Guide Report: East Meets West on the Yakima

A fine Yakima rainbow, brought to the net despite the brutal “W.”

photo by Patrick Fulkrod

There’s a British film made in 1936, titled East Meets West in which the cast of characters play though a modern-day plot line: the coveting of something you don’t have because of its strategic value or place. The main character in the movie plays a powerful figure being courted by two larger, foreign powers vying for his homeland, . . .

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Top 5 Dry-Fly Patterns for Spring in NW Montana

The classic Parachute Adams worked great for imitating early-season Baetis,
according to Tim Linehan of Linehan Outfitting Co.

photo via

Spring fishing is approaching quickly here in the northwestern corner of Montana. For the most part, the front end of the pre-runoff season is all about pulling streamers. But as soon as we hit the middle of the month and water temperatures start ooching into the middle 40’s, the dry-fly fishing will light up. Here are five top dry flies for our region that are consistently recognized as the fuel that feeds the trip to trout town.

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“I’ll have an Orvis Sling to fish with the rest of my life”- Customer Owl Jones Reviews the Safe Passage Sling Pack

Orvis Sling Pack Video Review from Owl Jones on Vimeo.


 Over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that you can divide good fly fishing gear into three categories that I like to call the Three Qualities: Gear that’s made well. Gear that’s affordable. Gear that’s functional. That said, it’s sometimes almost impossible to find a product that has all of these qualities. Then, along comes the Orvis Safe Passage Sling Pack.

            In my many years of fishing, I’ve worn or carried just about everything ever made for hauling around fishing gear. I’ve tried tackle boxes, conventional vests, chest packs and fanny packs. You name it, I’ve probably tried it at least twice. Unfortunately, I always found every product to be lacking one of the Three Qualities. This Orvis Sling Pack though – this is the solution I’ve been trying to find for the last 25 years. 

            The Orvis Sling Pack is a rock-solid design. Unlike some other “so called” sling packs that are little more than a square bag with a strap, this Orvis Sling Pack takes care of everything. From a place to easily secure your keys to multiple forceps/pliers pockets to an awesome, comfortable design.  Using the optional under-the-arm harness strap, it’s easy to forget you’re wearing it. Also, I’ve got to say that as a “big guy” there’s plenty of strap length to go around. Both the arm strap and the waist strap are fully removable, too. Add to that two huge compartments, really smooth zippers and numerous tool attachment points, and you’ve got all the bases covered. 

            I can get a whole day’s worth of fishing gear inside just the main compartment, which leaves the exterior pocket free for a water bottle, sunglasses, sunscreen, or even lunch. Functional? Absolutely. It’s also made of durable, heavy material that looks as if it could last a decade or more of hard use. Is it well made? I’ve looked it over time and again, and I can’t find a single flaw in the workmanship or materials.

            OK, so it’s well made and highly functional…how about affordable? Honestly, I think Orvis has done the impossible by pricing this kind of quality product so that anyone can afford it. Trust me when I tell you that this thing would be worth $179 – and at roughly half the price of what other companies sell their “sling pack” for, this may literally be the Deal of the Decade. I have never owned a pack or vest with this much going for it – and certainly not at this a price this low!

            I plan to fish for 40 more years, and I’m pretty hard on gear. I might just buy an extra one so I’ll have a Safe Passage Sling Pack to fish with the rest of my life. Trust me folks, this is the only pack you’ll ever need. 

-Owl Jones runs the always entertaining outdoor blog, Read More

Picture of the Day: Ice-Off Rainbow

Ice-Out Rainbow

Early in the season, big trout like this one often abandon their usual wariness.

photo by Dave Danley

Ice-off is a special time on stillwater lakes. Here in Utah, we have had a mild winter and warm spring, and a few lakes are starting to open up. This huge rainbow was taken by guide Dave Danley at Falcon’s Ledge on Saturday, March 10th. Easily running 8lbs. It ate a leech pattern, as it was cruising the shallows looking for easy meals. By the size and girth of this giant, it seems to be feeding well on all the forage in our home stillwaters. This ice-off season should be one to remember.

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Pictures of the Day: Jack the Jedi

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12-year-old Jack Barton with a huge Dry Run Creek cutthroat.

photo courtesy Matt Milner

I spent the day recently with this twelve-year-old kid named Jack Barton, who is a better angler than a lot of men who have been fishing forever. It’s in his DNA. His mom was guiding and rowing while he was still in the womb.

We had an epic day on this small stream, called Dry Run Creek, which dumps into Norfork Tailwater in Arkansas. It is a creek set aside for for youths 16 and under and handicapped anglers. It’s where my father taught me how to fly fish as a kid and is just . . .

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Three Tips for a Better Backcast

Casting instructor Alex Titov demonstrates the high rod stop, with the rod pointing
straight upward, and he’s watching the line unfurl behind him.

photo via Alex Flyfishing

If you’re looking to improve your cast, start by perfecting your backcast. Here are three tips that will help you accomplish a better backcast and therefore, a better cast in general: . . .

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Dispatch from New Zealand: Who’s Laughing Now?

Surely there are no fish in that shallow trickle running through the farmer’s
field, right? I mean, that would be ridiculous.

all photos by Dave and Amelia Jensen

[Editor’s Note: Each winter, Dave and Amelia Jensen, owners of Fly Fish Alberta, escape the harsh Canadian climate by traveling to New Zealand for a few months of chasing big brown trout. Here’s a recent update from Dave.]

Amelia and I want to put out a dvd on some of our favorite aspects of fly fishing in New Zealand. One of those things has to do with tiny waters that are of no consequence to most anglers. We love them, and they are seldom fished because they are typically. . .

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How to Sneak a Fly Rod Past Your Wife on Vacation. . .Maybe

Garrett Sill 1

Garrett Sill trying to choose just the right fly to catch a . . . well, frankly, he has no idea.

photo courtesy Garrett Sill

In January, I traveled to St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, for business (seriously, it was business). My wife was lucky enough to tag along with me… at least that’s what I kept telling her, but she insisted that it was the other way around. It was a last minute trip, so we didn’t have much time to plan any activities, and we were content just to hang on the beach and soak in the sun.

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Chasing Skwallas on the Lower Yuba

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The author’s pal with a chunky Yuba River rainbow.

photo by Jason Cotta

The clouds loomed overhead when I picked up my good friend Jason to begin yet another California adventure. We were headed to the Yuba River, located less than 90 minutes outside Sacramento. The trip wasn’t as glamorous as our exploits over the last couple weeks, but we were excited nonetheless. In the last month, we’ve been fortunate enough to catch steelhead up to ten pounds on fabled waters such as the Klamath and Trinity, but. . .

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