When most people think of fly fishing, they picture an angler casting for trout on a beautiful mountain freestone stream, just like in the movie A River Runs Through It, but the fact is that you can catch almost any species of fish on a fly and have a lot of fun. No matter where you live, you almost certainly have a variety of game species—from panfish and bass, to trout and salmon, to carp and suckers—available within a short drive of home. Think of the ponds and lakes you pass by and the streams you cross on your way to somewhere else. Have you ever wondered if the fishing is any good there? Since many of us are traveling less these days, it’s the perfect time to plan a series of mini adventures, exploring those local waters to see what swims in them. You may be astonished by what you find!
Saltwater anglers have long prized the Grand Slam, which involves catching a bonefish, tarpon, and permit in the same day. If you were to apply that concept to your home waters, what species would constitute your own “Local Slam”? In southwestern Vermont, where Orvis is headquartered, we can cast for brown trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, pickerel, northern pike, common carp, and a variety of panfish—all within a half hour of the office. Our friend, Drew Price, who guides and fishes in the northern part of the state, has taken this goal to the extreme by attempting to catch a trophy-size specimen of all 33 species of game fish in the state.
As an added incentive, we are including a Local Slam category in this year’s “20 September Days” Photo Contest. All fish for this competition must be caught during the month of September, and you’ll be up against anglers from all 50 states.