Looking Back on Summer Fly Fishing

8:45 PM. The pond is the color of fresh cantaloupe, with crimson neon-edged clouds low in the western sky. The light is fading, but it’s as if the sun were captured in the water, its surface glowing like last night’s embers. The smell of fireworks hangs in the air, and a blue haze wafts lazily over the black treetops.
As it darkens, the blooming bursts of fireworks can be seen through the wooded county properties, accompanied by enthusiastic hollers. I pull on my boots, grab my 6-weight fly rod, and hoof it as fast as I can to everyone’s favorite brushy corner spot. I tie on a tiny brown dry fly, mimicking the flying insects hovering around my face, reading the water with my eyes and hands. Amidst the tall reeds and slimy rocks, I roll cast next to a stump sticking out of the water, letting the fly drift lazily in the current, and a bluegill hits it like shotgun recoil. I admire its metallic rainbow colors, fine size, and dense little tank of a body. When I release it into the brown, mucky shallows, it takes off with a splash of the tail that sprays me in the face with water – such attitude!

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Chasing Cats

While I had a conventional introduction to hunting and fishing in my younger years, it wasn’t until the last three or four years that my interest, involvement, and identification with hunting really took shape. I’ve also begun to learn that this relationship with the outdoors will likely always be evolving and adapting and that an individual’s hunting or fishing “ethos” is perhaps one of the most personal things; built and shaped by one’s experiences, mixed with opinions and localized social norms, and perhaps more contentious than even politics.

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Three Keys to Mountain Stream Trout

Stepping into a reach I had never laid eyes on, water spilled across the floodplain through newly cut side channels, occupied new backwaters, and spilled through massive apex log jams. Beautiful pools formed below the jams and behind precisely placed root wads. Riffles spilled across cobble bars parallel to the head of the pool, forming textbook dry-fly dead-drifting waters, irresistible to inhabiting trout.

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Fly Fishing Panfish in the South

A thin ribbon of water cuts through a forest. A shadowy figure rests in a hole among the branches of a fallen tree just out of the current. A roll cast, necessary because of the limited space for a back cast, places a #10 woolly bugger gently near the fish. Slowly pulling in line, the fly moves within striking distance. The fish pounces. Grabbing its prey, it turns back to the safety of the submerged log. You set the hook and a short but ferocious fight ensues. He is very small. Too small to keep but the bright greens flowing seamlessly to red are captivating. You let the little bream go, gather up your line, and continue your trek along the clear, tannin-stained creek somewhere in the southern United States.

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The Phenological Calendar of Kokanee

Whether you realize it or not, most outdoor enthusiasts are phenological scientists. You may never have published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal or even considered proper phenology as practical in everyday life. Maybe you’ve never even heard of phenology. But if you appreciate the outdoors or even just vegetable gardening, chances are, you’re a seasoned phenologist.

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How to Catch More Fish: Trout Fishing in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has over 1,000 streams and lakes that are stocked with more than 3.2 million brook, rainbow, and brown trout. There are also over 600 streams designated as Class A Waters that have a natural population of trout and do not get stocked. Pennsylvania is loaded with opportunities to trout fish and I like to take advantage of those opportunities. If I had to pick only one outdoor pursuit to enjoy the rest of my life, stream fishing for trout would be the winner, hands down.
I have fished for trout in many different ways, from dunking a warm, casting a lure, to dry fly fishing. But there are two specific methods I keep coming back to because the consistently produce the most fish.

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Rainbows of the High Desert

I fished my first desert stream when my good friend and fly-fishing sensei, Chas Kyger, moved to Washington State. Both transplants from the same Appalachian hometown, we interestingly ended up three hours apart working as fish biologists.
Spring can offer formidable conditions in the Pacific Northwest mountains, where high flows and snow melt careen through narrow canyon creeks. Spring on a desert creek, however, can be epic, with early warming waters and insect hatches.
A hard left from the Columbia River pointed us toward a large desert canyon, characterized by steep, rocky bluffs, talus, and sagebrush. Various alfalfa, wheat, and corn crops created a lush patchwork landscape across the canyon floor broken only by the random cattle or horse pasture.

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Fishing With Young Kids Isn’t That Fun. Do It Anyway

Have you ever taken a little kid fishing? As much as I love providing my kids with a new experience, it kind of sucks the fun out of fishing to be honest.

To be fair, fishing isn’t exactly the most exciting activity for younger kids. Heck, it took me 25 years to finally get into fishing, so I get it.

But if you’d like to raise outdoor loving kids, nature enthusiasts, and future anglers, the earlier you start, the better. It’s important to take them out there, even when it doesn’t feel worth it. Even when you only get a few minutes of fishing in, it can still be a successful day fishing with your kiddos.

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Spawning Bass in a Public Park

Fishing for spawning bass is something anglers look forward to each Spring. It’s the time of year when an angler has the best chance to catch their personal best bass as female fish are loaded with eggs adding to their overall weight.

In this video I teamed up with my friend and die-hard bass angler, Megan Long. We actually went bank fishing and sight casted to largemouth bass at City Park in New Orleans. City Park is an amazing place for public fishing in New Orleans Louisiana.

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