The fish weren't there

Adapting to the new normal
Photo: Chris Hunt
I went to one of my favorite backcountry haunts this last week, an annual visit during “hopper time” when big trout look up and nobody else is around to laugh at my casting.

But the fish weren’t there.

I climbed to the river’s headwaters where wild rainbows and bull trout congregate in late summer to feast on terrestrials and lounge in sun-kissed, yet snow-chilled water. Everything was different. Everything had changed.

Patagonia's first-ever TV commercial is in defense of public lands

The outdoor apparel giant has never in its history run a television ad, until now
Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard wrestles with a rainbow trout on the Henry's Fork River in Last Chance, Idaho (photo: Bryan Gregson).
Patagonia has never run a TV commercial. Not once. In 60 years. Since its earliest roots as Chouinard Equipment, a one-man operation run out of the back of Yvon Chouinard’s car, Patagonia has grown to become one of the largest apparel companies in the world with annual revenues upwards of $500 million dollars. And the company has accomplished all of this, in the competitive apparel world where marketing is half the battle, without ever running a television advertisement. Until now, that is.

New women's programs floating around the industry

Orvis and others launch new efforts focused at getting more women on the water
Lonnie Allen, Three Rivers Ranch owner and outfitter, leads the morning meeting with her male-dominated, fly-fishing guide staff (photo: Kris Millgate).
I remember well the day I fished with Lonnie Allen, Three Rivers Ranch owner and outfitter. It's the first time I had a woman correct my cast. That's usually a chore men take on because I rarely fish with ladies. Allen can relate. She jumped in the river long before my legs were strong enough to keep me upright.

"The name outfitter was mainly for men," Allen says. "It wasn't something that women did so I kind of feel like I entered a whole new world."

Vedavoo wows with new Damsel sling for women

New sling pack is built with a lady's lines in mind
Photo: Kris Millgate
Slings are for sissies. That's what I say every time I throw my fishing vest in my boat. Notice I use the term throw. I throw my vest. I don't wear it. It's too heavy. Like luggage rather than apparel. I'm telling Hatch editor Chad Shmukler this as we walk aisles at the International Fly Tackle Dealer show. He laughs and does an immediate about face heading directly for a booth on the show's border row.

The Henry's Fork: The Ranch

Part 3 of a 3-part series on fly fishing's Valhalla
Photo: Todd Tanner
The Henry's Fork is Valhalla, the place you visit when you've reached your pinnacle as an angler. This one river, more than any other, transcends numbers, size and every other form of tyrannical quantitative analysis; it is a star in the angling sky, a fly fishing temple where the only thing that truly matters is your next cast. I can't tell you "The Truth, The Whole Truth, The Nothing But The Truth" about the Henry's Fork. Nobody can. I can, however, offer a few personal glimpses, snapshots that stand out from the thousands of hours I've spent on this incredible stream.