How to Defile a Wilderness | Jim McLennan

Ours is considered a gentle sport for the most part, and that trait is part of its attraction. Recently, more people are finding solace and clarity—and much-needed gentleness—in the outdoors and the activities there, one of which is fly fishing.

 

And while it’s true that fishing, called the “contemplative man’s recreation” by Isaac Walton, can indeed be gentle and thought-provoking, sometimes our contemplation needs to be sharply focused.

 

An example is the recent controversy and struggle to prevent construction of a huge copper and gold mine in Alaska, called Pebble Mine. The effects of the mine on the environment and the Bristol Bay watershed would have been massive. For now the project has been canceled, thanks to participation in a long, arduous fight by a great number of people and groups who value the outdoors, including fly fishers.

 

A similar battle has been escalating in Alberta in recent months over the threat to the future health of land and water posed by proposed expansion of open-pit coal mining. The mountains and foothills are the headwaters and domain of Alberta’s best and best-known trout streams: The Oldman River, the Crowsnest River, the Livingstone River, the Highwood River, the Ram River, plus all their critical tributaries. These mountains and foothills are the Alberta wilderness. 

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Best Ties for Summer Flies | Simple Summer Nymphs

If you haven’t already picked up a copy of the Summer issue, now is the time to do it!  This “Fly Tying Triple-Header” covers off the Pro’s top recommendations for dries, terrestrials and nymphs to use this season.  The five patterns below are Jake Vanderweyden’s (@theflyfiend) picks, complete with recipes for you tying pleasure!

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New & Noteworthy | Yeti Trailhead Chair

Let’s be honest. Does anyone truly need a $300 camp chair? No. But, as always with Yeti, the Trailhead Camp Chair is another example of the company taking a simple product, over-engineering it to the max, and coming out with something that looks great, performs very well, and will stand the test of time. Falling squarely into the “just barely related enough to fly fishing accessories for us to include it on this list,” the Trailhead is the ultimate camp chair. After a long day of walking and wading, it’s good to know you’ll have a sturdy, comfortable chair waiting for you back by the campfire.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Trailhead is just how well-built it is. This thing is solid. Featuring a lightweight crossover frame that snaps into place with color-coded tensioners and the forgiving Flexgrid fabric, the Trailhead can support up to 500-lbs., yet remains comfortable while sitting for hours at a time. With an included cup holder, and extra-strong feet, there aren’t many things Yeti didn’t think of; speaking of which, the entire chair is UV-rated, meaning it won’t break down in the sun over time.

$299.99 | yeti.com 

Miami Vise | Lucas Utrera

Lucas Utrera is a fly tyer born in Córdoba, Argentina, currently residing in Miami, USA. He started fly tying in 1996 at the early age of 12. He dabbled in commercial tying for some year, but later dedicated most of his time to tying special flies for collectors and participating in competitions. He is currently a member of the AhrexGulff and Semperfli Pro Team.

Add these 6 patterns (with materials list) to your arsenal today!

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New & Noteworthy | Scientific Anglers Absolute Tippet Supreme

Fluorocarbon is an interesting material. For starters, it’s nearly invisible under water, it has a higher abrasion-resistance than monofilament, and also sinks faster than mono. While that doesn’t make it ideal for dry-fly fishing, many anglers use it on small dry flies. That being said, fluorocarbon is an absolute must for nymphing or throwing streamers, and especially in salt water. In recent years, the fluorocarbon game has been somewhat stagnant, with no real notable advancements. This year, that’s changed.

The team over at SA has developed a breakthrough fluorocarbon material, improving the break strength over its previous material by up to 33%. The innovation here begins with the material: it features a unique dual-layer construction, with a softer outer layer to help knots grip into themselves and a harder core that provides much of the tensile strength. While each 30-meter spool comes in at a hefty $29.95, if SA’s strength claims are true, it will be worth every penny the next time your knots hold on the fish of a lifetime. Absolute Tippet Supreme is geared mainly to big-game and saltwater anglers, and is available in 8-lbs. Through 20-lbs., with SA’s patented cutter spool and easy ID tippet band.

$29.95 | scientificanglers.com

New & Noteworthy | Orvis Bugout Backpack

Fly-fishing packs have taken a number of forms over the years, starting with vests, then transitioning to backpacks, chest packs, hip packs, and sling packs. We can say pretty confidently we haven’t seen a pack like this come along in a while. From a host of innovative features to standard Orvis-quality construction, the Bugout Backpack is a solution for those anglers looking for the next great pack to wear on the water.

Designed as an angling pack, but just as handy as a carry-on, the Bugout Backpack offers all the features an angler would need: a back-panel integrated net holder, an external water bottle or rod tube holder with an extended sock to keep rod tubes from going anywhere, and accessory docking stations on the shoulder straps. It also features an internal zippered drop pocket with a removable divider, a tricot-lined sunglasses or phone pocket on the top flap, as well as a padded front pocket that will fit a hydration bladder or a laptop (though ideally not both at the same time.) But perhaps the most innovative feature is the side-entry access. By simply swinging the backpack around like a sling pack, you gain access to the main compartment, which has been a gripe of ours about backpacks for a long time. For those that need additional storage, the Bugout Backpack is also compatible with the new Chest Pack and Chest/Hip Pack.

$189 | orvis.com

New & Noteworthy | Scott Centric

No matter which rod manufacturer you look at, you’ll find a wide range of models, line weights, and lengths available. But at the end of the day, the bread-and-butter models for most manufacturers are trout rods. Many technological advancements in fly-rod design have been made with trout in mind. From gently placing tiny midge patterns on tailwaters to throwing articulated streamers for big browns, trout rods have become specialized in a variety of ways.

The new Centric, from Scott Fly Rods in Montrose, Colorado, is a testament to the idea that a good trout rod can, and will, do it all. At the heart of the new Centric is its combination of new tapers and new resin system, which reduces the overall weight of the rod and provides anglers with unparalleled stability and recovery speed. This is the fastest, and most efficient, rod Scott has ever produced, and it’s quite apparent after just a few casts that this is a well thought-out rod, designed to do everything a trout angler could ever need. The Centric is available in lengths from 8-foot 6-inches up to 10-feet, and in 4- through 7-weights.

$895 | scottflyrod.com

 

Spring Arsenal | Jake Vanderweyden

After a long cold Canadian winter of dreaming of warmer days on the water, restocking fly arsenals, spooling up new lines and patching your favourite waders. Spring is always a season every angler looks forward to. The start of a new fly fishing year, exploring new waters, camping and hiking deep into the backwoods with friends. Having a wide range of fly patterns is essential for any early spring fly fishing adventure.

Read more to see materials list for 6 patterns Jake keeps in his Spring Aresnal!

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New & Noteworthy: RIO Elite Flats Pro

The last thing you want to worry about on a trip to a tropical destination is your fly line, so it pays to choose the right one before you go. When targeting bonefish, permit, or tarpon, your fly line needs to be durable, provide enough mass to turn over heavy flies in stiff winds, and allow you to make quick shots at moving fish.

The Rio Elite Flats Pro provides all of that—and more. Built on RIO’s low-stretch DirectCore, and featuring its new SlickCast coating, the Elite Flats Pro has all the bells and whistles a top-notch fly line should have. Its taper design is deadly for the flats; it features a variable length head (meaning it is different lengths for different line weights), a long rear taper (for carrying large amounts of line), and a long-enough front taper to ensure delicate deliveries when needed. These lines are built to do it all on the flats, and with welded loops and the Surefire triple-color line-marking system, you shouldn’t need anything else. The Elite Flats Pro is available in line weights 6- through 12 and is comes in full-floating (F), 6-foot intermediate StealthTip (F/I), 15-foot intermediate tip, and full intermediate (I) densities.

$129.99 | rioproducts.com

New & Noteworthy | Simms Guide Classic Stockingfoot Waders

Speaking of waders, Simms has brought a few new models to the market this year, including the Guide Classic Stockingfoot Waders. The Guide Classics are no-nonsense, do-it-all waders built for the day-in, day-out grind of guiding clients, yet priced for all anglers. Many American-made waders can cost upwards of $800, so having a durable, bulletproof option such as this at a lower price point certainly helps the wallet if you’re in the market for a new pair of waders.

Built in Bozeman, Montana, and featuring GORE-TEX waterproof, breathable fabrics, the Guide Classics feature a reach-through hand warmer on the chest, a flip-out secure zippered pocket, and anatomically engineered neoprene stocking feet with built-in gravel guards. The main wader material is a three-layer GORE-TEX laminate, with reinforced lower leg areas. This additional reinforcement on the legs will help you crawl over rocks, bash through the brush, and stay dry no matter the situation. While they may have been designed for the rigors of guiding, the Guide Classics will certainly keep you covered, even if you don’t have a guide license.

$449.95 | simmsfishing.com