Fly tying: The Shakey Bealy

Fall weather is on us here in the West—snowfall is slated to put an end to a brutal fire season, and the aspen leaves are turning in earnest. It’s one of the best times of the year to be a fly fisherman, and it’s when I start to think about visiting my favorite Western river: … Read more

Trout Tips: Small water, long casts

Small-stream angling is generally considered the “short game” of fly fishing—it’s rare that an angler would need to throw more than 20 feet or so. But that’s not always the case, and it pays to “bring a driver” on small water, too—come equipped with your double-haul. Chances are, you won’t need it, but when fish … Read more

Fly tying: Ian’s Brass Ass

Small nymphs in the size 18-22 range are my least-favorite flies to tie—I’ve got fat fingers, and my vision isn’t what it once was, either. But these little flies can be absolutely deadly on spring creeks and tailwaters, and hitting these rivers and streams without small, unassuming midge nymphs and attractors is a mistake. Video … Read more

Trout Tips: Small stream stealth

Trout in small, backcountry streams are opportunists, but that doesn’t mean theyr’e stupid. The old rule still applies: If you can see the fish, chances are, they can see you, too. When I fish small water, I like to put structure between me and the fish whenever possible, and I like to make my profile … Read more

Fly tying: The Peacock Caddis

Some flies just work, and there’s no real explanation as to why that is. The Peacock Caddis is one of those flies, as Tim Flagler perfectly describes in the video below. Video of Peacock Caddis I like this fly for two reasons. First, I think any fly with that “insect green” color put forth by … Read more

Trout Tips: Dapping

When I was a kid, the first fly-fishing technique my grandfather ever shared with me was “dapping.” Rather than burden a 10-year-old with all the details of a complex fly cast, he would simply pull about three feet of fly line through the tip-top and put a hopper or some high-floating dry fly on my … Read more

Fly tying: Perdigon-style Zebra Midge

The first time I ever used a Zebra Midge, I was bundled up in Neoprene waders and walking my float tube down the S-curves of Idaho’s Silver Creek. Full disclosure: I’m not an enthusiastic nympher, and floating a sunken midge nymph under an indicator is probably my least-favorite brand of fly angling. But when I … Read more

Trout Tips: Small stream structure, part II

Trout in austere, backcountry creeks are oppotunists. The very thing that makes these streams so appealing to anglers—cold, cystal clear waters, amazing viewscapes, a wild, largely untouched setting—is what makes life so tough on small-stream trout. Food is scarce, and just about anything that looks like food will get a look from backcountry trout. In … Read more

Fly tying: Down to the wire

I started using wire in my fly tying about a decade ago, and today, I’m not sure what I’d do without it. It’s a versatile tying material that do anything from add weight to simple sparkle, or to toughen up a fly to make it last longer. I’ve even started using really thin wire on … Read more