Stocked Brook Trout – Strip it, Skate it, Swing it

1 comment / Posted on / by

Give those stockers something they can’t resist.

I’m very fortunate to have a great trout stream near by that operates a delayed harvest program (catch and release fishing by artificial flies only) that starts in the fall every year, and runs into the early summer. I love visiting this trout stream because the DNR stocks big male and female brook trout, some of which, can push well over twenty inches. To consistently catch these beautiful brookies, I usually have to experiment with different types of flies and presentation methods to find out what’s the best option for the day’s fishing. Sometimes all I need is a simple drag free drift with a dry fly or nymph to catch them. Other times, the brook trout will completely ignore my dead drifted flies and I’m forced to impart extra action and movement on my flies to trigger bites. When I can’t get stocked brook trout to rise to my dry fly or take my nymphs dead drifted, I’ll then try fishing tactics like stripping a streamer, skating a dry fly or swinging a tandem nymph rig. For some reason, the added action and movement, often will trigger reaction strikes from stocked brook trout that have lock jaw. Moving your fly upstream, and causing it to make a wake, be it a dry fly or wet fly is another technique that can work wonders. Everyday can be different, so it’s important that you figure out what kind of presentation and type of fly the brook trout want to help you find success. Now that I’ve gone over how movement can trigger bites with the stocked brook trout, let’s talk about each in a little more detail.


I’ll never forget a day on the water with my good friend Joel Dickey several years ago, where he landed two brook trout well over 22 inches with a streamer. They were the biggest stocked brook trout I had ever laid my eyes on in the Southeast, and the only thing that proved effective for catching them that day, was retrieving a streamer across their noses erratically. Try fishing brightly colored streamers that incorporate

Read More »

Umpqua Pro Guide Fly Boxes

1 comment / Posted on / by

By Bob Reece

Between my guiding and personal days I spend an extensive amount of time each year on the water. Throughout these adventures there is nothing that disheartens me more than losing flies or a fly box. Whether tied or purchased my flies are an essential part of my on-the-water success.

During my years on the water I’ve dropped, broken and drowned several boxes. As a result of these experiences I’ve become a little OCD when selecting my portable fly containers. If I turn lose a box to the force of gravity; it needs to remain intact, hold my flies and prevent water from entering. After spending considerable time on the water with them, I’ve found that the new Umpqua Pro Guide fly boxes meet these criteria.

I was happy to have them but reinserting flies dislodged by a drop always irritated me. In a positive move forward, Umpqua has left the foam inserts behind and moved on to a rubberized interior that locks down flies of all sizes and weights. In addition to this, these firmly constructed boxes handled my unintended collisions with ice, pavement and boulders. This left a smile on my face in comparison to the formers sounds of shattering plastic and images of disappearing flies.

While not all of the new UPG boxes are waterproof, the HD portion of the series provide a serious hydrological barrier. When I first went to open one of these, I was

Read More »

Sunday Classic / Fly Fishing Provides Great Health Benefits

5 comments / Posted on / by

I tell my clients, all the time, that I’m grateful for all the benefits fly fishing provides anglers. It provides us with one of the funnest ways to exercise, and it has the ability to completely wash away the stress of everyday life, from its therapeutic entertainment. We really should be thankful that this passion of ours provides us with so much more than just the reward of catching fish. Each and everyday we fly fish, we should take a minute to sit back and reflect on this fact. What other exercise activity can you think of that allows you to burn tons of calories during the day, and not have the faintest clue your even working out? Most of us aren’t extreme athletes, and even if we were back in the day, many of us have gotten older and are no longer. The great thing about fly fishing is you can tailor it to your own abilities and needs. It’s a great activity for maintaining your long term balance, dexterity and muscle strength, and it does a very good job of keeping your brain sharp.
I really think we could boost the growth of the fly fishing industry if more people were writing about all the great health benefits it provides, both mentally and physically? I’d love to see Yahoo, or one of those other giant headline news websites (that most of us visit daily) post on its home page, a fly fishing picture with the headline, “Lose 15 pounds and have a blast doing it.” We need to start thinking outside the box to promote and attract newcomers to fly fishing, and I think this could be one area most of us have been overlooking.

Read More »

Saturday Shoutout / Aimless Issue

No comments yet / Posted on / by

Ready, aim, SCOF.

Southern Culture on the Fly is back with their 27th issue. I always knew those boys had issues, but 27? This issue is packed with carp, dirt bags and Low Country boil. There’s tarpon, trout, backyard bass, lots of goon insight and tons of wit and wisdom, SCOF style.

Still awesome! Still free!


Read More »

G&G #keepemwet Photo Contest Winners

No comments yet / Posted on / by

By Justin Pickett

The results from the G&G #keepemwet Photo Contest are in!

Thanks to all of you that entered your photos for this year’s Keep ‘Em Wet photo contest! We are always excited to see the photos that our readers submit and, once again, you guys and gals did not disappoint! We received a ton of submissions, and what made it even better is that every single photo that was submitted epitomized what #keepemwet is all about! A huge THANK YOU goes out to all of you for making this contest a huge success!

Selecting a winner wasn’t easy, but after some careful review, and a glass (or two) of bourbon, we have our winners!

Read More »

Know Your Backing

1 comment / Posted on / by

By Jesse Lowry

Seeing your backing on your first bonefish trip is a pretty awesome feeling.

You’ve hooked into a fish that can swim nearly 40 mph and your reel is singing a song I would gladly listen to all day. After your reel has been singing for a bit, that awesome feeling can turn into a bit of a panic as the possibility of getting spooled crosses your mind. While getting spooled can happen when you hook into a double-digit bone, getting a little too excited and making some poor decisions can cause you to lose some good fish long before getting spooled is a real issue. Generally, your first instinct is to reach for the drag, or palm the reel to try and put the brakes on the fish. These can both be good ways to break off a fish or straighten your hook, which is heart breaking especially when it’s a double-digit fish. I know this as I’ve been guilty of both of these sins, but there are a few things you can do to keep your calm when you’re getting into your backing and prevent these situations from happening to you on your next trip.

Know your gear:

Have a good idea of how much backing you have on your reel, for bones and permits; 150-200 yards is plenty. I like to put markings on my backing with a sharpie so I know how deep into it I’m getting. A line every 50 yards and then a dotted warning at the 20-yard line. If you don’t want to go through the process of doing this, the clever folks at SA have come up with a solution with their Tri-Colored backing, which alternates color every 50 yards. I switched to this on my new rod this year and found

Read More »

8 Common Mistakes Anglers Make Fighting Trout

8 comments / Posted on / by


I lost way more fish than I actually landed during those first few years after picking up a fly rod. I’ll never forget how tense and anxious I was every time I’d find myself hooked up with a nice trout. It seemed like every second of the battle I was terrified that I was going to lose my trophy. In turn, I constantly second guessed my fighting instincts, I wouldn’t follow after my fish if it swam upstream or downstream of me, and I knew very little about the correlation between rod position and applying fighting pressure. Furthermore, I was really clumsy when it came to clearing my excess fly line and reeling in the fish. I always had a hard time figuring out when it was a good time to do that. When all said and done, I bet I only landed one or two fish out of every five fish I hooked during my rookie days. That’s not so hot, probably a D average if I was grading myself extremely leniently. We’ve all been there at some point during our fly fishing career, some of us may even find ourselves with that D average right now. Here’s the positive outlook though, most trout that are hooked and lost during the fight can be linked back to a handful of common mistakes. Yet, most of the time, they all can be easily avoided if you pay close attention to what you’re doing when you’re fighting a trout.

Mistake #1 – Not being in the hook set ready position
I know it sounds elementary, but during my early days, I would often find myself fumbling around with my fly line during my drifts. I didn’t always have my fly line secure in my rod hand, and that usually put me with too much slack in my fly line to pull off a solid hook set. I see anglers all the time during their drifts holding their fly line in their stripping hand only. Bites often come when we least expect them. To increase your chances of getting a good hook set and landing the trout, always make sure you’re in the hook set ready position. Get in the habit of

Read More »

Dead or Alive

No comments yet / Posted on / by

by: Landon Mayer

On many Colorado tailwaters, such as the Fryingpan, Blue, or Taylor, a good Mysis pattern is money.

With so many Mysis shrimp patterns on the market, finding the best one can be problematic. Many lack the movement and color of the natural crustaceans. You need movement from the fly that imitates the natural movement of both live shrimp and dead shrimp. Similar to scuds, shrimp especially those that are alive will extend and move horizontally in the water.

My Mysis is designed on a 200R hook to mimic the natural’s length in its profile, and the white ostrich herl on the thorax imitates the active legs of the real shrimp. I tie the antennae out of clear dady long legs that wiggle while the current moves the fly. These materials are extremely supple to maximize movement of the fly in water both fast and slow. In addition to matching movement, you want a fly that can match the translucent look of a Mysis that is alive and the opaque color of one that is dead. I prefer to match live shrimp, knowing this is the version most commonly seen by trout and it is a whole meal.

Mysis are commonly released below different tail water dams, or swept downstream from the vegetation on the river bottom. In high flow the live shrimp have a chance to drift downstream while remaining alive, possessing a translucent appearance. In low water many of the shrimp trout see are dead and torn apart from their previous high water journey. These shrimp are opaque with crippled bodies. An effective but ugly pattern in this situation is a Candy Cane shrimp size 14-18. Before each adventure to these high protein fisheries, check flow to match the food supply accordingly.

Mayer’s Mysis

Hook: TMC 200R or 2302 #14-20

Thread: 8/0 White UNI

Abdomen: Pearlescent Hairline flat tinsel (Large)

Thorax: White Ostrich Herl (Large)

Antennae: Hareline Clear Dady Long Legs

Eyes: Permanent Marker black/red


Read More »

Matching the Hatch With Streamers

1 comment / Posted on / by

By Louis Cahill

Imitation and presentation, even with streamers.

It was a bluebird day and we were launching the boat about 9 AM. No need to get moving any earlier with the chilly morning and the generation schedule. We’d run shuttle and be on the water at quarter to ten and ride the falling water for most of the day. The high pressure was certainly less than ideal but flows were on our side and everyone was just happy to get on the water for a day we might actually end up in shirt sleeves.

I took the first shift on the oars, while Jason Tucker went to work figuring out what would get eaten. We were not getting a lot of encouragement from the fish. Jason tried dries, nymphs and streamers, picking up a couple of fish but not finding anything working consistently. When it was my turn to fish I went to work with a gray and white Double Cougar. I got a few chases right away but no takers.

“What color do you like?” Jason asked, digging through his box.

“I always fish white here on high water,” I replied

I an, of course, aware that my whole approach to the day runs contrary to conventional wisdom. Throwing a big white streamer in bright sun on the front end of a high pressure system is not usually a recipe for success, but

Read More »

Sunday Classic / The Borg Don’t Fish

4 comments / Posted on / by


But my childhood in a small Virginia town in the 1960s was not the long haired, free love, groovey sixties that phrase brings to mind. Mine was the nerdy, plastic rim glasses, popular science sixties. In 1966 when Star Trek warped onto national TV I knew my people had arrived. I spent hours forcing my young hand into a Vulcan salute and cemented my outsider status by showing up at school wearing pointy ears cut from flesh colored peel-and-stick Dr Shoals felt shoe inserts. Yep, that was me.

When Captain Kirk and Mr Spock hung up their phasers I grudgingly followed along with Picard and Richer but it was never the same. Data never went into a homicidal mating rage and Worf was a sad excuse for a Klingon but it was the Star Trek of the day. My grousing stopped however, the day I encountered the Borg. Star Trek T.N.G. Reached into the bag of old school Star Trek tricks and came out with the greatest outer space boogie man of all time.

If you recently escaped from North Korea and the iron hand of communism I’ll excuse you for not knowing about the Borg. You can read about them (HERE).

This terrifying new enemy wipes out entire species, not by destroying them but by assimilating them. Making them into Borg. The Borg exist as cybernetic organisms. Half alive, half machine. Their neural implants connect them all in a hive like consciousness. This makes them a handful in a fight.

The creepy gray skin and tubes are very Gigeresk and the loosing ones individuality is a classic Star Trek threat, but none of that is what makes The Borg frightening. What’s scary is Star Treks amazingly consistent record of predicting the actual future. They’ve gotten enough right (talking computers, smart phones and 3D printers for a few) that I’m afraid they might be right again. We may be the Borg.

Read More »