Fly-Fishing History: Battling Trout, ca. 1878


Charles Dudley Warner

[Editor’s note: From time to time, we like to look back at the literature of fly fishing to see how anglers viewed the sport we love. Here’s a fun passage from Charles Dudley Warner, who always wrote with a healthy dose of humor, which perhaps explains his long friendship with Mark Twain.]

Trout fishing. . .would be a more attractive pastime than it is but for the popular notion of its danger. The trout is a retiring and harmless animal, except when he is aroused and forced into a combat; and then his agility, fierceness, and vindictiveness become apparent. No one who has studied the excellent pictures representing men in an open boat, exposed to the assaults of long, enraged trout flying at them through the open air with open mouth, ever ventures with his rod upon the lonely lakes of the forest without a certain terror, . . .

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Caption Contest: We Have a Winner!

Bonefish mania-1


photo by Tom Rosenbauer

Last weeks ago, we asked you to vote on the best caption for this photo by Tom Rosenbauer. The voting was close, but the clear winner was “Chester,” with the caption above. For his efforts, Chester  gets a free copy of the Orvis App. If you think you have a fun photo that would make a great caption contest, send it to monahanp [at] Thanks for playing!

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Friday Film Festival 12.09.11

Welcome to another edition of the Friday Film Festival, in which we scour the Web for the best fly-fishing footage available. This week’s got a banner crop: ten videos to soak up your lunch hour or to spread out over the weekend. Throughout, there is a theme of questing: embarking on a journey in search of something valuable. We’ve got. . .

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Tom Rosenbauer’s Ten Tips for Loading your Fly Box

Want to know how Tom would fill these up for fishing anywhere in the world? Listen to the podcast below. Pictured are the Orvis Lightweight Aluminum Fly Boxes.

This week we range in topics from toilet paper to bass leaders, but the main topic is one that is frequently requested: How to make sense of the thousands of patterns of dry flies into a reasonable number that will cover most of the hatches you encounter. I offer 10 tips on slimming down your fly box (or filling it up, depending on where you are in the game) plus my favorite dozen dry flies.

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Video: Lessons from a Two-handed Fly Fishing Master

We recently received an email from Damien Nurre—owner of Deep Canyon Outfitters in Bend, Oregon—who shared this video and comment:

I was lucky enough to spend three days with Goran Andersson. He’s not well known in the U.S., but is a legend in Europe and in Atlantic salmon fishing. Our Skagit and Scandi lines are his claim to fame…truly an amazing dude. My head is still jumbled from everything I learned.

There is a lot of wisdom, gleaned from decades on the water, contained in this short film. Andersson is basically the Yoda of two-handed fly fishing.

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Great Interview with Fly-Fishing Photography Icon Val Atkinson

Learn the story behind this famous Val Atkinson photo in Tom Chandler’s interview with the photographer.

photo courtesy R. Valentine Atkinson

Over on the CalTrout website, blogger Tom Chandler (of Trout Underground fame) interviews legendary fly-fishing photographer Val Atkinson.

There are lots of great insights about fly-fishing, changes in the world of photography, and conservation. Plus, there are even a few tips for those of us who seem to be photographically-impaired.

Click here to read the whole interview.

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Tom Rosenbauer Trivia Challenge 12.08.11


Tom Rosenbauer is back, which I know will make many of you happy. This week’s Trivia Challenge covers everything from casting to wading to controlling the speed of your fly in the water. Post your score in the comments below to become eligible for our giveaway: One lucky commenter, chosen at random, will win a signed copy of Tom’s recent book The Orvis Guide to the Essential American Flies, a great resource for anyone who enjoys tying flies.

Last week’s winner, Norman Boucher, had this to say about his prize:

Tom’s book arrived yesterday, and I went through it page by page last night. I am just so delighted to have it. The book is very impressive, a beautiful work, and as a beginning-level fly tier I will put it to a lot of use.

The winner of the random drawing for last week’s quiz was commenter ted1, who did better than most on what was apparently a pretty tough quiz, judging from the scores and comments.

Good luck!

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Fly-Fishing Quote: Is Angling an Art?

O, Sir, doubt not but that Angling is an art; is it not an art to deceive a Trout with an artificial Fly? a Trout! that is more sharp-sighted than any Hawk you have named, and more watchful and timorous than your high-mettled Merlin is bold? and yet, I doubt not to catch a brace or two to-morrow, for a friend’s breakfast: doubt not therefore, Sir, but that angling is an art, and an art worth your learning. The question is rather, whether you be capable of learning it? angling is somewhat like poetry, men are to be born so: I mean, with inclinations to it, though both may be heightened by discourse and practice: but he that hopes to be a good angler, must not only bring an inquiring, searching, observing wit, but he must bring a large measure of hope and patience, and a love and propensity to the art itself; but having once got and practiced it, then doubt not but angling will prove to be so pleasant, that it will prove to be, like virtue, a reward to itself.

—Izaak Walton, The Compleat Angler (1653)

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Video: How to Tie a Mercury Midge

Although most anglers think of midge hatches as winter phenomena, these tiny insects hatch year-round in most places. (In fact, some stillwater anglers focus on midges almost exclusively throughout the season.) However, winter anglers love midges best because Chironomids are often the only hatches that bring fish to the surface during the coldest months, and a Griffith’s Gnat cast to sipping. . .

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