RIO's new Suppleflex trout leader.

RIO has added to its extensive lineup of fly fishing leaders a new series of leaders built on RIO's Suppleflex material. These new knotless, tapered Suppleflex leaders are designed specifically for trout fishermen who fish small flies in careful, delicate presentations. If you like fishing soft hackles, size 24 blue-winged olives, or impossibly tiny midges, these leaders are for you.

According to RIO, their new Suppleflex trout leaders will appeal to dry fly aficionados not only because of their supple material, but because of several other added features as well. RIO describes their new leaders as "specifically designed for the angler that requires the ultimate in presentation and for fishing with small flies. Each leader is made of the softest, most supple nylon available which allows flies to have the very best drag free drift and the most natural presentation possible, while a hand-tied perfection loop on the butt end permits ultra-quick rigging. The dark olive butt section is a great asset for spooky fish and fits in perfectly when fishing with subtle fly line colors, yet the unique chemistry of the leader ensures the front tippet end is completely clear."

This uncooperative 26" bass refused to pop up his fins.

For many folks, striped bass conjure up images of fishing the surf, tossing long casts off the terminal end of a jetty or cutting through chop on a boat to chase birds out into the swell. Days spent wading or poling the flats, on the other hand, are commonly associated with bonefish, redfish, tarpon and permit, just to name a few. And while stripers in skinny water certainly aren't a secret, there are plenty of folks who have yet to make the acquaintance of the striped bass on the flats.

Count me on that list. Well, that is, until last week. On my second consecutive annual trip to the preposterously fishy waters that surround Martha's Vineyard -- and after failing to find stripers on the flats on my own last year -- I enlisted perhaps the island's best known fly fishing guide, Jaime Boyle, to help with this year's chase. Jaime and another go-to Vineyard guide, Tom Rapone -- who both run flats skiffs in addition to more traditional center console fishing boats -- are the two guides on the island who spend the most time chasing stripers on the flats. And it's easy to see why. As any experienced fly angler knows, taking the blind factor out of the equation ups the adrenaline. Sight fishing is simply more fun.


If you're a fly fishing gear junkie, the biggest event of the year is just around the corner. July 9-12 is the International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada. Organized by the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA), IFTD is the only trade show dedicated solely to fly fishing. IFTD is where the biggest names and brands in the industry get together to showcase new products, share industry news and network.


This year, IFTD and ICAST -- the world's largest sports fishing trade show (conventional tackle) -- are sharing dates and situating their expo space in adjoining halls. The combined event will dwarf all other fishing industry related gatherings.

A brightly colored Dolly Varden from the waters of the Tongass National Forest.

Until 1990, when congress passed the Tongass Timber Reform Act and changing market conditions forced the highly government subsidized logging companies in the Tongass to halt operations, the Tongass National Forest was the site of numerous large scale logging operations that clear cut old growth timber stands at the peril of the region's natural habitats and tourism industries. In 2010, the US Forest Service pledged a major course correction in management principles, one which would focus on young-growth timber and supporting job creation in existing industries such as fishing, seafood processing, mariculture, tourism, visitor services and alternative energy.

Alaska's tourism and fishing industries are both on the rise. Southeast Alaska is home to the largest workforce in Alaska's fishing and seafood industry and in 2012, the waters that surround the Tongass National Forest saw the most lucrative salmon harvests in the entire state. Cruise ship and tourist visitation have returned to previous high levels. Southeast Alaska's population of children and students are on the rise for the first time in decades.

Longwall mining in operation.

Anglers and other stream and river conservationists, already at odds with hydraulic fracturing, open pit mining and other fossil fuel extraction operations; are placing an increased focus on longwall mining after the state of Pennsylvania released information indicating that longwall mining operations by Consol Energy have severely depleted or entirely eliminated streamflow for six streams in the southwestern portion of the state.

Longwall mining is a more efficient mining practice than traditional room and pillar mining. In longwall mining, massive hydraulic equipment is used to shear and slice large segments of coal from mines. Unlike room and pillar mining, in which blocks of coal and other supports are left behind to support the earth, longwall mining leaves open caverns behind. These open caverns often cause surface subsidence above the mines, disrupting ecosystems and diverting water flows. In some locations, surface subsidence of more than 15 feet has resulted from longwall mining.