Fishing lodges, guides, and travel operators face uncertain future after pandemic-spiked 2020

COVID-19 forced an overwhelming number of travel cancellations this year, will things get back to normal in 2021?
Photo: Stephen Longfield

I love to travel. A year ago this week, I was in far-flung Patagonia. The virus was still an embryonic annoyance in Wuhan, China, and I was about as happy as a fly fisher can be — tucked into the passenger seat of a Toyota Hi-Lux, bouncing along rural Andean roads in search of trout with guides who knew where the targets were, what they were eating and how to put a silly American just happy to be alive in the right places at the right times.

Net positive: 5 fishing nets that should be on your wish list

Nets for the wading angler that offer more than just fish scooping
The Orvis Nomad Mid-Length Camo Net (Photo: Chad Shmukler).

Nets tend to be one of those things that many fly anglers opt to do without longer than they should. Most often, this is because it seems like something the average trout angler (and most fly anglers are trout anglers) can do without—like an optional accessory. And there's some truth to this. Certainly not all anglers need nets, and those that do need them don't necessarily need them on every outing, but rare is the angler—especially the catch and release angler—that can't benefit from having the option to tote along a net when headed to the water.

Getting started with fly tying

The right stuff: Tips on tools and materials, plus other helpful advice on how to make the leap into fly tying
Photo: Chad Shmukler

With the cold season upon us and COVID cases soaring all over the country, it’s likely we’ll all be spending more time inside our homes over the next few months. The question is: what do you plan to do with that time? If you’ve been contemplating learning to tie your own flies, you’ve likely wondered where to begin. As an instructor for Penn State University’s Angling Program, one of my jobs is introducing fly tying techniques, tools and materials to students each semester. While teaching, I compiled this short list of tips that I hope will help get you started.

Rearranging deck chairs on the Olympic Peninsula

Fisheries "management" is pushing wild steelhead towards extinction
Deep in the Olympic Peninsula rain forest on the Hoh River, angler Jessie Ball swings throughout the downpour (photo: Arian Stevens).

Olympic Peninsula wild steelhead—the luminous, iconic objects of our collective dreams—are nearing the bottom of a decades-long slide into oblivion. We are staring into the abyss. On our current trajectory, extinction is not out of the question.

Review: Hardy Ultradisc UDLA fly reel

Hardy's latest might be its best disc drag ever
Photo: Spencer Durrant

Hardy’s brand name has long been synonymous with quality and craftsmanship. Their click-and-pawl reels are among the most sought-after collectibles in the sport, and it’s not rare to see 50 or 60-year-old Hardy reels sell on eBay for $500 or more.

While their vintage catalog is robust, Hardy isn’t just resting on its laurels, either. They’ve put out some of the best dry fly and Euro nymphing rods I’ve fished in recent years, along with some stellar reels.