Fly Fishing Gift Ideas for Father’s Day Week 1

Fathers day is around the corner and it’s never to earlier to start looking for gifts.  Over the course of the next few weeks starting with this publication we are going to put together a number of blogs that feature products that have grabbed our attention this off season or need refreshing for the upcoming summer; some of them out of necessity, some out of need, some simply just too cool or viable to pass up.  So here we go!

For starters all of us at Western Rivers seem to always be on the hunt for the perfect product to carry all our stuff in; fly boxes, raincoat, beer, food, water, camera, you get the jest.  Although traditional vests are still popular with anglers my age they leave one with limited options and they don’t carry weight well. Many of today’s products are much more versatile, such as some of the new pack options by Simms.  We’ve been trying to get someone to offer a system that integrates and Simms initially is one of the first to have done just that.

By itself their Headwater ½ Day Pack has a plethora of options that most fly-fishers will find advantageous; light, hydration system capabilities, plenty of space filled with nooks and crannies to carry what you’ll need.  The best part about this pack is that it can be retrofitted easily with the Headwater Chest/Hip Pack.  Each of these pieces either by themselves or in concert with each other gives you tremendous flexibility in addressing a variety of fly-fishing conditions and needs.  Go light, or pack the kitchen sink with ease and versatility.  If you’re in a quandary over how to manage what you take out on the water these two products by Simms are worth considering.

Fly-fishing in the heat of summer can make for some uncomfortable days on the water.  As fabrics evolve we’ve found clothing that allows us to be more comfortable in a variety of weather and during these upcoming hot summer months also protect us from the sun.  These days the later.

Patagonia has always been an industry leader in the outdoors when it comes to technical fabrics that pursue these and other qualities.  Off all the products they offer the most used piece of clothing by the staff at Western Rivers Flyfisher Patagonia Graphic Crew is Patagonia’s Capilene 1 Graphic Crew.  Regardless of the weather this versatile clothing piece finds a home on our bodies.  On cold days it is the foundation of our layering system.  It’s also and ideal piece for wearing solo on those hot summer days pursuing trout or getting poled along the flats looking for skittish bonefish or a wary permit.  At the end of the day, if all you have is the kitchen sink to wash it in, it will clean up nicely and be dry to wear again the following day.

This year we are a little strapped for water thanks to Mother Nature.  In comparison to last years she has done a complete 180 leaving Utah a little short of moisture. Much of the west is in comparable shape.  When fishing we often find ourselves in a similar situation, short of water stuck out wandering high and dry longer than we intended.  I know I’m frequently getting in this position since I don’t like carrying the extra weight.  Now I have a solution, the  Katadyn My Bottle Micro Filter.  Simply fill it up with water from your favorite trout stream, take a big swig from the straw and dump out what is left over.  Having now used this bottle for over a year you’ll find them to be safe and easy way to keep hydrated.  Another bonus, these filter bottles are from one of the outdoor leaders in filtration systems, Katadyn.

Find all of these items on our web-site, better yet if you are in the neighborhood stop in.  As always, coffee is on!

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Back from the fishing in the Bahamas and some non typical fly fishing gear reviews

I just returned from a week of fly fishing for bonefish, and several other species at Crooked Island Lodge in the Bahamas. This was our 5th shop hosted trip down there, and like I always I pack enough gear to outfit an army chasing bonefish and other saltwater fish. Some of our vendors and reps are gracious enough to send me a few samples to play with while I’m down there. I had the chance to fish several Scott Rods, Sage’s, and Winston’s along with Lamson and Tibor reels. It is pretty tough to beat those rods and reels for bonefish and tarpon. We’ve written several rod review articles lately and I thought about all the gear I took and there were a few little things that caught my attention.

 

Many of us at the shop have been converted to sharkskin fly lines, and for tropics fishing I think they are one of the best. The Sharkskin Magnum Tropic is probably one of the easiest casting fly lines for any saltwater angler as well as turns over big heavy crabs and shrimp patterns. I have fished this line on a 6wt as well as an 8wt several times. I put this line on a 10wt rod, and was amazed how easy it was to cast. I even was able to place a fly well enough to land my first tarpon. Another line I took was the RIO Bonefish. Now many of us trout guys have fished the RIO Gold taper lines, and the bonefish is basically the saltwater version. We had several days of dead calm weather, which left us with spooky fish and gentle, accurate presentations were essential. After going from a very aggressive magnum taper to this bonefish line was a drastic difference. I am now sold though, and think the longer head length of the RIO was perfect for lightweight flies and calm conditions, but for nuclear winds and heavy flies I’ll be fishing the magnum. I found these two lines complimented each other nicely and will be coming on my next saltwater adventure.

With my line experimentations on this trip trying to re rig your reels is tough to do without any sort of machine. Sometimes we take for granted how nice it is to rig up at the fly shop. I would usually just have someone grab my line and start walking then hand roll it on a spool. While this is a great beer drinking activity it’s a hassle and inevitably makes a mess of your lines. On this trip I took the Anglers Accessories Line Winder, and was able to swap lines in minutes. It was a great addition, and will be going on any multiday trips I have in the future.

 

The last little things I took on the trip that I wasn’t sure of were the new Hatch Tempest Pliers. Usually I just use some cheapo pliers, or long handled hemostats, but having a heavy duty salt water plier was the ticket. When those shrimp or crabs get inhaled or stuck right in the hard corner of a bonefish cheap pliers will bend, and don’t have the backbone to pull the hook. It’s tough on the fish, and not to mention having those tiny handle rings of hemo’s jabbing into your knuckles is not exactly fun. Having heavy duty pliers like the Tempests made child’s play out of removing hooks. Plus they have great cutters for trimming up heavy tippets that dull ordinary nippers.

Another great year down and already planning next years trip. If you are heading on a saltwater trip, or have questions on any other gear don’t hesitate to call or email us. Between all of us at the shop we have over 25 years of saltwater destination experience and will get you dialed in to make the most of your trip.

2012 Spey Casting School

Every May Western Rivers conducts a 2 day Spey Casting School the weekend before the Memorial Day weekend on the banks of the beautiful Henry’s Fork .   This year again we had the privilege of  hosting another stellar group of new two handed casters along with several repeats looking to add a new cast to their repertoire or fine tune their existing arsenal of spey casts.   

As in previous years the Henry’s Fork proved to be an ideal setting to host this school. Thanks to the Trout Hunter, who comfortably accommodated our group, we enjoyed some great food, plenty of libations, and found ourselves just a short distance from the water.  The only problem this year with waters being low and winter mild, we had Salmon Flies, March Browns and a variety of caddis hatching.  Add some fantastic weather and scenery and at times we had trouble staying focused on casting.  

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Next years Spey Casting School is already on the calendar, May 18-19, 2013.  We will again be staying at the  Trout Hunter.  If you’re interested in learning how to fish a two handed rod for trout, salmon or steelhead, this school is a great way to get started on the right foot.   For those who have done is some, yet need a little direction, it’s perfect for that as well.  For more information on our two handed schools, give us all (801)521-6424, click here, or if you are in the neighborhood, stop in!  Since we only take 8 students, this school fills up quick. 

To this year’s group, thank you.  You were an awesome class and both Greg Pearson and I look forward to helping you along your way to becoming proficient with these big rods.  After this weekend, you are well on your way. 

Green Rivers Spring Flows

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This afternoon we just received notice from the Reclamation that they are going to bring the flows up on the Green River.   Starting the 19th the river will go up to 3000 ft3/s.  This isn’t much from where it already is peaking.  Between the 20th and the 21st they will continue to raise it incrementally to 6000 ft3/s.  Flows will only remain at this level for 3-5 dys.  These are far less than what they were last year. Yet, why, do they always do this on weekends.  It seems to never fail.  

For those who are headed over to the Green, these flow changes will definitely impact the good fishing.   If you haven’t heard, Cicadas are out and the fishing has been excellent.  Although these higher flows are good for the fishery, they are frustrating since they are so unpredictable. Once they settle down the fishing will pick up right were it left off before flows increased.  Everything is going to be much earlier this year compared to years past.  As you plan you fly-fishing year, better put your clocks ahead by several weeks. 

Entomology 101

by Steve Schmidt

Fly-fishing Entomology Class

Saturday couldn’t have been a more beautiful day to put the finishing touches on our annual entomology class.   After a Friday evening of breaking down the various insect families and their respective hatches that are important to us in Utah and the west we took to the Middle Provo River for a morning of seining and linking some of Fridays discussion to the real thing.

After last years incredible water year it has been very obvious that our trout streams have benefited significantly.  The Provo River and most of our western waters are all better off and in tremendous shape as a result of the great flows we’ve had over the past few years.  One way we can tell is  by the fat and sassy trout we’ve been catching during our early season.  The other, our trout streams healthy biomass. We’ve held this class for over twenty years and I’ve seen this and other rivers over those years change rather significantly.   This year was no exception.

Fly-Fishing Entomology Class

Over the past few years thanks to some very favorable conditions our Utah and western waters are in excellent shape.   After our first seine sample in this years class it was very evident that we are in for a fun year.  By the end of our class  everyone was pretty amazed by what they saw.  To say they had their eyes opened might be a good way to phrase this Saturday mornings session.

As you can see by the accompanying photo there were plenty of Green Drakes, Golden Stoneflies, PMD’s, Caddis and Craneflies.  We even got a fat juicy Sculpin or two.   Although the Provo River in general is a very rich fishery,  I’ve never seen it so rich in aquatic insect life.

As the summer unfolds hopefully we’ll enjoy a nice cool summer and the heat we often get refrains from impacting our summer aquatic hatches.   From what we have already experienced this year you should set your hatch clock a few weeks ahead of schedule compared to the last couple of years.  Given water levels and the warm winter everything is going to start earlier.   Everyone who took our bug class saw this first hand.

We’ll again hold this class in may of 2013.  If you’re interested in having your fly-fishing world opened up, and learning more about what makes the game of fishing with flies so much more fun, join us.   For more photo’s from the class, check out our Face Book page.