The RS2 is a versatile pattern that can imitate just about any small, emerging mayfly.
The Bench

Never Leave Home Without an RS2 or Three

Now that I live in the West, I often find myself plucking smaller flies from my boxes, especially compared to the patterns I used to fish on the East Coast. Back home in Maine, I remember size 12 or 14 as the starting point. But out here, I’m almost…

September 21, 2015
Casting to San Joaquin Browns below Florence Lake in the Sierra National Forest.

Florence Lake (Part 2 of 3): San Joaquin Browns

I woke up on the second day of my Florence Lake adventure with trout once again on my mind. Ally and I decided to hike with Gunther to a high-alpine lake the camp host had suggested we fish. It would be approximately four-and-a-half miles and…

September 14, 2015
This simple grasshopper pattern takes less than five minutes to whip up, even if you're only a proficient tier.
The Bench

A Simple Grasshopper Pattern

My ability to tie trout flies is passable at best, which is why I gravitate toward straightforward imitations, like this simple grasshopper pattern. I’m trying to attract fish, not fly fishermen eager to pay $3 a pop for a work of art that’s likely to unravel after a…

September 7, 2015
The high country around Florence Lake in the Sierra National Forest on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada.

Florence Lake (Part 1 of 3): Reuniting With the High Country

I hadn’t wet a line since May, when I flew home to Maine and spent three, heavenly days casting to landlocked salmon in the cold, clear waters of Grand Lake Stream. Other than that, I’ve fished only once in the last three or four years: A trip to a Nevada…

August 24, 2015
"He was thirty-two now, at the height of his power, and he could put all his body and soul into a four-and-a-half-ounce magic totem pole." - Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It.

What Does Magic Totem Pole Mean?

If you’re wondering where the title of this blog comes from, you’ll find the answer on page 21 of Norman Maclean’s somber novella, A River Runs Through It. The soulful Western — which is gospel as far as fly fishing literature goes — follows a…

August 17, 2015