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Backpacker Magazine – September 2011

The Manual: Backcountry Fly-Fishing

Find fish-jumping action, spot streamside sanctuaries, and--if you're allowed to keep your catch--pull divine meals from pristine waters.

by: Kelly Bastone

Illustration by Supercorn
Illustration by Supercorn



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READERS COMMENTS

Paul Gabriel
Sep 27, 2011

The best trout are brookies and browns habituating the upper lakes and streams of Kings Canyon and Sequoia NPs. These areas are pristine and untrodden as most traffic heads north a few hundred miles to Yosemite. I've fly-fished a few times up there for esoteric reasons. Take a spin-rod with you, a collapsable one if you can find it, and enjoy the feast. These are invasive species and the Park Service encourages no limits. The best size to eat are 8-12 inches. Anything larger throw back, they have the survival gene and are big for a reason. Let these fish grow into the monsters your kids will discover years down the line.

Anonymous
Sep 22, 2011

The skin is the best part!

the buckaroo
Sep 20, 2011

...where do we start with this boy scout...let's try fly size. Smaller backcountry streams support trout in the 6-8 inch range, at best. A fly larger than 14 would be pretty futile. The best advice was to talk to the local experts.

I'm with Gerry...been doing it since the late '50's & the author should get out & practice the art, not use the library for vicarious entertainment. One could tell this was an assigned task & written as such. I might be wrong...could be a newbie to the subject.

The "no native trout above 6000" comment was rhetorical & pointing toward the wrongheaded approach the forest service is employing in restoring them lousy frogs to native status...to which I say, Garcon, hold the trout & make them legs deep fried! High sierra fricassee.

But here is the rub, at last resort, use power bait or scent the fly. It is thousand times more effective, which makes me cry sometimes...it just isn't fair, ouch! This comes from someone that still breaks out the Montague & has at it. I love the new equip, but the art demands finesse, at times.

Salt, pepper & roasted over an open fire on a stick...tricks!

peace & cookies

JIM
Sep 17, 2011

This article is like a well tied fly- looks like the real thing but it's just a prettied up hook.

dave
Sep 16, 2011

if i find fish and can catch them, i eat them.. i get hungry back there and i eat when i'm hungry. that's all.

Gerry R.
Sep 16, 2011

As someone who has flyfished for better than 50 years in lakes, big rivers and creeks small enough to step across, this article is a joke. there is no way anyone could learn enough to flyfish anywhere. Size 10 flies? I carry only size 12 and 14, and 6 patterns in one small box. Most importantly, I catch fish and have fun.

Steve Nelson
Sep 16, 2011

For cooking I've stopped using oil - less weight to carry, easier cleanup, and the fish still taste GREAT poached in a little water with light spices. You can still brown if you like be letting the water cook out at the end. And don't cut off the head! Best part is the "trout cheek" - the muscle just in front of the gills.

Steve Nelson
Sep 16, 2011

Problem solved: Trout are not native above 6000 feet in the High Sierras, therefore pick lakes and streams above that. The government is beginning to clear these lakes of fish to make room for the native frogs that were here, so better hurry!

Archibald Linguist
Sep 16, 2011

"Know you're trout..." I am Not a trout! Steelhead maybe, but not a trout. :)

Steve C
Sep 16, 2011

Don't let fish stories about what fish you can, can not, should, should not, might, might not catch & release or take & eat...or for that matter, discourage you. Simply check with the DNR where you are going. Also, some fishing websites may help you in selecting wilderness streams to hike and explore.

Anonymous
Sep 16, 2011

Better yet, know your spices.

hoz
Sep 16, 2011

We used to try fly fishing on our trips to the Wind Rivers. After a few years of whipping the streams and fighting the ever present wind, we went to a spin cast rod and reel with either a clear casting bobber and fly or small spinner baits (Rooster Tails work). Catching a skillet of trout with a spin cast rig is very low tech and doesn't require a learning curve.

It's not as flashy and doesn't hsve the cache of fly fishing, but you can't argue with the results.

Anonymous
Sep 16, 2011

In both the west and the east, there is a very good chance that the fish you catch in the backcountry will be threaten or endangered species, making it unethical and possibly illegal to kill or (even catch trout in certain waters, e.g. Gila Wilderness).

In the east the only native trout is the brook trout and it's highly endangered subspecies, like the blueback found in some spots in New England. All Brook trout populations in the great lakes region and east and from southern Quebec, south to Georgia are in trouble and should not be killed. And these are the primary fish you will see in back country streams.

In the west, all Cutthroat species, along with Apache, Gila, Redband, Golden and some Rainbow/steelhead populations are threatened or endangered and should not be eaten.

Ironically the one fish in the backcountry of the west that you should killif you catch it is the Brook trout. The brook trout in the west were introduced in the late 1800s and are an invasive species that out competes the native Cutthroat species.

Know you're trout before you decide to eat any!!

Todd
Sep 16, 2011

In both the west and the east, there is a very good chance that the fish you catch in the backcountry will be threaten or endangered species, making it unethical and possibly illegal to kill or (even catch trout in certain waters, e.g. Gila Wilderness).

In the east the only native trout is the brook trout and it's highly endangered subspecies, like the blueback found in some spots in New England. All Brook trout populations in the great lakes region and east and from southern Quebec, south to Georgia are in trouble and should not be killed. And these are the primary fish you will see in back country streams.

In the west, all Cutthroat species, along with Apache, Gila, Redband, Golden and some Rainbow/steelhead populations are threatened or endangered and should not be eaten.

Ironically the one fish in the backcountry of the west that you should killif you catch it is the Brook trout. The brook trout in the west were introduced in the late 1800s and are an invasive species that out competes the native Cutthroat species.

Know you're trout before you decide to eat any!!

Steve C.
Sep 16, 2011

Awesome. I am so thankful God made olive oil and fish. My mouth is watering.

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