NRS Slipstream Series
Deluxe packages starting at $4,495.00 • nrs.com
With 50 years of innovation, NRS (Northwest River Supply), is highlighting their well-deserved reputation in whitewater and marrying it with the angling community. This year, NRS released an angler dedicated inflatable, the Slipstream series. A sure challenger to any drift boat, the Slipstream is worthy of your butt in the rower’s seat, or if you’re lucky, braced in the bow casting to dry-fly-slurping trout.
Gone are the casting platforms, replaced with a drop-stitch floor, coated with EVA foam for all day standing comfort and added protection. They have removed most, if not all, snag points inside the raft, with an internally routed anchor line, valves moved to the rower’s bay and d-rings and handles moved out of the way of that never ending pile of fly line.The series come in sizes to fill your every need: 9 foot 6 inch, 12 foot 9 inch and the multi-purpose built 13 foot 9 inch, scratching that itch as a day tripper while capable as a gear boat on multi-day trips.
With a price point worth of a second look and a line on the Christmas list, Deluxe packages start at just $4,495.00. The Slipstream is that one gift you can look forward to assembling. The entire family will be anxious to get on the water Christmas morning. Heck, make it a mulit-day trip and drag it out to New Year’s. — Eric Crawford
Decked out in Simms Gear
$649.95 • simmsfishing.com
As a woman angler, “perfect fit,” isn’t something I’ve often muttered, but with Simms G3 Guide Stockingfoot waders, I felt like Cinderella sliding on her glass slippers. The women’s-specific fit of its new, even more durable GORE-TEX®PRO fabric and new lamination technology combined with impressive features instantly won me over. The upper section has remarkable stretch and an air-mesh suspender system, while the legs have an articulated fit all for improved mobility. Combine that with enough pockets to carry all my gear AND keep my hands warm, and you had me at “new Simms women’s waders.”
Marry that with Freestone Jacket, and I feel impenetrable to the rain, hail, sleet, and snow I encounter during high country fall fishing trips. Articulated sleeves, high-mounted handwarmer pockets, specially molded cuffs to not catch my line, and complete waterproofness ensure I can cast freely all while staying warm and dry. Bring it on fall weather. MSRP: $299.95
Before I got the Women’s Flyweight Boots, I never realized how much extra weight I was carrying around on my feet throughout a long day on the water and hiking trails. They lace up in a hurry, are low-profile and lightweight, yet they keep me upright more times than not when stumbling over boulders. And even when soaked, they feel nearly the same weight as dry allowing me to put more miles on with less work. MSRP: $199.95
Kudos to Simms for taking serious women anglers seriously. I can’t thank you enough. After nearly 35 years of fishing in mainly as-small-as-I-can-find, ill-fitting men’s gear, I’m rejuvenated to know women’s gear is finally entering prime time, just as more and more women are hitting our beloved streams and rivers.
Scott “Wave” Fly Rods
$675 • scottflyrod.com
There’s plenty of DNA from Scott’s game-changing “Sector” and “Meridian” saltwater rod series in the new “Wave.” For a near 30 percent price break, you lose some cosmetic flourishes, but virtually nothing in terms of cast-ability. The plain truth is that Wave is all the saltwater (or steelhead/salmon, pike…) rod most of us will ever really develop into. — Kirk Deeter
Trxstle Big Water Case
$49.00 • trxstle.com
An absolutely genius idea for boaters. It’s a waterproof fly box, phone case, travel wallet, etc. It can be configured with unique inserts and attached to a raft frame, dry boxes, coolers, etc., with either a strap or the NRS ClampIT quick release attachment for easy on and off operation. The box is waterproof, buoyant and shockproof. —Tim Romano
Loon’s Trout Plier
$60 • loonoutdoors.com
Why carry three tools when you can carry one? Loon’s new Trout Plier combine the functionality of hemostats with a cutter jaw and a plier action all in one tool. Grab them from the handy holster attached to your wading belt to instantly pinch barbs, remove delicate flies, cut nearly any diameter of mono and don’t worry about dropping them thanks to the attached tether. — Kara Armano
Pescador on the Fly 1-weight El Jefe Wild Series Combo Package
$499.99 • pescadoronthefly.com
Pescador on the Fly’s El Jefe Wild Combo package in 0-,1- or 2-weights might just be the smallest, most fun and competitively priced small rod outfit you can stash in the boat box for those tiny rivulets and side camps that you might overlook on a big water float trip. — TR
Fishpond Nomad El Jefe Grande Net
$229.95 • fishpondusa.com
The ultimate boat net. Pricey for sure, but totally worth it. The nets are made of carbon fiber and fiberglass, are waterproof and float like a cork. The finish has a grippy matte-rubber-like feel that makes it easy to hold. — TR
Dometic GO Hydration Water Faucet
$99.95 • dometic.com
Running water in your camp kitchen? Yup. This self-powered, self-priming, touch operation pump uses an internal rechargeable battery that dispenses 150 liters per charge, dispenses 1 liter a minute and even has a built-in light for night use. Incredible for use with kids. One of our favorite camp items this past year! — TR
Patagonia Provisions Responsible Seafood Sampler
$120 • patagoniaprovisions.com
My last float of the year was a rush job. With no time to shop I grabbed a box of Patagonia Provisions smoked Wild Sockeye, a tin of Spanish white anchovies, and some lightly smoked mussels from their responsibly harvested sampler pack in my garage and was super impressed. Incredibly easy. incredibly delicious.
What’s in the box?
• 2 boxes Wild Sockeye Salmon (1 Original, 1 Lemon Pepper)
• 1 box (2 packs) Black Pepper Wild Pink Salmon
• 4 cans Mackerel (1 each Roasted Garlic, Spanish Paprika, Lemon Caper, Smoked)
• 3 cans Mussels (1 each Savory Sofrito, Smoked, Lemon Herb)
• 2 cans Spanish White Anchovies (Lemon Olive and Roasted Garlic)
• MiiR Anchovy Fish Tumbler
Sea to Summit Tanami Down Camping Comforter (35°F)
$349 • seatosummit.com
The past few years I’ve come to the conclusion I hate “mummy style” sleeping bags. I’m a side sleeper, and as such they don’t jive with me. That’s where down camping quilts or comforters come in. They’ve been around for a while but are gaining in popularity with the overlanding and boating crowd. I recently used the Sea to Summit Tanami comforter in the 35°F version on my final overnight float of the year and tit was fantastic. The 750+ fill down was very comfortable and quite warm. I even cinched the feet up with the drawcord base to give myself a mini foot box of sorts which proved helpful.— TR
Yeti Tan Panga Series
From $300 • www.yeti.com
Anglers, boaters, hunters and travelers have a strong need for specific bags to haul gear and clothing safely to their destination. More important, the bag needs to keep what’s inside dry as the elements on any adventure can change in a heartbeat. Since 2017, YETI has been a leader in the waterproof bag and backpack market with their line of YETI Panga bags.
This year, they’ve updated their line of Panga bags and backpacks with the YETI Tan Panga Series.
I’ve personally used these bags on every trip I’ve taken from Maine, Oregon, Montana and Colorado, and cannot think of a better bag that has endured many years of abuse from the elements in some of the harshest environments. While the new tan color is certainly attractive, what I love the most is the confidence that the contents, from camera gear to critical extra layers, will always stay dry and easy to access. The additional lash points and MetalLock™ hardware make these bags the perfect companion to anyone taking singe day or multiday river trips as well. — JD
Astral Otter 2.0 Kid’s Life Jacket
$130 • astraldesigns.com
My daughter has worn this jacket for five years now (age 6 to 10) and has not complained once since putting it on and will wear it comfortably all day in the boat. It comes in three colors, fits kids 50 to 90 pounds and most importantly has a handle in the back for easy rescue. — TR
Bajio Chelem Sunglasses
$199 • bajiosunglasses.com
Sweaty and hot eyes shouldn’t happen when you’re out on the water. In fact, it’s one of the big reasons I don’t typically wear traditional fishing glasses. Recently, I’ve been drawn to more lifestyle glasses that don’t sit too close to my eyes. Plus, I tend to be a one item does it all type of person. I like my glasses to function as well off the boat ramp as they do on the water. Bajio has something that others don’t seem to have with the Chelem sunglasses. They’ve got the perfect amount of wrap without trapping the heat on my eyes which is critical when rowing rowdy lines down the Arkansas River. The rose mirror lenses might be my favorite to date. As a photographer with over 25 years of experience I’d like to think that my taste in optics is well versed which is why I can truly speak to this outstanding lens choice.
Admittedly, I have a soft spot for businesses like Bajio that support Trout Unlimited. For me, that’s reason enough to give them our support.
Bajio Piedra Sunglasses
$199 • bajiosunglasses.com
Do you remember the first time you slid on sunglasses with polarized lenses to look into a pool full of fish? I’m not sure that one moment comes to mind but putting on the new Bajio Piedra sunglasses with the silver mirrored lens felt like it was my first time looking into the water. And I mean, into. It felt like I could detect every rock, pebble, stick, and yes, fish in the mountain streams I frequent. The kokanee spawning upstream from a local reservoir were easily distinguishable from the browns and rainbows gulping eggs. In another stream, the brook trout’s distinctive white tipped fins stood out as if eagle eyes were just implanted in my head.
On a recent guide day of fishing, my client forgot her lenses in the car when we hopped from one spot to another, so I lent her my now coveted Bajios. After I got over the initial scare of lending these precious sunglasses, the immediate upgrade was obvious from her generic sunglasses. So much so that she missed fish after fish because she saw them coming too far in advance and pulled the fly too quickly.
As many anglers know, it’s the blue light part of the spectrum that inhibits our clear viewing, especially around water. Bajio figured out a method to block 95 percent of that blue light meaning less blur and haze, reducing strain and fatigue, equaling much more clarity. In addition, all Bajio frames are made from sustainable materials, its packaging is recycled and cases made from sustainable cactus leather (no, I wasn’t aware cactus leather was a thing). To offset the remainder of its footprint, Bajio plants mangrove trees to promote healthy fish habitat and reduce erosion all while protecting these nurseries, or connection zones teeming with life.
The Piedra’s are now a constant item in my fishing pack. Their wide temples block sunlight and provide sun protection in even harsh high-altitude light. The no-slip rubber nose pads ensure a good, tight fit even when diving forward as I stumbled over another mountain boulder. If I were to leave home without them, I’d turn right back around and call it a day. MSRP: $199 for polycarbonate lenses and $249 for glass
OnWater Mapping and Information App
$3.99 (month) $39.99 (year) • onwaterapp.com
This isn’t just another fishing app. It’s the ONE you should have with almost everything you need and nothing you don’t. Anglers can search hundreds of hand-curated digital maps with GPS, public vs. private boundaries, progress tracking, shuttle options and many other points of interest including access points, boat ramps, campgrounds, river hazards and local fly shops. Best of all? No social media hot spotting or sharing of info. — TR
Five12 Apparel Shorts
$68.00 • five12apparel.com
A simple, clean looking, super comfortable wet wading or boat short. Five12’s Makena short is made from recycled water bottles and coffee grounds. I’ve been wearing it most of the late summer and love how simple (read no snags for fishing or rowing) they are. Super light, cool and even doubles as a bathing suit. A fantastic pair of light quick-dry shorts. — TR
Smith Joya Frames
$209 • smithoptics.com
Smith kindly sent me the Joya frames with ChromaPop polarized lenses just in time for me to leave my homewaters and explore the dry season and highlands of Peru. Waa waa. However, I was thrilled at how well these shades fit and held tight during long, rocky descents on my mountain bike while gazing at glacier covered Andean peaks. But what got me really going was all the small, high mountain streams we biked along, packed with rainbow trout. The visual clarity I had while peering through gray/green lenses allowed me to see fish casually wagging their tails in the mild currents. — Kara Armano
Simms Flyweight Shell Fishing Jacket
$299.95 • simmsfishing.com
The thing about product testing rain gear is that you secretly hope you won’t have to test it too rigorously. So I checked the weather forecast religiously in the week prior to fishing in SE Alaska, and was relieved when it promised mostly fair conditions with only occasional bouts of rain.
My fishing buddies and I did see sunny skies. For the first 24 hours after our arrival.
The first morning of fishing, it began to rain. And until our departure a week later it basically did…not…stop.
Thus, the Simms Flyweight Shell fishing jacket got donned with my waders and never really came off. To say I was impressed with the performance of this well-designed product — as the heavens alternately opened a firehose, maintained a steady drumbeat of downpour, or wreathed us in a thick drizzle in which the relatively humidity scoffed at a mere 100 percent — would be a serious understatement.
All in all, I found the Simms Flyweight Shell ($299.95) to be an exceptional piece of performance rainwear. Its negligible weight and easy packability means I’ll have it in the bottom of my fishing pack from now on. Just in case, you know, the weather forecast turns out to have been overly optimistic.
Sage “R8 Core” Fly Rods
$1,050 • farbank.com
A pro-level rod that commands a steep price. Akin to “players irons” in the golf world, don’t expect a juicy sweet spot. But if you truly know how to generate line speed, pack tight loops, and shape your shots with reach casts, curve casts, single-hand spey casts and the like, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more fun-to-fish rod anywhere. — KD
Watershed Ocoee Photo Kit Plus™
$203 • drybags.com/product/ocoee-photo-kit-plus
The most common question I get as a photographer on the river is where I store my equipment during a trip.
Like many photographers, I’ve tried it all. From big expensive hard cases, dry box storage and waterproof duffel bags. On any given trip there’s the daily camera and then there’s the gear that you might not get out until after you’ve set up camp. For me, a big winner in the compact, waterproof camera bag category is the Watershed Ocoee. The extra padded liner with the adjustable dividers is also a necessary addition to keep your gear not only dry, but safe from impact as well.
At the end of the day this bag lives right below me in the rower’s seat, giving me easy access to capture all the moments of the day while floating through whitewater or meandering flat water. — JD
Biolite SolarHome 620+
$199.95 • bioliteenergy.com
Got an off-the-grid situation that needs some light but don’t want to spend a fortune pieces together solar panels, inverters and lights? Check out Biolite’ out of the box solution. I’ve been using it in a new shed I erected in June and it saved me a lot of money by not having to with it for electrical. It’s worked flawlessly ever since and set up couldn’t have been easier.
What’s in the box?
- 6W solar panel connects to 23 Wh Control Box
- 3 overhead lights, one with motion sensor
- Wall-mounted switches control hanging lights
- Control Box plays FM radio & provides charge out
- 18ft daisy-chainable cables for multi-room lighting