10 Tips for Fishing with Your Kids

10 Tips for Fishing with Your Kids thumbnail

06 Jason Paez (@finsandtwins) is the father of two twin boys Kingston and Mason who are turning four years old this year. Being an avid angler based in the Rockies of Colorado, Jason has found a way to take his boys out on the water with him. Read more to learn about what Jason suggests to have a successful day on the water with your kids.  

My son bursts out “Feeeeeessshhhh over there daddy!” I spun my head around and while I did not see an actual fish, I was proud and stoked my son Kingston was into the activity of the day! Here are 10 tips that I believe will lead to a successful day on the water for you and your kids.Flylords article-071. SNACKS: The most important gear to bring is lots of snacks. Bring their favorites, pack lots, including lunch and drinks. If there is one thing that seemed to keep my boys occupied while fishing it was eating the snacks they like.Flylords article-082. BREAKS: If you have ever been in a cramped up middle airplane seat with the bonus of the seatbelt light on for multiple hours then you’d know what it might be like to sit in a backpack for a long duration. So, yeah don’t be that mom or dad who forgot about the time as they tried to catch a fish for that photo, they really wanted to post ha-ha! Give your kids breaks so the blood flow gets to their feet and they enjoy the day.DCIM101GOPROG0595052.3. IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT THE FISH: Both my kids love to talk and chatter away about stuff. While I fish or hiked with them in the carriers, I would point out everything. Planes, birds, animals, and yes fish (Even imaginary ones). I’d tell stories, explain things in nature, whatever seems to capture their attention and imagination on the river. Make it fun and then when the fish action happens get super amped. They will love it!Flylords article-114. FAMILY AND FRIENDS: Invite others along for the adventure because new people to little ones are exciting and allows a different bonding experience for them. Plus, extra hands are key when fishing with all that extra stuff and of course the weight of little humans can be shared and give you a break. Other people also increase your odds of letting the kids see fish get caught especially if you’re in a slump. The obvious reason is you can get some photos but, more I think the longer lasting reward is the bonding. Nowadays when I go fishing with Mason or Kingston and I strike out they will say things like “Dad, next time maybe my Uncle will come, he catches big fish!”

 

 

5. LOCATIONS: Earlier in the article I mentioned fishing the Blue River, well that isn’t exactly my go to spot however, there is a key element a place like the Blue near Silverthorne provides; amenities. Early on I recommend not always going the distance as kids’ moods can swing, they usually will need to go to the bathroom a lot, they might need something you forgot and if they just aren’t feeling it you could keep it fun by quickly switching up activities. While we all truly love escaping into the wild sometimes the local spots close to home are best for introducing the kids.Flylords article-096. PACKSI used the Osprey Paco carrier however, there are several options. I especially liked the sun shade the Osprey Pack has. It protects the kids from the elements and the odd bad cast. The pack also had great adjustability, pockets (for all those snacks), and support. I have seen some guys remove the Paco from its frame and attach it to their hunting packs like a Kifaru for even better support. My boys were small so, that would’ve been overkill for me. We also used the stand for giving us the shorter breaks and it was safe for them.

Flylords article-01.jpg7. FLY FISHING GEAR: Since you have a heavy kid, a large pack, and all those pockets full of snacks, water, wipes, and whatever else your wife told you not to leave without what do you do with all your fishing stuff. Keep it simple. If you have family or friends, there you can probably skip the net. If not, I would put a longer handled net like a mid-length nomad net from Fishpond into one of the side straps. DCIM101GOPROG0645090.A good chest pack and it can be small or medium size leaving room for quick access to those snacks. I’m telling you snacks are more important than any fly on these missions. Have everything right in front if you. I preferred the cerveza sidekick from Fishpond it meshed well with the pack straps and carried just enough. It kept my water or snacks close at hand with its beer holder…. Dad life!Flylords article-138. FISHING: Fish your go to rigs and flies you know move fish in most conditions because nothing will bore a kid more than watching his dad match the hatch. Save that for when they’re a little older. Ponds are a great place to start with these excursions. I first started fishing with my boys at little bass ponds where I could stand on the banks and avoid wading too much. As they got more into it, I transitioned to the rivers. I usually don’t wade too far for safety. Casting a two-handed rod can be a good way to cover water and fish streamers. I tried just about everything to expose them to different fishing.

9. BEING PREPARED: I recommend bringing everything you’d need for your kids when fishing from carrier packs. At this stage you’ll want their wipes, diapers, first-aid kit, water, snacks, change of clothes, warm layers, and so on! One might laugh but, I created my own diaper bag but to keep it cool I used an older hunting camo pack. I also then divided up the supplies between that pack in my truck and the carrier pack. I always kept it ready, packed, and handy with the rest of my fishing gear. This way I didn’t have to think about what to bring every time I went out.

10. FUN! It’s the best part! Have fun and enjoy their smiles. If they are having fun keep going and if they are done be done. Keeping it fun is what will make them amped to go again!

 


Be sure to follow along with Jason and his two boys on Instagram at @finsandtwins. Additional photos from Jon Loether

Check out these other articles about fishing with kids:

5 Tips: Getting Kids Hooked on Fly Fishing

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What Makes a Great Fishing Partner?

 

Shut up and fish – Your guide is your guide for a reason

A decade or so ago, my buddy Kirk Deeter, now a colleague of mine at Trout Unlimited, flew north to Lake Athabasca for some serious late-summer pike fishing.

Deeter, in addition to being an author and the editor of TROUT Magazine, is also a fly-fishing guide, so it was interesting to watch him interact with the native Dene First Nations guides we fished with over the course of a week.

The native guides were tough nuts to crack, but once we got them to talk about the lake, the fish and the surrounding environment, we gleaned some important nuggets of information about why we fished certain types of water one day, and completely different water the next. And Kirk was an excellent client.

“Fish here,” one our guides would say as he cut the motor of the skiff. “Fish deeper.”

Kirk would grab the fly rod loaded with the sink-tip line, step to the bow of the boat and simply say, “OK.”

It was a good example for me to follow. Having been guided a few times prior to that trip, I’d learned that the questions can come later—the guides are there, in their minds, to put you on fish. So, for crying out loud, do the fishing. The questions are good for shore lunch or over a beer when it slows down on an afternoon float. It took me some time to quell my curiosity, but, thanks to Kirk, I’ve become a much better client.

One evening after a day on Lake Athabasca that included everything from tossing poppers tight against weed beds to dredging deep along submerged shoals, Kirk and I chatted over a few glasses of whiskey at the lodge.

“Would you rather guide a brand new angler or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company?” he asked me. Not being a guide (but being a frequent “host” for friends and new anglers on the trout waters near my eastern Idaho home), I had a quick answer.

“A brand new angler,” I said.

Kirk nodded.

“Why?” he asked.

I thought about for a minute, and it became perfectly apparent. The CEO of a major corporation likely got to his or her lofty position by being that Type-A personality—someone who is not only loaded with questions, but someone who also an aggressive fan of data and evaluation. They’re not people who are accustomed to just doing as they’re told.

“I think guiding a corporate CEO would be an exercise in futility,” I said. And I meant it in the best possible way. Anyone who rises to the level of corporate CEO has done so with a purpose—they’ve pushed and pulled and fought to get where they are and they’ve pulled those around them up with them. They’re not, intuitively, people who can simply follow instructions and learn from doing. “I think they’d spend more time asking questions than they would fishing.”

Kirk agreed. As he put it, had someone with a more aggressive personality been in the boat with us while we were pike fishing — particularly with our tight-lipped guides—he or she wouldn’t have simply started fishing when the guide instructed them to “cast here.” Instead, they would have asked, “Why?”

I get it. It’s in our nature as anglers to be curious about what makes fish tick, and why they occupy certain habitat at certain times, particularly when we’re fishing for quarry we don’t get to go after very frequently.

A few years after that trip, I was fishing the flats of the Lower Laguna Madre with a surly guide who simply wouldn’t tolerate questions. We motored around the grass and sand flats of the bay all day long, and I endured what I still believe to be, to this day, some pretty serious abuse. As a trout guy fly fishing for big reds in saltwater, I not only had a casting learning curve to get through, but also a guide who would rather scold my casting than explain to me why he chose to fish this stretch of water over another location. After a bit, I recalled my experience with Kirk in northern Saskatchewan, and I just shut it down and cast.

And, not surprisingly, I caught a few fish.

And after a day on the water, over a beer with the guide, he explained to me why we fished where we did, and why he timed it like he had. He was clearly more accustomed to anglers with more saltwater experience than I had at the time, but he also wanted to put his client on fish—having a philosophical discussion with his client wasn’t on his short list of things to do in the eight hours we spent chasing redfish.

Now, for me, I’ve gotten pretty good about gauging a guide’s desire to interact. If they’re chatty, I’ll ask more questions. If they’re not, I’ll follow instructions. And I may not be the average client—while I like to catch fish, I also like to enjoy the wallpaper. On a trip to Chetumal Bay last spring, our guide out of Xcalak, Mexico, was a diminutive Mayan named Nato. We spent an amazing day chasing bonefish in the bay, but after a while, we asked him to show us around a little. We spent the last couple hours of the day motoring through the mangroves on the border with Belize looking for crocodiles and manatees. Nato was more than happy to show us what makes his home special, and were happy to put the rods down for a bit and take in something new.

I suppose there’s a lesson here for guides, too, but it’s not place to teach it. Instead, I’ve become a more philosophical client—at least on the inside—and a better judge of what I’m dealing with when I get in the boat.

And sometimes, as Kirk noted from his perspective as a guide, it’s better to just shut up and fish. Using this philosophy, guides have helped me catch permit, pike, bonefish, tarpon, snook and trout from the boreal forests of the sub-Arctic to the tropics of the Caribbean.

“Shut up and fish.” Words to fish by.

Fly Fishing, Low & Slow: 5 Winter Fundamentals

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Low and slow winter fly fishing isn’t some sort of revelation.

Based on the river and the conditions, one could theoretically fish any kind of fly in the winter. Yet virtually everywhere, dragging streamers slowly across the riverbed produces. It isn’t fast and furious fly fishing, but it is consistent and effective. This is especially true if you are targeting larger, predatory trout.

There is more to it than just tying on a big fly and casting. Even if you find the best spots, there are some steps you can take to increase your odds of getting your fly where it needs to be. Again, the following five tips aren’t new or surprising. But cold weather and sluggish fish aren’t conducive to anglers sticking to the fundamentals.

Here are five things to stick to as you are streamer fishing in the winter:

Fly: Hook-Point Up

While winter stream bottoms aren’t covered in aquatic vegetation and the same kind of muck you’ll find other times of the year, there are still plenty of rocks and limbs that can snag your fly. Using a jig hook or simply a streamer tied hook-point up will reduce your frustration. You’ll still get stuck. You’ll still lose flies. But you’ll get stuck less and lose fewer flies. And less frustration is very good in the winter.

Continue reading “Fly Fishing, Low & Slow: 5 Winter Fundamentals”

Behind the Brand: Rent This Rod

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Rent This Rod Online Fly Rod Rental offers customers to rent fly rods on their website and then they ship them straight to your door. The concept was created along the riverbanks, when two friends Brian Guengerich and David Moore realized they didn’t want to spend the money on a saltwater setup for an upcoming trip. Flylords was able to catch up with Dave and Brian to talk about the company and what they have in store for 2019. 

Flylords: Where does your passion for fly fishing come from?

Dave (Pictured Above): I grew up fly fishing with my dad, who’s a respected fly-tier and fisherman around western NC.  He taught me at an early age how to cast and he’d bring me along on overnight fishing trips with his buddies or on work outings where he’d pull over and fish on the way back home.  So I grew up with it being an enjoyable hobby and a way to connect with him. He and I still fish regularly together. His passion for collecting and then reselling fly rods has spilled over to me as well.  We’re always calling each other and telling about our latest and greatest find. As for the actual fishing, it’s lately been my go-to method of stress relief and a way to connect personally with the outdoors.  Brian and I live in a beautiful part of the country and there’s no better way to experience it than to stand waist-deep in one of our mountain streams or rivers and cast a line.

Brian (Pictured Above): I have been fishing all my life and had a passion for it as a kid. My family never had much money growing up so our vacations were always camping somewhere. There is actually a picture of me where I tied myself to a tree because I didn’t want to leave the campground. I only fished conventionally a child.  I never even held a fly rod until 2003 when my brother in law taught me how to fly fish in their neighborhood pond. I remember catching my first bass on an Orvis Clearwater 2 piece 5 weight. From that point on, fly fishing was all I could think about. It has always been my stress relief. I travel a lot for work and go from hotel to hotel.  There is no greater peace to me than having my feet in a river and a fly rod in my hand. I also love the fly fishing community and how this industry has introduced us to so many great people across the country.

Flylords: What inspired you to start this company?

Dave: It was born out of an idea that Brian and I had one day while fishing. Brian and I fish often enough together that we bounce ideas about life and business off each other constantly and this one just stuck! We ended up buying a high-end rod off ebay to add to our rental arsenal early on, to see if it would attract any clientele. It soon became apparent that we’d need to purchase a larger, more diverse inventory of rods. I had a very loose connection with Neville Orsmond, the CEO of Thomas & Thomas (actually through Facebook) so we reached out to him one day, on a whim, and pitched the idea. That led to a conference call to discuss further, and at the end of that call, we had a commitment for our first round of new inventory via T&T! Crazy. We’re forever indebted to the good people at T&T for their belief and support of this idea and our vision going forward.

Brian: Once upon a time, Dave and I were fishing together and we started talking about trying saltwater fly fishing. I was leaving for a trip to Florida the next week to fish with my uncles in Sarasota. I told Dave I had always wanted to try salt fly fishing but didn’t want to spend the money on a set up when I was only going for a week. We weren’t getting a guide and my uncles only fish with conventional gear. I remember telling Dave it would be cool if I could just rent a rod for a week. We talked about a rental concept for about an hour on the water that day while we fished. That night, Dave called me and told me he built a website. We then started renting our own gear to see if maybe there was something there. When that worked, we started talking to rod companies about the concept and had very positive responses. Dave and I love to fish and fish together. Rain, snow, wind and sun we love to fish. We also love the fly fishing industry and only want to see it grow. Create more access for people, help other companies grow their brands and develop opportunities for people to try new things on the water. Our inspiration comes from the pure joy we get out of fly fishing. The stories, the laughter, the stress relief, and taking care if this incredible creation we have been gifted to enjoy.

Flylords: Does anything like this exist in the industry?

Dave: Not that we’ve seen presently. There have been others who’ve tried what we’re doing with somewhat similar models but they’re no longer around. There’s no other entity that will ship a rented rod and reel to your door or your destination that we’re aware of. Many fly shops will be happy to rent you a fly rod and reel (and waders, etc) if you’re in their vicinity but it’s fair to say that the quality of this gear, while still good, is far less than premium.

Brian: Other shops rent gear here and there but none do what we do. We want to be as mobile as possible as well. We are not a brick and mortar store and we like it that way. With technology growing the way it is, we want to be at the forefront of that in this industry. We are always thinking outside the box and willing to try new and innovative things to get people on the water.  We would love to work with more guides, resorts, and shops and have plenty of fun options that are on the horizon. We have talked about memberships and are considering other partners in the industry as well. We also think this could be a great platform for rod companies that are trying to make a name for themselves and get their product in someone’s hand.

Flylords: What is the benefit of renting a rod vs. buying one?

Dave:  Many of our customers can attest that renting a rod and reel combo from us is the better option vs buying the same setup that they’ll only use once or twice per year, if that.  We’re a perfect option for someone who lives in the Midwest, for example, but who’s going on a tarpon or permit trip in Mexico, and who doesn’t want to drop a small fortune on a setup that they’ll not use regularly. The same can be said for coastal anglers who might want a trout setup for when they travel inland.

Brian: I would also add that we want people to have a quality product in their hand. We are not renting a 50 dollar set up from Wal-Mart (not that there’s anything wrong with that ☺). Our goal is to create opportunities for people to try new high-end gear. We have also been hearing from guides that it’s nice when people show up with their own quality gear because it saves on the wear and tear on the guide’s gear.

Sometimes it’s also nice to get on the river and actually feel a rod and reel in your hand before you buy it.  Shop-casting or lawn-casting is by no means the same as time with a rod and reel on the water. We feel we can help customers get that valuable experience and then work with companies and local fly shops for the actual purchasing.

Flylords: How does the program work?

Dave:  If someone wants to rent a rod or rod/reel combo, they can visit us at www.rentthisrod.com to start the process.  Customers will submit an inquiry via our website or straight to rentthisrod@gmail.com if they prefer.  We will respond personally and make sure we know exactly what they want and when they need it by.  If we can accommodate the request, we send them an electronic invoice which secures the rental gear for the dates they need it.  Prior to shipping we also collect a security deposit on all the gear but it’s fully refunded once the equipment arrives back to us at the end of their trip and we can verify the condition.  Currently our rental prices are $180 for a rod/reel combo for 10 days of use with shipping charges included on the front end. Return shipping is at the buyer’s expense. Rod-only rentals are common as well and they are $150 for 10 days of use.  The 10-day rental windows exclude shipping transit times, so our clients can fully enjoy the gear for a solid 10 days before needing to ship back to us.

Flylords: What type of rods and reels do you carry?

Dave: We carry a full arsenal of fly rods, both fresh and saltwater-ready, from 3wt- 12wt. We’re proud to offer our clients premium fly rods by Thomas & Thomas Makers (MA) and Clutch Fly Rods (SC). We have also recently partnered with Tom Morgan Rodsmiths – and new owners, Matt and Joel.  We’ll soon have a couple of TMR rods in the rental quiver to appeal to ‘glass throwers out there in the world, and to be able to offer a great option to “try before you buy” for anyone considering putting down the money on a custom-built Morgan fly rod.

In the fall of 2018, we also created an exclusive partnership with Ross Reels (CO) to handle our reel needs. High-end, high-quality fly rods deserve to, and should, be paired with high-quality reels. Ross fits the bill perfectly and has been an incredible company to work with.

Our reels come pre-spooled with Scientific Anglers fly line, appropriate for the intended fishing environments

We’re excited about the brands we carry and we’re honored to be associated with these companies.

Flylords: What happens if someone breaks a rod?

Dave: They will ship it back to us and be assessed a fee of $100. If it happens on day one of the rental, we will be happy to ship the customer another rod but they will still be assessed that fee.

Flylords: If people want to rent a rod where should they go?

Dave: Folks can visit us on the web at www.rentthisrod.com and start there.  We’re also on Instagram and Facebook.  We ship virtually anywhere in the world but our pricing is based on shipments made within the continental US.  We can be flexible though if someone needs a rod shipped elsewhere.


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A Few Minutes About Musky On Fly With Blane Chocklett

When the southern mountain trout fishing slows to a crawl in the dead of winter, I hunt grouse. Now my attention has turned to fishing for musky.

The two species are different. One’s a mountain bird, the other a toothy fish, but the two have one thing in common: They are formidable quarry.

Since I used to live in Virginia, I turned to TFO advisor Blane Chocklett. The Roanoke-area resident is one of the country’s premier experts on musky.

We talked for a few minutes by phone on a dreary winter day and cobbled together the following tips for musky on fly.

BE REALISTIC
Musky are called the fish of 10,000 casts. Hyperbole? Perhaps. Nevertheless, expect to be on the water all day without a lot of action. If a fish follows your fly, that’s a good day. If it eats, that’s even better and if you hook one, you’ve had a great day. And if you land one, it’s time to cross another item off your bucket list.

It’s not unlike southern grouse hunting where one can walk for miles without a peep. If you flush a grouse, that’s good. If you get a shot, that’s even better. If you actually bag one, that’s something to boast about over a beer for season after season.

My ex-wife used to ask me if grouse were extinct. Spouses of musky fishermen probably ask the same question.

“On your own and not knowing where the fish are it’s a huge undertaking,” Chocklett said. “But, it’s not impossible. Going out with me, we pretty much get fish every day, but I’ve been doing it my whole life, too.”

STAY THE COURSE
Musky will challenge you mentally and physically. Not only will you have to cast until your arm falls off, you have to be disciplined enough to follow the fly to the boat. When the doldrums strike, invariably that’s when a musky will make its move.

Let’s say you’re on your game and hook a big fish. Prepare for a street fight. Musky generally don’t run. They prefer to brawl in a closet. Your biceps will burn, but listen to your guide. Teamwork, at this juncture, is crucial.

“You have to go into it knowing that you’re going to work hard for it,” Chocklett said. “People that get into it enjoy that challenge and they know that when they do connect, that it will be one of the biggest fish they’ve ever seen. It’s mind over matter and knowing that you’re in an uphill battle all day. It’s not easy, but when you have your mind set for that, it’s not that bad.”

THE CASTING
This ain’t trout fishing. It’s more akin to tarpon fishing. Big rods, big flies with heavy sinking lines. In tarpon fishing, you have to cast far with accuracy. The same is true with musky fishing — with one distinct difference. With tarpon, the name of the game is sight fishing, which means a handful of casts during the course of a day. With musky, you blind cast toward probable spots all day. The key is to make as many casts as you can without excessive false casts. The more efficient the better.

“Most people do struggle,” Chocklett said. “But we’ve made the process easier with TFO and Scientific Anglers, with the rods and the lines. We’ve made it a whole lot easier than it used to be. It comes down from everything, from materials being used and the (water) shedding capability. It’s easier now than it’s ever been.”

The retrieve can vary, but long, slow strips with a few pauses never hurts. Watch the fly all the way to the boat. A figure-8 move or a sweep of the rod can sometimes entice a strike.

GEAR YOU NEED
Count on a medium action 12-weight rod with a relatively light, serviceable reel. TFO’s Esox paired with a Power reel are good choices. A balanced rod makes casting easier. You will need a line with a sinking tip to maintain sufficient depth. Leaders are short, which helps with throwing big flies. Four feet of 30 or 40-pound flouro with 18 inches or so of wire tippet from Scientific Anglers suffices.

As for flies, Chocklett’s Game Changer in 2/0-6/0 is a good choice. The bigger the better. A 4-inch fly is small by musky standards. Ten to 12 inches is more the norm.

Fish where the water gets dirty

The confluence of waters of varying clarity can be fishing hot spots

by Chris Hunt

Several years back, on a float trip in northern Utah where the murky currents of the aptly named Red Creek dump into the Green River, I had an epic day of fly fishing.

A summer squall had moved across the steppe country the day before, and Red Creek was brimming. The Green, cold and clear in its A section below Flaming Gorge Dam, collided with the muddy flows of the tributary and created a visible line between clean and dirty water that meandered downstream for a half a mile.

For hours, we tossed double-nymph rigs right up against the clean-dirty interface, and for hours, we caught beefy Green River browns and rainbows. We were in the right place at the right time, to be sure, but these clean-dirty collisions aren’t at all uncommon—they happen on most western rivers with incoming tributaries, and the meetings of these two waters create something of a buffet line for waiting trout. And you ought to be there, offering up the prime-rib slices for the gluttonous fish.

A few years later, on Chile’s Lago Yelcho, I had a similar experience. The lake, cold and green and bursting with trophy browns and rainbows, the progeny of fish planted more than a century ago, also sees an influx of glacial rivers that deliver important nutrients from the Andean high country into the lake.

Our guide, Adrian, motored us right up next to the line where the blue-gray glacial tint met the green water of the lake, and two of us spent an afternoon stripping streamers through a trouty gauntlet.

The fishing algebra for this equation is pretty simple. The line between clean and dirty water is, after all, “structure.” It provides cover from potential predators, but it also delivers food to the bigger body of water in the form of everything from larval insects to worms, leeches and small fish. Tributaries to larger bodies of water are replenishing sources of nutrients, too, meaning they not only deliver food in its kinetic form, but also contribute to a river or lake’s food-producing potential. In Yelcho’s case, the glacial streams charge the lake with nutrients that feed the lake’s famous dragonflies, which, in nymphal form, are about an inch long and cruise over the lakes ample weed beds.

And, these big larvae can also be found where the clean and dirty water meet—just like trout, they lie in wait for smaller critters to come to them. Not coincidentally, this also also puts these bugs, which can be reasonably imitated with a size 6 olive Woolly Bugger, within reach of hungry browns and tail-walking rainbows.

Of course, it helps, too, to know the water you’re fishing, and what might be coming down these smaller creeks when they’re bursting with rainwater or even high-country snowmelt. In the case with Utah’s Red Creek, the flies of choice were San Juan Worms trailed by an attractor nymph, like a Prince. Where Idaho’s Fall Creek tumbles over a set of iconic waterfalls into the South Fork of the Snake, the murkier (and geothermally influenced) waters of Fall Creek deliver insects like water boatmen and bigger hunks of protein, like small leeches. In the fall, when the creek runs lower and cleaner, it creates a massive foam mat that traps small Blue-winged Olives and provides an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord for the South Fork’s opportunistic trout.

The point is, these intersections of waters, where one is generally clean, and the other is generally dirty, offer trout just about everything they need to thrive—security, food and oxygen. And anglers, regardless of the time of year or the weather, ought to consider these confluences to be must-fish zones.

After all, if that’s where the fish are going to be. You might as well be there, too.

Gear Review: Yeti Panga Waterproof Backpack 28

WHAT IS IT?
Yeti Panga Waterproof Backpack 28

WHAT SETS IT APART?
Yeti expands its lineup of durable, submersible gear bags with the introduction of a spacious backpack built to protect your belongings from dunks and downpours. DryHaul Straps and QuckGrab Lash Points on the sides and top make for easy transportation, while a removable chest strap and waist belt offer added stability when you need it. Yeti’s high-density, puncture- and abrasion-resistant ThickSkin Shell and HydroLok Zipper fend off the elements, while an interior sleeve and mesh stowaway pocket allow for easy access and organization.

HOW DO I USE IT?
Measuring 12 1/2 inches long, 7 inches wide and 20 inches high, the Backpack 28 offers 1,700 cubic inches of storage space. The Backpack 28 sits upright, thanks to its flat bottom edge, while maintaining a streamlined shape. Both points promote convenient storage in your tackle room in the tow vehicle, along with a dependable and spill-free posture on your boat deck. The Backpack 28 has no exterior pockets or secondary compartments, but attaching the optional Yeti Sidekick Dry, which easily connects via hook-and-loop straps to the HitchPoint Grid, adds a dedicated waterproof space for valuables and smaller items — all protected by a magnetic Hydroshield Closure.

HOW MUCH?
$299.99

MORE INFORMATION:
Yeti.com

ANGLER’S INSIGHT:
Yeti proved its design prowess by blending a comfortable form with real-world function. From transporting tackle and graphs from the truck, to neatly storing foul weather gear and a change of clothes, to fishing on foot with a day’s stock of snacks and essentials; the backpack form made with Yeti’s dependable material will handle an array of fishing needs. This pack also makes a handy carry-on bag for flights to/from your angling destination.

The School of Trout is back, and bigger, in year two

New classes and instructors debut in 2019

by Chad Shmukler

Most of us try to improve our fishing by spending as much time as we can on the water. We throw ourselves into our angling with all the passion we can muster, and we learn through observation, trial and error, and—if we’re smart—by coaxing a valuable lesson from every single mistake we make. Becoming a better angler, truth be told, is mostly a function of time and patience. Lots of time and patience.

Unfortunately, though, most of us don’t have unlimited free time, or unlimited patience … so we settle for learning what we can, when we can, and then hope for the best.

That’s why great teachers can make such a huge difference. Not so they can tell you where to fish, or what fly to use. But because most anglers learn as much during a day with an instructor or guide as they do during months of fishing on their own. With truly exceptional instructors, a fly fisher can learn as much as he (or she) might in an entire year of solo angling.

Yet, until recently there wasn’t an exceptional fly fishing school where passionate anglers could sign on for an entire week; where they could talk to, and learn from, the finest instructors in the world. At least that was the inspiration behind the School of Trout, which held its inaugural classes last year on the famed Henry’s Fork in Idaho.

Though it doesn’t come cheap—a week at the School of Trout will run you about as much as a trip to Alaska—you can spend time on one of the finest rivers in America and learn from some of the world’s most acclaimed fly fishing instructors.

The School of Trout is offering two classes in 2019. The week-long “Basic Trout” class, which will be held on the Henry’s Fork this October, features fly fishing icons like Tom Rosenbauer, Bob White, Kirk Deeter, Tim Romano, Hilary Hutcheson, John Juracek and Craig Mathews. This is the class for people who want to develop a rock-solid angling foundation, and who truly want to learn from the best of the best. The Basic Trout class will take place at TroutHunter on the Henry’s Fork and will be limited to a dozen students.

There’s also a shorter “Dry Fly” class for more advanced anglers. That class, which is limited to ten students, will take place at the end of August, also on the Henry’s Fork. The dry fly class features exceptional instructors like John Juracek, Jeff Currier, Pat McCabe and Steve McFarland.

Potential students are invited to look over the school’s website and then, if they like what they see, apply for a spot online. If you know someone who would enjoy learning from the most respected anglers in the world, be sure to have them visit SchoolOfTrout.com.

I should also mention that Hatch Magazine is sponsoring one partial scholarship to The School of Trout—appropriately named “the Hatch Scholarship”—in 2019. Details are available on the website.

Hatch Magazine is proud to endorse the School of Trout.

Chasing Natives with Cameron Cushman

Chasing Natives with Cameron Cushman thumbnail

Flylords: Tell us a little about yourself, Cam?

Cam: Well, my name is Cameron Cushman and I’m a husband, father, fly fisherman, glass geek, and a filmmaker/photographer. I spent six years of my life as an Infantryman in the Army which brought me to Georgia, Texas, Alaska, California, and Afghanistan. That was a pretty exciting time of my life and now I’m back home with my family in Florida trying to catch fish and share the passion of fly fishing with others.

Flylords: How did you get your start fly fishing?

Cam: I’ve always been a fisherman. Whether it was chucking shiners for bass or doing kayak fishing tournaments, I’ve always had a rod in my hand. While stationed in Alaska I picked up my very first fly rod, I think it was a Redington combo I bought from Sportsman’s Warehouse. I watched some YouTube videos and gave it a go on the Chena River just outside of Fairbanks Alaska in hopes of catching some Grayling. On one of my first trips, I had brought my wife and she started laughing hysterically, saying I looked like one of those dancers who twirl around the flags. Thinking back on it, I’d imagine I did while learning. I kept with it though and shortly after learning we moved to the hill country of Texas where I really dove head first into it. After running into some health issues, I dove even deeper into it and since then have looked as it as a medicine.

Flylords: What inspired you and your team to make the film?

Cam: I had actually been trying to convince Marcos to come out west with me in pursuit of Rio Grande Cutthroat for several months before he finally agreed. When we started the planning, it was supposed to be us just going to fish for a few cutthroat species in Colorado before heading to the Fly Fishers International expo, where I had been invited to speak on DIY fly fishing Florida saltwater. We kept talking about it and before we knew it we set the goal to chase ten native species across the west in a period of about fifteen days. Both of us being filmmakers, we knew we had to make a short film out of it. The reality was we had hoped to make a longer one, but ended up being super happy with the short film it turned out to be.

Flylords: Does any single fish stand out to you from the trip?

Cam: That’s a super tough question that both Marcos and myself have been asked often. We chased a total of ten species, Rio Grande Cutthroat, Greenback Cutthroat, Bonneville Cutthroat, Colorado River Cutthroat, Bear River Cutthroat, Yellowstone Cutthroat, Lahontan Cutthroat, California Golden trout, Kern River Rainbow, and the Apache trout.

I think Marcos often answers with the Golden, probably due to it being his first trout species ever earlier in the year. In their defense, they live in some absolutely incredible waters and the surrounding landscape is amazing. It’s a tough question for me and I’m normally stuck on it for a few moments before coming up with an answer. I’d have to say the Apache trout was my most memorable and favorite species from the trip. That may be due to it being our last species of the trip, or that it was the worst weather we came across on the entire trip with freezing cold rain, foggy conditions, and howling winds. The whole thing was an intense hiking experience, we hiked deep into a canyon all while realizing we had a mountain lion following close behind us. It seems strange saying that the most miserable experience was my favorite but I think that’s how it usually works. Plus they are an absolutely gorgeous species.

Flylords: What fly pattern was the most effective for you?

Cam: Marcos probably had the most effective pattern of the trip because he never changed it. He stuck with a purple Parachute Adams for every species, I think I convinced him to change it once and he went right back. He was throwing between a size 12-18 and probably averaged with the size 16.

I like to use multiple patterns so I rotated through a lot but ended up being most successful with size 14 stimulators in various colors. Funny enough we only used dry flies for the entire trip, despite fishing some freezing temperatures.

Flylords: What is the most memorable story from the expedition?

Cam: Oh man, that’s a tough one. There’s definitely a few stories that stick out the most. We happened to blow all four of the tires on the trip, what’s funny is they went out in pairs. First, we blew the front two in Colorado about three hours into the mountains with no way to fix them after our first patch job from another angler. We burned through the mountain roads and when we finally hit the pavement, we had 6 psi in the front left and 11 in the front right. We stopped at an Amish community where they were kind enough to fill the tires back up and point us in the direction of the nearest tire shop. The second time it was a similar situation but in Utah where we blew the two rear tires out in the middle of nowhere. The other big memorable story was when we took a one day detour into Las Vegas and were immediately asked if we needed any cocaine after walking out of the hotel. We politely declined.

Flylords: What would you say to someone who wants to make a similar journey?

Cam: Just do it, don’t get caught up in the logistics of how far to drive each day, or where to stay. We slept in the car almost the entire trip because we were either not near a campground or tired from driving and just needed to crash.

With some googling you can find a lot of good information on the native species and the areas they can be caught, so finding the fish is probably the easiest.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to people on social media and ask for advice.

Make sure you have a good spare tire, an air compressor, and some tire patch kits. You’re more than likely going to blow a few tires on the adventure.

We covered 7,992 miles when we pulled back in my driveway, but your trip doesn’t have to be that long. Start small and work your local area, then once you’re comfortable with big adventures where you don’t know what’s around the next corner, just go for it.

Flylords: What do you hope viewers will take away from it?

Cam: I think our biggest goal is that more people will find an appreciation for the native species that call this country home. Everyone gets hyped up for the big browns and bows, and I’m not complaining either. But our little and sometimes not so little natives deserve some love and as I always tell people, there’s something special about catching something where it belongs.

I also hope people realize it’s not just about the fish but about the adventure and the people you meet on these journeys. I’ve got some major health issues and I hope that I can pass along the medicine fly fishing has to offer to others.

Super stoked for what’s next to come with our big Chasing Natives Film! 

To see updates about the upcoming film, follow @chasingnativesfilm on Instagram. To see what Cam’s up to follow him on his personal account, @cameroncush on Instagram.

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