As each year comes to a close, we look back on our most read articles to see which topics hit home the most with our readers. Time and again, the results have been the same. Articles that focus on tips and technique, helping anglers to hone and improve their craft, as well as those related to the gear we covet, consistently dominate the favorites. But, those that focus on the mounting challenges facing our waterways — specifically those from climate change and assault from private and political interests — command an increasingly significant part of the conversation.
10. New 2016 fly rods and reels: IFTD standouts, values
Each year, we travel to the International Fly Tackle Dealer show in Orlando, where the industry's manufacturers gather to showcase their latest and greatest products. This year, one of the trends was products that come to anglers at a value, and this article highlighting some of the standouts was one of this year's favorites.
9. 7 tips for getting lucky with winter steelhead
Tom Larimer helped kick off our 2015 by sharing his seven favorite tips for hooking up with winter steelhead. If you don't know what "couch water" is, be sure to delve into Tom's sage advice.
8. Trashing Sportsmen: Influence Spurs Smear Campaign
Sportmen's groups that defend the wild places where we fish, hunt, camp, hike and so on — such as Trout Unlimited, the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers — have been the target of sleazy smear campaigns intended to discredit their good name. Though it likely comes as no surprise, the effort is funded and driven by private influences that seek to profit by reducing the impact these groups have on conserving the places that sportsmen hold dear. Ty Hansen's piece exposing these efforts has offered shocking insight on the players and motives involved.
7. Exposing the effort to seize America's public lands
America's public lands — our National Parks, National Forests, vast wildernesses overseen by the BLM — are the cornerstone of our outdoor experience. Unfortunately, as Ty Hansen clearly outlines in his piece on this developing story, they are also the focus of an increasingly half-baked movement to turn these lands over to state governments for sell-off to private interests.
6. Let's Boot Utah from the Union
That effort to sell-off America's public lands? Its epicenter is in Utah, where efforts driven by congressman Ken Ivory (R) and the privately funded group The American Lands Council, often dominate the public conversation on the issue. In this follow up on the issues facing our public lands, Ty Hansen suggests the extreme: Why not just boot Utah from the Union?
5. Don't blame your fly rod for your lousing casting
Fly rods matter, they do. Some are good, some are bad, some are fast, some are slow, some are somewhere in between. But your lousy casting? It's not your fly rod, it's something else. Guess what?
4. So you want to be a great trout fisherman
Is Todd Tanner a great trout angler? Those that know Todd and have fished with him would likely tell you yes, but Todd himself would likely tell you no. But then he'd go and write a piece about being a great trout angler.
What about you? Do you want to be a truly great trout angler? Are you willing to put in the time? If so, Todd gives us his blueprint for becoming a great trout fisherman. Be sure to have a look.
3. Winter is coming: 5 Flies to get you through it
Winter is here. At least for those of you that live west of the Mississippi, it is. Winter angling is a different, and typically simpler endeavor. In this recent piece, George Costa offers up 5 flies to get you through the season and takes a look at why each is so effective.
2. Best Fishing Sunglasses for 2015-16
We spend a lot of time preaching about how important good eyewear is on the water. Part of that effort is testing a lot of pairs of sunglasses and reporting back on which ones we think do the best job in different settings, pursuing different species, etc. Our picks for categories like 'Best Low Light', 'Best Saltwater', 'Best Full Sun', 'Best Overall' and so on are regularly near the top of our most read articles each year and our favorites for 2015-16 were no exception.
1. An Open Letter to America's Anglers
Todd Tanner's work is always compelling but perhaps never more so than when he writes about conservation. Todd helped pen this Open letter to America's anglers. In the time since its publication, it has become one of the most widely read articles ever published here at Hatch Magazine, has been reprinted (with permission) in numerous other online and print publications and has even been translated for publication in other languages.