After a few minor complications that have been fully cleared up, FLY GEAR is here.

This was an exciting book to write, with a deep look into the gear than makes fly fishing such an interesting sport. Until February 15th it is being offered at the Just-released price of $25.00, which includes shipping and handling. I will personalize the book to you, or to the person you designate when you order it. Please, if you are ordering it for someone else, don’t forget to tell me so, and give me that person’s name. Otherwise, I will sign it to the person who orders the book.

There’s a saying in fly fishing that equipment isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. And that’s certainly true. Especially when we understand that our equipment is the only thing between us and the fish. Fly Gear is a full 224 pages. And what a great 224 pages are they are, crammed with an abundance of detailed information on the gear that we love. The primary emphasis is on rods, reels, lines, and leaders. These tackle items are not just discussed from the current view-point, but from the whole of fly fishing, its evolution to modern tackle (which began around 1850), and on to today’s marvelous equipment. There are charts and diagrams that help the reader to clearly see the “why” as well as the “how.” There are page upon page of reasoned guidance in tackle selection, and a thorough look at Bill Hanneman’s CCS system for rod evaluation. Two full chapters are devoted to leader development, including a deep look at Gary’s much lauded Uni-Body leader system. There’s a full chapter on the most used knots, replete with very clear photos of their construction. Fly lines, our most unique piece of fly fishing equipment, receive four chapters, discussing them in great detail so that the reader is totally prepared to select that just right line for any circumstance. Likewise four chapters are devoted to details of modern fly rods. Knowing them in intimate detail, from bamboo to glass to graphite to boron, allows the angler to not only select the best rod for any situation, but also allows the fly fisher to discuss topics such as action, swing weight, prepreg, mandrels, and more with total authority and accurate knowledge. This is a book designed by a fly fisher for every serious fly fisher.

To order this new book, click here: ORDER FLY GEAR






The Perfect Cast I discusses and demonstrates the three casting Methods: Wrist Casting, Forearm Casting, and Whole Arm Casting, noting their best uses, and clearly illustrating the “how-to” of each method. Gary discusses grip and stance, including detailed instructions for The Three Point Grip. There are clearly illustrated demonstrations of the Bow and Arrow Cast, the Elliptical Stroke, Across the Head Cast, Hook Curve, Reach Mend, Curve Mend, Puddle Mend, Roll Cast, Switch Cast or Forward Spey, Shooting Line, Long Distance Casting. Gary discusses and illustrates the details of the backcast with its lift and flip, the pause, the forward cast, A.L.E., Loop formation, tailing loops, pantomiming, false casting, casting in the wind, pickups, including the “C” Pickup, change of direction pickups, mending, and more. Unique shots from above dramatically illustrate Gary’s discussions of the casts and mends. All this in a 72 minute DVD for only $16.50 postage paid

Gary’s clear and easy to follow teaching style was developed in over 40 years of teaching internationally on all aspects of fly casting and fly fishing at the professional level. He produced the first-ever instructional video on fly fishing (Nymphing, 1982), was the Midwest Director of the Fenwick Fly Fishing Schools, and a founding Board Member of the FFF Casting Certification Program. He writes and lectures internationally on all aspects of fly fishing. Music on this DVD from the CD, “My Madison,” by Gary Borger and John Beth. To order the CD or see other ongoing information, visit

To order this great new DVD click here: ORDER THE PERFECT CAST I DVD





In this unique collaborative work, Gary and John have joined the best of their writing and musical composition and performance skills to celebrate their joy in this magnificent fishery. They envision the river’s seven segments in prose and music: the headwaters of the Gibbon River and the Firehole, the Upper Madison that feeds Hebgen Lake, Quake Lake with the lost campers under its huge slide, the 55 mile riffle down to Ennis Lake, and the Lower Madison through the Beartrap Canyon and on to the formation of the Missouri at Three Forks. John’s delightful music gives song to the grand sweep of the whole river, and Gary’s poetry in prose paints a unique picture of this unique river. “MY Madison” was awarded First Place in the 1994 Broadcast Division by the American Association of Outdoor Writers. This prestigious award is celebrated in this 20th Anniversary Release. This 14 track CD is priced at only $11.50 postage paid. For ongoing information visit Copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved

To order this great music CD click here: ORDER MY MADISON MUSIC CD

Blusie Steelhead

My bluesman, fly fishing friend, Keith Scott ( has been picking and singing his way across the Northwest. He was in Smithers, BC, recently and had a chance to swing streamers for steelhead in the Bulkeley—to no avail. Turns out they wanted a clown egg, which he fed them most willingly. Then to Smithers for Chinese food at the Twin Valley Hotel (Keith and I eat Chinese toigether every chance we get). Play ‘em some blues, brother.


A “clown” eatin’ steelie–that’s the fish. The other one is bluesman Keith.


Keith is a Chinese food eatin’ bluesman, too! Look great.

Hardy 2016


The new Hardy rods and reels make casting a delight and make fish like this work just that much harder during the fight.

Hardy has released their 2016 catalog, loaded with lots of outstanding gear. Of particular excitement for me are the Wraith and Zephrus rods, the Medium Spool DD reels, and Dutchess reels. I had a chance to cast the Wraith and Zephrus prototypes last year at the Pleasanton Fly Fishing Show in California, and was truly stunned by their performance. The Ultralite Disk Drag Reels that Hardy offers are truly a pleasure to use, and the new MADD models of that reel give exactly the same performance with a bit more backing capacity—great when one goes after bones with a 6-weight rod or fishes for big fall run browns with a 7 weight. The new Dutchess reel is a delight—lovely to look at and “Hardy” every inch of the way.

For a great look at the products go here:

For a look at the new Zephrus rods go here:



Last Day Rainbow

Nancy and I are moving west—to the Portland, OR, area to be closer to Jason, and Kelley, and Brooke. We need to get more family time and fishing time together. Amidst all the sorting, packing, tossing, trips to GoodWill, and all the other assorted agonies of moving, John Beth sent me this photo of an 18 inch rainbow that he caught on the last day of the inland trout season. It came from a spring creek in SW Wisconsin, but looks like an Alaskan Leopard Rainbow. To top it off, John used a cane rod, silk line, and 100-year old reel. Ah, but he didn’t use a gut leader—we will forgive you John.


What a way to end the season.

Clydehurst Christian Ranch Fly Fishing School day 2

Our second day was one of bright blue skies and pleasant temperatures. After morning chapel, we discussed equipment with a detailed Q&A session. Then right after lunch, we had a casting contest—both accuracy and distance. There were 4 targets at different ranges and each caster made 3 casts to each. One point was awarded for an overhead cast that hit the target, 2 points for an across body cast that landed in the hoop, and 3 points for a roll cast that was successful. Then, we had a casting class, discussing the tactics for distance casting and learning the nuances of the Double Haul. This was followed by a program on nymphing, again with an extended Q&A session.

During the days of the school, we ran a fishing contest, too: (1) greatest overall length of any single fish, and (2) cumulative length of all fish caught. The competition was intense, and the results great fun to announce.

The results of the competitions were:

Longest Cast — Derek Humphries 87’ 4”

Casting Accuracy — Derek Humphries 12 points

Longest Fish — Derek Humphries 15 3/8”

Greatest Cumulative length — Eddy Tofslie 460”

Looking forward to next year’s school at Clydehurst Christian Ranch


The casting contest was great fun, and the wind helped a bit.


Derek was the “top dog” in casting and biggest fish. Congrats!!


Eddy found the honey hole and piled on the inches. Amazing–congrats!!


Clydehurst Christian Ranch School Day 1

Last night was the opening salvo to prime the fly fishing pump. Today, we poured it to them. We started with the Clinch Knot and Improved Clinch, and then moved on to a discussion of the Three Point Grip, Wrist Casting, Forearm Casting, and Whole Arm Casting, and worked through A.L.E. (acceleration, loop formation, and energy transfer), and on to loop control.

Marc then presented a PowerPoint discussion of Reading Waters. This was followed by a casting demonstration in which I covered the topic discussed earlier.

After lunch we met and spent time casting. I love to watch novice casters develop real skill very quickly and veterans sharpen their skills.

Marc then discussed Food Organisms of the Trout, and presented a program on Fishing Central Oregon. Yes, I know we’re in Montana, but his program contains lots of good information on river and lake fishing in general. Besides, it’s fun to see big fish pictures.

Then came what everyone wanted—free time to head down to the Boulder and find some cooperative fish.

Dinner was late—7pm—to give everyone a chance to fish. Then came Chapel with a delightful discussion from Greg Payton. Looking forward to tomorrow!


Marc (right) and me on stage at the Clydehurst Christian Ranch Fly Fishing School.


The class pantomiming a Whole Arm Cast.

Clydehurst School 2015 Intro

Marc Williamson and I arrived at Clydehurst on Wednesday evening, and got ourselves organized in our cabins. Thursday morning, after breakfast, we organized the materials for the school and checked out our electronics, then packed a light lunch and headed downriver to fish a couple of nice runs that we had seen when driving in. The day was pleasantly warm with a bright sun—not the most ideal fishing conditions, but ideal for being in the outside. Most of the fish that we caught were small, in fact I think I caught a record small one. A rainbow that had to have threaded its way onto the hook—how do they do it? Still I did manage to find several cooperative 9 inch brookies, an 11 inch brookie, and a 14 inch rainbow.

The students began arriving at 3pm, and after dinner, we had our first teaching session in which we introduced the concepts of casting and two knots—the Surgeon’s Loop and the Surgeon’s Knot. Everyone received a rope kit to speed the learning of knot tying, a casting chart, my DVD on The Perfect Cast I, the CD My Madison, writing supplies, schedules, and other materials for the school. Let the wild rumpus begin.


The river is called the Boulder for a reason.


Marc exploring a very nice pool on the boulder.


My new record small rainbow–look at the size of the fly compared to the head of this fish.


Tricos on the ‘Horn

Marc Williamson and I fished Montana’s Bighorn yesterday (9/9/15). There was a Trico hatch and spinner fall that was incredible. Biggest I’ve ever seen. The duns were on the water from daylight to about 8:30 am. They also hatch at night, so we were probably on the tail end of the emergence. Marc and I floated and fished during the emergence and took some nice fish. After the hatch, we set up on a long shallow riffle that dumped into one of the Bighorn’s many long, deep pools. The air was alive with the spinners, literally millions of them; size 22. When they started to come down in serious numbers, we started to spot feeding fish. I took 5 trout on a size 22 Trico: 2 of them 17,” 1 was 18,” and 2 more 19”; Marc had his share, too. They were in very shallow riffle water at the edge (The Secret River); I would clearly see each fish when it rose and spotted a couple in the water, even though it was riffly. One fish was only 6 feet from shore in water not over 6 inches deep. I fished straight up to it, delivering the fly on a curve cast. It was great fun to watch the entire process of the fly drifting down, and the fish’s confident take. Of course seeing a size 22 Trico spinner in riffle water is really impossible, so I used a size 16, Elk Hair Caddis as a marker fly, hanging the Trico off the bend of the Caddis. It worked very well.


Yes, all those white dots are Tricos’ The sky was alive with them.


And when they fell, the water was blanketed with them.


Why would trout eat such tiny insects? Because there are so many of them. But they have to rise many times, giving the angler many opportunities for a hook up.

Tricos-on-water Tricos

St. Mary’s Atlantic’s

The St. Mary’s river—a very big river by the way—drains Lake Superior into Lake Huron. It’s also a very good place to catch Atlantic salmon. Perhaps we should call them Landlocks, because they never get to the salt, but they certainly do get into a rather large body of water, and they can get big. Anyway, they head into the St. Mary’s River in mid to late summer, and can be taken by the fly fisher using either single-hand rods or double-hand rods. The massive river certainly does not limit the casting style or gear.

My friend, blues player Keith Scott, had an opportunity to fish the St. Mary’s very recently and took his first Atlantic salmon with a fly rod. If you want to do what Keith did, now is the time to do it. There are plenty of guide services available (just google Atlantic Salmon in St. Mary’s River), and plenty of comfortable quarters in which to stay, both on the Michigan side and on the Ontario side.


OK, Keith, that’s number one. Now it’s time to get serious.

Summer Browns

I recently received a photo from one of Jason’s friends, Kurt Lach. He went to school with Jason, raced bicycles with him, and eventually became a fly fishing addict. It’s a great photo of a lovely summer brown, taken from a small stream in western Wisconsin on 6X. Summer fish hold a special place in my heart. They have beaten the odds of the early season, and have become especially attuned to lower, clearer waters, tiny mayflies, feeding early and late, and the every presence of heron, mink, and other predators. They required well-honed angling skills, and a deep concentration of being the best Angler as Predator that one can be.


Kurt’s lovely summer brown in perfect condition.

Practice Gets the Fish

Finding a nice fish in the middle of Wisconsin’s dry, hot summer is never easy, but my friend, John Beth, always manages to do just that. A few days ago, he visited a couple of spring creeks in the SW corner of Wisconsin. The weeds were high on the banks, and the water was low and gin clear, and choked with weeds.

The day dawned foggy, but that quickly disappeared, leaving a hot, dry day. By 3 pm, John had only taken one nice rainbow on a small beetle. Then he found a long deep pool with grass overhanging the banks. The tips arched out and brushed the water surface out at least a foot and a half from shore. It looked good, but nothing showed. John thought he heard the slight plop of a rise; then a slow set of ripples rolled out from under the overhanging grass. He watched for several more minutes before he saw the rise, back behind the tips of the overhanging grasses.

John headed downstream, not to get a better casting angle, but to practice the right cast. After a bit of fussing, he was able to skip a hopper through the delicate grass tips, and using a long tippet, was able get a couple of seconds of dead drift.

Back in position to cast to the rising fish, John skipped the hopper through the veil of grass tips like skipping a flat stone on a lake. The hopper only drifted about 6 inches before it disappeared in a gentle “gulp.”

After several long minutes he worked the big fish to the narrower, faster end of the pool and slid his net under a truly gorgeous 22 inch female rainbow. A quick photo, and he watched her swim strongly away.

The moral of the story: Practice, done right, does indeed, make perfect.


A very lovely hopper eater that required a bit of practice to take.