Patagonia Great Divider Review by Steve Schmidt

1mulN03oI7yxtQa9wvgHfWaG5MJT7wnjZsHJmgMrvmw,Aihs2ufry_wTAfSfn7p17EXiOT7r915J4VaJWfDCGcUWhen Patagonia first came out with the Great Divider I thought it had issues; the waterproof zipper and it’s price. I must not have been the only one because Patagonia dropped the bag for a year or two, however enough consumers must have liked it since Patagonia eventually brought it back.

Not much changed with it on its second go around, but during that time I’d been through a number of other boat bags supposedly designed to perform as the Patagonia Great Divider was intended to do, but they all failed so miserably that I finally bit the bullet and bought the Patagonia bag. That was a long time ago and it was a purchase well worth the investment.

One of the design features that bugged me was the waterproof zipper, yet after having cameras floating around in the bottom of the other bags and after having on a number of occasions to empty the contents of those other boat bags and dry everything out I understood that if your going to have a fly-fishing bag its going to be getting wet, yet the idea is it’s contents should remain dry and protected.

So I’ve gotten over the bulky zipper after I realized that it was a necessary evil and that it was a feature that made the bag truly waterproof, which for a boat bag is a necessity. In the latest version of this bag, I’m still sporting the original green one, the zipper is much easier to use, yet it performs well with a lot less effort and bulk.

After all the years and places I’ve traveled and used this bag I haven’t found another one that performs as well or is as durable as the Patagonia Great Divider. It’s adjustable compartments gives you a myriad of options for packing your reels, cameras, tablet, phone, flies, leaders, tippets, cigars, and articles of light clothing. It’s not only a great boat bag, but excellent for carryon when traveling, or storing your stuff in, between trips.

There’s a reason why just about everyone in the shop uses this bag. It’s a great bag and the Great Divider flawlessly does what it’s suppose to. If you’re looking for a boat bag that will serve you well for years, protect your valuable fly-fishing equipment and accessories Patagonia’s Great Divider will do just that.

To purchase or see other great fly fishing products visit our website here…

Patagonia R1 Field Shirt Review by Steve Schmidt

12033233_10156055923215203_2031007513125560217_nFor the past 30 years I’ve chased steehead in the fall around the great northwest. This affliction must be some what infections since now most of us at Western Rivers take time off each fall just to pursue these fish. The crew and I all know it’s a game where the elements can present fishing and comfort challenges. From a clothing standpoint if you don’t have a good layering system, including a very good rain coat, you can be miserable. When these fish are in their rivers the weather often isn’t very accommodating. I know first hand what that’s like and in my early days of fly-fishing for steelhead had a number of trips where I spent as much time at the laundry matt drying out as I did fishing. Over the years I’ve realized the importance of having good gear and I include clothing in that category when it comes to being comfortable in winter, spring and fall when the weather can send you home if you don’t have a functional layering system.

As I do most fall seasons my first steelhead trip of the year is our Western Rivers hosted trip to BC. This year was no exception. As I began to pack I pulled an original Patagonia R1 top from my drawer and after a decade or more of service it still looked good, but it had gotten pretty thin. Coincidentally we just happened to get the new Patagonia  R1 Field 1/4 Zip top in at the shop and with all the changes in design and fabrics this new piece of insulation incorporates, it’s a significantly improved top from when Patagonia first introduced Regulator fleece.  52720_FTGN.fpx
For starters, the fabric in the new R1 Field 1/4 Zip has a much improved hand, ability to move moisture and regulate you temperature. Sounds pretty high tech, as this and other Patagonia fabrics are. On the sleeves and shoulders it is reinforced with a DWR layer that will help keep wind and water out and you more comfortable in a variety of different weather situations. This reinforced  layer isn’t waterproof, but its water repellant and a great added feature for those who fish since we’re often fishing in the rain, or dealing with wind on cool fall and spring days. It’s also got two chest pockets; one inside and one out.

After purchasing the R1 Field top there was a good reason I wore this shirt for 10 straight days; it just worked in so many different situations. For starters the recycled pilled fleece was noticeably warmer and more comfortable. On this trip for some reason we had a lot of wind, and the reinforced layer that wraps around your shoulders and down the sleeves really helped keep the chill off. Unlike Windstopper fleece, which is a challenge to get dry after it gets wet, you’ll find the RI fleece breaths so well it dries much quicker. Given the mix of weather, especially wet weather I had, it was an ideal layering piece when swinging flies or hanging around camp. Although I didn’t retire my original R1 top, after this recent acquisition it might be a while before it gets worn again.

These things are killer and going like hot cakes, if you’re interested in more info or would like to purchase please visit our website.

Patagonia Stormfront Roll Top Pack Review by Steve Schmidt

ImageThe Patagonia Storm Front Roll Top Pack is another well thought out fly-fishing product from Patagonia. I found it interesting that on the product content page on the Patagonia web-site that they referred to the island of Haida Gwaii as an ideal location to use the Strom Front Roll Top Pack. Ironically enough I just returned from there. When fly-fishing for steelhead in the northwest, keeping your things dry is a challenge. I was faced with this challenge as I prepared to head out the door to fish the Queen Charlotte’s in January. In doing a little research, Haida Gwaii gets some serious rain, 18′; yep feet. We just happened to get aStorm Front Roll Top Pack in right as I was trying to figure out what I needed to carry my stuff in, since you do a fair amount of walking in this remote steelhead location and because of the frequent rains, if you don’t have a waterproof pack, you’re stuff is going to get quite wet. Since their new Storm Front Packs also accommodate their modular vest pockets, the options the new Storm Front Roll Top Pack offered was a no brainer for this and many other destinations where I’m fortunate to fly-fish. TO READ THE FULL REVIEW CLICK HERE.

Patagonia Women’s Wader and Jacket Review


For 2014 Patagonia launched a new Women’s fly fishing line. When we first saw the new women’s products, we couldn’t have been more excited. We were lucky to get our shop friend and WRF women’s ambasador Heidi Lewis a set of the Patagonia women’s spring river waders, and Patagoina women’s river salt jacket. These days Heidi is spending more time on the water than most, and gave us and Patagoina a great review on the new products. For the full review of the Spring River Waders and Women’s River Salt Jacket click here…

Patagonia Nano Puff Hybrid Jacket Review

The Patagonia Nano Puff has become one of the most recognized outdoor pieces of clothing among outdoor enthusiast around the world, and for good reason.  It’s an incredibly versatile, packable and lightweight insulated jacket and definitely a shop favorite among the staff at Western Rivers Flyfisher.  This year they’ve introduced a new variation of the Nano Puff, the Nano Puff Hybrid.  For those that fly-fish, this unique new jacket combines an insulated shelled upper that mirrors the qualities of the Nano Puff Jackets with a recycled R2 Midweight Fleece that drapes the bottom half of the garment.  Its two jackets in one virtually! In their catalog they tout this new Nano Puff Hybrid as an alpine piece, but when we looked at it, we couldn’t stop thinking about what a great jacket this would be for fly-fishing.
For the full review of the Patagonia Nano Hybrid click here…

Ultimate Fishing Pack: Patagonia Stealth Atom Sling Review

In the search for the best fishing pack we’ve come to find the Patagonia Stealth Atom Sling Pack a one of a kind. Several manufacturers have put together sling packs over the years, and even Patagonia has put one out before, but there are a few unique things that the Stealth Atom has over any others. A sling pack is the perfect size for hiking around your favorite stream. We have used this pack steel heading and find that it works well even when spey casting. It’s also a great go to pack when you’re in it for the long haul on salt water flat. TO READ THE FULL REVIEW CLICK HERE…

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!