Stream Access

Photo by Corey Kruitbosch

Public Mistrust Doctrine

“The topic of stream access illustrates one of the most perplexing types of legal conflicts that can arise… Indeed, it is difficult to find a legal issue that is more tangled and uncertain.” —A Wildlife Primer (2009), by Eric Freyfogle and Dale Goble

Colorado’s river laws might be in trouble. Roger Hill, the octogenarian trying to fulfill his dream of legally wade-fishing the Arkansas River, was at the Colorado Court of Appeals on January 27 and got good news about his case—Hill v Warsewa. 

Biggie Smalls Featured Pic

Photo by Kendrick Chittock

Biggie Smalls

There was no doubt it was a steelhead. Until it wasn’t. The grab had been so jolting, the head shakes so violent, that no consideration was given to the fish being anything but a steelhead. Yet there at my feet, in six inches of water, lay a brown smallmouth of grotesque proportions. Pulsing and flexing, flaunting its outsized strength.

Laurel Hell Featured Pic

Finding solitude in Appalachia

Fishing a Laurel Hell

In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost. —Dante Alighieri, The Inferno

In Appalachia, there’s no straight way to travel. Laurel hell grows thick, and the only way to navigate it is to put your feet in a streambed and follow every meander and oxbow of the creek.

Photo by Kurt Budliger

Kings

Let this be a warning to you and to me and to all the other salmon killers out there; to the moochers and trollers and dam builders; the seiners and gillnetters; sushi chefs and leach mines; treaty breakers, billy clubs, old-growth bulldozers, and an ocean of plastic; to fillet knives, fish farms, and this ever-warming world, let this be a warning: These fish will outlast you.

Jacklin's Fly Shop in West Yellowstone

Jacklin's Fly Shop in March 2021. Photo by Beau Davis

Jacklin’s Fly Shop-Since 1974

“Look at that baby!” Bob Jacklin exclaims as the foamy waters of Montana’s Madison River churn steadily around him. Elegantly draped out of the net he’s holding is the tail of a now-famous 30-inch brown trout—a fish that Jacklin had caught before. “You talk about a fish—that is a big boy!”

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?”

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.

Photo by Kurt Budliger. The deeper colors of a seasoned grayling.

Ingrid. One woman leaves an oversized impression in Alaska.

I think that Ingrid would want you to know—as she stands in her waders, stands by her weir, looking down at a dark mass of grayling that were trapped in the night—that there was a time when no one would’ve thought fish would ever need to be counted. But she’d also want you to know that these don’t have to be the last wild days. She would want you to know that not everything has been lost, and that there is still the hope of unknown waters.

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)

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.

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…

Tarpon on the hunt during Palolo worm hatch.

PHOTO BY AUSTIN COIT

Once Upon a Tide

Mystique, mayhem, and the palolo worm hatch Late May, Florida Keys. Four in the afternoon. Skiffs buzz back to docks with tired guides and sun-drunk clients. Thoughts of missed shots and cold beer. A dying easterly rustles palm fronds; thunderheads lurk like massive silver anvils. Oceanside, brown bonefish flats sport crisscrossing prop scars. Between the…

Patagonia's Riverside Warehouse

Photo: Julie Brown

Patagonia’s Riverside Warehouse

The wader-repair department at Patagonia is a standalone, self-sustained operation in a hard-to-find corner of a 342,000-square-foot warehouse in Reno, Nevada, just steps from the rainbows, browns, and—as of last summer—native Lahontan cutthroat of the Truckee River. The department is little more than a series of temporary walls erected on the edge of the receiving…

Clyde and the Shark Louisiana Redfish Ahead

Clyde and the Shark

If you linger around a fly shop long enough on a slow day, you’ll eventually hear some crazy and creative fishing plans. My shop—Arbor Anglers in Golden, Colorado—is no exception, and on a recent afternoon in late October, the fishing plans got a little nuts. What started with: “We should find a big-ass shark-mount somewhere…

The Fix – Streamer Fishing In Winter

The last time you wore that coat, campfire stories buried their scent into the seams above the elbow, where embers rose too quickly and charred patchy holes. By looking at the jacket, you taste the bourbon again and your throat burns. You scoured the entire Gunpowder River last fall, ending each weekend with a drink…

A Magnificent Seven

Craft beer and flyfishing go together like Jell-O shots and bachelorette parties. In the fishier towns in America you’ll find angling-themed beers of every taste and style, from Trout Slayer Wheat Ale (Big Sky Brewing, Missoula, MT) to Cutthroat Porter (Odell Brewing, Fort Collins, CO) to Steelhead Extra Pale Ale (Mad River Brewing, Humboldt County,…

Slow Motion Masterpiece

The film opens with a ten-second zoom toward campfire flames that dance and swirl in the darkness. The viewer’s eyes are drawn to the underbelly of the largest log, crosshatched and ashen from the heat. Jump-cut to a small stream, lit by autumn light, shorelines framed by a blaze of fallen leaves. An angler appears,…