Tuesday Tip: How to Set the Hook and Fight a Fish

Welcome to another installment of “Ask an Orvis Fly-Fishing Instructor,” with me, Peter Kutzer. In this episode, I demonstrate how to correctly set the hook when you’re fishing for trout and other small fish and when you’re stripping a fly for saltwater species or freshwater big game. The way you set the hook makes a huge difference in your success rate, so knowing the correct . . .

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Tuesday Tip: How to Make Roll and Switch Casts with a Two-Handed Rod

Welcome to another installment of “Ask an Orvis Fly-Fishing Instructor,” with me, Peter Kutzer. In this episode, I demonstrate how to make three kinds of casts with a two-handed rod. Starting with a simple, static roll cast, we increase the amount of motion, moving to a dynamic roll cast, and then to the more advanced. . .

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Tuesday Tip: How to Make an Aerial Mend

Welcome to another installment of “Ask an Orvis Fly-Fishing Instructor,” with me, Peter Kutzer. In this episode, I demonstrate how to make aerial mends in your line, creating an upstream or downstream mend before your line touches down on the water. This is a great technique for when you’re casting across varying currents, and it will help you achieve better and longer. . .

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Tuesday Tip: How to Fish High Water

Way to start the season

High water is no time for dainty patterns.

photo by Drew Price

In the Northeast, spring fishing often involves very high water—our Western friends usually suffer this fate in May and June—caused by runoff or April showers. But after you’ve waited all winter for a chance to get on the water at all, there’s no way you’re going to let a little flooding keep you home. Here are 5 tips that will help you score, and stay safe, when you’re casting into a rushing river.

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Tuesday Tips: 5 Unrelated Tips for a New Season

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Here’s a wound I suffered last summer from a dried tree branch. I was wearing glasses at the time, but without them, I’d likely be signing my name as “Lefty” right now.

photo by Bryan Eldredge

[Editor’s Note: Falcon’s Ledge guide Bryan Eldredge wrote this piece in March, but it’s just as relevant on the first of May.]

It’s snowing outside right now. In fact, it looks like we may get enough snow to require some shoveling. It will be only the third time all year, and it’s the middle of March. Temperatures last week got downright balmy here in Utah. Mid 60’s left little doubt that spring is on the way, and. . .

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Tuesday Tip: How to Set Up a Trout Reel

My good friend Zach Matthews, editor of The itinerant Angler website and host of the podcast of the same name, got a new video camera from his wife for Christmas, and he’s putting it to good use. Here’s a great lesson on setting up a fly reel, from start to finish—getting the backing on the reel, attaching the fly line to the backing, attaching a butt section to the fly line, and then attaching a leader. In the process, you’ll learn the double surgeon’s loop, a new arbor knot, the nail knot, the perfection loop, and. . .  

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Tuesday Tip: Dead-Drifting Streamers for Big Trout

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Drew Price shows off a 24.5-inch beast that fell for a dead-drifted streamer on Saturday.

photo by Drew Price

Early in the season, trout streams tend to be a bit on the high side, and the water is cold and discolored. These can be tough conditions for fishing, but it can also be one of the best times of year to get into larger fish if you use the right techniques. This past weekend was the opening of the trout season in Vermont. Although conditions here are very atypical of April—most streams are low, the water is fairly warm (in the mid to upper 40’s) and there is good clarity—I still stuck with my opening weekend tradition of. . .

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Tuesday Tip: The Inside Scoop


When you’re fishing a bend in a river, make sure that you fish the water close to you before you cast to the real “lunker water” against the far bank. Start from the tailout
and work upstream, beginning at the tailout (A). Next, look for trout near any rocks or structure on the inside of the main current (B). Oftentimes, there will be fish lying right
out in the open on the inside of the bend (C); these fish are usually quite wary, so you need to be stealthy and make delicate presentations. Finally, look for fish at the head
of the pool (D) where there are rocks that break the current.

illustration by Larry Largay

Most fly fishermen are so intent on their own processes—making the right cast, mending correctly, and watching the fly or strike indicator—that they don’t bother to observe what the other anglers on the river are doing. When you work as a fishing guide, however, you spend a lot of time, without a rod in your hand, watching other people fish. It’s an interesting experience, because you get to see many different angling styles—some good, some not so good—and you develop a keen eye for anticipating the most common. . .

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Tuesday Tip: 5 Keys to Good Dry-Fly Mending (REPOST)

A good upstream mend counteracts the effects of faster currents between you and your fly.

photo by Eric DeWitt

Mending is a skill that most novice anglers struggle to understand, but even experienced fly fishermen can find mending difficult. The only way to get good at it is to practice on the water, dealing with currents of different speeds. Your fly will tell you if you’re doing it right: a long dead-drift is a sure sign of successful mending, while a “motorboating” fly dragging across the surface points to some problems. Here are 5 steps to good mending: . . .

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Tuesday Tip: How to Make a Serpentine Cast

Welcome to another installment of “Ask an Orvis Fly-Fishing Instructor,” with me, Peter Kutzer. In this episode, I demonstrate how to make a serpentine cast, a slack-line presentation which has several useful applications. Like all slack-line casts, the serpentine cast puts slack into the line on the water, in this case by creating a series of. . .

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