Iconic mayfly populations have declined by as much as 84 percent

Scientists studying mayflies using weather radar have discovered dramatic population declines
Hexagenia limbata (photo: James. St. John / cc2.0).

The emergence of Hexagenia limbata mayflies, throughout the Great Lakes and parts of the mid-Atlantic region, is nearly a religious event in angling circles. Each year in early June, these enormous mayflies blanket the landscape, emerging by the billions each night, smothering waterways, riverbanks, roadways and more with thousands of tons of trout-candy biomass.

Searching for the right on climate

Balancing the practical and the ethical in combatting climate change
Climate change means more than drought; in many places it means unprecedented flooding. These cars are mired in the high water of the 2019 Missouri River floods (photo: Notley Hawkins).

“It was a great trip,” Christine said. “You can’t really appreciate Alaska until you’ve been there, and the scenery along the Alcan has to be seen to be believed. We had a great time. Still, it was an 8,500-mile round trip.” There was a pause on her end of the call. “It’s hard not to feel guilty. . . . How do you deal with that kind of thing?”

The Perdigon nymph: Don't call it a pellet fly

Let others snub their nose at this buggy, creative nymph while you're busy catching tons of fish with it
A victim of the Perdigon nymph (photo: Chad Shmukler).

Let’s get this out of the way first. The Perdigon nymph that has taken over competition fly fishing, thanks to both Spanish and French Euro-nymphers, has officially found its way to the four corners of the trout-fishing universe.

In December, an Argentine guide tied one to my tippet under a Chernobyl, and I spent an afternoon on the lower Rio Chimehuin catching fat rainbows and browns, seemingly at will. I began to think of the Perdigon as the “new” San Juan Worm. Rarely have I seen a fly work so well when nothing else seems to work at all.

The dishonest caddis

If you can remember important lessons, you can fool trout anywhere
A plump, healthy, Patagonian brown trout (photo: Chad Shmukler).

It was our last day in Patagonia, and it might have been the best day, at least as far as the weather went. Furiously blue skies. Not a breath of the wind that had punished us the day before. Clouds? What clouds?

Some days, you just feel it, you know?

Review: Douglas Sky G fly rod

By virtue of cutting-edge technology and design, Douglas' new flagship offering is turning heads
Photo: Spencer Durrant

If you don’t count any of the newly-added sticks in my vintage rod collection, it’s been a long time since I picked up a new-to-me rod that elicited an honest wow. The Orvis Helios 3D was the last rod I reviewed that made me think, I need one of these for myself, in a few different weights and lengths, just for good measure.

Then, a new Douglas Sky G 9’ 5wt showed up in the mail, and I have once again found myself trying to cook my books to find the money to add one to my quiver. This rod is special.

Like most new, flagship rods, it was built using bleeding-edge technology—in this case, what Douglas calls "G-Tec" platelets (Graphene) added to the Sky G's resin matrix. If you're not familiar with Graphene, at ten times the strength of steel (but with only 5% of the density), graphene is one of the strongest materials known to man. In addition and partially due to its new technology, the Sky G also follows the recent design trend of a more minimalist build approach, in favor of putting more money into blank design and production. In other words, Douglas didn’t spend money trying to make the Sky G sexy, though I’m sure a lot of anglers will appreciate the rod’s muted, subtle craftsmanship.

What makes the Sky G stand out, though, is what the late Tom Morgan once told me all fly rods should do. Tom – who owned Winston and is responsible for them being in Montana – said that the best fly rods are the ones that fish the best. Never mind whether you can cast it to backing – a rod’s true measure lies in how it acts on the water. In that arena, the Sky G excels and separates itself from its peers.

So, what makes it that great? Let’s take a more detailed look.