Multi-purpose flies

Up your odds by choosing flies that can be fished using a variety of presentations
Photo: Justin Miller

When I first saw the outflow of the Wheeler River, where trophy Arctic grayling were rumored to stage and wait for Russell Lake’s slow-moving current to deliver all sorts of buggy morsels right to them, I was pretty sure it was going to be some tough fishing.

It’s big water, and there’s lots of it. And the boreal north’s black spruce and birch forests hug the bank, making backcasts tough. If we were going to enjoy catching 20-inch grayling, we were going to work for it.

Photo: Dave McCoy

Ongoing advancements in fly line materials and design continue to offer anglers ways to get more out of their casts. Today's fly lines load rods more effectively, shoot farther and accommodate speciality fishing tactics better than their counterparts from yesteryear. But even the best fly lines on the market can't undo our casting flaws, leaving lousy casters with, at most, somewhat better casts.

Your rivers and lakes up for grabs

What will states do with water that used to belong to all Americans?
Photo: Scott Stouder

What will states do with water that used to belong to all Americans?

That’s a question anglers need an answer to because western states and GOP lawmakers are mounting a full-court press to “take back,” as they put it, publicly owned lands and waters managed by federal agencies.

Photo: Scot Santore.

Summer is glancing at the door, but it’s not quite fall. Streams are running low and bugs are flying—big ones that can be imitated with slabs of foam and deer hair. It’s the height of terrestrial season in much of the country, and, along with pre-spawn windows and high water events, when big bugs fly, anglers have a strong chance of tangling with big trout.

First kill for a young heart

The taking of a life, no matter how small, calls for reverence
Photo: Dawn Huczek / cc2.0

I watch her movements become slow and deliberate as rustling leaves bring her to alert. An image of the oak tree reflects in her dilated pupils. Shaky hands testify to the adrenaline racing through her veins.

I whisper, "can you see it?"

There is no reply.

“It’s on the third branch up.”

Searching eyes scrutinize leafy boughs. Whispered words tumble out in a ragged breath. “I see it,” she says.

I kneel behind her to take it all in. The camouflaged gun barrel circles in cool late-afternoon air. The circles tighten and she holds her breath.