Tom Rosenbauer to Receive 2019 Izaak Walton Award


Clockwise from top right: Tom as a youngster in western New York, as part of the Orvis Fly Fishing School faculty, on the water in Vermont, and with a huge Labrador brook trout.

The American Museum of Fly Fishing–in Manchester, Vermont–has announced that the recipient of this year’s Izaak Walton Award will be our own Tom Rosenbauer. The Izaak Walton Award was established in 2014 to honor and celebrate individuals . . .


Clockwise from top right: Tom as a youngster in western New York, as part of the Orvis Fly Fishing School faculty, on the water in Vermont, and with a huge Labrador brook trout.

The American Museum of Fly Fishing–in Manchester, Vermont–has announced that the recipient of this year’s Izaak Walton Award will be our own Tom Rosenbauer. The Izaak Walton Award was established in 2014 to honor and celebrate individuals who live by the “Compleat Angler” philosophy. Their passion for the sport of fly fishing and their involvement in the angling community provides inspiration for others and promotes the legacy of leadership for future generations. Tom will be joining other fly-fishing leaders who have received this award including Ed Jaworowski (2014), Tom Davidson (2015), James Prosek (2016), Jim Klug (2017), and Rachel Finn (2018).

In the announcement of this year’s award-winner, here’s what the museum said about Tom:

Tom Rosenbauer, host of the Orvis Fly Fishing Guide Podcast, has been with the Orvis Company over 40 years, where he has served as a fishing-school instructor, copywriter, public-relations director, merchandise manager, catalog director, and editor of The Orvis News for 10 years. He is currently Marketing Director for Orvis Rod and Tackle.

Tom has been a fly fisher for more than 45 years, and was a commercial fly tier by age 14. He has fished extensively across North America, as well as on Christmas Island, the Bahamas, in Kamchatka, and on the fabled English chalk streams. He is credited with bringing beadhead flies to North America, and is the inventor of the Big Eye hook, Magnetic Net Retriever, and tungsten beads for fly tying. He has more than a dozen fly-fishing books currently in print, including The Orvis Fly-Tying Guide, which won a 2001 National Outdoor Book Award.

For his extraordinary knowledge, accomplishments, and innovations in the sport of fly fishing and his dedication to sharing his skills through his podcast, as a writer, and teacher on the water, Tom is truly a worthy honoree for the 2019 Izaak Walton Award.

Tom will receive his award at a ceremony at The Angler’s Club of New York in March.

Click here for more information and to buy tickets to the ceremony.

Wednesday Wake-Up Call


Florida’s new Governor, Ron DeSantis, made the environment a centerpiece of his campaign, but environmentalists wanted to see if he’d put his money where his mouth is. So far, the signs are promising, as Governor DeSantis . . .


Welcome to the latest installment of the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, a weekly roundup of the most pressing conservation issues important to anglers. Working with our friends at Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, The Everglades Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, Bullsugar.org, and Conservation Hawks (among others), we’ll make sure you’ve got the information you need to understand the issues and form solid opinions.

If you know of an important issue–whether it’s national or local–that anglers should be paying attention to, comment below, and we’ll check it out!

1. New Florida Governor Makes the Environment a Priority


Florida’s new Governor, Ron DeSantis, made the environment a centerpiece of his campaign, but environmentalists wanted to see if he’d put his money where his mouth is. So far, the signs are promising, as Governor DeSantis started moving quickly on water issues and efforts to restore The Everglades.

During his first week in office, he called for the resignations of all members of the South Florida Water Management Board, and two did so. The SFWMB’s recent actions have angered and frustrated those who hope to see the EAA Reservoir built as quickly as possible, to help restore the flow of water south of Lake Okeechobee.

Desantis also pledged to take strong measures to stop the devastating red tides that have been plaguing coastal waters, and has promised to re-fund many programs defunded by his predecessor. Hopefully, the tide has turned, and Florida’s water-quality problems will be addressed they ways they need to be.

2. Watch Full-Length Everglades Documentary “The Swamp” on PBS

As part of its “American Experience” series, PBS recently aired “The Swamp,” a two-and-a-half-hour documentary about the history of The Everglades and how we arrived at the present, dire situation. Here’s the description from PBS:

The history of the Everglades is a dramatic yet little known story of humanity’s attempt to conquer nature. The Swamp, told through the lives of a handful of colorful and resolute characters, explores the repeated efforts to reclaim, control and transform what was seen as a vast wasteland into an agricultural and urban paradise, and, ultimately, the drive to preserve America’s greatest wetland.

Click here to watch the full documentary.

3. Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Pebble Project Expected in late February

The current federal shutdown is not affecting the work of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (part of the Defense Department), so work continues on the Corps’s review of the proposed Pebble project. Once the review is released, there will be a 90-day comment period, during which the sporting community must make its voices heard loud and clear. Orvis will be working with Trout Unlimited to ensure that we flood Corps with comments from folks opposed to Pebble Mine and its threats to the environment, including the world’s last great wild-sockeye run. Stay tuned.

Click here for the full story.

4. Madison River Rules Committee Holds First Meeting


Many in Montana are worried that anglers are loving the Madison River to death. Last year, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks tried to regulate commercial use of the river, but the effort filed in the face of opposition. The new, 10-person Madison River Negotiated Rulemaking Committee is taking another run at the issue, but there’s a pretty high bar for any plan that comes out of these meetings:

Whatever comes out of the committee has to be agreed to by all the members. It would go to the Fish and Wildlife Commission, which would decide whether to put it out for public comment and later whether to adopt it.

Click here for the full story.

Photo of the Day: Perfect Timing


Roberts says he captured this image during a brief interlude between hookups on a banner day on the Green.
Photo by Doug Roberts, Old Moe Guide Service

Utahn Doug Roberts–who runs Old Moe Guide Service, based in the town of Dutch John, sent in this killer photo of a big brown getting ready to send a blue-winged olive down the hatch. Huge . . .


Roberts says he captured this image during a brief interlude between hookups on a banner day on the Green.
Photo by Doug Roberts, Old Moe Guide Service

Utahn Doug Roberts–who runs Old Moe Guide Service, based in the town of Dutch John, sent in this killer photo of a big brown getting ready to send a blue-winged olive down the hatch. Huge emergences of these olives occur during April and May on the Green River, bringing big trout to the surface to gorge after the long winter. Looks like a great place to kick off the spring!

Video: Why Fish Will Hold in Front of Rocks

Anglers talk a lot about “the fish behind that rock,” but too many of us overlook the trout lie in front of that rock. In this great video from The New Fly Fisher, Colin McKeown explains why fish will hold in the hydro cushion or . . .


Anglers talk a lot about “the fish behind that rock,” but too many of us overlook the trout lie in front of that rock. In this great video from The New Fly Fisher, Colin McKeown explains why fish will hold in the hydro cushion or “pillow” on the upstream side of an obstruction. There are also some cool graphics and underwater photographer that explain why the spot is so attractive to fish–even really big ones. After watching this, you’ll never overlook a good pillow again.

Video: How to Tie Landon Mayer’s Mini-Leech

Well known guide and author Landon Mayer’s Mini Leech is a perfect expression of his theory about “non-escaping prey”–that is, trout food that can’t swim or float away. There are times when trout are willing to chase down their . . .

Well known guide and author Landon Mayer’s Mini Leech is a perfect expression of his theory about “non-escaping prey”–that is, trout food that can’t swim or float away. There are times when trout are willing to chase down their food, and that’s when a stripped streamer works great. But in those situations where the fish aren’t willing to to the hard work–or if they simply follow a streamer and don’t strike–a non-escaping presentation, such a dead-drifting a streamer, is just the ticket. The Mini Leech offers lifelike action in the water, as the pine squirrel undulates like a real leech. So fish it on a dead drift, let it swing, and then strip it back. You can also try giving tiny twitches during the drift to really activate the pine squirrel.

In this week’s, Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions shows you how to tie a slim, durable version of this simple pattern. The fact that he takes the time to trim hi flash material before tying it in is a sign of his great attention to detail.


          Landon Mayer’s Mini-Leech
          Hook: Czech nymph hook (here a Fulling Mill 35065), size 14.
          Thread: Black, 8/0 or 70-denier.
          Underbody: Brown Holo Tinsel, medium.
          Rear Body: Brown Zonked Pine Squirrel.
          Front body: Black Ostrich herl.
          Adhesive: Sally Hansen Hard-As-Nails.

Tuesday Tips: The Basics of “Reading the Water”


The author casts to a spot that provides deep water, near cover, on the edge of good current.
Photo by Sandy Hays

Conventional wisdom says that 10 percent of fishermen catch 90 percent of the fish. Most people assume that these elite “10 percenters” enjoy so much success because of their superior . . .


The author casts to a spot that provides deep water, near cover, on the edge of good current.
Photo by Sandy Hays

Conventional wisdom says that 10 percent of fishermen catch 90 percent of the fish. Most people assume that these elite “10 percenters” enjoy so much success because of their superior angling skills, but that’s really only half the story. While knowing how to fish is certainly vital, it’s equally important to know where to fish in a given body of water. You can be a brilliant caster, know just what kind of flies to use, and be a master of the retrieve, but none of this makes a difference if the fish simply aren’t there. And to find the fish, you have to be able to read the water.

Whole books have been written on this subject, but there are some basic tenets that you should always heed.

What Do Fish Need?
“Reading the water” means being able to determine the most likely places you will find holding or cruising fish, and there are a few basic rules that apply whether you’re fishing a lake, a river, or the ocean. First, be a stealthy observer: as you approach the water, stop well back from the edge until you can be sure that you won’t spook any fish before you get a chance to cast to them. It’s a terrible feeling to watch a big fish swim away and realize that you’ve missed your chance to catch it. Seeing the fish in the water—whether it’s a bass on a bed, a rising trout, or a school of stripers crashing bait—lets you know exactly where to start fishing, so you don’t waste any time prospecting. So take a moment to read the water before you approach it, and you’ll end up catching more fish.


This brown trout was hiding in the fallen logs in the background, feeding in the current going by.
Photo by Phil Monahan

As you survey the water, look for the three things that fish crave: cover, food, and margins. Cover—such as weedbeds, fallen trees, overhanging vegetation, or rocks—offers a safe haven for prey species and a place to hide for ambush predators. Food can be in the form of schools of bait or insects on the water or along the banks. And fish simply love margins: the edges between deep water and shallow water, fast water and slow water, or cover and open water. Wherever there is current, in a river or the ocean, fish will seek places where they can hold in slower water, while allowing faster currents to deliver food to them.

Let’s look at three specific angling situations to see how reading the water can help you plan your angling approach.

Rivers
Because fish in moving water must expend energy to fight the current, they don’t usually live right in the fast water. Instead, they inhabit lies where they can hold in slower water but have access to the food conveyor belt that the faster water represents. Therefore, anything that offers cover and breaks the current—rocks, woody debris, a bend in the river—offers a potential fish lie. Concentrate your attention on the “seams” between the faster water and slower water, which you can often identify by looking for the line of bubbles on the surface. Since the current near the surface is faster than that on the bottom, deep slots and pools are also good places to fish, and big rocks on the bottom of these deeper spots can hold big fish.


This bass ate a topwater bug fished on the margin between the weedbed and open water.
Photo by Phil Monahan

Lakes and Ponds
When you’re fishing still water from the bank, you don’t have the luxury of cruising from spot to spot find the fish, the way anglers in a boat can, so you want to choose your spot wisely and then wring the most opportunities out of it. Avoid featureless areas with little cover and uniform depth; instead look for weeds and rocks and places where depth changes quickly. If there’s any wind, fish the downwind side of the lake, because wind and waves concentrate food against the shoreline and attract predators, such as bass or trout.

Your first order of business is to identify the best cover, in form of weedbeds, a fallen tree, or rocks. Bass, especially, will hold tight to cover. Next, look for places where shallow water meets deeper water—a sharp drop-off, a submerged point, or a deep channel. The best places to fish are those places that offer both cover and depth change. Cast your flies along the outside edge of a weedbed or the deeper side of a fallen tree to attract the larger fish holding there. When you’re fishing a submerged point, the most productive approach is to fan-cast around the tip of the structure.


Guide Aron Cascone casts his striper fly into a deep channel with a fast-moving current.
Photo by Sandy Hays

Salt Water
Although the ocean can seem featureless at first glance, upon closer inspection you’ll find that all the advice above holds true for salt water, as well. Focus on those places where you find cover, depth change, and tidal currents. A rocky jetty at the mouth of a bay provides all three, for instance. Because species such as striped bass, false albacore, and bonita often chase schools of baitfish, scan the surface for “nervous water,” a sign of bait schooling just below, and watch for birds flocking over a specific spot. Where you find diving birds, you’ll also find fish below.

By spending a few moments reading the water and figuring out where to focus your attention before you start casting, you can become a much more efficient, productive angler.

Check Out the New #5050ontheWater Profiles Page


The first batch of bios offer a diverse tribe of women who love the sport.

Last year, we launched the 50/50 on the Water website to inspire and celebrate women in the sport we all love. In its first couple years, the #5050onthewater campaign has made great strides, and women from all over the world have joined Orvis in this . . .


The first batch of bios offer a diverse tribe of women who love the sport.

Last year, we launched the 50/50 on the Water website to inspire and celebrate women in the sport we all love. In its first couple years, the #5050onthewater campaign has made great strides, and women from all over the world have joined Orvis in this great cause.

A new feature of the 50/50 website is the Profiles page–with photos and short bios of female anglers–which showcases the fact that participants come from all parts of the angling community. There are industry insiders, guides, and lodge owners, as well as high-school students and women who simply have fallen in love with the sport. You’ll recognize some of the names and learn a whole lot of new ones. You might now have realized just how big an impact women have been making on fly fishing for a long time.

Go check out the Profiles page, and keep your eye on it: We’ll be adding lots more bios in the months to come.

Video: How to Deal with Loose Hanks of Material

If you tie a lot of flies without maintaining good organization of your materials, your tying desk can quickly become unmanageable–with materials all over the place. If you’ve got small kids or a cat, this situation can lead to disaster. . . .


Here’s the latest installment of our series of videos called “One-Minute Fly-Tying Tips and Techniques” from Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions. Each video teaches a single tying skill, from the most basic to the advanced. Ultimately, the series will serve as a sort of encyclopedia of tying skills that will be a valuable resource for anyone who sits down at a vise to create a fly.

If you tie a lot of flies without maintaining good organization of your materials, your tying desk can quickly become unmanageable–with materials all over the place. If you’ve got small kids or a cat, this situation can lead to disaster. Tim Flagler ties a lot of flies, so over the years he’s developed ingenious methods for keeping his materials in place and close at hand. Your hank of Krystal Flash can turn into a nasty tangle if you just leave it lying around. Here, Tim shows you how to use stringy materials without ever taking the whole hank out of the package.

Friday Fly-Fishing Film Festival 01.11.19

Welcome to the another edition of the Orvis News Friday Fly-Fishing Film Festival! Each week, we scour the Web for the best fly-fishing videos available and then serve them up for you to enjoy. This week, we’ve got a baker’s dozen production from a . . .

Welcome to the another edition of the Orvis News Friday Fly-Fishing Film Festival! Each week, we scour the Web for the best fly-fishing videos available and then serve them up for you to enjoy. This week, we’ve got a baker’s dozen production from a wide variety of destinations and featuring many different species. Don’t miss the long video at the end, about three female anglers on a quest to achieve a Florida Keys Grand Slam. The drama and pathos are impressive!

For best results, watch all videos at full-screen and in high definition. Remember, we surf so you don’t have to. But if you do stumble upon something great that you think is worthy of inclusion in a future F5, please post it in the comments below, and we’ll take a look.

And don’t forget to check out the awesome Orvis fly-fishing video theater: The Tug. As of today, there are more than 1,250 great videos on the site!

We kick things off with a tale of Andrew Harding (a.k.a. troutboynz) and his buddy Dan venturing into a lower North Island backcountry river, where the are not disappointed with what they find.

The California coast steelhead fishery isn’t what it once was, but when the stars align, you can still find steelhead magic with swung flies.

The life of a guide in Alaska is the subject of this beautiful video, which combines great fishing action with an interesting narration.

Casting fruit and flower imitations to nasty, toothy fish in the jungles of Costa Rica looks like good fun. I’ll let you judge the quality of the David Attenborough imitation.

The boys from Fly Fish the Mitt serve up some great Michigan steelhead action from last fall.

Great action from Alaska, featuring huge rainbows and arctic char.

I don’t really know what this is for, but it’s pretty danged cool, especially if you love mayflies.

As a native New Englander, I approve of this message, and I dig the footage of fishing the rocky Maine Coast for striped bass.

This footage of chasing big browns on Utah’s Green River makes me want to call Doug Roberts right away. It’s been too long since I’ve floated Flaming Gorge.

There’s some good stuff in this stoke reel from Europe–namely,Poland, Norway, Montenegro, and Bosnia–featuring a variety of species.

O, Captain, my Captain! Why did you have to schedule the release of this epic film after the F5 goes live? You can watch it after 7:30 p.m. EST by clicking here.

From above, the fly-fishing waters of the Emerald Isle look stunning.

Here’s some serious #5050onthewater in action, as three expert female anglers–including Orvis ambassador Hilary Hutcheson–from different walks, try to achieve a Grand Slam in the Florida Keys. Warning: Lots of F-bombs throughout. Fishing in the Keys will do that to you.

Videos: Fly-Casting Lessons from an Aussie Master

Peter Morse is among Australia’s most well-known fly fishers, having once hosted a popular TV show about the sport. Although we’ve never met, he and I have been . . .


Peter Morse is among Australia’s most well-known fly fishers, having once hosted a popular TV show about the sport. Although we’ve never met, he and I have been “Internet friends” for years, and I have always found him to be both very knowledgeable and a good instructor. So I was happy to stumble on these four short casting videos that Peter made almost four years ago. Based on the Youtube numbers, hardly anyone has seen them, but they’re full of great information. He starts by discussing tip control, then moves on to discussing the “infinitely variable” casting arc and the loop. The final video explains what can cause a wide loop or a tailing loop.

I also think that it’s important to get plenty of perspectives to really understand fly casting. Pete Kutzer will always be our top guy, but other views are often equally valid. So watch Peter’s videos, and maybe the way he explains something will be the catalyst for an improvement in your ability to throw line for distance and accuracy.