Walt Geryk lands a steelhead on New York's Salmon River.

After almost a year of extensive testing in a wide variety of environments, Endura Fly Line dressing is now available for purchase. Endura is being introduced by Walt Geryk, a member of Hardy/Grey's and Airflo's pro staff and a well known guide on the waters of New York's Salmon River. Endura is comprised of proprietary formula and is touted to offer line-changing performance in salt and fresh water and regardless of water temperature.

According to Geryk, Endura has been tested in conditions "ranging from freezing temps and 33 degree water to hot summer days on the Salmon River [and] the Miramichi, the Deerfield River region and into the salt waters of Cape Cod. Tested by dozens of anglers, [the] results are: lasts longer, applies on wet and dry lines, floats lines higher, slides through the guides with unnoticeable friction, increases casting distances and can be used on any fly or spey line. Gives older lines a like new slickness and floatability."

The Alchemist 40L pack complete with fly rods and a 35 pound load.

For most trips into the backcountry that don’t include weather related extremes, your backpack will be your most important piece of gear. Choosing an ill fitting or poorly featured backpack, or worse, one that will fail and let you down in the field, has the potential to plague your trip. Here are some guidelines on picking the right pack for you and your trip.

Backcountry fly fishing on the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park

When preparing for a trip into the backcountry, choosing the right gear can be a daunting task. There's lots of stuff you'll need, but even more that you won't, and making sense of it can be cumbersome. Over the next few weeks, we'll be offering some helpful guidelines on how to prepare for a venture into the backcountry, with a slant towards backcountry fly fishing.

We'll provide some guidelines on what to bring, what to leave behind and how to make your decisions. We'll provide reviews and feedback on specific models, detailing what we discovered we liked and what we didn't during several summer backcountry fishing excursions that provided a wealth of gear testing opportunities.

First, we'll tackle the essentials: whether or not fishing is your ultimate goal, no gear is more essential than that which will provide for your shelter, warmth and ability to transport all the other gear that will accompany you. Not only are these items you can’t do without but their suitability and effectiveness stand to have the greatest impact on the success of your trip. Though it may go without saying, these needs are provided for by the backpack, tent and sleeping bag you choose for your journey, as well as other related items such as a sleeping pad. Choosing these items wisely will pay huge dividends once you’re in the field, so it is important to make your selections with care and from an informed perspective.

Subsequently we'll dig into the rest. Water filtration, mess kits, lanterns and lights. Ropes, utility tools, first aid and more. We won't cover everything every one might want in the backcountry, but we'll help you build a list of gear that will provide for a successful trip. We'll even provide a handy spreadsheet you can use to take inventory.

Near the mouth of the Hoh River on Washington's Olympic Peninsula.

An article published in Seattle "lifestyle magazine", SeattleMet, has caused one of the city's heralded eateries to pull wild steelhead from its menu. In fact, Hitchcock chef Brian McGill has decided to stop serving the fish altogether, much to the appreciation of many of the wild steelhead advocates that spoke out in defense of Washington's troubled steelhead population.

The SeattleMet author, Allicia Vermillion, took a provocative swipe at anglers and conservationists, writing that "... putting steelhead on the menu can incite letters, or even protests, from people who fish as a hobby. To sport anglers, the pursuit of the steelhead is the fly-fishing equivalent of pitching a perfect baseball game while simultaneously having a religious experience. In other words, subjecting this rare and beautiful creature to commonplace harvesting and cooking is like carving up a 20-point buck to make venison burgers."

The Allen Alpha III Fly Reel in aquamarine.

Building on the success and reputation of its Alpha I and Alpha II series of reels, Allen Fly Fishing has announced the availability of the third incarnation of this well liked series of reels. Allen's Alpha series is the manufacturer's flagship big game reel series, designed to serve the needs of 7 weight to 10 weight fly lines. Perhaps the most notable aspect of the Alpha reel series is its value/price ratio, which is a reputation Allen has developed for many of its product offerings.

Allen Fly Fishing Alpha II Fly Reel
The Allen Alpha III Fly Reel in aquamarine.

Though the Alpha III has received few, if any, cosmetic changes when compared to its predecessor, Allen has put a great deal of time and effort into fully re-engineering the technology behind the reel. According to Allen, "The Alpha III looks similar to its predecessor, the Alpha II, but that's where the similarities stop. The Alpha III is fully machined from only the highest quality aluminum barstock, with vastly improved tolerances over the Alpha II. Our improved anodization leaves the reel with an attractive scratch and corrosion resistant finish. The drag system has been completely redesigned, and uses a teflon cork composite disc for the smoothest, strongest, longest lasting drag you will find in its price range."