Master Class Monday: When Trout Run for Cover

When fishing for monster brown trout around logs and fallen trees, it pays to have a game plan for when you hook up and that fish heads for cover. . . .

When fishing for monster brown trout around logs and fallen trees, it pays to have a game plan for when you hook up and that fish heads for cover.

In this week’s Master Class Monday, Dave Jensen walks us through how to thoughtfully approach this scenario and how to play the fish once hooked, increasing your chances of landing and releasing a trophy fish.

Watch for further installments of Master Class Monday every week here at Orvis News, in the Advanced Tactics playlist our You Tube Channel, and on the new Advanced section of our Orvis Fly Fishing Learning Center.

Cold Weather Diets: Should Your Dog Consume More Calories?


Photo via gus_riggins on Instagram

Days are getting shorter and there’s a chill in the air; winter is on the way.  In the wild, dropping temperatures mean that animals must shiver to keep warm, which results in burning extra calories.  It may also be more difficult to find food during the winter due to shorter days and snow-covered ground. Their bodies balance the reduced food intake and extra spent energy with reduced activity levels, a slowed metabolism, and hibernation.

Does that mean our dogs should be taking on extra calories in an attempt to gain weight to prepare for the winter months?  The short answer is: probably not.

Though our dogs live alongside humans, their brains still get the same message when the seasons change: eat more, conserve energy, stay alive.  This happens because of a hormonal change called the “thrifty gene”.  The change automatically kicks in when the days get shorter; it is what got their ancestors through harsh winter months, but does your sidekick get anything out of the same cycle of eat, sleep, repeat?

It is usually just the opposite.  A dog that spends the majority of its time indoors doesn’t actually benefit from an increased caloric intake.  When a dog’s metabolism is reduced as it is during the winter, without also getting adequate exercise or altering the calories they are taking in, they would be burning fewer calories; this can contribute to unnecessary, and potentially unhealthy, weight gain.  It may be easy to put on winter weight, but when summer comes around again it is much more difficult to lose weight than to gain it.

What’s Best For YOUR Dog?

Do you spend your winter in an armchair by the fire, reading with your dog curled up beside you?  Or are you active in the colder months, bringing your dog along on hunting, hiking, or snowshoeing treks?

If you have a more active lifestyle, or if your dog spends the majority of its time outdoors, an increase in calories at mealtime may be beneficial; otherwise, it is most likely unnecessary to increase portions or caloric intake.  In fact, you may need to decrease your dog’s calories for the winter months.  How do you know what is best for your dog?

Visit Your Veterinarian

An annual physical exam at your veterinarian’s office should always include a weight check.  Dogs all have different requirements in regards to weight; the ideal weight for one labrador retriever may not be the ideal weight for another.  That’s why veterinarians use a Body Condition Score, or BCS, in order to determine whether or not a dog is at its ideal weight.

An evaluation depends on both a visual look-over from above and to the side of the dog, in addition to feeling the body and ribs to determine the dog’s condition.  The BCS looks at the body shape, size, and breed of the dog being evaluated and places it on a scale of 1 (emaciated) to 9 (very obese).  A dog with the ideal BCS would land near the middle, at a 4 or 5.

Some signs that your dog is at an ideal weight include:

  • A defined waist: when looking from above, your dog’s waist should be thinner than the ribs and pelvis
  • An abdominal tuck: when viewing your dog from the side there should be an upward tuck behind the ribs
  • Ribs that are not seen, but can be felt through the skin: when feeling for your dog’s ribs, there should be no excess fat covering the ribs
    • Alternatively, the ribs should not protrude too much as this may indicate that your dog is underweight.

Your veterinarian can make recommendations based on your dog’s BCS.

How To Avoid Weight Gain

Though it is colder and darker, staying active is important — for both you and your pet.  Trying to get outside daily for some exercise not only helps keep your dog fit, but also strengthens the bond that you have with your dog.

If you can’t get outside to exercise, consider a few daily rounds of fetch or tug inside.  Keeping your dog active can help keep the extra weight off, but exercise isn’t the only consideration.  You should also be aware of what your dog is eating.

If you follow these tips, you may be able to prevent overfeeding:

  • Check the side of the food bag for portion guidelines, but know that the label is not “one size fits all” and quite often recommends a much larger portion than is healthy
  • Ask your veterinarian about the appropriate portions and calorie intake for your dog; they will make recommendations based on your dog’s activity level, breed, age, and more
  • Use a measuring cup to fill the food dish rather than “eyeballing” your dog’s portions
    • If you’re not measuring the food at each feeding you may be inadvertently contributing to extra weight gain.  A large number of pet owners overfeed their dogs without even realizing it.
    • Remember that treats also count toward your dog’s daily calorie intake!  It may be helpful to set aside a specific amount of treats for the day and stick to the limit.
  • Consider switching out dog biscuits and other treats for healthy, dog-friendly options like green beans, sweet potato slices, apple slices, or other fruits and vegetables (but be sure to avoid foods that may make your dog sick)
    • Avoid giving these treats while you’re prepping your meals or eating your dinner, calories can add up quickly that way.
  • Provide a few smaller meals throughout the day, rather than a couple of large meals
  • Slow your dog down and allow them to get more satisfaction out of their meal by using a slow feeder bowl

What If Your Dog is Already Overweight?

If your dog is already overweight, the first step should be to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical concerns.  Your veterinarian can then recommend an appropriate diet, which may potentially include switching to a low-calorie, high-protein food, or even a prescription diet, to aid in weight loss.  Low-calorie foods and dieting don’t necessarily equal weight loss; you will likely need to (gradually) increase your dog’s activity level as well.

Arthritis and Cold Weather: Winter Comfort for your Arthritic Dog


People with arthritis know firsthand that cold weather worsens their pain and stiffness. If your dog has arthritis, his discomfort probably increases during the winter months, too. Theories about why this happens include changes in barometric pressure, increased nerve sensitivity, and decreased activity levels, but no clear cause is known. There are, however, clear steps you can take to keep your arthritic dog more comfortable in winter.

What is Arthritis in Dogs?

Canine arthritis is a chronic, progressive disease in which the cartilage between the joints degenerates, causing pain, stiffness and swelling. The most common form of arthritis for both dogs and humans is osteoarthritis. Dogs are most likely to experience arthritis in their weight-bearing joints, such as the shoulders, hips, ankles, knees and spine. Arthritis can occur in dogs of any age, but occurs most commonly in older dogs.

Manage Your Dog’s Weight

People and their furry best friends tend to move a little less and eat a little more in winter. It’s never a good idea to let your dog’s weight creep higher, but it’s especially important to keep him at a healthy weight if he is arthritic. Joint pain and stiffness are worse when carrying extra pounds. Talk to your veterinarian about helping your dog reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Keep Your Dog Warm — Indoors and Out

During cold winter walks, arthritic dogs require dog jackets to prevent the worsening of symptoms. Many will also benefit from wearing comfortable dog sweaters or coats indoors as well, especially if you keep the thermostat low or your dog makes his den in a drafty spot.

Give Your Dog a Comfortable Place to Rest

A comfortable dog bed, preferably one designed to support aging, arthritic joints, is also a must for dogs with arthritis. If he relocates a lot, consider providing him with several comfortable, supportive spots around the house. And give him a dog blanket to snuggle with for extra warmth if needed.

Keep Your Dog Moving

No matter the weather, your arthritic dog needs exercise throughout the winter to keep his joints lubricated and moving. Keep it low-impact and don’t over it: take him on easy walks multiple times a day. If winter weather is an issue, walk with him around your home or find an indoor “dog gym” near you. Keep in mind that slippery ice and snow are particularly tough on the joints of arthritic dogs, so only walk on cleared paths.

Give Your Dog A Lift

Joint pain makes it tough for dogs to climb onto the bed to snuggle, or into the car for an adventure. Dog ramps and dog stairs can help your dog reach his favorite spots.

Prescription Medication and Alternative Therapies

The most common prescription medications used to lessen arthritis pain in dogs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Talk to your veterinarian about medications, but keep in mind they are not a substitute for weight loss and exercise.

Less traditional treatment options, including acupuncture, physical therapy, therapeutic massage and water therapy, can also offer relief. Be sure to discuss these treatments with your veterinarian, who can recommend qualified practitioners.

If your dog has arthritis, these few extra measures will help him when the weather gets frosty, and allow you both to enjoy life to the fullest through every season.

Can Dogs Eat Turkey and Turkey Bones?


Photo via

Thanksgiving is a time for sharing with friends and loved ones, so the temptation to let your furriest family member partake in the feast is understandable. But to express your gratitude for your dog, and to keep him safe, resist the urge to feed him Thanksgiving scraps—in his bowl or under the table.

Holiday spreads tend to be excessively rich, buttery and oily. That’s just fine for people on special occasions, but dogs’ tummies don’t respond well to fatty fare, such as turkey skin, stuffing and gravies. Ditto for glazed ham, prime rib and roast chicken. According to the Food and Drug Administration, eating rich foods could cause vomiting and diarrhea, and puts your dog at risk of a dangerous condition known as pancreatitis. Symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs include a hunched back, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, fever, visible abdominal discomfort or bloating, and restlessness. If your dog exhibits more than one of these symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately.

After the feast, protect your dog by clearing the table promptly. Turkey bones are not safe for dogs to eat. When whole, they can get stuck in his esophagus or trachea and cause life-threatening choking. Turkey bones break easily into smaller shards that can puncture your dog’s mouth, stomach and intestines, and lead to infections. These fragments can also get stuck and cause dangerous gastrointestinal blockages. Additionally, stuffing, mashed potatoes and other typical holiday side dishes often contain onions, garlic, scallions, leeks or shallots, which are dangerous for dogs to eat.

Put all the leftovers into the fridge, and toss all the scraps and turkey bones into a sturdy enclosed container. If the garbage can in your kitchen is not completely secure from prying snouts and paws, put the scraps outside in an animal-proof garbage can.

Try to keep your dog’s meals and treats routine throughout the holiday season. Be especially vigilant when it comes to chocolate, goodies made with the natural sweetener xylitol, grapes and raisins. These are all toxic for dogs.

If you have a tough time resisting those puppy dog eyes during the holidays, go ahead and give your best friend a few extra pieces of his favorite dog treats. With your vets’ okay, it’s probably okay to feed him small pieces of turkey breast, being sure it is free of bones, skin and gravy. Or simply surprise him with a new dog toy, a visit to the dog park, or extra time playing fetch in the yard. After all, it’s time together that you’ll both appreciate most.

Congratulations to Our Latest Orvis Cover Dog Winners.

It’s that time again to announce our Orvis Cover Dog Contest winners who will appear on our 2016 fall and holiday Dog Books. . . .

It’s that time again to announce our Orvis Cover Dog Contest winners who will appear on our 2016 fall and holiday Dog Books.

As always your photos and participation did not disappoint. From October through March we received just shy of 8,000 entries in our lucky thirteenth contest to date, resulting in what are always fun and beautiful covers.

We can’t thank you all enough for joining this effort. We’ve raised more than $1 million to date since our first contest for our partners at Morris Animal Foundation and their efforts to fight canine cancer. And with this latest round, we just added another $21,000 to the pot thanks to your help. We’ll celebrate those top donor dogs and their owners in a future post.

If you want another shot at the cover while making a difference in the lives of dogs and dog lovers, don’t forget to play again. Be sure to enter our current contest for a chance to get your pooch on the cover and to help pave the way towards another million.

Here are your winners:

Arrow, from Christina Arnado in Grants Pass, OR.

Berkeley, from Mandy Malool in Eatonton, GA.

Greta, from Noah Webb in Los Angeles, CA.

Guinness, from Susan England in Amanda, OH.

Mildred, from Alex Holt in Mount Pleasant, SC.

Rosie, from Cassandra Schmidt in North Newton, KS.

Skye, from Louise Godfrey in Garforth, United Kingdom.

The Summer Dog Bed Giveaway

Enter the Summer Dog Bed Giveaway! Cast your vote for your favorite dog bed and you could win it!

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, so at Orvis, we make dog beds to meet the comfort needs of every dog. Visit our dog beds page to find the right bed for your four-legged companion.

Photos of the Day: Memorial Day Brook Trout Adventure

The trout were hungry that day my friends. Each Memorial Day Weekend my father, and my brother and I with our two oldest boys go in search of brook trout . . .

Elliott and his equally proud cousin take time for a photo op.

The trout were hungry that day, my friends.

Each Memorial Day Weekend my father, my brother, and I—along with our two oldest boys—go in search of brook trout in the western Maine woods. Typically, we don’t need to venture too far from the lake where my parents live, and this year was no exception. We headed down to where the lake runs into the outlet stream and discovered a large pod of fish smashing caddisflies with reckless abandon.

A family affair: Grandpa and an uncle help the boys get started.
All photos by Kerry Kimball

The gin-clear pool is only open to anglers 16 years or younger, and as we discovered this year, will hold trout up to 15 inches, many the product of a local hatchery. For cousins Elliott and Harrison, who are both 10 and just picking up the sport of fly fishing, there was no better place to experience casting a dry fly, setting the hook, and landing then releasing a colorful brookie back into the water.

Elliott moments before setting the hook on a nice brook trout.
Photos by Kerry Kimball

Nearly every cast produced a dramatic rise, and nearly every rise produced a fish on the end of the line. We whooped, we hollered, we were consumed by black flies, but no one cared. The two boys learned an important truth in fly fishing this weekend—like the wet and the cold, biting bugs don’t seem to bother you when you’re catching fish.

Harrison plays fish at the tail of the run.

The boys had a great time fishing together and congratulating each other every time another trout was brought to hand. It was a good day.

Refresh for Spring With the Help of Orvis and Sea Bags

We’re partnering with our friends at Sea Bags to help you freshen up your look with our Spring Refresh Giveaway. . .

With the first day of spring right around the corner (March 20!), it’s time to shake off the winter doldrums and get ready for the coming season. To celebrate, we’ve partnered with our friends at Sea Bags to help you freshen up your look with our Spring Refresh Giveaway!

This prize package is valued at over $800 and will have you looking and feeling great for your next outdoor spring adventure.

Enter here for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Refresh for Spring prize package includes:
Orvis Favorite Sunwashed Quarter-Zip Sweatshirt
Orvis River Guide Gingham Shirt
Orvis Women’s Guide Shorts
(2) Orvis Clover-Print Trucker Hats
Orvis Beaded Leather Americana Belt
Sea Bags All Purpose Navy Tool Bucket Bag
Sea Bags Yellow Ditty Bag
Sea Bags Lobster Print Cosmetic Case Set
Sea Bags Knot Board Tote
Sea Bags Buoy Print Wristlet
Sea Bags Fisherman’s Rope Keychain

This contest runs through Monday, March 21. And remember, spring is almost here. Good luck!

Eligible to U.S. residents aged 18 and over. Void where prohibited. Giveaway sponsored by: The Orvis Company and Sea Bags LLC. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received; many will enter, only one will win. Visit our Refresh for Spring Official Rules.

Orvis Helios 2 Sweepstakes Official Rules


Entries by using multiple/different email addresses, identities, registrations, logins or any other methods, including, but not limited to, commercial contest/sweepstakes subscription notification and/or entering services, will void that entrant’s Entries and that entrant may be disqualified. Final eligibility for the award of any prize is subject to eligibility verification as set forth below. All Entries must be posted by the end of the Promotion Period in order to participate. Sponsor’s database clock will be the official time keeper for this Sweepstakes.

Promotion Description: The ‘Orvis Helios 2’ (“Sweepstakes”) begins on 1/28/2016 at 12:00 PM (Eastern Time (US & Canada)) and ends on 2/12/2016 at 11:59 PM (Eastern Time (US & Canada)) (the “Promotion Period”). By participating in the Sweepstakes, each entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of The Orvis Company (“Sponsor”), which shall be final and binding in all respects. Sponsor is responsible for the collection, submission or processing of Entries and the overall administration of the giveaway. Entrants should look solely to Sponsor with any questions, comments or problems related to the Sweepstakes.

Eligibility: Open to legal residents of USA who are 18 or older. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, distributors, retailers, sales representatives, advertising and promotion agencies and each of their respective officers, directors and employees (collectively, the “Promotion Entities”), and members of their immediate families and/or persons living in the same household as such persons, are ineligible to enter the Sweepstakes or win a prize.
Winner Selection: The winner of the Sweepstakes will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible Entries received throughout the Promotion Period. The random drawing will be conducted by 48 by Sponsor or its designated representatives, whose decisions are final. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible Entries received. Winner will be notified by email at the email address provided in the Entry Information on or about 48 after the random drawing. Potential winner must accept a prize by email as directed by Sponsor within 48 hours of notification. Any winner notification not responded to or returned as undeliverable may result in prize forfeiture. The potential prize winner may be required to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility and release of liability, and a Publicity Release (collectively “the Prize Claim Documents”). No substitution or transfer of a prize is permitted except by Sponsor.

1 winner(s) will receive: 1 Orvis Helios 2 Four Piece Fly Rod (approximate retail value or “ARV”: **$850)

Only one prize per person and per household will be awarded. Gift cards and gift certificates are subject to the terms and conditions of the issuer. Prizes cannot be transferred, redeemed for cash or substituted by winner. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole and absolute discretion to award a substitute prize of equal or greater value if a prize described in these Official Rules is unavailable or cannot be awarded, in whole or in part, for any reason. The ARV of the prize represents Sponsor’s good faith determination. That determination is final and binding and cannot be appealed. If the actual value of the prize turns out to be less than the stated ARV, the difference will not be awarded in cash. Sponsor makes no representation or warranty concerning the appearance, safety or performance of any prize awarded. Restrictions, conditions, and limitations may apply. Sponsor will not replace any lost or stolen prize items.
Prize will only be awarded and/or delivered to addresses within USA. All federal, state and/or local taxes, fees, and surcharges are the sole responsibility of the prize winner. Failure to comply with the Official Rules will result in forfeiture of the prize.
Online Entry: Enter the Sweepstakes during the Promotion Period online by signing into the entry form and perform the tasks provided. The entry form can be found on the following website at /fly-fishing/

Automated or robotic Entries submitted by individuals or organizations will be disqualified. Internet entry must be made by the entrant. Any attempt by an entrant to obtain more than the stated number of Entries by using multiple/different email addresses, identities, registrations, logins or any other methods, including, but not limited to, commercial contest/sweepstakes subscription notification and/or entering services, will void that entrant’s Entries and that entrant may be disqualified. Final eligibility for the award of any prize is subject to eligibility verification as set forth below. All Entries must be posted by the end of the Promotion Period in order to participate. Sponsor’s database clock will be the official time keeper for this Sweepstakes.
Privacy: All entrants acknowledge that if they are chosen as a winner, certain of their personally identifying information may be disclosed to third parties at least as required by law, including, without limitation, on a winner’s list. All personal information submitted as part of the Sweepstakes may be shared by and between the Promotion Entities, and each of the Promotion Entities will use such information in accordance with their respective independent online privacy policies. The privacy policy of The Orvis Company can be found at
Limitation of Liability: Sponsor is not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by website users or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Sweepstakes or by any technical or human error, which may occur in the processing of submissions in the Sweepstakes. Sponsor assumes no responsibility for any misdirected or lost mail, or any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay of operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, Entries. Sponsor is not responsible for any problems or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of email or players on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website or combination thereof, including injury or damage to entrant’s or any other person’s computer related to or resulting from participating downloading materials in the Sweepstakes. If, for any reason, the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of Sponsor which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, then Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes. In such event, Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, perform the random drawing from among all eligible Entries received prior to or after such cancellation, suspension, or modification.

In the event of a dispute concerning who registered online to participate in the Sweepstakes, the registration will be declared to have been made by the authorized account holder is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an email address by an internet provider, online service provider, or other organization (e.g., business, education institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address. A potential winner may be requested to provide Sponsor with proof that the potential winner is the authorized account holder of the email address. If a dispute cannot be resolved to Sponsor’s satisfaction, the entry will be deemed ineligible.

Winner’s List: To obtain a copy of any legally required winners list or a copy of the Official Rules, send the applicable request and a self-addresses, stamped, #10 envelope to The Orvis Company cc: Orvis Recon Giveaway at Request must be received no later than 48 + 6 MONTHS for the name of the winner and, by the end of the promotion, for a copy of the rules.

Sponsor: The Sweepstakes is sponsored by The Orvis Company,,

Facebook Disclaimer: Entrants should understand that they are providing their information to the Sponsor and not to Facebook. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.