We kicked off mid-April with a beautiful weekend for the opening of trout season. Pictured here is our most popular fishing spot on opening day, the Benton Dam. Then the following week, just so we don't become too complacent, Mother Nature threw tornados (tornados in PA, you say?) at us in the middle of the night.
Our little town of Benton, having just recovered from a devastating flood last summer, was now devastated again with tornados. Our lovely Mill Race Golf Course was just about obliterated, barns torn apart, homes lost or damaged, beautiful 100 year old trees uprooted like pick-up sticks. Everyone was without power for days and it felt like a war zone. Luckily no lives were lost.
So now we are trying to get back to normal, but we're not sure what normal is anymore!
Here, we're busy getting out fly orders, lots of Hendricksons and March Browns are rushing out the door so we can tell that the spring hatches are in full bloom here in the east. Trout lilies and Dutchmen's Britches are blooming, fish are rising, it's a beautiful time to be outside and we hope you are making time for spring fishing. It won't last long.
2 Unique Opportunities
Tres Valles, Argentina
Tres Valles, Argentina, in the fall (their spring) is beautiful with full rivers, hungry fish, and snow capped mountains. Easy wading, float trips, spring creeks, small rivers, lakes. It's the fly fisherman's dream destination. You may not be a lake fisherman, we weren't either until we got to Argentina. Lakes are different here, clear, cold, with hatches and big fish. With spectacular scenery and rising fish, lakes here can be a lot of fun.
But there are also pretty little spring creeks with browns and rainbows that will surprise you (and fill up the net), small rivers where an Adams dry fly and a PT nymph will catch fish all day long, float trips through beautiful canyons, and walk wading small rivers.
This is a small lodge, only 4 guest rooms, with big variety! Come with us to this special destination, December 5-16, 2019. Includes a day in Buenos Aires, our favorite city. See the details.
Villa Maria, Tierra del Fuego
We're very excited to have a week at Estancia Villa Maria in Tierra del Fuego next March 13-20, for sea-run brown trout. This small, 6-guest, lodge is sold out annually and for years to come. It is only by a stroke of luck that we were able to get a week here and it may not happen again.
If you have Tierra del Fuego on your bucket list, come along with us to this very special destination. It will be a trip that you won't soon forget!
Oh, drat. I finally get a day off to fish and the fish won't bite! Our head guide, Jim Kukorlo, tells us what he does when this happens. (now we all know his secrets....)
What Does a Guide do When the Fish Aren't Biting?
This might sound like a tough question to answer. But it is a situation that I do find myself in from time to time. Not only when I'm guiding but when I'm fishing too. I know the water well and I know the fish are there but they are simply not biting.
As a young boy I was either playing baseball or fishing in a small creek behind my house. As were all of the kids in the neighborhood in those days. What I noticed was that when the fish weren't biting the other kids started to throw rocks or play in the creek but I didn't. At least not right away. I always wanted to catch fish when no one else was. That hasn't change I still like to catch fish when the bite is off.
As a guide I always do my best to give the client a good day on the water. Which of course includes catching fish. Doesn't take long to sense that the bite is off. Now that can mean several things. One - the strikes are soft, we are rolling fish or getting head shakes but can't keep them on the hook. I immediately switch to smaller flies and that sometimes can make a difference. Or Two - the fish are simply not biting.
Before I start changing flies I will add split shots, adjust the strike indicator and correct any mistakes my client is making in his presentation to ensure a drag free drift. I read a great article on patience vs. persistence by Domenick Swentosky on his website Troutbitten. “Patience is waiting for something to happen and persistence is making something happen.”
Another way of putting this is “Think Outside the Box” and when the bite is off and I'm guiding it's definitely time to “Think Outside the Box” and be persistent. I usually start on a certain section of water for a reason. On a summer day I like to hit the quiet pools first before the sun is on the water. Colder early spring or autumn days I like to start where I will be in the sun and later in the day move to the shady pools as the day warms up. But what if I'm in the pool I thought would be the best in the morning but it isn't. Once we are in the beat for awhile I like to move up or down stream to different water. We will not only rest the pool but it will give us different type of water and fish that haven't been fished over yet.
If I start out using nymphs I like using the two nymph set up. Using an attractor fly such as a San Juan worm, squirmy wormy or some sort of egg pattern as the top fly with a go-to nymph such as a size 18 pheasant tail or caddis pupa that can sometimes trigger a strike. I continue to change the bottom fly with an assortment of flashy flies with orange, green, red and even purple bead heads and different color hot spots on the fly. If using 4x tippet, I will drop down to 5x or even 6x.
Many clients have never fished without an indicator so having them high stick a nymph is something different and new for them to learn and can be productive in certain pools. The fly will get down quicker and deeper and it will be a different presentation to the trout.
If still no success underneath I switch to a attractor dry fly such as a hopper or a yellow body Crackle Back dry fly (more on that in a future issue). If there is no interest in the dry fly I can always add a dropper fly such as a soft hackle, beetle or many other options.
Thinking outside the box doesn't mean just using different types of flies. It also means using different types of presentations. Early afternoon is a great time to swing a few wet flies through a nice riff or working them slowly in a deep pool. When was the last time you heard the word wet flies? Old school I guess but they still catch fish.
I always have a fly rod setup with a sink-tip line and a streamer ready to go in hopes of hooking into a good fish who is looking for a bigger meal. A dead minnow or sculpin pattern just dead drifting off the bottom can be a easy meal for a lazy trout. Or dead drift a super bugger with a small nymph as a drop fly off the bugger.
These are a few of the different flies and techniques I try when the fish aren't biting. Weather and water conditions really play a big part in where I fish, what flies I use and what type of presentation will be best.
On a day when my client is catching fish there isn't a need to change techniques or even fly set ups. So on a day when the fish aren't biting, clients can experience some different ways of fly fishing that he/she might not have had the chance to do before.
Trout live in beautiful places and most clients are just happy to be on the water. As the old saying goes “A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work.” So what does a guide do when the fish aren't biting? I work hard, I'm persistent, I think outside the box and I do the best I can to give the client a good day on the water.
If you have any questions or if there is something you’d like to see here, please let me know. I like hearing from our readers.
Hope to see you on the stream.
50 Women Who Fish
This week Wild River Press is releasing Fifty Women Who Fish, of which Cathy is one of the fifty. It is a gorgeous large-format hardcover production of more than 300 pages with hundreds of color photos.
For two full years, author Steve Kantner sought out a wide range of female anglers, extraordinary individuals from ages 20 to 90, from the Florida Keys to Alaska. All are passionate about their favorite outdoor sport and their personal stories are fascinating.
How many times have we all been in this angler's situation? Next time let's remember to change our position and our angle. It might just make the difference needed to hook the fish. Thank you Orvis, Dave, and Phil.
Cathy & Barry are wrapping it up on the Limay River in Argentina and have two more days of fishing before starting home. They have visited three destinations— Tres Valles, San Huberto, and the Limay, and have not put on raincoats the entire time! Weather has been good and their guests are taking home great memories of good times and good fishing. We will have more when we get Barry’s photos home and edited.
Country Life Experience
Fun! Fun! Fun!
We're excited to tell you about a new program we have for families and kids who don't get nearly enough time to play in the country.
There is something for everyone – fly fishing, kayaking and fishing on the pond, grooming the horses (and giving them treats), gather eggs, eat beans from the garden, learn about the woods, do the waterfall trail, and lots more – wind down at the end of the day around the campfire and then sleep under the stars.
Programs are designed for families and kids of all ages and we'll always be as flexible as possible with specific requests so give us a call for dates and availability.
We hope to see you and the kids in a couple months!
Fishing With Kids If you fall, get up
Since we're talking about families, I thought this would be a good time and place to share Domenic Swentosky's excellent advice on fishing with kids. It's fun to read even if you don't plan to take kids fishing. Thanks Domenic!
January 10-20 Coyhaique, Chile (trout) February 7-18 Estancia Laguna Verde, Argentina (trout) February 15-25 Estancia Tecka, Argentina (trout) March 14-24 Estancia Tres Valles, Argentina (trout) March 22-Apr. 1 San Huberto, Argentina (trout) Apr. 27-May 4 Belize River Lodge (bones, tarpon, permit, snook) June 20-28 Soca Valley, Slovenia (trout) July 26-Aug. 9 E. Africa Photo Safari Aug. 23-30 Bighorn River, Montana, Wk. #1 (trout) Aug. 30-Sept. 7 Bighorn River, Montana, Wk. #2 (trout) Sept. 28-Oct. 5 E. Pyrenees, Spain (trout) Dec. 7 – 14 Estancia Tres Valles, Argentina (trout)
January 11-18 Coyhaique River Lodge, Chile February 8-15 Laguna Verde, Argentina February 16-20 Dorado Cruiser, Argentina (dorado) March 13-20 Villa Maria, TDF, Argentina (sea-run browns) March 21-28 Estancia Tecka, Argentina March 29 – Apr. 4 San Huberto, Argentina April 25-May 2 Turneffe Flats Lodge, Belize (bones, tarpon, permit, snook) June (TBA) Ireland/Scotland (trout, Atlantic salmon) August 6-15 Reel Action Camp, Alaska (trout, pacific salmon, char) August 22-29 Bighorn River, Montana August 29-Sept.5 Bighorn River, Montana October 4-11 Spain, E. Pyrenees Nov/Dec (TBA) Tres Valles, Argentina
Let's take one last look at Laguna Verde and Tecka before we move on to other projects. Barry is done editing so we pulled for few of his photos for an album. The Becks are back in Argentina as this goes to print and we'll soon have some photos from Tres Valles and San Huberto. In the meantime, here's one more look at Jurassic Lake and Estancia Tecka.
Brooke (she's our social media guru) tells me that I have to do this. She says I have to tell you why you should buy flies from our store. She says I need to tell you why we pick the patterns that we do, and the tiers, and she says we need to tell you about Jim Smethers. Okay, okay, I said. I'll say something.
So, the long and the short of it is that Barry and I have been selling flies since 1980. He was selling flies long before that in his parents sporting good store – and later ours, Berwick, PA. He owned a small company called Cahill House which sold bamboo rods and flies, and probably other things but I don't remember. What I do remember from those early days is that neither his mom or dad had an inkling about fly fishing, but their son did. Barry was also working for Letort Limited, in Boilings Spring, PA, at the time and ran the little fly fishing department at the store on weekends. His mom (not to get off track) was in my mind an expert in guns, reloading, and ammunition. It's funny because I don't ever remember her shooting a gun but she knew her stuff when it came to reloading. Anyway, Jim Smethers was tying flies for Barry when I met him in 1979, and he's still tying for us today.
It's always been important to us to buy flies from tiers who fish. It's harder to do that today and we have to get some of our flies from Solitude, Umpqua, and other fly suppliers but it's nice to think that those patterns are, at least, designed by fly fishermen. But, Jim still ties lots of patterns for us and he fly fishes...albeit not like he used to, but still.....
Anyway, here's thanks to Jim who is, has always been, and will always be a great friend and fly tier!
Think you have problems? We found this video on MidCurrent by Erin Block, presented by Orvis. It kind of puts everything into perspective. Thank you all for sharing the story. We're behind you, Paul.
Ah, the ides of March are upon us. While we don't know what that means to you, if anything, to us it means that spring can't be far off. While we still have plenty of snow on the ground here, everyday this week is above freezing and we can see 50's in the forecast. So, we are celebrating spring!
And with spring comes the hallowed opening day of trout season. Fly orders picked up several weeks ago and we can tell that anglers are looking at their boxes and filling in the spots. With that in mind I asked Jim Kukorlo, our head guide, to tell us how he organizes his fly boxes. Is it by season, by types of dries, by color, what? So, we have his thoughts and suggestions for you below and we have a tying video by Tim Flagler (my favorite presenter....besides Barry, of course) on tying the bead head baetis nymph, another great pattern for spring fishing. He'll tell you why.
Barry offered to write about super buggers and I said, “Are you crazy? We can't keep them in stock now!” It is without a doubt our most popular pattern with the super beetle running a close second. The super bugger is a great early season fly because it has weight and bulk which makes it very effective in deep, fast, cold water. Strip it slow or dead drift and hope for a lethargic hungry fish to see it coming. But anyway, I'm not talking anymore.
We're off to Argentina for our March trip. We'll be at Tres Valles, San Huberto, and the Limay River Lodge. Brooke, Susie and Eddie will keep things running smoothly here and we'll talk to you from the road. Hope spring has sprung where you are.
Cathy & Barry
Organize Your Fly Box
Weather I'm guiding or fly fishing myself I like to keep things simple. I switched from wearing a vest years ago because I couldn't find the things I wanted. Just too many pockets. I now use a sling pack with a lot less pockets. But big enough to carry what I need and to find it easier. The same is true with my fly boxes. Over the years I've used large ones with all of my flies in one or two boxes. Which meant that I spent time looking through the boxes to find the flies I wanted to use. Now I really like the slim fly boxes that you can buy in small, medium and large sizes to fit into my sling pack or fishing vest. Four small slim boxes and two large slim boxes fit nicely in one compartment of my sling pack. I also have one medium size slim box that is magnetized for my size 18 to 22 size nymphs. These boxes are so thin that I can even carry an extra one in the small pouch in front of my waders. The boxes have a clear top so you can see the flies in the box, or you can write on the box with a magic marker. The large box holds most of my size 12 to size 16 nymphs. I have one box with only my (darkside flies) eggs, sucker spawn, San Juan worms, squirmy wormies, etc. Another box has only my larger weighted nymphs and I have a box of unweighted nymphs. And of course a box with an assortment of streamers. In the sling pack I always keep the fly boxes in the same order so I know what flies are in each box and can easily pick the box I need. I have several dry flies boxes. One will hold all of my mayflies and caddis dry flies. Another one will have my terrestrial flies along with small midges. At the end of the day I can easily check the boxes to see what flies I need to replace for the next day on the water. By knowing what box holds what flies and having easy access to them, you’ll spend less time fooling around looking for stuff and more time fishing. This is important to me and to my clients! If you have any questions or if there is something you’d like to see here, please let me know. I like hearing from our readers. Hope to see you on the stream.
Tim Flagler's Bead Head Baetis Nymph
A go-to pattern for any time of year, but especially in the spring. It should be in your box. If you don't tie, check ours out in our store. Thanks Tim and MidCurrent.
Last week we asked you to help stop Pebble Mine. If you haven't sent your message, please do so real soon. Time is running out.
Please don't glance at this and move on. Everyone is tired of hearing about Pebble Mine and that is just what our government wants from us. In the Army Corp EIS (Environmental Impact Study) the Corps only examined a tiny discharge from the tailings storage facility. Independent studies suggest a realistic dam failure would involve 10,000 times more material flowing downstream than the Army Corps studied. “Because the Army Corps didn’t do their job, Bristol Bay fishermen had to hire a scientist to take a hard look at a catastrophic tailings dam failure in Bristol Bay like those that have recently occurred in British Columbia and Brazil. Dr. Cam Wobus is an MIT-educated earth scientist specializing in hydrology and geomorphology. He is a peer-reviewed expert on this subject. What he found was horrifying. If the Pebble tailings dam fails, the Nushagak River basin downstream of the mine is going to be coated with a layer of mine waste. Summer or winter, wet or frozen, it doesn’t matter: nothing will stop the flood of debris. “ And this is just the beginning. Please help preserve this fragile wild untouched part of our country from drilling by a non-American company! This is too fragile an area – failure will occur. Make the mining companies find a way to extract the copper while still preserving environment and the billion dollar plus salmon industry. We know we need copper and we are not against mining, but we are very much against this type of mining. We only have a short window to voice our opposition, so we are begging you to help us by clicking through and completing the message to the Army Corps. Make Pebble Mine Go AWAY! https://action.savebristolbay.org/page/s/pebble-mine-draft-environmental-impact-statement-comment-submission-form It only takes a minute to let your voice be heard.
We just wanted to say a big Thank You to everyone who took time to complete our survey last week. Your input is invaluable as we plan our blog content for the coming months. It’s also great to hear from our readers! As promised, the winner of a RIO hat and Buff is Phil Brna. Congrats Phil & thanks again to all of you!
Please don't glance at this and move on. Everyone is tired of hearing about Pebble Mine and that is just what our government want from us.
In the Army Corp EIS (Environmental Impact Study) the Corps only examined a tiny discharge from the tailings storage facility. Independent studies suggest a realistic dam failure would involve 10,000 times more material flowing downstream than the Army Corps studied.
“Because the Army Corps didn’t do their job, Bristol Bay fishermen had to hire a scientist to take a hard look at a catastrophic tailings dam failure in Bristol Bay like those that have recently occurred in British Columbia and Brazil. Dr. Cam Wobus is an MIT-educated earth scientist specializing in hydrology and geomorphology. He is a peer-reviewed expert on this subject. What he found was horrifying. If the Pebble tailings dam fails, the Nushagak River basin downstream of the mine is going to be coated with a layer of mine waste. Summer or winter, wet or frozen, it doesn’t matter: nothing will stop the flood of debris. “
And this is just the beginning. Please help preserve this fragile wild untouched part of our country from drilling by a non-American company! This is too fragile an area – failure will occur. Make the mining companies find a way to extract the copper while still preserving environment and the billion dollar plus salmon industry. We know we need copper and we are not against mining, but we are very much against this type of mining. We only have a short window to voice our opposition, so we are begging you to help us by clicking through and completing the message to the Army Corps.
It only takes a minute to let your voice be heard.
Our Trip Schedule
2019 Beck Departures:
January 10-20 Coyhaique, Chile (trout) February 7-18 Estancia Laguna Verde, Argentina (trout) February 15-25 Estancia Tecka, Argentina (trout) March 14-24 Estancia Tres Valles, Argentina (trout) March 22-Apr. 1 San Huberto Hosteria, Argentina (trout) Apr. 27-May 4 Belize River Lodge (bones, tarpon, permit, snook) June 20-28 Soca Valley, Slovenia (trout) July 26-Aug. 9 E. Africa Photo Safari Aug. 23-30 Bighorn River, Montana, Wk. #1 (trout) Aug. 30-Sept. 7 Bighorn River, Montana, Wk. #2 (trout) Sept. 28-Oct. 5 E. Pyrenees, Spain (trout) Dec. 7 – 14 Estancia Tres Valles, Argentina (trout)
January 11-18 Coyhaique River Lodge February 8-15 Laguna Verde, Argentina February 16-20 Dorado Cruiser, Argentina March 13-20 Villa Maria, TDF, Argentina March 21-28 Estancia Tecka, Argentina Dates TBA San Huberto, Argentina April 25-May 2 Turneffe Flats Lodge, Belize June (TBA) Ireland/Scotland August 6-15 Reel Action Camp, Alaska August 22-29 Bighorn River, Montana August 29-Sept.5 Bighorn River, Montana October (TBA) Spain Nov/Dec Tres Valles, Argentina
Barry is still editing photos from our trip, but we have a few cellphone photos from the group that we'd like to share with you – until we can get to Barry's. Click here to see them
The first week at Laguna Verde, aka Jurassic Lake, aka Lake Strobel, was not without wind (seldom is there), but everyone caught big beautiful fish and the landscape of this fishery still amazes and impresses. The lodge is bigger, more comfortable, and the guides are top notch. Can't wait to get back next February!
Estancia Tecka was our second week, and after casting big rods in big wind for big trout, it was nice to be in warmer weather on the Tecka and Corcorvado Rivers casting 5 & 6-weights to rising browns and rainbows. The estancia is amazing with great guides and staff and we're happy to have this destination become a regular stop for us each year.
Last Minute Room
Limay River Lodge, Argentina March 28-Apr. 8
We just had a cancellation on a room at the Limay. Timed for big migrating browns on a beautiful river at a very special time of year — fall in Patagonia. Join us and a small group at Limay River Lodge for an incredible week. Trip Details.
We Need Your Help
We have a few questions that we are hoping you will answer for us. We've put this blog out weekly since 2016, and I've always wondered what does you, our reader, find most interesting? What catches your eye? We'll use your answers to plan future blog content.
You can do the survey in less than 5 minutes. You can answer anonymously or you can give us your email and we'll put your name in a drawing for a RIO camo mesh cap and a matching Buff. We will be collecting answers until March 7th. We thank you for participating.
Congratulations to Joe Koziara on being the first person to correctly answering our quiz. What do these 5 Umpqua flies have in common? Bonefish Deep Minnow, Drowned Spinner, Bennett's Lunch, Neon Nightmare, and Gen-X Bunny ***They all have 3 N’s in the name*** Your fly selections are on the way! And thanks to everyone for participating, we love hearing from you! Stay tuned for another opportunity next week!
Headed to the Flats?
From the looks of the fly orders going out the door, a lot of you are planning trips to the flats. Lucky you. It's a great time to get out of winter and enjoy some tropical fishing.
Thinking of the warm tropics, RIO has recently introduced their new DirectCore Bonefish line.
Winner of the Best New Saltwater Fly Line category at IFTD (International Fly Tackle Dealer Show), meet the big sister of RIO's Bonefish QuickShooter. While the Bonefish QuickShooter, another favorite, has a short head for quick loading when fish are close, as in wading, the DirectCore Bonefish has a long head and rear taper to smooth out the loop and a mid length front taper for turnover and easy presentation. Read about it here.
If you're planning a trip to the jungle for peacock bass, dorado, and pacu then you'll need a line designed for hot sticky tropical conditions. The RIO DirectCore Jungle Series is built on their signature DirectCore, it's easy to stretch and lies perfectly straight on the water, but maintains the stiffness needed to cast in hot conditions. With a short, quick-loading head these lines easily turn over large tropical flies. The perfect line series for tropical freshwater environments worldwide.
Finally this week, everyone's talking about this book. The Feather Thief is a fascinating true story of an obsessive young man and his addiction for fly tying and the rare hard-to-find feathers needed for classic salmon flies. It's a page turner, I couldn't put it down. And the fact that is really happened, and not too long ago, makes it even the more amazing. Download or pick-up a copy. Even after you know, you'll still be asking yourself, “How did a young talented New Englander, the kid next door, pull this off at the London Tring Museum?” By Kirk Wallace Johnson.
Jurassic Lake (a.k.a. Laguna Verde)
The Becks are at Jurassic Lake, Argentina, this week with a group of hardy anglers. Not only is Jurassic Lake known for big fish but big wind as well. It's wild and remote with poor internet, but I'm sure they are not thinking of the internet with cruising rainbows up to 20 pounds. We'll have a few photos for you next week when they move up to Estancia Tecka. We'll keep you posted.
Winter time is a great time to inspect your fly rods, reels and lines and to do some cleaning and preventive maintenance. I have several rods, well….more than several.Lets say a lot of rods and reels so I set aside a day that is dedicated to rod and reelcleaning.
Fly Rods – Clean with warm water and dish detergent. Pay special attention around the guides where dirt and film can collect over the season. You can use a pipe cleaner toclean around the rod guides. I use a scrubby pad and dish detergent and lightly scrub the cork handle. (My wifedoesn't read this blog so please don't mention it to her). After the rod and cork handle is completely dried I apply furniture polish to the rod toprotect and add a shine to it.
Reels – Take the spool off the reel and rinse the reel with warm water and a little soap. Let the reel dry completely before putting the spool back on the reel. It’s also a goodidea to back the drag off to the lowest setting to store.
Fly Line – I keep a cleaning pad saturated with RIO fly line cleaner in my gear bag and from time to time through out the season after I'm done fishing for the day I run the flyline thru the pad. A easy way to clean fly lines is to put warm water in a bucket with some dish detergent.Strip the line off the reel and run the line through a rag to clean the line. Add line cleanerto a pad as you are reeling the line back onto the reel. Now that I have all my reels laying on a table I inspect the fly lines for any cracks or signs of wear and tear and take note of any lines that I might have to replace with new ones.
It's a great way to spend a cold winter day and a little preventive maintenance will keep your rods and reel in good working order for the upcoming season.
There is something that these five Umpqua flies all have in common. Can you see it? Hint: Look beyond the hook.
First one to see it will win a Super Bugger Selection and a Super Beetle Selection.
You have until next week at this time. How observant are you?
I hope to meet Domenick Swentosky someday. We live in the same state so it's rather weird to me that we haven't yet crossed paths. I follow Domenick on Troutbitten, his web site and blog, and have to say that he has a way of thinking and writing about little intricacies and nuisances that simply wouldn't occur to most anglers. I would love to read his mind as he watches a cast drift through a current because I'm pretty sure his thoughts would amaze me.
Anyway, this week he writes about Three Styles of Dry Dropper. I think I'm safe in saying that all of us have fished dry/dropper rigs and have probably done quite well with them. Well, if you take fishing seriously and if you really want to understand what is happening – and not happening – as your cast drifts through the water, read Domenick's take on it. I found myself going from one link to another trying to get a better grip on what he's got to say, and have some ideas that I want to try.
When you have time for some good reading – maybe tonight after dinner, give this some thought. It will make us better fishermen.
It's that time of year when we start to think about fishing trips and for many, it's a trip to Montana, Idaho or Wyoming. If you're this person, or if you'd like to be planning a trip out west, please enjoy this video story about Dan Anderson and his life on the Yellowstone River. Families, community, rivers, life, futures. What is important? Thank you Sage for making this message possible.
Are you busy tying flies and refilling your fly boxes for the season to come. Tim Flagler shows us his Light Cahill Nymph pattern. Spring can't come soon enough and we'll be glad when it's time to tie on one of these flies.
It might get to 10 degrees here today but the wind chill is making it feel much colder. I try not to complain, we could be living in Chicago! With much of the country in a deep freeze it's hard to write about fishing season, so let me tell you about a few spots we have in Argentina for March. And, we just had space open up on our African Safari for July 26-Aug. 9, 2019.
March 16-23 Tres Valles Estancia (one room) March 24-30 San Huberto Estancia (one room) March 30-Apr. 6 Limay River Lodge (one room)
July 26-Aug. 9 East Africa Photo Safari (1 single/1 double)
Barry and Cathy are on their way to Edison, NJ for The Fly Fishing Show and they will be in the Sage booth. It's the biggest fly-fishing-only show in the world. Frontiers, Sage, RIO and Tibor are all there. If you can get to Edison this weekend, we highly recommend checking it out!
Having just returned from Chile, Barry is still editing photos, but here are a few favorites from our group. We had a beautiful week of warm sunny days with good fishing. It made us all want to stay for a while longer. Our sincere thanks to Frontiers and Coyhaique River Lodge for a another great adventure. Click here to see photos
Can't Keep up with Technology
What next, you say? Well the folks at RIO continue to give us new technology and products to help us be better anglers.
Check out this video clip. Even if you don't fish the big rods, you will be impressed with these new metered color-coded shooting heads. You can just imagine where this is headed and we can't wait! You will love Simon's thoughts on this new line being an ego-buster. Take a look.
Thank you Simon and RIO for continuing to make it easier for us!
Ever wonder why on a certain day an orange nymph or purple prince will out perform everything else in your fly box? Or you may remember a day when a white streamer was the only fly the fish would look at – but not ever since that day.
I remember a times when the orange butt shrimp, and at different times the blue prince, caught more fish than a traditionally more effective same size fly like a pheasant tail or copper john. There is one day that stands out in my mind when a white streamer in late summer with low water was unbelievable. Why? When maybe the next day in the same place over the same fish they turn back to the PT or the copper john?
Everyone has a story like this and there have been many theories about why. Today we bring you another take on it, and it's very interesting. I don't know if I can remember the color strategy when I get out on the water, but I'm going to try. It may require a cheatsheet in my fishing pack.....
Barry and Cathy’s group are enjoying beautiful warm weather at Coyhaique River Lodge in Chile. Lots of blue skies and sunny days. Fishing is good and they are catching lots of fish on beetles, fat Alberts, and other summertime flies. Makes me wish I was with them! Click here to see some photos
The Fly Fishing Show season kicked off last weekend in Denver with a great show and it's headed east. Looking for new tackle, shopping for a fly fishing trip, interested in a seminar or watching the dozens of demonstrating fly tiers, or just want to get out for the day – the shows are where it's happening.
We hope to see you at the Edison, NJ, show. January 25, 26, 27! Stop by the Sage or Frontiers booth and say hi.
RIO wants us to use less tippet material? Seriously? Well, yes. That's one benefit of the new RIO fly clips and twist clips. The other benefit is that it simplifies attaching and changing flies. Recommended for wet flies – nymphs, soft hackles, streamers, etc.
This week's RIO Fly Fishing Tip shows how to easily and quickly attach a fly using a Fly Clip, or twist Clip. Not only does a clip add speed to the rigging process, but also is great in low light conditions, and works really well at preventing leaders, tippet and droppers from getting too short. Both versions available in three sizes, 10 to a pack. $3.99 and $5.99. Check it out today at your local RIO dealer.
Use these links for more information and short videos on how the clips & twists work:
Guide and photographer Jason Hartwick takes us on a visual and written journey of the Eel River in northern California. With stunning photography and just enough verbiage to get his important message across, this short story and video gives us cautious encouragement and hope for the Eel in a time of uncertainty for the future of most clean wild rivers.
With today's blog, we find ourselves reflecting on the past year and anxious to get 2019 underway. Cleaning out file drawers and looking back over customers orders, trip folders, receipts, and correspondence always puts us in this reflective mood.
Barry and I leave for Chile next week for a week at Coyhaique River Lodge. We haven't traveled since early December when we visited Le Fario and Tres Valles lodges in the Esquel region of Argentina and Coyhaique is roughly just a jump over the border and a stone's throw a bit to the north.
It's probably not necessary to say that we love this part of the world. It gets us out of the northeast winter and into more trout streams, spring creeks, lakes and rivers than we could possibly get to in a lifetime of fishing. The country, the people, and the food and wine are always amazing.
We'll spend much of February and March in Argentina and we still have a few couple rooms available. If you will need a trout fix by then consider coming along with us.
Here are a few photos from Tres Valles, one of the stops on our March departure. All of the Patagonia lodges are pretty special to us and we'd love to have you at any of them.
Coyhaique River Lodge, Chile January 12-19 Laguna Verde (Jurassic), Argentina February 9-16 Estancia Tecka, Argentina February 17-23 (1 room open) Estancia Tres Valles, Argentina March 16-23 (1 room open) San Huberto Hosteria, Argentina March 24-30 (1 room open) Limay River Lodge, Argentina March 30-Apr. 6 (1 room open)
We kick off the new year with a RIO Tip. These are minute long tips on all things RIO. This week Simon gives us a minute of pointers on the Snap-T. It's always fun to watch Simon.
We just wanted to wish you all a very Happy & Healthy New Year!
A few weeks ago we announced that we would be giving away a RIO Gold WF5F fly line. To have your name entered in the drawing you had to purchase $50 worth of flies from us. The winner is David Hellier. David your line will be shipped to you shortly! Congratulations!
Our fishing season finished up with a long mild fall and a good close to the season. It certainly was a year of ups and downs and it was good to end on a high note. Our head guide, Jim Kukorlo, shares thoughts with us today about the season ending and the new one about to begin.
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
Cathy, Barry, Brooke, Susie and Eddie
Jim’s Thoughts on the 2018 Season
Although I will continue to fly fish throughout the winter season, for most fly fishermen and how most people think of a trout season, the 2018 season is over.
As I get older the trout seasons seems to go by very quickly. Seems like yesterday I was counting down the days to the 2018 opening day here in Pennsylvania. I have more seasons behind me than I do ahead of me and I wasn't about to waste one just because of less than desirable water and weather conditions.
Locally we have plenty of memories of high water, severe flooding and damage to stream fronts, roads and property. We can be very thankful that there were no lost of lives here in Pennsylvania that I'm aware of.
The number of days I spent on the water was certainly down from other seasons. When I couldn't fish on the big streams I looked to smaller streams to wet my line and found some really good fishing that I've overlooked over the years. With the high water levels here I was finally able to find time to fish the South Holston River in Tennessee, the New River in West Virginia for smallmouth bass and a small stream in the Poconos.
The high water forced me to rethink not only what streams to fish but to look for fish in areas that I would not normally fish. In the high water fish look for back washes and eddies to hide in and to get out of the raging water flows.
I've always wanted to spend more time improving my streamer fishing and this year I was forced into doing just that. My go-to 4 and 5 wt Sage rods were replaced by a 6 wt Sage which could handle heavier RIO streamer tip and 250 grain RIO sinking tip fly lines along with weighted size 6 Cathy Super Buggers and an assortment of weighted nymphs.
I spent evenings at the fly tying table tying heavier weighted nymphs and experimenting with different color on super buggers and streamers. I’ve never had such a large selection of streamers as I do now. I kept notes of what colors worked best for me in different water flows and water color.
Nymph fishing worked best with a 10ft fly rod and good old high stick nymphing in deep pools and riffles. And several of my clients never fished without a strike indicator and were amazed at how well they did without one and learned a new technique in the process.
All in all it was a good season personally for me. It was fun to teach clients different styles of fly fishing for the different and sometimes challenging conditions. And I got to fish different streams that I never found time to do in the past. I now find myself looking forward to the 2019 trout season at home and to whatever it brings.
Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Christmas greetings. Brooke here. Barry and Cathy are finishing up at Tres Valles, Argentina, where they have had an incredible week (I'm sure I'll have photos and an update to share with you next week once they get home). Susie, Eddie, and I have been holding down the fort here, handling fly orders and canvas wraps for Christmas.
If you're considering purchasing a wrap for a gift (see last week's blog) remember that our lab needs at least two weeks to get wraps out to our customers so you'll need to order very soon. I'll show the wraps again below that we are offering for Christmas. The fisherman and the evergreen trees are my favorites!
And, don't forget that your name goes into a drawing for a RIO Perception WF5F fly line when you place a fly order with us for $50 or more until December 27. Check out our fly selections – a great buy. The RIO line is a $99 value so make sure you're in! We'll announce the winner in the December 27 blog.
Ever want to put extra emphasis on “Really?” Well, we're with you. If you think we're falling off our rocker, read this article about Delta Airlines (incidentally our favorite airline, but.....really?
Delta Eliminates Plastic Straws. To Save the Planet.
One of the great inventions that we discovered, when moving to the US, were plastic straws. The paper ones we had in NZ had the unfortunate tendency to come unglued, or generally just to fall apart. But for some strange reason, people keen to save the planet would rather focus on the infinitesimal amount of plastic waste generated by plastic straws in the US while ignoring the hundreds/thousands of times greater amounts of plastic waste flooding out of China and India and going straight into the oceans.
Delta is now virtue-signaling its desire to be part of that misplaced focus. So, get this. They’ll happily fly a jet across the Atlantic and burn 7+ tons of fuel every hour while doing so, but now they’re going to save some ounces of plastic straw and plastic stirrers, replacing them with paper/wood/bamboo/whatever, on the flight that consumes 50+ tons of jet fuel. (We note that “bamboo” is often a code word for rayon/viscose and other cellulose type long-lived materials that look for all the world like plastic rather than like wood.) I always cringe when seeing environmentalists eagerly demand paper bags in the supermarket. Few people think that choice all the way through. A thin plastic bag actually has a much lower total environmental footprint than does a much heavier Kraft paper bag containing ten times or more processed/refined material, and lasting almost as long in a landfill while taking up ten times the landfill space. There is also way less energy, less raw material, and less pollution in making the plastic bag than the paper bag to start with.
It is probably similar when comparing paper and plastic straws. Whatever the exact analysis might reveal, it is likely the replacement “natural” straw has an ecological footprint that is similar in size to the plastic straw.
If Delta is so concerned about saving the environment, perhaps it could cancel a single trans-Atlantic flight, once a year. That would save in the order of 220,000 lbs of jet fuel (plus all the unused straws on the roundtrip flight); and that’s only a bit less than it claims it will save in plastic – a specious claim because it doesn’t consider the offsetting weight of the other-material products being substituted for the plastic items.
Sadly, neither honest science nor common sense has much of a chance when it comes to virtue-signaling environmental concerns and compliances.
Ever fished for baby tarpon? It's one of our favorites saltwater species. As a friend of mine would say, it's a hoot. The video below is less than a minute long but it encompasses the pursuit of these incredible fish to a tee. We have fished for baby tarpon in lots of places – Mexico, Belize, Venezuela, Florida, and have found them to be pretty much the same everywhere. We might think we are the pursuer or the alpha, but regardless of size, they will quickly bring us to our knees.....but, like them, we'll soon be back for more.
Baby tarpon don't necessarily spook like other fish, say permit or bonefish. They may behave like they're spooked or loose interest and go into the mangroves, but if one is patient and will wait for a few minutes there is a good chance the fish will come back – perhaps to see if we're still around. And, if he does, there is a pretty good chance that he'll take the fly again. Or perhaps he'll appear 60, 80, 100 yards down along the mangroves.
Ranging anywhere from about 8 to 40 pounds, baby tarpon will travel in packs and if you find two or more together it can be a lot of fun (a hoot) watching several fish chase the fly to see who will get it first. Once hooked, the others will often spook but like before, they will also often come back or pop up again close by.
Perhaps we fish for baby tarpon for the hook-up more than anything else. Once hooked these fish become acrobats. They run, they jump, they go this way – that way, they belly-flop, it's a crazy for the angler until you've got control of the situation and of course, the bigger the fish the more crazy it gets. Our outfit of choice is almost always a Sage SALT 9' for a 9 weight (990-4) loaded with a RIO Outbound Short line – perfect for this kind of work.
Sometimes tarpon aren't particular to fly patterns, other times they will be. We've caught baby tarpon on just about every saltwater streamer in our boxes, but if we had to pick a couple flies to go with we'd definitely have some black deaths, tarpon snakes and toads. We've also used Deceivers just about everywhere and this week Tim Flagler shows us how to tie the Half-N-Half. I bet it will work like a charm on baby tarpon.
Place a fly order for $50 or more, and we'll put your name in a drawing for a RIO Gold WF5F fly line($99 value). Winner to be drawn and announced in our December 27th blog. Place your order as usual and we'll take care of the rest. Good luck! Check out our store
Canvas Gallery Wraps
We've taken some of Barry and Cathy's favorite images and turned them in to ready-to-hang canvas wraps. They look great in any home or office and also make a perfect gift for that hard to buy for friend or family member. Direct shipping from our printer is included. $100. Purchase here