Podcast: We’re “Fixing” Trout Streams All Wrong, with Chris Jordan

[Interview starts at 41:31]

My guest this week is Chris Jordan, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who specializes in habitat restoration. His view is that, in our arrogance, we’ve gotten habitat-restoration projects all wrong most of the time. We think we can engineer river systems to conform with what we think they should be, but rivers are dynamic and mostly unpredictable. Whenever possible, he argues, we need to look at watershed solutions—helping rivers do the job with a lighter hand but a larger scope. Learn more at the Restoring Riverscapes website.

In the Fly Box, we have a wide variety of interesting questions, including:

  • Should I bother fishing carp flats when the water temperature is in the 50s and air temperature is in the 30s?
  • Will brown trout live in warm water rivers some of the time? Is it worth it to fish the mouths of cold-water tributaries for brown trout?
  • You always say that trout prefer to be in water that is two to four feet deep to feed. Yet I have caught my largest trout in pools that are 10-to 15-feet deep.  I’m confused.
  • How does George Daniel attach his light nymphing leader to his fly line?
  • I fish small streams with a 10-foot, 4-weight Recon rod. I worry about spooking trout when my rod casts a shadow over the pool I’m fishing. Should I go with a shorter rod?
  • Some great suggestions from a listener about fishing with kids, and why we should make it more about building relationships and not always about catching fish.
  • I consistently foul-hook trout when fishing multiple flies. Am I striking too soon or too late, or striking too hard?
  • If most people fish barbless flies, why don’t manufacturers make more barbless hooks?
  • Do states only stock trout in specific locations due to allocated quantities, or are there environmental factors in play?
  • Can I use a 6-weight Bank Shot line on my 11-foot, 4-weight Euro rod to try two-handed casting?
  • I have a friend who ties all my flies. What should I get him as a thank-you gift?
  • If I hook but lose a big lake-run rainbow, would it be possible to go back later in the day to try for it?
  • I have a small brook trout stream on my property. Should I put some trees in the river to help the fish?
  • A listener suggests that although smallmouth bass don’t need much habitat help from us, they grow slowly so handling them with care is important if you want a trophy smallmouth fishery.

One thought on “Podcast: We’re “Fixing” Trout Streams All Wrong, with Chris Jordan”

  1. We live in Red Lodge, MT and were devastated by the Yellowstone flood, 2022. Many stream side residents went into panic mode and added rock (massive amounts) to their banks. We did not panic, maintaining a thick and healthy vegitation boundary along our 350’ bank. Chris and Tom were spot-on and their discussion was very pointed. Thank you and please pass on an open invitation to any and all Orvis staff to visit our community and meet/fish/hike the Beartooths. We need real corporate environmental recognition to create a more vibrant and innovative paradigm that embraces dynamically changing natural resources. Thank you again… Jim Dufour.

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