Eric Steel's documentary "Kiss the Water" tells the story of Scottish fly tier Megan Boyd, whose full-dress salmon flies were prized by local guides and UK royals. It's a beautiful film that shows the parent culture of European and American fly-fishing, and sheds light on a gifted but reclusive tier whose flies were both works of art and effective fishing lures.
Click here for the review, and for a special discount for About.com readers to watch "Kiss the Water" online.
Competitive fly-fishing has been "blowing up," as its fans like to say, for the past few years. Hundreds of anglers, many of them young, take part in dozens of competitions, mostly for bragging rights, in a league that keeps score.
But the founder of the TroutLegend league thinks the European-style competition rules of the tournaments are discouraging anglers who fish in what's become a traditional American way: nymphing with split shot and a strike indicator.
Euro-style rules don't allow split shot or indicators, and tackle has evolved accordingly -- mainly long, light rods and really long leaders. But with the new rules for TroutLegend's local, one-day competitions, your regular 9-foot 5-weight will now be right at home.
It will be interesting to see which method is more successful, tight-line or suspension.
You don't want to hear words like that from the agency that will decide whether your project lives or dies.
The EPA all but declared the proposed Pebble mega-mine an unacceptable risk to the world-class salmon runs of Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska on Feb. 28. Two years of study and more than a million public comments led the agency to invoke its rarely used authority over dredging and filling, and it doesn't sound like Northern Dynasty Minerals will be allowed to dredge or fill.
It is still technically possible for the company to propose a scaled-back version of the project. But there's never been a hint that anything less than North America's largest open-pit mine will suffice to exploit the gold, copper and molybdenum under the salmon-rich headwaters region of Bristol Bay.
The Pebble Mine has faced staunch opposition from Native Alaskans, commercial and recreational fishing interests, conservationists and even the PR-sensitive jewelry industry. In September, Northern Dynasty's much-larger partner in the project bailed out, and in December, a major shareholder said it was considering divesting. Now, its project faces unequivocal opposition from the Obama administration, too.
Here's the latest on reaction to the EPA's bombshell announcement.
There's significant news today on the proposal for a massive copper and gold mine in the headwaters of Bristol Bay, Alaska. The EPA announced the start of a review that may result in major restrictions on the project, if not an outright ban.
Last month, the agency released an assessment that noted the mine could wipe out more than 90 miles of stream and 5,000 acres of wetlands, threatening the world's largest sockeye salmon run and the Native Alaskan, commercial and recreational fisheries it supports.
Today, the agency notified the Pebble Mine Partnership it will now decide whether to restrict or prohibit the mine. "The Agency is taking this step because it has reason to believe that porphyry copper mining at the scale contemplated at the Pebble deposit would result in significant and unacceptable adverse effects to important fishery areas in the watershed," Regional Administrator Dennis J. McLerran wrote.
In the letter, the agency described at length the potentially disastrous consequences of the project.
Trout Unlimited President Chris Wood said, "Just as significant as the EPA action is the bottom-up nature of the campaign to protect Bristol Bay. It has been driven from the start by people from Alaska--native villages, native corporations, and commercial and recreational fishermen, especially Trout Unlimited members. The game isn't over yet, but we are that much closer."
In fly-fishing, a big part of the fun is the casting itself. There's something of a learning curve, but once you've got the hang of it, fly-casting is a really cool thing to be able to do. Even when the fishing is slow, you can enjoy practicing your casts and sharpening your skills.
But sometimes, your casting arm just doesn't seem to want to cooperate, and when that happens, casting can become a source of frustration rather than satisfaction.
It happens to me all the time. Fortunately, by reminding myself of a few basic rules, I can usually get my casting back on track. And better casts aren't just more pleasant to make; they're also important in catching more fish.
Here are a few thoughts on how to get your line to sail smooth and true over the water, and deliver your flies to the fish.
It's been a long winter in most of the country. Most people seem ready for spring.
That's always true of fly fishers. For us, spring doesn't just mean milder weather -- it means the return of trout season.
It won't be long before we're casting dry flies to rising trout in the great hatches of May and June. But trout season opens in April in most states, and the fishing conditions can be downright wintry. catching trout requires the right approach -- mostly, fishing low and slow with nymphs. Check out About.com's guide to early season fly fishing and learn about five great nymphs for Opening Day. To increase your chances of success, get the low-down on fishing with strike indicators.
It's been a winter of discontent across much of the U.S. Between the polar vortex and city-snarling snowstorms, cabin fever is running high -- especially among fly fishers anxious to get back on the water.
If the weather has you stuck indoors, tying flies for the coming season's fishing can be a great way to pass the time. It's also a way to restock your fly boxes for less than you'd spend on flies bought at retail. It's an absorbing, crafty, artistic hobby that keeps you engaged with fishing even as the wind howls and the snow flies. And I'm convinced it makes you a better fly fisher, because you have a more complete understanding of how flies look and behave in or on the water. You can also modify your flies to better suit your local fishing.
Just about anyone at any age can tie flies. The best way to get started may be to buy a beginner's fly tying kit, with the basic tools, the various materials needed for a useful selection of flies and instructions on how to transform a hook, a few feathers and some thread into a lifelike lure that the fish can't resist. Check out About.com's guide to getting started in fly tying here.
Th striped bass is one of the nation's great sport fish. It fed the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, and today provides exhilarating sport (and great table fare) for some 3 million anglers along the Atlantic coast.
But a survey by the striped bass conservation group Stripers Forever shows a troubling trend: hundreds of experienced striper anglers report catching fewer and smaller fish than they used to. Taken together with other information, there is reason to worry about the health of the striped bass population.
Alaska is a holy grail for many sportsmen and women, and with good reason. Few places on earth offer as much adventure, scenic beauty and abundant fish and game.
Of course, Alaska possesses other natural resources, too. Mining and energy development are important industries to Alaskans, and the metals, minerals, oil and gas they produce have worldwide importance.
The sporting and environmentalist communities understand this. But to them, the proposal known as the Pebble Mine is over the line. It would dig North America's largest open pit gold and copper mine in the headwaters of Bristol Bay, destroying as much as 94 miles of salmon and trout streams and threatening the viability of the world's largest run of sockeye salmon. The ecological, economic and cultural ramifications are potentially huge.
The EPA is out with an assessment of the impact of the Pebble Mine, and the fly fishing industry has asked the president to get involved. Read about it here.
Competition fly fishing -- at least the kind that follows the rules of the Federation Internationale de Peche Sportive Mouche, or International Sport Flyfishing Federation -- has some strict rules. So the anglers who take part have come up with some clever work-arounds.
FIPS-Mouche prohibits the use of common strike detectors on leaders. So European, and now American, comp anglers have devised a kind of in-line strike detector known as a slinky -- a coiled piece of high-visibility monofilament built into the leader. When the coils suddenly stretch out as a nymph drifts downstream, a fish has grabbed your fly, so you set the hook.
(OK, sometimes the coils just stretch out because your fly has hooked a submerged stick. But hey, that's fishing.)
Tyler Befus of St. Paul, Minn., a member of the USA Youth Fly Fishing Team, shows a great DIY way to make your own slinky. Check it out on the Orvis News Blog.