Introducing a New “Ask the Orvis Experts” Column!

Our panel of more than 20 guides includes (clockwise from top left) Brown Hobson (North Carolina),
Kip Vieth (Minnesota), Tim Linehan (Montana), and Chuck Hawkins (Michigan).

One of the great resources available to help me with my job is the network of Orvis-endorsed guides from across the country. You see their killer photos, videos, and how-to articles posted regularly here on the Fly Fishing blog, for instance, and some of them have become regular contributors.

We’ve decided to tap this vast pool of expertise by launching a weekly “Ask the Experts” column, in which readers pose questions and our panel of guides and anglers offers their best answers. It will be fascinating to see how experienced anglers come up with different ways to answer the same question, and we should all learn a lot in the process. Each week, we’ll choose one question to put to our panel.

So, if you have a question for our panel of experts, write it in the comments section below. This will be the start of a question archive that should grow with each new column.

Is there a question about fly fishing that has always bugged you? Or perhaps you just want to know what others think about a certain topic. If so, then ask away!

36 thoughts on “Introducing a New “Ask the Orvis Experts” Column!”

  1. When using wet flies & streamers:
    When do you use sink tip line or just use floating line with splitshot (or no splitshot)?


  2. What is your primary adjustment when fish are short-striking well presented flies? Aside from focusing on a drag free drift, do you downsize tippet, fly, adjust color?

  3. Studs, orvis has 20 in a pack, Is that 10 per shoe but my korkers have 20 per shoe. How do you determine how many is enough?

    1. Try stopping your forward cast about 15 degrees above the horizon. Then SLOWLY let your rod tip follow the line to the water .

  4. Last weekend while fishing for rainbows on the Gunpowder River in Maryland I put a deep gouge in my fly line. Any recommendations as to what I can do to repair it or do I need to replace the entire line?

    1. How well does it float where it’s nicked? If the gouge is within the first 30 feet of line you may want to replace it. Did you step on t with cleats?

  5. Add a salt water expert or better have a salt water panel also !!!
    I hope this will not undermine Tom’s fly box .

  6. I see the great locations and catches, and get envious. Based on my experience (limited) in Colorado & Nebraska, it’s hard to find public access to good locations. The places that are public seem to be fished out. Are your photos mostly from private lands? How do you find good locations and figure out how/where to ask permission?

  7. What is your secret fly for the Milkfish at Kiritimati? I’ve caught one small one on a #6 Orange CIS. I’ve caught them up to 1250mm in length on a floating #6 Palolo worm in FNQ so know how they go.

  8. 2 easy questions. 1)Preferred knots for flies. Improved clinch? Davy? 2)Best piece of advice you have gotten from someone about fishing?

  9. Is fly fishing unique to trout ? What other species in the Midwest lakes can be fly fished successfully that would surprise people to know ? Can Walleyes be fly fished successfully ?

  10. I fish fast flowing freestones in the N.W., often having to make longer casts (50-60 ft) because the trout are along the opposite bank. The setup is 10-ft 4-wgt Recon, floating line with fast sinktip plus 3-4 feet 5x tippet, tungsten puddy, and #12 pat’s rubber leg. On these longer casts where it’s difficult to hold much line off the water, what are some good ways to maximize drag free drift?

  11. Which nymph type for which water type? Riffles, runs, flats, pools, rapids…Where I fish is like the Disney of fly fishing in that there is something for every preferred style. Rather than “match the hatch”, I would like to approach the possibilities with an idea of what type of insect a given stream(bed) will support.

  12. Guys,
    Last July I fished the Madison just below Hebgen lake and was puzzled by multiple misses/refusals of my purple haze dry fly. I think my drift was good but either the fish kept missing it, or kept refusing it, in the exact same place in the drift. It made me wonder if my fly was dragging just barely out of the area of the current it should have been in if it were a natural, and therefore the fish refused it or missed it over and over. The rises were pretty obvious so it made me think the fish was missing it but of course my set could easily have been late since the lane was at least 30′ from me. Was it me or the fish?
    Lakewood, CO

  13. I have watched mousing videos from Iceland, Alaska and New Zealand where the brown trout readily hit mouse flies during daylight. Here in the U.S. mousing is a night time only activity. Why?
    I have asked numerous guides and they all say night time, the darker the night the better. But when asked why they don’t have an answer.

    1. My guess is that Alaskan trout are less wary and more interested in fattening up for the long winter. New Zealand has “mouse years,” during which the rodents are extremely plentiful and the fish actually key on them. I have seen fish caught on mice during the daytime here in the U.S., but I think your chances are probably better at night.

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