Colin K. Breck's blog

Even if you spend a lot of time behind the vice, keeping your boxes filled throughout the year with what the season, destination and conditions demand isn't always the easiest task. For those of us out there that don't tie or rarely find time to run thread through a bobbin, the task may be simpler, but comes at a much higher cost. So it likely goes without saying that the idea of free flies suited to your personal needs as the year evolves is one that will likely pique the interest of virtually every angler out there.

With this in mind, The Fly Stop is currently giving away free flies every month for all of 2014. And we're not talking about a dozen, generic flies shipped your way. Each winner will receive a stout monthly allotment of flies, hand picked by The Fly Stop's staff and tailored to the each winners location and target species for that particular time of year. Whether you're fishing Colorado tailwaters in June or chasing bonefish in the Bahamas in November, you'll get a generous, custom selection of hand-tied flies to match your needs.

If you're looking for a top notch holiday gift, the Loon Streamside Kit is filled with goodies that every angler needs.

Loon Outdoors is one of the most well known and most innovative makers of fly fishing products. And while Loon doesn't make rods or reels or lines, they make a bevy of products that are often just as indispensable to the angler. From floatants to split shot to lanyards and more, Loon makes many of the products that make our time on the water more enjoyable and more successful.

Loon has decided they'd like to introduce themselves a bit more intimately to the fly fishing community, and tell everyone a bit about who they are and what matters to them. To do so, they've made a behind the scenes video showcasing what they're up to. And, apparently Loon thinks my above description of their company is spot on. I say that because, having written the paragraph above before watching the video, upon viewing it I was greeted by Loon's Andrea Zundel practically reciting my description word for word when talking about Loon. I almost pulled it from the post figuring I would seem like a hack.

A scene from the trailer.

The last two years haven't been good ones for Alaska's chinook, more commonly known as king, salmon. Returns in some drainages hit all time lows. Alaskan officials have resorted to placing stringent limits on king fishing on rivers throughout the state, including some of Alaska's most famous waterways. The list of possible reasons are myriad and include everything from over harvesting at sea to habitat degradation near the sure to natural variation in the stocks of salmon. These salmon are an integral part of not only Alaska's economy but its culture and heritage. Chinook returns of the last two years have left many concerned, even angry, and looking for answers.

A new film, titled Long Live the King, looks to share the story of the king with anglers and other viewers around the world. According to the filmmakers, Fly Out Media, "Long Live the King celebrates the great homecoming of salmon to the Last Frontier, while promoting a re-energized culture of sustainability among salmon fishermen and women worldwide. Through inspiring imagery, explosive fishing, emotional testimony and a tone of sustainability, respect, and stewardship, the film breathes new life into the hearts of anglers. One goal of this film is to boost the grassroots efforts of our conservation partners to defend the land, waters, cultural heritage, and invaluable resources of Alaska, including the mighty King Salmon of the Last Frontier."

Allen Fly Fishing Olympic Series Rod

It's very rare that we write about deals, but every once in a while, one comes along that's worth posting about. If you're in the market for a good two-hander spey or switch rod that won't break the bank, especially for those who are taking their first steps into the world of two-handers, Allen's well-received Olympic series of rods have been a good option since they were introduced in late 2011. At their normal price of $299-$319, these rods offer a great value. Currently, Allen is offering these rods at 40% off, making it even easier to take the plunge.

The reason for the move, some will be pleased to hear, is that Allen is moving the Olympic -- along with a number of other products -- from overseas to U.S.-based production. As part of preparation for the move, Allen is clearing out existing inventory.

These Chum Salmon from the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, will be flash frozen before being sold at market as "Keta" or "Silverbrite" salmon.

Many people avoid cooking seafood as often as they could be or should be as a result of the perceived inconvenience. This is largely due to a well-heeled misconception that frozen seafood is of lower quality than fresh seafood. As a result, many view seafood as something you don't keep on hand, and instead buy fresh from the market the day that you intend to cook it.

First off, it is important to note that "fresh" seafood is almost always itself a misconception. With rare exceptions, seafood that is represented as fresh at your grocery store's seafood counter is actually nothing more than previously frozen seafood that the store has thawed before selling it to you. The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of fish that are harvested from the ocean and sold on U.S. store shelves are frozen shortly after being caught and the result is a seafood product that is of equal and often higher quality than if that fish arrived at market without being frozen. Don't believe me? Well, consider that Japan's finest sushi chefs will use frozen fish without pause and in fact often prefer it.

A brown bear carries off its catch, a sockeye salmon, in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska.

Northern Dynasty Minerals (NAK) is soon to be the sole owner and force behind the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) -- the joint venture formed to blueprint and eventually develop a mine at the site of the Pebble deposit in Bristol Bay, Alaska -- has seen its stock shed over a whopping 35 percent since former partner Anglo American announced earlier this week that it would be pulling out the Pebble Mine project at an expected cost of over $300 million dollars.

The announcement obviously has investors worried, evidenced by the big sell-off of stock. According to a report filed by, this sell-off may be a result of investor concern regarding whether or not Northern Dynasty has the financial chops required to develop the Pebble site on its own.

In regards to Anglo American's withdraw from the project, the reported noted, "with those funds off the table it is difficult to see how Northern Dynasty – now worth $140 million in Toronto – could come up with estimated $80 million a year needed to advance the project to its earliest possible construction start date of end-2017."

The arctic grayling.

In an article we published a few weeks ago, entitled How Clean is Your Stream? Ask the Grayling, we detailed a bit of the unfortunate history of the fluvial arctic grayling. This history is that has seen such grayling wiped out from their entire former range in the U.S. lower 48, save for one watershed: Montana's Big Hole River. That article also covered, in brief, the efforts of the state of Montana to encourage ranch owners in a 338,000 acre area of the Big Hole watershed to voluntarily take steps that would improve water quality, such as reducing irrigation withdraws and improving riparian habitat. Those efforts and the accompanying cooperation by ranch owners in the target area appears to be paying off, helping the Big Hole's remaining grayling population make it through some very low water conditions in recent years, according to a recent article in the Montana Standard.

Montana state fishery biologists have described the cooperation of ranchers as incredible, noting how reduced water withdraws by the program participants have kept more water in the river and resulted in more areas for grayling and other fish to seek thermal refuge during these years of extremely low water conditions. Ranchers have sought alternative water sources in their area, such as other small creeks and rivers, and in general are trying to do more with less in order to keep as much water as possible in the Big Hole. Also of note is the overwhelming rate of cooperation by ranch owners, with over 90 percent of the ranches whose water usage would affect the Upper Big Hole participating in the project.

Brook trout like this one are less heat tolerant than browns and rainbows.

With many of this year's Independence Day celebrations set to be hot and steamy ones, it seems like a good time to send along a reminder about fishing during times of high stream temperatures. If you're taking advantage of the holiday to chase trout, it is important to know when and where it is safe to fish during the hot summer months and the warmer water that comes along with them.

Each species of trout has specific tolerances when it comes to stream temperatures. Regardless, though some species tolerate warmer temperatures better, all trout fall into the same general range. A good rule of thumb is to avoid pursuing trout in streams where the water temperature has increased to 70 degrees Fahrenheit or above. For optimal fish safety, avoid water that's reached 68 degrees or higher.

Want to fish here and see no one else for three days? We thought so.

It's Memorial Day, so we're phoning it in a bit. Still, we're happy to highlight some of our most popular posts of all time. These posts were a big hit when they first went up and have been drawing readers steadily since they were published. Hopefully, that's because they include some useful information or are at least entertaining to read. Otherwise, your guess is as good as ours.

Backcountry Fly Fishing

This short essay serves as an introduction to backcountry fly fishing and why it is worth your trouble to stray from the parking lot at your nearby stream. You can also use the links at the bottom of the article to find all of our other backcountry fly fishing related content. There's more to come this spring and summer, as well.

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