Outdoors
Sometimes people mistake me for an expert and ask me for advice, particularly about fly fishing. I do what I can based on what I know but don’t always feel qualified because I haven’t casted dozens of rods or used dozens of anything.
Here’s help with that fishing resolution 011817 OUTDOORS 1 For the Capital City Weekly Sometimes people mistake me for an expert and ask me for advice, particularly about fly fishing. I do what I can based on what I know but don’t always feel qualified because I haven’t casted dozens of rods or used dozens of anything.

JEFF LUND

A steelhead from the Ketchikan area caught on a 7-weight, 9-foot 6-inch Sage Method fly rod.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Story last updated at 1/17/2017 - 8:15 pm

Here’s help with that fishing resolution

Sometimes people mistake me for an expert and ask me for advice, particularly about fly fishing. I do what I can based on what I know but don’t always feel qualified because I haven’t casted dozens of rods or used dozens of anything. However I have been able to get my hands on enough to form an opinion. Fly fishing is all about individual casting style and preference. One rod might be more stiff (fast action) compared to another (medium action) but that in no way is an indication of quality. If I recommend a fast-action rod, then you buy it and hate it because you haven’t yet discovered you’re a medium-action caster, then it’s not that I necessarily gave you a bad recommendation, but rather I didn’t direct you to a model within your chosen casting preference. Since casting is super important because it can be super frustrating, it’s important to figure that out on your own. Go to a fly shop and ask to cast some rods.

Other than that, if you feel that you’re ready or are already heading down the fly-fishing vortex, here are some other suggestions.

 

1. Go premium (or premium-ish.)

Waders wear out. That is just what happens. The key is to get a pair that will last the longest, because in the end, it’s cheaper to buy a pair every couple years than buy the cheapest pair once or twice a season. They are more expensive than cheaper materials, but GoreTex is GoreTex and after repairing the two pinholes I’m once again bone dry.

 

2. Lighten up

The standard sizes are 8-weight for salmon and 5-weight for trout, but there’s something to be said about a specialty rod. Catching Dolly Varden on a fly rod is fun, but a Dolly Varden on a 3 or 4-weight is awesome. Some of the most fun I have ever had fishing was at a fishing hole choked with Dolly Varden. There was variety, too ­— a couple rainbows, cutthroats. The one consideration would be against going too light. The longer you have to fight a fish the more it takes out of it. So if you are into the catch and release game, make sure you’re playing the fish, not killing them.

 

3. Tie it for yourself

If you haven’t already, get yourself into fly-tying. Some trout flies are really basic. One of my favorites is just yard and barbell eyes. Figure out a couple of easy patterns you can tie well, mass produce them and watch them unravel in the teeth of fish.

 

4. Read

You can’t always be fishing and you probably don’t have enough material to be always tying, so there is plenty of time to read. The two top fly fishing magazines in terms of writing are the Flyfish Journal and The Drake. My book recommendations are “The Longest Silence,” by Thomas McGuane, “The Angler’s Coast,” by Russell Chatham and “Standing in a River Waving a Stick,” by John Gierach.

 

5. Go somewhere new

Alaska is huge and there are so many fly-fishing opportunities. Sadly I have only fished on Prince of Wales and the Ketchikan area. I did go to Fairbanks one June and did some grayling fishing, which was awesome, but there is so much more to be done. I could spend the rest of my life just fly fishing new water in Alaska. My goal within the next year or so is to get to either Bristol Bay or Kenai Peninsula. Part of fishing is finding that new water. Knowing everything about your specialized water is the point of working it in, but finding new water keeps things from getting routine.

Jeff Lund teaches and writes out of Ketchikan.