fly Box (Go Big, Many of these patterns suck up real estate)
Comments: I always pack a extra plano tackle box to hold all my extra flies. Each evening I will replenish the flies out of this box so I’m stocked up for the next day’s fishing. If I’m not witnessing a hatch or fish taking smaller insects on the water, I generally start

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The Deschutes River Steelhead Camp, Sept 14-16 & 16-18 2020

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If you are like me you’re ready to stop thinking about catching Covid 19 and start catching steelhead.

If you are concerned about the current situation spilling over to Sept, skip to the end of this article and read the cancelations section.

Sept 14-16 & 16-18 2020

The Deschutes Steelhead Camp, operated by Jeff Hickman’s Deschutes Steelhead Adventures, is one of our most popular trips. The cost for this 3 day session is $2200 / $3850 for 6 nights, and includes guided fishing, instruction, lodging and chef-prepared meals.

The Deschutes steelhead camp is a blast. Jeff’s operations, both here in the states and at his lodge in BC, have a fun mellow vibe. Just good times and good fishing, no attitude or pressure. The Deschutes is a beautiful river and has a fantastic steelhead run. We fish the lower river. The Deschutes is a major cold water tributary of the mid-Columbia, so steelhead bound for all of the rivers of the upper system stray into the lower Deschutes to take advantage of the cool oxygen rich water. You have a chance to catch steelhead that are headed for Idaho there.

The Deschutes is one of the best rivers anywhere to catch a steelhead on a floating line. Casting a dry line is a real pleasure, but when a big steelhead rockets up through eight feet of fast water to eat a small traditional fly, it’s anything but relaxing. The steep canyon walls offer us plenty of shaded water through the day to take advantage of the dry line bite, and even wake dry flies. It’s super fun fishing!

We run up river in jet boats to the campsite and use that as our base. There are only a few outfitters licensed to run jet boats on the river. The jets give us the ability to access fresh water any time we like, which is huge. After we get settled in at camp and have a bite to eat, we hit the river and fish until dark. The next two days we start fishing before first light and fish until lunch. We return to camp for a hot lunch and a big nap, then head back out in the afternoon as the shadows fall on the river and fish until dark. Then we have a big dinner (the food is awesome) maybe a drink or two, and hit the sack. The last day we fish until lunch and head back to the boat ramp.

Jeff and his crew set the camp in advance. You arrive to a big stand-up tent with cots and sleeping pads. All you need to bring is a sleeping bag and pillow. There is a screened dining tent, a tent with a camp toilet and a shower tent. There is electricity from a bank of solar cells and batteries. It’s ridiculously nice. There are also ample public composting toilets along the river if you prefer those. 

The river is beautiful and the stars at night are amazing. You can see the milky way clear as a bell. The water is beautiful. There are great steelhead runs everywhere you look and dramatic rapids. It’s fishing of

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Friends Don’t Let Friends Fish Muds

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“THIS IS THE KIND OF BONEFISHING THAT RUINS YOU. THE KIND OF FISHING THAT IMPAIRS YOUR ABILITY TO MAKE GOOD DECISIONS.”

The sky is a perfect robin’s egg blue. Reflections of the morning sun dance on the underside on the mangroves giving the bright green leaves an unnatural glow. A breath of breeze cools my face in contrast to the warm sun on my back. Sixty or seventy yards in front of the boat there is a small school of nice size bonefish moving our way along the edge of the mangroves. It is a perfect morning on South Andros.

This flat is called Dodum. Dodum flat is a large white sand flat adjacent to the ocean at the mouth of Dodum Creek. The sand of the flat is as perfect as fresh snow and the water is a uniform depth of one to four feet depending on the tide. With the tide out, it’s a great wade and with it in, you can spend a whole day poling a boat around it. Dodum is big. Picture a Wal-Mart. Now picture the piece of land a Wal-Mart sits on, parking lot and loading docks included. Dodum is five times that size.

The tide is just beginning to fall and Captain Freddy is poling Kent and me along the mangroves at the edge of the flat. We are picking up fish as they come out of the mangroves with the tide. They are nice fish, averaging five or six pounds and there are plenty of them. We’re putting good numbers on the board early.

This is Kent’s first trip to South Andros. It’s my favorite place in the world to fish and he’s listened to me go on about it for countless hours. It’s our third day of fishing and, though the fishing has been good, Kent has yet to have one of those South Andros ‘magic days’. Almost anyone who has fished this place knows what I’m talking about. When the stars line up, things happen on South Andros that make your friends call you a liar.

Though Kent and I fish together all the time and have made some truly epic trips together, it just hasn’t worked out for us to make this trip. I’ve lost count of the days I’ve spent on Andros, but for me this trip is special. This time I get to show my best fishing buddy my favorite water in the world. Any fish I catch is a surplus to my excitement. Watching Kent, a look of child-like wonder on his face, soak in the beauty of this place and feel the power of these fish, that’s what I’m here for.

“You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille,” Freddy bursts into song as

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