Fly Fishing

hiking along the river with fishing gear
Backpacking is a great way to re-familiarize yourself with the often-elusive feeling of spare time. With a little extra planning, you can turn a backpacking trip into a fly-fishing trip. We asked Sage Elite Pro and backcountry fishing expert Seth Blackamore about what he packs for a minimalist backcountry fishing kit.

1) Fishing License: Carry it with you at all times and do your research on area regulations.
2) Rod/Reel combo: A standard 9’ 5 weight rod is great for alpine lakes, and alternatively a 7.5’ 3 weight is good for small streams and confined areas. Your reel should be matched to the size to your rod.
3) Flies: Pack a good assortment of barbless flies in a small fly box. It doesn’t hu...

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Q+A With Fly Designer Brita Fordice

Brita at her fly tying station
Atop Brita Fordice’s desk lays a bag of eyeballs. Next to the eyeballs are a variety of feathers- some that look real, some that are real, and some that look like they might have been picked up on the floor of a costume closet. Next to the feathers are resins to hold things together and tools to pull things apart. It looks a bit like a kindergarten art class, save for the cauterizer.

All jokes aside, Brita’s job is actually quite serious. She’s a fly designer with RIO Products. (She’s also a guide in her off hours). When I first asked Brita about her work, she told me she had the best job in the industry. I met up with Brita at her office on Bainbridge Island to learn why.

Let’s start at the s...

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With The Flow: WA Winter Steelheading

rowing the drift boat
Anglers love to quote the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “No man ever steps in the same river twice...”.  There are many ways to experience the beauty of the Pacific Northwest's free-flowing rivers, but a drift boat in the winter is one of the most intimate and powerful. Winter offers a unique opportunity to try and tackle rough, rocky and frigid waters that change from minute to minute. Without a dam to regulate discharge, you have one option: go with the flow.

When you picture father and son fishing trips in a metal row boat, you might picture a pristine lake with a bobber and worms, goofy hats with oversized boots and dozing off in the warm sun. For my dad and I, we picture something differ...

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How-To Fillet a Fish

salmon filets
Whether you fish your local river, the lake the next state over, or the ocean on the other side of the world, knowing how to properly filet your catch is an important step in becoming a fisherman. We commissioned artist Heather Hardison to draw a basic tutorial outlining the few key steps to take your catch from the end of your line to your table.

filet tutorial

portrait, eric jackson
Eric Jackson is always ready for a challenge. You may recognize him from the massive hucks in his latest snowboarding film, Alignment. Or perhaps you’ve seen photos of him fly-fishing some of the most pristine rivers in the world as a sponsored fisherman. Either way, “envy” might describe how you feel about it his life.

Where do you call home?
My wife and I live in Bellingham, Washington. We’ve lived here for a few years and moved up from Mammoth, CA, though I’ve spent a lot of years traveling up here.

What brought you to the Northwest?
The NW has the mountains that I like to ride and the rivers I like to fish. I’d actually wanted to move to the Northwest since I was pretty young. I’ve been comi...

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After Wildfire

biking near the river
A bike-pack fishing trip through a scorched landscape was not the trip that Ashlee thought she was going to take - but the things she saw and the experience she had left an impression about how we interact with the landscape after wildfire.

“Lucky for you, all the goat’s head burned too,” someone said, smiling, as we pedaled up the gravel Deschutes River Railbed trail. My husband and I had been warned of the tire-slicing vines. I had spent the prior evening squeezing liquid sealant into my tire tubes. We camped near the start of the trail, where the Deschutes meets the Columbia, surrounded by lush green grass and tall alder trees. We awoke as usual, or as usual as one can in a campground whil...

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Brown Trout of New Zealand

Jack holding a large brown trout
Jack Kos is a self-described Kiwi trout bum. What began as a passion for fishing soon developed into a desire to know more about the fish he sought. That pursuit led Jack to dive deep into the rivers and the history books as he wrote his dissertation and earned a PhD in history on the introduction of Brown Trout in New Zealand.

It’s a simple act to present a fly twenty feet. An act most of us could accomplish with eyes closed and a hand tied behind our back. One we’ve done a thousand times without ever questioning its difficult, and yet, presented with a twenty-six inch brown trout sporadically nosing the surface in water so clear you can count the spots on its flanks the simplicity of the ca...

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Blue Heron Lodge: Forks, WA

portrait of Larry Ford, owner of Blue Heron Lodge
“I love teaching folks how to appreciate the water; the ruggedness and beauty of the river are something special. I like to share with people a means by which they can experience these places. A drift boat and a fly rod are just my preferred means. Passing on some of my knowledge to my clients, sharing a boat and good conversation… that’s why I do it.”

Larry Ford has been guiding fishermen on the Olympic Peninsula since 2004, but his love for fishing the rivers of coastal Washington was born long before that. Raised into the family rock quarry business in Sonoma, California, Larry has spent a lot of time around loud trucks and equipment. It makes since then that when asked what his favorite a...Read More

A Normal Life

Living the life that you love does not shield you from loss. Fishing the remote waters of Alaska’s Alagnak River is a dream job for Russell Owen, but that dream has come at a cost. The life of a guide is not a normal life, but what he has learned from fishing has shaped him into the man he has become.

Video for Filson by Josh Fletcher

Life of a Guide

Alaska's Alagnak River is a place where there are no roads. A place where the weather does what it wants. A place where humans are no longer the apex predator. The life of a guide on this river is one of resourcefulness, persistence, and dedication.

Video by Josh Fletcher for Filson.
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