Gear we love right now: June 2022

What's working on, and off, the water
The Patagonia Stealth Sling pack (photo: Todd Tanner).

Fly anglers are overloaded with gear choices—rods, reels, boots, waders, lines, packs, bags, boxes, vests, apparel and more. It seems harder and harder to know what's worth coveting and what's worth ignoring. Gear reviews are a great way to explore in-depth what might be right for you, but not every piece of gear is suited to a full-length review and, even if it were, there's simply too much of it to get to. With that in mind, we periodically showcase what's working for us right now, to hopefully offer more helpful feedback on gear that's worth a second look.

The fight for an invisible fish

I became a plaintiff in a lawsuit for the Clear Lake hitch — a fish I’ve never seen. As the species quickly disappears, how much longer will it swim the waters of California?
Photo: Alix Tyler

This spring, in response to reports of dead and dying fish, teams of government wildlife staff and Tribal environmental specialists grabbed their backpack electrofishers, dip nets, buckets, aerated coolers and rubber gloves. For weeks they searched along drought-stressed creeks to save what fish they could find. One by one, they gently stunned and netted 360 adults and fry (juveniles) in rapidly diminishing pools before transporting them for release into a nearby lake.

Review: Skwala RS wading jacket

Skwala's flagship wading jacket offers a bounty of what the industry newcomer strives for: innovation
Image credit: Skwala Fishing.

Skwala Fishing’s innovation and desire to push the fly fishing apparel market in new directions has been a welcome breath of fresh air in 2022. Their Fusion 3/2 Puffy jacket is a game-changer in fly fishing apparel, as is the company’s dedication to designing gear that moves with the angler while on the water.

12 keys to becoming a great fly angler

What do you need to do to become a truly great fly fisher?
Photo: Chad Shmukler

I had an interesting phone conversation with angling legend Tom Rosenbauer earlier this year. Tom, who has been the face of Orvis fly fishing for as far back as I can remember, called and wanted to talk trout fishing. Specifically, he asked me what folks need to do to become truly great fly fishers for trout.

I thought it over, and then thought about it some more, and finally shared the following list with Tom.

A river runs under it

A bitter tale of loss and redemption
Artwork: V.R. Tapscott.

I was standing in the living room of the “nearly done” Craftsman looking at cracks running diagonally up the plaster walls and across the ceiling.

“Every house from Madison Park to the lake has those. From the ’65 quake,” beamed Penny, the pert little realtor with the brand-new white-on-white Land Rover parked out front.

“Oh.” Like that explained everything and made me want the house even more.

“Of course, everything on the downhill side of Broadway is on a fault. All sliding slowly into the lake.”