The 10 most read articles of 2020

Reader favorites from the past year
gibbon falls, yellowstone national park, fly fishing
Social distancing (photo: Chad Shmukler).

Look back on 2020? Why? Aren't we all just ready to forget this one and move on? If that sentiment sounds familiar, you'd certainly be forgiven the impulse to wipe this past year from the memory banks and forge ahead. That said, we believe in silver linings and even though 2020 is no doubt a year that will be remembered for its numerous dark and unpleasant events, there are always bright spots or, at the very least, lessons learned and experiences lived that are worth revisiting. And so, even though it's 2020, we'll take our customary look at what captivated our readers this year.

Unsurprisingly, several of this year's most-read articles were inspired by the pandemic or the political events that captivated much of the nation and the world, while others ran our traditional gamut of coverage—whether conservation and nature related, fly fishing tips, or so on.

Here are those reader favorites, the 10 Hatch Magazine stories of this 2020 that saw more eyes than all the others. Our team of editors and contributors has also compiled its list of favorites from the past year, so stay tuned for that look back at 2020.

  1. Fly fishing through a pandemic
  2. At this point, 2020 and COVID-19 are nearly synonymous. There are few, if any, aspects of life that haven't been touched by the pandemic, and angling is no exception. Written back in March, in the early stages of the spread of the coronavirus here in the United States, Todd Tanner's Fly fishing through a pandemic offered thoughts and insights on how anglers should approach this novel landscape, and readers responded. It's worth a look back at now, 9 months later, and with a lot of lived experience behind us.

  3. Your hunting and fishing facemasks probably don't meet CDC guidelines
  4. Another pandemic-inspired article that otherwise wouldn't have existed. Since this bit of advice on the practicality and safety of using fishing neck gaiters as pandemic masks was originally published, we've learned a bit more, but the main message—that fishing and hunting face masks aren't the best choice for COVID-19 masking—remains the same.

  5. Thoughts on the killing of George Floyd
  6. It wasn't just the global pandemic that reached into the angling world, the events surrounding the killing of George Floyd and the resulting nationwide protests did, too. Or, at least, they did if you were willing to take the time to look and listen. In Thoughts on the killing of George Floyd, U.S. Navy veteran, avid angler, and photographer Chad Brown shared helped shed light on how systemic racism is everywhere in America—even in fly fishing.

  7. 5 flies to catch trout across the Rockies and beyond
  8. Whether one is looking to expand their fly box with new, productive patterns or whittle down their arsenal of flies that they lug along to the water to a limited slate of proven, effective patterns—anglers are always in search of feedback on which flies should be in their boxes. Hopefully this list of 5 flies that catch trout across the Rockies and beyond can help you reach your fly optimization goals, whatever they are.

  9. Are you helping other anglers? You should be.
  10. A simple act of kindness, a moment spent to share a bit of advice, or a morning spent tutoring another angler on effective technique—all have the ability to alter another angler's journey forever.

  11. To a golden retriever
  12. "She held no titles; she achieved nothing worthy of the public record. Her distinction was all in the hearts of her family, and therefore incalculable. To them, she was as perfect as a dog could possibly be."

    Tom Davis' tribute, To a golden retriever, touched a lot of hearts and minds this past year and will no doubt continue to do so for years to come.

  13. Carp, what are they good for?
  14. "Carp are marvelous, adaptable creatures, with a survival instinct that might not be rivaled."

    Invasive, widespread, and not going anywhere, carp are an impressive species and a challenging and often awe-inspiring game fish. Love them or hate them, there's a lot to appreciate. Don't believe it? Let Chris Hunt explain it all in Carp! What are they good for?.

  15. It's time to stop teaching 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock fly casting
  16. Rules and conventions are meant to be broken, especially ill-conceived ones. In the world of fly casting, there may be no more widespread convention than the idea of a 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock casting stroke. But, as John Juracek explains, there is no one-size-fits-all casting stroke, and it's time to stop teaching anglers that there is.

  17. The tiger trout takeover
  18. Spencer Durrant asks Are frankenfish what we want swimming in our backcountry fisheries?, and explores what angler demands for photo-worthy, fast-growing fish tell us about changing attitudes and views in the sport.

  19. The end of dispersed camping
  20. Dispersed campsites have been experiencing pressure-related problems for years, but the coronavirus pandemic, which produced an explosion in outdoor recreation, has exacerbated many of those issues. In The end of dispersed camping, Chris Hunt recounts the longstanding problems of campers trashing dispersed sites throughout the West and explores whether "a few bad apples" are likely to spoil the bunch for the rest of us, forcing public lands managers to close sites across the country to protect surrounding lands from the significant, ongoing damage caused by irresponsible users.