Drake Magazine 2020 Winter

JUST OUT CATCHING LAS VEGAS LUNKERS.

Flyfishing Sin City

I thought I was still buzzed from the night before when I first saw what appeared to be a person lounging in a yellow pool-floatie on the water. “Only in Vegas,” I thought. Some drunk idiot ends up using Lake Bellagio as his personal swimming pool. But looking closer, I could see that the person was a man moving his arm back and forth a few times before bringing it to rest. “Is he casting?”

Drake Magazine 2020 Winter

Photo by Corey Kruitbosch

End-Times Steelhead. Group therapy on the Oregon Coast.

None of us guessed what was coming. Within hours of our leaving the river, the county would close all boat ramps and Oregon’s governor would implement stay-at-home guidelines. We were fishing on the last days of winter steelhead season 2020 and we didn’t even know it.

Image by Hogan Brown

The Life of Ryan. California fly angler wins conventional bass tourney.

Until January 4, I’d never even heard the term “float-n-fly.” It sounded like a kid’s ride at the fairground, or the street name for some illicit new drug. But I Googled it that day—the same day Oroville, California-based flyfishing guide Ryan Williams, and his partner, Logan McDaniel, won the Shasta Lake Wild West Bass Trail tournament.

Archie Creek Fire along the Umpqua Hwy (OR 138) Photo taken Sept. 12, 2020. INCIWEB/NWCG (National Wildfire Coordinating Group)

Archie Creek Fire along the Umpqua Hwy (OR 138) Photo taken Sept. 12, 2020. INCIWEB/NWCG (National Wildfire Coordinating Group)

Steelheading in the late 90s, before gloves were invented.

Steelheading in the late 90s, before gloves were invented. Photo: Forrest Arakawa

Thanksgiving Fireball. Redemption on the Babine.

The whole trip was Forrest’s dumb idea. But for Forrest, enthusiasm overcomes all obstacles. In his world, “Rad” is always capitalized. As in, “Dude! It’ll be so Rad to go fishing right now!” But Smithers over Thanksgiving? Not Canadian Thanksgiving, mind you—on October 12, a perfectly reasonable time to be fishing in northern British Columbia—but American Thanksgiving, a month and a half later.

Photos: Hansi Johnson

Photos: Hansi Johnson

Mississippi Learnin’. Smallies and pike on the mighty Mississippi.

Minnesota’s Mississippi shoreline bounds the “Southeast Blufflands” region, or what anglers know as the Minnesota Driftless. All five of us fish it: A magical world of pastoral valleys, each drained by a spring creek, mostly brimming with wild fish. 

Redfish friendly habitat in Northeast Florida. Photo: Alex Coleman

Redfish friendly habitat in Northeast Florida. Photo: Alex Coleman

North Florida Floodtides. Charleston isn’t the only tailing zone.

If you’re unfamiliar with flood-tide fishing, imagine your grassy front yard that your kid was supposed to cut three weeks ago but hasn’t. In the West this might attract crickets or hoppers, but in the coastal Southeast, when the right moons and weather combine, the grass floods, attracting snails. The snails attract fiddler crabs, the crabs attract redfish, and the redfish attract us.

Drake Magazine Summer 2020 Socotra Slider

Photos by Ray Montoya

Stranded on Socotra

On March 13, 60-year-old retired schoolteacher Ray Montoya arrived on the Arabian Archipelago of Socotra, intent on landing what is thought to be the first permit on a fly from the war-torn country of Yemen. Three weeks later, the talented fly-tyer, photographer, artist, and angler was still there, grounded like the rest of us. But Montoya is not like the rest of us. A Navy veteran, he grew up in a third-generation military family, bouncing around the U.S. as a kid. He became a teacher after college, and in the late ’90s began teaching internationally with his wife, Kerry.

Bear Attack in Montana

Photo: Bryan Gregson

Ambushed. Another Bear Attack in Montana

When Matthew Churchman woke up on a recent Sunday morning, at first the only thing growling was his stomach. Coffee and a cold breakfast took care of that. Camp, nestled in a 300-yard-long, cottonwood-and-willow stretch of river bottom, was in the process of being broken down. Skies…

John Prine Fly Fishing

John Prine hanging out at Georgia State College, before a live interview on WRAS-FM. (Photo by Tom Hill/WireImage)

The Quarantine and John Prine

Got the news today. The troubadour of my soul’s playlist, the gravel-voiced poet of so many of our flyfishing adventures, John Prine, was hooked up to a ventilator. He didn’t survive. I keep waiting for one of the dearly departed to claw themselves…

March Madness - Finding calm amid coronavirus anxiety

Photo: Hansi Johnson

March Madness – Finding calm amid coronavirus anxiety

It was a brisk and beautiful morning, the sky cloudless, the sunlight sharp. It was the kind of day that under different circumstances would have you looking forward to the coming seasons of warmth and splendor and carefree fun. We began packing the car. I’ll never forget the looks on some of my neighbors’ faces as I took the bags of groceries—canned goods, pasta, rice and yes, even some toilet paper—to the car. Those faces betrayed thoughts. Wait, should I be doing the same thing? Fear may be the only thing more contagious than this virus.

Drake Magazine Winter Fly Fishing

Photo: Corey Kruitbosch

The Winter Writhe

It’s late February and I stumble out the door to grab another beer kept cold by winter’s free refrigeration. If it was anything but the high-octane variety, it would’ve frozen from a lack of alcohol. I pop the cap, drain it, and unzip my pants, melting as much snow as possible when I piss—anything to…

Greatful Dead manager on fishing break

The Dead Drift – Grateful Dead

David Lemieux wears many hats, and every one of them bears a “Steal Your Face” logo. He’s the official Grateful Dead archivist. He’s also the Dead’s legacy manager with Rhino Records, the host of “Today in Grateful Dead History” on Sirius XM radio’s Grateful Dead channel, and a writer for the Dead’s official website, Dead.net.…

Festivarians gather for the Telluride Bluegrass Festival

Bluegrass and Fiberglass

It’s 1 a.m. and we’ve just shuffled out of the Sheridan Opera House, halfway through The Travelin’ McCoury’s NightGrass after-show. Not because they weren’t fantastic. Fronted by the sons of bluegrass legend Del McCoury, they lived up to their pedigree. But we’re exhausted. Ignoring the advice of experienced Festivarians, we have not paced ourselves. It’s…

The beauty of SaraBella goes beyond pretty colors

Rodmaking Rose

BEFORE APRIL ARCHER cofounded Denver-based SaraBella Fishing—makers of women-specific fly rods—she’d already noticed an influx of female flyfishers to the sport. But as an angler herself, fishing since she was a toddler and flyfishing for the past 16 years, she also recognized that there was a distinct lack of women-specific gear.