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Fly Fishing Learning Center
Published: 11/21/2019
Description: That’s the rallying cry of Courtney Despos, director of education and guide for Trouts Fly Fishing in Denver. Courtney is a self-professed streamer fanatic and she fishes them all season long, even in the dead of winter when most people are dragging nymphs along the bottom. Courtney shares her tips on winter streamer fishing, showing us how you can be successful fishing these flies all year long—as well as her tips for keeping warm when winter fishing.
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Published: 11/07/2019
Description: This week I interview one of my fly-fishing heroes, Joe Humphreys. He’s been an innovative angler all his life (he was “Euro nymphing” before the Europeans) but even more impressive is his love of life and fly fishing, and his energy on the river in his ninth decade. Joe talks about hot to stay young on the river, how to fish nymphs at night, and about the inspirational new film about his life called Live The Stream: The Story of Joe Humphrey. It’s now available own and rent on the iTunes Store: or Go to www.livethestreamfilm.com to buy the film on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Download and more platforms including: Prime Video, Google Play, Vimeo, and Youtube. I highly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys the fly-fishing world and its history and traditions—and who wants to learn how to retain the enthusiasm of a 12-year old on the water.
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Published: 10/30/2019
Description: This week I had a couple guests lined up but we had to reschedule, and because I have not done a new podcast in a few weeks because of my travel schedule I decided to tell a story. It’s from a magazine piece I did a number of years ago for the now-defunct magazine Fly Rod & Reel, and I have been toying with the idea of doing an audio book of my magazine stories over the years so I’m trying this to test the concept. The name of the story is “Creeped Out in Lordville” and it’s about all the decisions we have to make in the prime part of the season when fishing is good almost anywhere. It’s a departure from the usual podcast format of nuts-and-bolts advice so I hope you enjoy it. And not to fear, there is still a Fly Box section where I do offer advice on simple technique and tackle questions if that’s the kind of stuff you’re looking for. In the Fly Box this week, we have the questions and suggestions from readers: Some great professional advice on that recurring theme of lower back pain while fly fishing What are the practical benefits of smooth vs. textured lines in the new Orvis Pro Fly Lines? What do competitive anglers do for their own nymphing when not bound by competition rules? How do you fish for brown trout at night? What are times to avoid when trout fishing? Is air temperature, flow, or water temperature the most important consideration for trout fishing when the heat of summer is over? Why did a brown trout swim over to me and rub my ankles? Is there one rod I can use for both Midwest steelhead fishing and musky fishing? A suggestion that Bigeye Hooks have benefits beyond just easier threading Why does my nymph rig break at the surgeon’s knot instead of the clinch knot connection to the fly? What’s the best feather for palmering wet flies? What are some “go to” patterns for Euro nymphing? After I catch a fish, should I stay in the same pool or move on?
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Published: 09/27/2019
Description: This week, my guest is Orvis COO Simon Perkins, a lifelong fly fisher with 8 years of full-time guiding experience prior to working for Orvis. The subject is “Seek the Inside”, getting detailed about reading the water in a place that many anglers ignore—and one of the best places to find trout. Learn how to find these inside places and how to fish them from a highly experienced guide and fly fisher—and a great story teller. In the Fly Box this week, we have these questions and tips: How do I keep my fine scissors sharp? What should I avoid cutting with them? I have an 8 ½ foot 5 weight Encounter rod and need something bigger as well. What weight rod should I think of for my next one? A great tip on how to relieve lower back pain when fishing all day. Why don’t we have wild rainbow trout in more streams if they are so easy to grow in a hatchery? What is causing my leader to twist when fishing with a dry dropper? What are some good fly patterns to tie for panfish, ones that are easy for a beginner to tie? What would cause a large brown trout to suddenly dart erratically in all directions and then return to the same spot? What can I do to keep the tip of my floating line from sinking? Why am I having so much trouble making short casts on small streams? Is a 5-weight rod too small for bass? Can Antron be used as a parachute post material? Why do the wings on my poly wing spinners sweep back along the body and how can I fix it? How would you approach an unknown stream if you only had a few hours to fish?
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Published: 08/22/2019
Description: I frequently get questions about Stillwater trout fishing, and although I love it I am not very good at it. So I enlisted one of the best Stillwater teachers I know, Phil Rowley, and asked him to discuss something more advanced that relates to Stillwater trout fishing. The result is a very detailed discussion of fishing nymphs, especially midge imitations, on a very long leader. With this technique you can fish surprisingly deep—if you are patient! In the Fly Box this week we have the following questions: Is there any value in underlining a fly rod? How do I get foul odors out of my waders? How do I target stripers and smallmouth when the water is over 70 degrees and trout are also present? What is your go-to technique in a trout stream if you don’t see anything feeding? If you could only select one sequence, would you pick odd or even sizes of fly rods? My lower back is killing me after a long day of fishing. What can I do to alleviate this problem? How do I approach a stretch of river with deep pools and virtually no current? How can I teach my friends to recognize a strike to a nymph? Is it safe to bring the line/leader connection inside my rod guides? I am going to the Yellowstone area. Is it worth it to hire a guide?
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Published: 08/08/2019
Description: This week the main topic of the podcast is the issue of etiquette on our more crowded trout streams, in particular the conflicts that have arisen due to the popularity of fishing from drift boats and the issues that have developed both with boat and wade anglers. My guest is Wade Fellin, Montana native, lifelong fishing guide, and lodge owner. Wade gives some examples of recent poor etiquette he’s seen on his home river, the Big Hole, and how these kinds of conflicts can be avoided. We also explore some ways that clients as well as guides can help mitigate these issues. In the Fly Box this week, as usual we have some interesting questions (and tips) that I hope will be of interest to everyone. Some of the topics we explore are: What do you think of flies with spinner blades in front of them? Are Tenkara rods good in small brushy streams? Should I be worried about fishing in a lightning storm with my graphite rod? What are your thoughts about orientation on articulated hooks? What can I do about CDC getting slicked back on my flies? Is swinging flies for smallmouths a valid tactic? Can I swing wet flies with my level competition line? What can I do about red dye running from materials on my flies? Is it OK to use a level leader when surf and jetty fishing? What can we do about fish in heavily fished areas getting mangled mouths? Can I catch catfish on a fly? I have heard people say they catch trout with 80-foot casts? What is a practical casting distance?
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Published: 07/03/2019
Description: We all learn something every time we go fishing, even the amazing vacuum cleaner Jesse Haller, our resident Euro nymphing expert. So I asked Jesse what he has learned over the past 12 months, and it’s a fun and eye-opening interview that got me excited about trying some new ideas and strategies for Euro nymphing. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.
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Published: 06/18/2019
Description: We are really excited to bring you our first Shortcast episode of The Orvis Fly Fishing Guide Podcast. Hosted by Orvis fly-fishing instructor and guide Pete Kutzer, Shortcast episodes will feature one of your questions a week. You can call in your questions at (802) 362-8800 or email us at podcast@orvis.com This week Pete gives tips on how to land a fish that is charging right at you.
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Published: 06/20/2019
Description: It’s not difficult to catch walleye on the fly if you know where and when to go after them. I have gotten frequent requests from listeners on how to catch walleye on the fly and have never been able to find the right expert guest. Then, a few weeks ago while filming a bass fishing episode for the upcoming second season of the Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide TV show, I found my expert—Ted Putnam of Hawk Lake Lodge. Ted has shown numerous experts how to catch not only just walleye but trophy walleye on the fly, and he shares his expertise on when and where, what flies to use, what lines to use, and how to retrieve the fly. In the Fly Box this week, we have the following questions: Why can’t I get bass to eat my mouse flies? Why don’t the fish on my river eat salmon flies? How often can I fish a population of trout and will it hurt them? More discussions on fish and changes in barometric pressure. (This will be an ongoing discussion) Why do I keep losing fish when using a heavily weighted barbless fly? Can I use my 9-foot 5 weight rod for bass fishing? What is the strangest fly material you have ever used? When should I use Comparaduns? What kind of roadkill can I use for fly tying? Why did mahi in the Gulf Stream ignore my flies? How does water temperature affect fish and insects? Why do people not fish dry flies much any more?
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Published: 06/14/2019
Description: In honor of Father's Day and since Tom is still out on the road, we've pulled a popular show from the archives on how to teach young people how to fly fish. Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.Tom should be back next with your questions.
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Published: 05/24/2019
Description: This week I have a chat with Scott Bosse of American Rivers on the Montana Headwaters Security Act, a 7-year program that will hopefully come to fruition in 2020. It’s draft legislation for new Wild and Scenic river designations on some of the best rivers and streams on public lands in Montana. This draft legislation is the culmination of seven years of outreach to a broad cross-section of Montanans from across the state. During this time they have met with over 500 business owners, watershed groups, land trusts, recreation groups, riverside landowners, sportsmen and sportswomen, conservation organizations and other stakeholders. What they heard at those meetings mirrored what they learned in two bipartisan polls in 2013 and 2016 – Montanans love their rivers and want to see more of them protected using the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. It’s appropriate that this major legislation is happening in Montana, because the idea for the original Wild and Scenic Rivers legislation was born in Montana and was signed into law by President Johnson in 1968. In the Fly Box this week, we have questions and suggestions from listeners, including the following: The reason for the T-designation for sinking heads Can I use Tenkara flies with standard fly-fishing tackle? Why can’t I catch fish on nymphs? Do you have some tips for limestone streams? When it is advisable to purposely un-match the hatch Can I use hiking bots in place of wading boots? Can I use midge-sized flies all year long? They only work for me in the winter. Can I use an unweighted fly with a Euro-nymphing rig? Is it a good idea to use gear lubricant on my fly line? Why is fly-fishing gear so much more expensive than conventional gear? Where should I add split shot in relation to my streamer? Is there an easy way to remove split shot?
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Published: 05/09/2019
Description: Tom is on the road this week so we are posting a backcast episode from January of 2011 on emergers. This is one of Tom's "Black Diamond" episodes where he shares some more advanced fly-fishing techniques.
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Published: 05/02/2019
Description: This week, fresh from the Orvis Guides’ Rendezvous in Montana, I returned with a bunch of stories and tips I recorded with some full-time, professional Orvis-endorsed guides in a bar. Some stories are bizarre, some funny, and some touching. I also asked each guest for a tip so it’s not all pure entertainment. There is just a bit of bathroom humor around body functions, so just be warned in case you listen to these with kids. Nothing I would not share with my kids but just in case… In the Fly Box this week, we have some interesting questions and a couple great tips from listeners. A series of great tips on what to focus on when teaching a friend to fly fish. If jig hooks ride point up, why do fly tiers put the wing case on the side that points down when it is in the water? If trout face upstream, and you should approach them from downstream, why do all these people catch lots of fish using Euro nymphing methods when fish are directly across or even downstream from them? I have a 9 ft 6 weight Recon. I want to fish in small trout streams and for panfish. What lighter rod would you recommend? My big tungsten beads keep slipping over the hook eye. What can I do to prevent this? I fish in a river that has stocked trout and native smallmouth but I am really targeting the smallmouth. Why do I only catch trout this time of year? Why don’t your rods have hook keepers? I have been told to make my fly cast like I am holding a pretzel rod and I should be making a motion like I am trying to break the pretzel. But I get fatigue in my wrist. Is this a good casting tip? What is the dumbest way you have ever broken a rod? If you don’t have the correct fly size to match an insect, is it better to go one size smaller or one size larger when matching the hatch?
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Published: 04/25/2019
Description: So you thought you knew something about fly-fishing history? This week I have a chat with Paul Schullery, in my opinion the premier fly-fishing historian in North America. When I have a question about history Paul is my go-to guy. He’s the author of at least 50 natural history books, was a historian for Yellowstone National Park, and when he lived in Vermont was executive director of The American Museum of fly fishing. In the podcast, you’ll learn that not many things are new in fly fishing. Tenkara-style fishing was used in Europe hundreds of years ago. People were catching bass on a fly in Florida since revolutionary days. Euro nymphing? Drop shot techniques? Fly fishing for pike? Saltwater fly fishing? Those were all done hundreds of years ago. Paul also goes into some detail on women in fly fishing, and how women have been involved in the sport since the very beginning. In the Fly Box this week, we have the following questions: Is it worth it to buy prescription polarized sunglasses and where do I buy good ones? What works best for early season brook trout in Vermont? Am I cheating if I use a small wireless fish finder on my pontoon boat? Why do you call this The Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide podcast? Is it just for guides? Why doesn’t anyone make a fiberglass rod longer than nine feet? How do I search the podcasts for a topic? What is the best way to catch white perch on a fly rod? I bought an old reel with a fly line on it and the line is all kinked up. Can I fix the line or should I trash it? Can I use fluorocarbon spinning line as a leader? Why did I have trouble catching fish when they were rising? I can catch them on nymphs. What is a good rotary fly-tying vise in the $100-$200 price range?
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Published: 04/11/2019
Description: This week my interview is with Jeremy Wade of “River Monsters” fame. You may remember the episode where he caught a huge arapaima on an Orvis H3 and Mirage reel. He doesn’t always use a fly rod, but he does enjoy everything from those giant fish in exotic locations to a small wild brown trout river near his home in the UK. We talk about lots of things other than river monsters—what he enjoys about fly fishing, how he stays in shape for fighting those beasts, and about the pleasures of getting to know a water intimately instead of the pressure of having to produce for the camera. He has a new TV show and a book coming out soon—you’ll learn all about them on the podcast. In the Fly Box this week we have some great questions: What is the difference between wild, native, and holdover trout? How do I get small beads on hooks when they don’t want to go over the bend? What is the correct way to “haul in a fish”? Will upgrading my rod make me a better angler? Would it make sense to overload my 8-weight rod for pike and musky with a 9-weight line to throw those bigger flies? What is the best way to collect insects from my local river for reference? Who are some older authors you recommend for pleasure reading? Can I use my “saltwater” fluorocarbon leaders in Alaska? What things currently restricted by the rules of competitive angling would competitors use for their own fishing? And finally, yet another great tip by a listener on how to keep Thing-A-Ma-Bobbers from slipping on thinner sections of leaders
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Want to send a question to Tom for the podcast? You can e-mail your questions to podcast@orvis.com or leave a phone message at 802-362-8800 Follow Tom on Instagram @rosenbauert.