Review: Montana Brothers Rodworks 904 and 904L fly rods

Every so often a fly rod comes along that’s a step—or three—above the competition
Photo: Ken Takata

There are some fantastic fast-action rods out there. Rods that excel at throwing heavy flies through a stiff wind on a saltwater flat, or launching a weighted nymph and indicator, or slinging a three-fly Euro-rig. However, if you enjoy dry flies and rising trout; if the sheer pleasure of casting a fly rod is part of the reward, then you must check out the new Montana Brothers Rodworks 904.

Results of the night game

If you’re standing in the right place at the right time, you might get a shot at one of the biggest trout in the river
Photo: Tim Schulz

I saw the light from the other guy’s headlamp bobbing through the trees so I waited until he was within hailing distance. He’d passed me earlier in the evening—I was already standing in the water by then—enroute to his spot a bend or two downstream.

“How’d you do?” I called.

“Not great,” he said. “A couple of small ones.”

We fell into step on the narrow trail leading out to the parking area, our headlamps coring the dark.

2023 Fly Fishing Show dates announced

The popular consumer-facing industry show returns for an expanded 2023 schedule
A.J. Gottschalk shows off gear at The Fly Fishing Show in Edison, NJ (photo: Chad Shmukler).

After the coronavirus completely spiked the 2021 Fly Fishing Show season, the 2022 show schedule went off mostly as planned, with the exception of the postponement of the Marlborough, Massachusetts show from January to April. This year, organizers are no doubt hopeful that the 2023 show schedule will proceed as planned, without any interruptions from new variants or case load spikes. The 2023 slate of venues was released earlier this week, with the show making scheduled stops at familiar locations across the country.

Yellowstone to reopen north loop July 2, increasing access for anglers

Access to popular fisheries like the Gardiner River and Lamar River Valley streams will remain restricted or limited
The Yellowstone River seen from the Hellroaring Creek Trailhead, accessed via the park's northern loop, which is slated to reopen July 2 (photo: Chad Shmukler).

Yellowstone National Park, which just over two weeks suffered extensive damage due to record flooding in northern sections, has announced it is opening its northern loop which had been closed to travelers since the flood event. The park also announced that, as a result, it will be doing away with the alternating license plate access system designed to mitigate visitor traffic through the park's western, southern, and eastern entrances.

Fishing the crash

Sand River smallmouth on the lower Wisconsin
Photo: Kyle Zempel

“This isn’t something you normally say when you’re fly-fishing,” mused Kyle Zempel, “but thank goodness for the wind.”

What Zempel, the proprietor of the Black Earth Angling Company and our guide on this lower Wisconsin River smallmouth trip, meant was that without the wind’s moderating influence, we would have been standing in pools of our own sweat. The midday temperature had climbed into the 90s, and while it’s tempting to call such smothering heat “unseasonable” for Wisconsin in June, the definition of “seasonable,” in this day and age, has become increasingly slippery.