Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tying the Ginger Quill - A Classic Catskill Dry

Of all the trout flies I have tied over the last 45 years, traditional Catskill style dry flies are my favorite.  The whole process of tying this style of fly is enjoyable to me. Of course, the other wonderful thing about these patterns is that they have an elegance like no other trout fly, and they catch fish!

Sharpen your hooks.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

An Open Letter to Fly Anglers: Lose the Lead & Bubble Indicators

Image result for strike indicators
We saw this editorial posted on the Chi Wulff blog the other day, and it's important enough to us that we're posting it here.  Please take the time to read it, and pass it on.
"You wouldn’t put kids in a room with lead paint, why would you put lead in a stream they swim in?" 

It’s time for some hard truth, flyrodders – bait fishermen aren’t the only ones trashing rivers. In my work for Snake River Waterkeeper, I spend a lot of time removing streamside garbage each spring. Like you, I grumble at all the line, worm containers, and hooks left behind by gear fisherman – I even occasionally consider the possibility of a genetic correlation between an inability to pack out trash and tastebuds that prefer Twisted Tea and Hard Lemonade. But lately, I’ve been troubled by the logical disconnect of conservation-minded fly anglers using lead weight and bubble indicators. As flyfishers, we tout a long tradition of river stewardship, yet our standard deep nymph rigs obviously contribute to river trash and habitat degradation – and they are wholly unnecessary because great alternatives are readily available.

Everyone knows lead is toxic – it leaches into water, accumulates in animal tissue, and causes poisonous effects at any exposure level. Anglers doubling as duck hunters are also aware of federal law prohibiting the use of lead shot on waterfowl based on a concern that the pellets – which are exactly like split shot – might land in streambed gravel where loons could ingest them. Yet anglers routinely put lead split shot directly into the streambed where fish and aquatic life are exposed to them…

We also know that balloons choke wildlife, don’t biodegrade, and become eyesores in wild places. As a result, I’ve winced at recent guide tips and blog posts heralding them as cheap alternatives. The same folks insist you have to go deep to catch fish and admit that breakoffs are inevitable, so we know where it ends up. We need more common sense in conservation: if beer cans and Styrofoam on the bank bother you, how can you feel good about leaving balloons floating in the river and lead under the rocks?

The standard for weighting nymph rigs and streamers needs to change. As it turns out, anglers have no valid excuse for failing to ditch lead and bubbles some time ago. We don’t need a law prohibiting lead weight, plastic indicators, and balloons to do the right thing. The alternatives are just as effective, and you need not have won Powerball to make the transition – there are cheaper alternative than tungsten.

With winter’s grip holding firm, now’s a good time to plan for spring. So when you clean out your pack, throw out that wheel of lead split shot. Recycle plastic indicators and toss spools of lead wire. Tell your fishing partner you need a few dollars to do the right thing and go buy tin split shot, non-toxic wire, and cork indicators from a local fly shop – you need fresh tippet and a 2016 license anyway.

Buck Ryan is Director of Snake River Waterkeeper and Owner of Flies for Rivers

For more on effects of lead in waterways, see

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Transition - Autumn Fly Fishing Video

Here's a short video Doug's friend Rob Funk made of the guys fishing a bunch of streams and a pond last fall - in Rob's words, "A glimpse of autumn fishing in Pennsylvania".

Sharpen your hooks.

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Fly Fishing Show - The Highlight

We had a great time this weekend at the the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, NJ this past weekend.  Lots of folks visited us at the tying table, and my seminars were well attended all three days.  The highlight of the weekend was spending time in the Author's Booth with Joe Humphreys.  After the initial run of folks stopping by to have their books signed, we sat and chatted about the Living the Stream film project (see my post on 1/22/16) about Joe's life and times fly fishing and all things connected to it.  He also managed to slip in a couple short stories about life events that shaped him over the years.  These brief moments with people like Joe are the ones that are the most fulfilling as they give us with a unique perspective that only those with a life full of experiences and passionate pursuit can provide.

If you ever get an opportunity to spend even a few minutes with an "old-timer" like Joe, take it and open both your ears and hold your tongue.   I'm still smiling when I think about the conversation with Joe.

Sharpen your hooks.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Fly Fishing Show - Somerset New Jersey

The big fly fishing show is this coming to New Jersey weekend - January 29, 30 & 31 - at the Garden State Convention Center 50 Atrium Drive in Somerset, NJ.  We'll be there all three days tying flies, signing books, doing presentations, and on Sunday teaching a fly tying class.  Show Hours are: Friday 9am – 6pm  Saturday 8:30am – 6:00pm and Sunday 9am – 4:30pm.

Here's my schedule for the weekend:

Author's Booth - Friday 2:30 PM, Saturday 3:30 PM, Sunday 11:00 AM

Friday Seminar - Strike Room 1:00 PM – Eastern Hatches and their Imitations

Saturday Seminar - Catch Room 2:00 PM – Eastern Hatches and their Imitations

Sunday Seminar - Strike Room 1:00 PM – Fishing Dry Flies and Emergers for Trout

Sunday Fly Tying Class - 2:00 PM - Tying Simple Dry Flies for Sophisticated Trout - Students will learn how to tie and fish a number of very effective mayfly and caddis dry flies/emergers that require three or less materials to complete. Tying instruction will also include detailed information on when and how to fish each fly as the pattern applies to a specific hatch or emergence. 6/0 olive Danville thread is optional, but preferred. Intermediate. Click HERE to register.

Fly Tying Class: Bring your own lamp, vise, tools & a basic selection of materials.

For more information on the show, directions and other programs being offered, click here: The Fly Fishing Show - Somerset, NJ

Hope you see you there.

Sharpen your hooks!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Happy Birthday Henley!

It's hard to believe that Little Man is not so little anymore.  The next generation of fly fisher in the family is as tall as kids typically one year older.  Let's hope he switches to a baseball cap by the time he gets on the water. : )

Sharpen your hooks.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Live the Stream: The Story of Joe Humphreys Trailer

I've been fortunate enough to sit with Joe Humphreys and talk fly fishing, laugh, and learn about life on a number of occasions, and it has made me all the more richer for it.  He's a wonderful man who inspires many people in subtle ways, and some not so subtle ways; he has a passion for fly fishing and life that rubs off on just about everyone that has the pleasure of meeting him.

LIVE THE STREAM is a documentary about fly fishing legend Joe Humphreys and his lifelong journey to share the sport he loves while inspiring a greater respect for our local waters.

This documentary tries to keep up with Joe “Hump” for one year both on and off the stream as he inspires first-timers and professionals alike to better their fly fishing techniques in the splendor of nature. It’s a relatable and moving story of youthfulness in the heart of life’s progression, a film that explores the significance of family and community foundations and the idea that water can be a healing resource for anyone that steps in the stream. Even if you know nothing about fly fishing there’s something for everyone in this endearing documentary because for Joe, fly fishing is a lifeline.........

Read more about this project and how you can contribute here: Live The Stream: The Story of Joe Humphreys.

Sharpen your hooks.