The Perils of Lucky Hats

Do I have a lucky fishing hat? I’ll only answer that question if you answer it first. It’s a delicate thing to admit to superstitions when we should be working on our double haul or stealth-emerger tactics. But let’s just say I did have a lucky hat. It was . . .

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“Opening Day 1938,” by William G. Tapply

Written by: William G. Tapply


Bill Tapply didn’t share Opening Day with his famous father, but they both spent it on the water.
Photo courtesy Vicki Stiefel

An unexpected glimpse into the past sparks childhood memories.

The other day, I was unpacking a carton of old books that my father left behind, and I paused at a nice Derrydale edition of A Tomato Can Chronicle by Edmond Ware Smith. I remembered how . . .

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Classic Tuesday Tip: Learning to Love Ugly Flies

Written by: John McKinnie


The Madison River trout didn’t seem to mind that Elliot’s pattern wasn’t perfect.
Photo by John McKinnie

I have a problem to admit: I have become a fly snob! The more time I spend fly fishing, the more concerned I have become with the aesthetic appeal of fly patterns. I believe that I developed. . .

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Story and Photos: You Never Forget Your First Love


A native Vermont brook trout caught from a stream flowing out of the Green Mountains.
Photo by Phil Monahan

The first brook trout I ever saw was about three inches long, little bigger than a baitfish really. But the memory of that vision—of that glittering flash of color and light—remains sharply etched in my . . .

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“Volkswagen Cove,” by William G. Tapply

Written by: William G. Tapply


A young Bill Tapply shares an on-stream victory with his father, H.G. “Tap” Tapply.
Photo by Harold F. Blaisdell from Tap’s Tips: Practical Advice for All Outdoorsmen

In the last month of my father’s life, when he knew his days were numbered, fishing memories comforted and sustained him. He’d had a good life, he said. No regrets. He’d been pretty . . .

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Armed to the Teeth: The Northern Pike of Wollaston Lake

Orvis’s Tom Evenson prepares to release a 43-inch northern pike, which hit a topwatere slider pattern.
Photo by Joel Ruby

“Can we please change this fly?” Guide Dan Lembke–all six-foot-eight, two-hundred and ninety
pounds of him–was sitting in the center of the boat, rebuilding my wire leader
and considering what fly to tie on, . . .

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“Same Time Next Year,” by William G. Tapply

Written by: William G. Tapply


Fishing the “Big Lake” for smallmouths was twice an annual tradition for Bill Tapply.
Photo courtesy Colin McKeown, of The New Fly Fisher 

It was shortly after the arrival of the new year—the snow drifts around the north side of my barn stood eight feet deep, and the red stuff in the thermometer outside my kitchen window was . . .

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Story and Photos: Learning to Love The Driftless Area

Written by: Len Harris, Jr.


The tiny spring creeks of the driftless hold some of the most colorful browns you could imagine.
Photos by Len Harris, Jr.

Many folks don’t know the meaning of the term driftless. It is an area in the Midwest–comprising parts of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin–that was not flattened by the last glacial period. . . .

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“The Eternal Debate,” by William G. Tapply

Written by: William G. Tapply


Bill Tapply drifts a dry fly on a mountain stream.
Photo by Phil Monahan

It happened again last winter, this time in the form of an e-mail from my friend Skip Rood. “Just got home from a long and inconclusive—and at times acrimonious—discussion at the Boston Fly . . .

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Photos and Story: Into the Gunnison Gorge

Written and photographed by: Nick Swingle


The beautiful browns of the Gunnison Gorge were like icing on the cake of this incredible trip.

The temperature is unseasonably warm, even for western Colorado. We wait in the shade, knowing the hike ahead will offer ample opportunity for sun and sweat. We pass the time nervously with last-minute Macgyvering of our packs and . . .

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