Choose Your Two Weapons

Guest Blogger: Joe Dellaria, Woodbury MN

The game is to pick the only two flies you get to fish for the rest of your life. Here are the constraints:
–       One dry and one sub-surface fly
–       The sub-surface fly can be tied both with or without a bead head of any material
–       You can tie either fly in any size with any color you can find for the components of the traditional fly pattern

As I thought about this, the question is really which two flies are the most versatile. I have no doubt there will be little agreement (if there is any). This exercise is not about which two patterns you choose; it is about why you chose them and how you use the flies.

So, let’s hear your two favorites, how you would use them, and why you think yours are the best choices. You can cheat and list your runner-up in each category if that will help ease your angst of picking one.

MY FAVORITE SUB-SURFACE FLY: Girdle Bug

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Night Moves: What I learned Fishing at Night

Night Moves: What I Learned Casting into the Dark

By Jim DuFresne

For an evening float on the Upper Manistee River Spence Vanderhoof and I met Ed McCoy at an access site around 5 p.m. where a party of canoers, who had too much to drink that day, didn’t have enough patience with each other that night so someone had to call the police. Four police cars arrived and blocked us in the parking lot for 20 minutes before they allowed Ed to pull out in his pick-up with a driftboat in tow.

By the time we drove upriver to our put-in site and slide the driftboat down the wooden ramp into the current, it was almost 7 p.m. Just as well. This day had been brutally muggy and hot even for a week that was unseasonably warm. Ed, a guide with Mangled Fly Outfitters, knew we were still an hour away from rigging up our rods.

So we just floated for a while, eating sandwiches while drifting around one river bend after another. Soon the Manistee was ours, the paddlers and inner tubers were long gone. So were most other anglers. Wildlife slowly began to appear with Spence happily naming the ones with wings.

Then we saw the first rings of a feeding trout.

“When you take the time to listen to nature,” Ed said, “she tells you things.”

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Precious Metal

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

In England and still throughout Commonwealth countries, local roads made of crushed granite fragments are often called “metal roads” or “metalled roads,”  since “metalling” was defined as the practice of binding gravel or crushed stone in a bit of tar to render a rural road durable. If such a term can be applied to overland routes, perhaps a tiny little river that cuts its way through a canyon of granite slabs and litters its bed with the shards of those rocks can be figuratively called “metal” as well.

And so as I type this, I think back on yesterday’s fishing outing with the kind of feeling I suspect the old prospectors might have had when they struck a vein — when men like George Hearst or Pablo Flores hit a shiny seam or mother lode that put a family on the historical map. I think back to the mountain stream I fished yesterday, called the Silver Fork, and I realize that I too have struck “precious metal.”

In this case the effect was to take me off-map, rather than put me on. The Silver Fork of the American River is a tiny tributary of the American River’s South Fork, which itself is one of three separate larger forks of the total Californian American River watershed. The Silver Fork joins the South Fork from a small granite side-canyon high in the tall pines eco-zone; it is a flow of which relatively few are aware, given that most folks scream past the diminutive confluence bent only on shaving a minute off their time to or from the Tahoe casinos.

In this mountain range, such a stream setting is as classic as it gets. Across time, the Silver Fork has carved a small but noteworthy channel through High Sierra granite slabs, and even now slides mostly across them. Although there are loose pebbles in abundance, it is not really a freestone waterway because its real base is largely solid rock. As a result, insect life variety and quantity is somewhat less than what other river bottoms can sustain, and that affects fish growth rates. Terrestrial food supplies are a predominant source of nourishment here. Most water is shallow, and it’s all as clear as the air above it. Roll casts are indispensable, and floating fly lines are the only type that make any sense.

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