sunny angler
Photo: Pat Burke

High light, low light

Tips for using the sun, or lack thereof, to your advantage when fishing

Low sun angle provides a significant advantage to the angler. The shadows are deeper; they’re wider and longer. In the winter months, the sun sits lower in the sky, and that shallow arc creates more shadows with less direct sunlight. Trout love the dark areas and seek them out.

By contrast, the summer solstice has the sun directly overhead. The hard sunlight beats straight down, erasing the comforting shadows and putting trout on edge.

fly fishing in the fog
Photo: Matt Shaw / Matt Shaw Creative

Truth in angling

There's something to be said for getting out on the water

I made the long flight from Montana to southern New York to see family and friends, and more from force of habit than from any overwhelming expectation of angling excellence, I brought my fly fishing gear along. The area I visited isn't really known for its outstanding fisheries (the best waters are in the Catskills, a couple of hours to the northwest), but if you're willing to look around you can almost always find a place to wet a line. There's also something to be said for getting out on the water regardless of the prospects.

Iron Creek - Yellowstone National Park
Photo: John Juracek

For the classics

Why is some of the best fly fishing writing disappearing?

For quite some years now, the classic books of fly fishing have been skating on thin ice. Very thin ice. Recently it appears—at least from where I stand—that the ice has finally given way. With luck a couple of classic titles may flounder for awhile, but the bulk of them seem to be plunging unceremoniously to depths from which only the most intrepid of future anglers might dredge them. Yes, the classics are pretty much gone. I’m taking it hard.

Private trout stream connecticut
Photo: Steve Zakur

Wait, do I have to share too?

When private-ish water goes public

There's this small brook, a couple of towns over, that I fish from time to time. It's little known except to a small cadre of small stream anglers. The fishing cannot be described as good, but that's not what turns on people who crawl along thin blue lines. Wild fish. Tricky casting. Ample opportunity to lay out f-bombs when you tangle in a pile of twigs for the third time in consecutive casts. That’s a full day for a small stream angler. Sometimes I go down to this brook with the sole intent of smoking a cigar and sipping single malt. Losing a fly to a tree is just a bonus.

winter trout stream
Photo: Christine Peterson

In this season of goals, set one that takes you outside

Join the trout of the month club

It was cold. Not, damn-I-wish-I'd-put-on-another-layer cold. It was I-hate-my-life, I-should-move-to-the-desert cold.

Any reasonable person would have gone home - or not suited up to begin with. But it was Dec. 31, and I hadn't caught a trout yet that month. So it didn't matter that it was near zero with God-only-knows what real-feel temperature courtesy of sustained 30 mph winds and I had to stop every other cast to break ice out of each crusted eyelet.

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