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

Lake Michigan Browns 2016

         Looks like the big browns are back in the Lake Michigan tributaries. John Beth was searching for them last week, and he found them in one of our favorite streams. He got really excited when he landed a big female of 29 inches and 15 ½ pounds on a dead drifted egg fly, fished blind into a deep-water slot. After all the photos and congrats, he straightened his shoulders and moved on, fully satisfied with the day. Well, he decided to fish an orange streamer for a while, and on the third cast into a nice slot against the far bank, saw the enormous mouth of a 34 1/2 inch 18 ½ pound male inhale the fly. Talk about being on a high. Those two brown trout had a total weight of 34 pounds! That’s some kind of fishing.

By the way, these things fight well, too!


15 1/2 pounds–whee.


Then, this mouth came out and inhaled the fly!


Look at the rest of the fish that was attached to that big mouth. Yes, John, I would smile, too!




Last Day Ritual

My long time friend and fishing companion, John Beth, has a ritual of fishing the last fay of the inland trout season in Wisconsin with gear from modern fly fishing’s earliest beginnings (the mid to late 1800s). His reports are always fun because I can see him stalking the spring creeks of SW Wisconsin with his greenheart rod, brass Hardy reel, silk line, and early 20th century, gut-snelled wet flies from L.L. Bean. This is the same John that wields his graphite rod and size 22 and 24 Tricos on the Bighorn, and streamers and egg flies on the Lake Michigan tributaries for the big salmon and browns.

His day was a great one, actually with nice sized browns grabbing the wet flies handily in the morning, followed by some great fishing with terrestrials in the afternoon. A nice brown fell to a midget hopper and then came the crowning glory of the day, an 18 inch rainbow on a size 16 ant. What a great way to celebrate the ending of the inland trout season. Gotta love it


Browns of this size took the smelled wet flies very well in the morning.



A nicer afternoon brown that took a midget hopper imitation.



The big rainbow that inhaled the size 16 ant imitation very softly.

Theo’s Eel Skin Rattlers

Theo’s at it again. He loves to use freshwater eel skin for many of his long flies. When wet it undulates, well, like an eel. And then adding rattles? Wow. He will be fishing with Chuck Furimsky later in November for striper and blues off the New Jersey coast and promises to send along reports on the effectiveness of these imitations. Can’t wait.


Theo’s Eel Skin Rattler–notice beads inside EZ Body and long tapered tail of fresh water eel skin.


Lake MI Kings in Wisconsin 2016



My long-time friend, John Beth, and his friend, Scott Allen, just returned from a trip to a Lake Michigan tributary, fishing for kings and browns.

Wisconsin has experienced more than its share of rain this year, and the river finally fell to just a little over 300 cfs. John was understandably anxious to get over and see what was going on. The water was still dirty, but fish could be seen splashing and moving, and so he and Scott stayed and fished. John nailed a king of about 15 pounds, and then a bit later, Scott hooked into a nice one. He had not caught kings before, so John coached him on putting the fight to the fish. No success. And then the fish jumped, and the reason was obvious—it was a really nice one. Scott fought, John coached and fretted, and finally the beast was subdued—but not before John had to reach arm deep and grab it by the caudal peduncle and shove it into the net. It was a 28 ½ pound king, 39 inches long. That was ol’ fighter! No wonder Scott had a hard time.

John, knowing that browns are usually in when the kings come in, and eat drifting eggs, drifted his egg fly down over a lip and into a deep hole and nailed a 28 inch, hook jawed male. Great battle, and great photos to follow.

Nice work, guys!

If you live anywhere close enough to Lake Michigan to get to a tributary, get there. Now is the prime time, and the fishing can be outstanding.


John’s king–nice but Scott has got you beat.


At a boy, Scott. Nice, nice salmon.


And, John, nice, nice brown.

Theo’s New Rattle Flies

My friend, Mr. Goldbead, Theo Bakelaar, from Holland, is constantly coming up with great ideas for using gold (and other color) beads. His former rattle streamer used a loop of nylon on which the beads were strung (see here). His newest version uses a mesh body of EZ Body with the beads inserted in the body. There’s a bit more noise because the beads are freer to move and can clink against the hook shank. The fly is tied upside down to minimize hookups on bottom structures.


Beads are inside EZ Body. Great rattle!


Some other color options, note gold beads inside EZ Body.





Sparkle Snail and Hair Leg Crystal Bugger

Marc Williamson and I are planning to fish Cold Water Lake later this month. Cold Water is an offspring of the Mt. St. Helens eruption on May 18, 1980. When fishing the lake, one looks right up into the massive crater left when the north face of the mountain slide away and the volcano then erupted. Mat Holmes, who fishes the lake often, will be with us, and he suggested terrestrials and smaller buggers.

My friends, Dan and Janice Smith at Estaz, sent me some samples, and two of the colors, Opal Black and Black (which shows significant purple, too) proved to be exactly what I was looking for. The Opal Black shows green, and is a great flash substitute for peacock herl. I used it to tie a half dozen Sparkle Snails. Trout in lakes know what snails are, and this design has worked very well for me in the past.

I also used the Opal Black and the Black to tie a half dozen Hair Leg Sparkle Buggers (3 in each color), with burnt orange tails. My friend, Denny Rickards, who has specialized in lakes most of his life, and written several books on the subject (Fly Fishing Stillwaters for Trophy Trout, and several others) has long recommended olive and black buggers with burnt orange tails.

Marc is dressing flies that he has found to be especially productive on the lakes of central Oregon.

Should be a good day. I’ll let you know.


Sparkle Snail. 3-4 turns of brown, dry fly hackle at the rear of the hook, and then wind the shank front to back with copper wire, do not clip tag end of wire.



Tie in Opal Black Estaz and wind to front of hook.



Spiral wire over body; make 3-4 turns with brown, dry fly hackle at front. That’s it. Simple and very effective.



Hair Leg Sparkle Bugger. Tie in a burnt orange tail of marabou or other soft fibers.



Wrap Estaz over rear 2/3 of shank.



Form a spinning loop and insert Eztaz and black mink guard hairs, or similar stiff fibers.



Spin the loop tight and wind over front 1/3 of shank. This style is based on my Hair Leg Woolly Worm, and is very potent in many situations.

South Africa Dreams

My friend, Tom Sutcliffe, sent the photos below from his waters in South Africa. I have fished some there with Tom and his friends that look identical to those in the photos. I have fond memories of stepping out of the stream to see leopard pug marks in the sand, to having been warned not to approach baboon troops—they throw grapefruit sized rocks at you—to some great fishing and great food (including ostrich steaks).

South Africa has mountains to over 11,400 feet, thousands of miles of both cold-water and warm-water streams, superb reservoir fishing, and some rather impressive surf casting with the fly rod. If you every choose to vacation in Africa, South Africa has great game reserves—and don’t forget the fly rod.












Trico Photos

John Beth has sent along a few more Trico photos from his trip to Montana’s Bighorn a couple of weeks ago. For those that have never fished big waters, the Trico hatch o the ‘Horn can seem unreal. But the big western rivers like the Missouri, the Henry’s Fork, Canada’s Bow, and others all have Trico hatches that are off the chart, and which can go one for over a month. The total number of insect is truly astronomical.


Arriving at the boat ramp in early morning one is created with untold numbers of Tricos.


The spiders get fat on the multitude of Tricos that hang up in their webs.


So many that one can actually breathe them in.


A mating ball illuminated by the sun. This is going on for miles up and down the river.

Bighorn Tricos Heavy as Ever

My friend and long time fishing companion, John Beth, just returned from the Bighorn. He and his friends fished Trico duns and spinners, and plied the waters with nymphs and streamers in the off-hatch times. As always the ‘Horn was welcoming, and they did very well. John’s best in the Trico hatch and spinner fall was a 20/20 brown—good work old friend. There were bigger fish, but it’s always fun to take a nice fish (20”) on a tiny fly (size 20).


Early morning on the ‘Horn can be stunning.


Especially stunning when the hatch is this heavy!


John’s 20/20 brown–a very healthy fish!


A heavy-bodied brown that fell to Joh’s streamer–held up by Bighorn Angler guide Bryen Venema.


Coho Blues?

Bluesman Keith Scott searched BCs Bulkley for 12 hours with his two hand rod for steelhead, but found none. Rigging his 7-weight one-hander with a Popsicle he made a few casts and secured a nice coho. Will there be a Coho Blues coming soon??


Is this the makings of Coho Blues?