THE NEW & NOTEWORTHY ISSUE
Iceland is, at once, both starkly beautiful and amazingly inviting, with rugged landscapes as far as the eyes can see. Rivers, waterfalls, and lakes abound across the countryside, providing habitat for some of the strongest brown trout in existence.
The Hidden, the latest addition of the Video Vault from InTents Media, explores the land of fire and ice, providing an awe-inspiring look at one of the world’s most interesting places to fish.
Four friends travel to Iceland in search of giant, wild and native brown trout and arctic char. Phil Tuttle, Cortney Boice, Spencer Higa, and Derek Olthuis team up with Kristjan and Gunnar of Fish Partner as they travel around Iceland in an adventure-based fishing film. Winner of the 2017 International Fly Fishing Film Festival’s Film of the Year. Edited and Produced by Phil Tuttle. Filmed by InTents Media (formerly Western Waters Media).
by Bob Reece
When discussions surrounding stoneflies arise, images of gargantuan invertebrates come to mind. The large end of the plecopteran spectrum does play a role in the annual feeding cycle of trout. However, the more petite species and developmental stages of stoneflies should not be overlooked.
As nymphs grow, they shed their exoskeletons. These developmental stages are referred to as instars. The number of instars varies among species, from 12 to 23. As a result, there are different sizes of nymphs present during the year in the freestone streams and rivers they inhabit.
In late spring and early summer the increased flows of runoff provide enough energy to detach even the largest nymphs from the rocky substrate. This increased flow is often accompanied by a decline in water clarity. These two factors create an ideal environment for larger-profile nymph patterns. The increased weight of these artificial bugs helps get them to depth in higher flows, while their superior silhouette helps make them more visible. This window of ideal conditions is productive, yet makes up a small part of the annual aquatic food cycle.
Prior to and following runoff, the volume and velocity of the water is lower and the clarity higher. This combination creates a more suitable environment for presenting stonefly nymphs in smaller sizes. While large stonefly nymphs are still present in the substrate, their abundance in the moving water column drops due to the reduction in subsurface velocity. The smaller species and lesser instars are at a greater risk of being stripped from their holds than the big nymphs, due to their smaller size and lesser strength.
It was for this larger window of conditions that I created the Stepchild Stone. I wanted a pattern that would accurately match the structural and behavioural profile of smaller developing stoneflies. The foundation this of this pattern is its behavioural profile. Stonefly nymphs are not effective swimmers, and when knocked free by the current often assume a hunched or curled position. This action reduces their overall surface area and helps expedite their descent back to the stream bottom. The Stepchild Stone is tied on the Gamakatsu C12U hook. The shape of this hook creates a drastically hunched appearance in the fly, mimicking the behaviour of the naturals. In addition, the sturdy construction and wide gap helps to ensure that it hooks and holds fish.
In a further effort to match behavioural traits, I used MFC Sexi Floss for the tail, legs and antennae. The supple flexibility of this material allows it to crawl with life in the water. Its transparency and flat profile provide an accurate imitation of the naturals. That same element of transparency is present in the stretch tubing that is used for the abdomen. Complimenting this is the reflective quality of the Ice Dub used for the thorax. This synthetic dubbing radiates a mottled array of colours that are visible through the transparent wing cases of natural bustard Thin Skin.
While small in size, the Stepchild Stone is not lacking in weight. Its duel tungsten beads provide the mass needed for a rapid descent to the desired depth. Tactical UV Resin overlays the beads and wing cases. The fly’s sink rate is aided by the intentionally thin abdomen which offers less resistance as the fly drops through the water column.
When fishing this pattern I usually use it as the bottom fly in an indicator or tight-line setup. I have also had significant success using it as a dropper below large foam terrestrial patterns in late summer and early fall. Regardless of the application, I always attach the Stepchild Stone with a non-slip loop-knot. This provides exceptional strength and allows the fly to move freely in the current. Click here to watch tying video.
Over the past few years, Ross has reinvented itself with a steady stream of excellent remakes of old favorites featuring innovative new technology. The Colorado is the latest and greatest from the team in Montrose, Colorado, and is a complete redesign of its forerunner, the Colorado LT. For fans of creative design and minimalism, there might not be a better reel on the market. Its lines are unique and thoughtful, with each machined-out section lowering the total weight of the reel while providing a truly beautiful aesthetic. The machined silhouette of the San Juan Mountains is an extremely nice touch.
This extremely lightweight (just 3.5 oz. in size 4/5) click-and-pawl reel provides plenty of strength, as well as that time-honored unidirectional clicking of the drag. Where the Colorado separates itself from other lightweight click-and-pawl reels is in the details. It features a large arbor for fast retrieval, and its semi-caged frame fits together as snugly as possible, feeling sturdy in the hand. Its bushing is made from a material called Vesconite, a self-lubricating polymer that brings a very smooth feel to the drag system. While the Colorado will likely have many fans that fish 2- and 3-weights in small streams, it has the beef to tangle with bigger fish in larger waters as well.
One of the many reasons I’m drawn to fly fishing is that success has to be earned: developing a consistently tight loop, smooth swing, or drag-free drift doesn’t happen overnight. This higher-than-normal barrier to entry is also why I am drawn to hike-in fishing. Living in BC’s lower mainland, you’re likely to experience some variation of combat fishing in virtually any fishery that’s accessible by vehicle and within an hour of Vancouver. For those without jetboats or helicopters, hiking into remote bodies of water is only a sturdy pair of hiking boots and a pack away, and can be an incredibly rewarding fishing experience.
Of all the gear fly anglers accumulate, perhaps none take the beating that waders do. From scrambling up and down rocky banks to bushwhacking in dense cover, our waders absolutely take a pounding. Unfortunately, the wear-and-tear doesn’t end once you take them off. We’re as guilty as any of simply taking our waders off, tossing them in the back of the truck, and forgetting about them until the next trip. Thankfully, Umpqua has come out with a pretty cool wader storage and transport solution, the ZS2 Wader Tote, to help keep your waders lasting longer.
Featuring two mesh panels on the lid for drying, an integrated water bottle holder, and—our favorite feature—a full-sized 22”x16” fold-out padded standing station, the ZS2 provides ample storage as well as a comfortable place to rest your feet as you get in and out of your waders. We’ve seen other wader bags feature space for standing, but the padded station on the ZS2 takes things up a notch, and, when clipped to the body of the pack, even doubles as a place to stow rod tubes or nets. With 2,800 cubic inches of storage, along with three internal pockets, you’ll be able to carry your waders—and much more—with confidence.
Peter Stitcher | Ascent Fly Fishing | ascentflyfishing.com
Trout need to see your flies if they are going to eat them. This can be a challenge with traditional fly patterns when the sun starts to sink but the bite remains hot and trout look to continue to feed throughout the night. The Martian series of flies were hatched to help the angler hack the science of trout vision and land more and bigger fish all throughout the night. As the sun recedes into the west each evening, so do the cone receptors within the eyes of trout that are responsible for interpreting light as different colors. The result is that your favorite red, green, and blue fly patterns all fade to black and blend into the dark backdrop of the river. Trout feeding at night, therefore, key into the intensity of light and contrast created by mixing light and dark colored materials in our patterns. Designed by Aquatic Biologist and Ascent Fly Fishing owner Peter Stitcher, the Martian series of flies were created to exploit the night vision of trout and inevitably draw them through the river to eat our flies. Like a UFO parked over a Kentucky trailer park, the glow in the dark materials used in these patterns will beam unsuspecting trout out of the river and into your landing net. So, the next time you head to your favorite fishing hole at night, put in your earbuds, turn up Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science” and embrace the Martian invasion!
We are so pleased to share, on this, Earth Day 2021, the great work being done by Orvis. This Vermont-based, family-owned outdoor retailer proves their ongoing commitment to protecting wild places, increasing equity and inclusion in fly fishing and improving canine well-being within their 2020 Impact Report.
In 2020, Orvis supported 48 non-profit organizations, raised and donated $570,000 through its 5% for Nature program and Matching Grant Fund, and taught thousands of people to fly fish for free through its virtualFly Fishing 101 program.
We encourage you to read the full report HERE.
If you’re like me, you spend an unhealthy amount of time looking at fly fishing gear. Though you may not need that new seal disc drag fly reel or the matching blue backing, you still look, nonetheless. Those of us who tie tend to fall into the same routine, clicking that “What’s New” category in fly tying, to see the latest and greatest in the fly tying world. We do this knowing we probably won’t deviate far from the pheasant tails, hares ears, caddis, and simulators that overflow our boxes. Yet, these days, it seems like there are new products to be excited about; and unlike rods, reels, waders, and boots, fly tying materials often don’t break the bank.
In the Spring issue, I reviewed some newly released fly tying products to see if they live up to the hype. Following are a few patterns I tied up in the process.
Mini Chubby Chernobyl
We are thrilled to announce that “Travels With Charlie” from Todd Moen is the winning film of the 2020 IF4, based on votes cast by viewers across the world. “Travels With Charlie” follows Moen and his 11-year-old son, Charlie, as the duo embarks on Charlie’s first-ever destination fly-fishing trip – to Kimsquit Bay Lodge in British Columbia, where big rivers and big fish require Spey casts and a lot of patience
Our world is constantly changing, moving from one beat to the next like a massive and unceasing machine. How do we find respite from the noise? Where do we go to escape? The Wanderer, the 2021 IF4 Original, takes us to an unspoiled, natural sanctuary in the heart of the Rocky Mountain West, full of high-mountain lakes, eager fish, and endless beauty. Take a breath, relax, and enjoy the solitude.
Be sure to get your tickets to your local IF4 viewing and check out the trailers for all the IF4 Official Selections!