Tag Archives: fly fishing

How to Catch Monster Trout

Larger trout behave differently than smaller trout because they require more energy. For example, large trout aren’t going to target small flies as often as small trout do. This is because the energy return from feeding on small flies is less for large fish than it is for small fish. Therefore, catching monster trout is going to require a few tactical adjustments. Here are some tips to help get you started:

Fish Big Trout Waters

Yellowstone river [image: www.nps.gov]

Yellowstone river [image: www.nps.gov]

That secret stretch of mountain stream is great, but it’s probably not going to produce many fish over 20 inches. There is simply not enough food. Focus your attention on larger rivers and lakes where adequate food supplies grow big trout.


Big streamer, big trout [image: www.current-works.com]

Big streamer, big trout [image: www.current-works.com]

All trout eat small aquatic insects, but only smaller trout eat them exclusively. Salmon flies, large stonefly nymphs, imitation crayfish, large streamers, imitation crayfish, and baitfish are all excellent options for targeting big fish. Power hitters often strike out, but they also hit homeruns.

Timing and Weather

Night fishing [Image: www.simmsfishing.com]

Night fishing [Image: www.simmsfishing.com]

The guy who catches a monster trout at noon with a nightcrawler is the exception not the rule. Whereas smaller fish feed throughout the day, larger trout are more selective and prefer the low light conditions of early morning or late evening-sometimes even the dead of night. On bright sunny days the monsters, especially the browns, tend to go into hiding. Target those days on the water when a front rolls in or days when a summer shower whips these fish into a feeding frenzy.

Spawning Season

Spawning trout [image: goeddelphotography.com]

Spawning trout [image: goeddelphotography.com]

According to Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler (1653), the brown trout is “a fish that is so like a buck, that he also has his seasons.” Indeed, browns become more aggressive during the fall months when they move out of lakes and up rivers to spawn. More big browns are caught in the early fall than at any other time.

Suggested Gear List: 

  • Streamer Flies
  • Wading Gear
  • Sunscreen

Check out our Pocket Ranger® Gear Store for these items and more!


Outdoor Activities Books

Interested in getting involved in some new outdoor activities this summer? Reading may help you decide what to pick. We have put together a list of some outdoor activities books that serve as great introductions!

These books aren’t just designed to be instructional—they are also written to communicate the spirit of the activity and why people find it fun and fulfilling. Check ‘em out!

Trout Bum

Books On Outdoor Activies

Image: www.goodreads.com

This book is a collection of essays on various aspects of fly fishing. Hang out alongside John Gierach as he fishes for cutthroats, rainbows, brookies, browns, and more in all kinds of weather, at night, with friends, and alone. But this isn’t just documentation of a guy casting in a stream. Stories include Gierach’s foray into tying flies commercially, acquiring gear at various points in his trout bum career, and he weighs in on the debate of graphite vs. cane rods in his own humorous and entertaining voice. There’s even a vague feeling of the supernatural at times.

Even the way Gierach describes the fish offers a window into how captivating the world of fly fishing can be. He shows readers the way they look on their underbellies versus their camouflaged tops, the way they can hover in one spot against the currents just by lightly moving a fin and then disappear—not swim away, disappear—in an instant. This is in addition to his comments on just how smart trout can be.

For those who know nothing about fly fishing, it’s interesting to discover the mentality behind throwing fish back—wouldn’t you want to keep them? Gierach says of course early on you’re so happy to have caught something that you keep it, but later you might throw them back more. One reason for this is an almost zen-like focus on the activity rather than the reward.

Of course if you do keep a big, legendary catch as a trophy, be sure to have the Pocket Ranger Trophy Case® app downloaded so you can maximize on your proud moment!

How to Be a Bad Birdwatcher

Books On Outdoor Activities

Image: www.amazon.com

If you want an enjoyable read as well as a great way to learn about what birdwatching really is, Simon Barnes will take you there with his charming and humorous approach. One of Barnes’ themes in this book is that if birdwatching is taken too seriously it cannot be enjoyed.

The point is, you already know about birds just from casual observation. To start birdwatching, all you have to do is use your eyes to look! Barnes discusses the satisfaction of identifying birdsong and recognizing a bird by name with even the quickest temporal glance.

Even though Barnes comes at this subject from the angle of laid-back simplicity, he’s still giving good advice on how to be a “legitimate” birdwatcher.

Ten Years Under the Earth

Books On Outdoor Activities

Image: www.ebay.com

With chapter titles like “The Oldest Statues in the World,” “The Great Cave Bear of the Pyrenees,” and “The Phantom Hands of Gargas,” these caving adventures from first-hand experience sound like fantasy writing. Ten Years Under the Earth is cave exploration literature for beginners and experienced cavers alike.

Casteret was a real risk taker and would aggressively tackle perilous challenges such as the infamous siphons, or submerged tunnels. His discovery of prehistoric cave drawings catapulted him to fame. Readers will see that caving is a very physically demanding activity and Casteret pushes it to its limits.

Also, with some quick google searching you can read Ten Years Under the Earth online for free, complete with illustrations.

Hunting Deer for Food

Books On Outdoor Activities

Image: www.jacksonlanders.com

This book has a way of drawing people in who may not have even been big fans of the idea of deer hunting to begin with! Jackson Landers takes a sometimes not-so-discussed perspective on deer hunting as “the most inexpensive, environmentally friendly way to acquire organic, grass-fed meat.” Okayyou’ve got our attention, Jackson.

In addition to being a great introduction, this book really does a lot to help the reader learn about and respect deer hunting as a meaningful activity. It is highly recommended even to those meat eaters who are morally opposed to deer hunting!

For more on the subject, check out this post on deer hunting by one of ParksByNature’s own!

The Man Who Walked Through Time

Books On Outdoor Activities

Image: www.christownsendoutdoors.com

The Man Who Walked Through Time is a testament to the power and influence a book can have on culture and people. In this case, the culture of backpacking experienced a major upsurge in the 70s and 80s and Colin Fletcher’s writing is regarded as having contributed to that rise.

You’ll come along with Fletcher as he journeys from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other. No Hollywood drama like getting injured or being attacked is to be found in these pages.

Like other books that have been written on the subject of backpacking, this one goes into detail on where his trek took him and what kinds of things he observed. But Fletcher takes things further by giving the reader insight into what was happening in his mind during his journey—the philosophical insights he had on his trip. He presents a paradigm of how backpacking can be an activity that is in harmony with nature.

Now that you have some outdoor activities books, you’ll be able to get your feet wet trying these things for real. Download your state’s Pocket Ranger® app to see what the possibilities are for exploring these activities firsthand!

How to Dress the Part of an Outdoorsperson

Let’s say you’re walking along, you find yourself at some kind of park, and you strike up a conversation with a person that you begin to fancy. All’s going well: you’re talking about your favorite books and bands, where you grew up, and other such things that occur in potential pre-first date conversations. But then, lo and behold! This person starts talking at length about this great overlook he/she wants to take you to, and it’s only a 15-mile hike, and you start to realize that your six summers at sleepaway camp as a child just aren’t going to cut it because you’ve somehow roped yourself a true outdoorsperson.

Between hipsters masquerading as lumberjacks, overalls (which look suspiciously like fly fishing waders) being back in style, and fashion plates mimicking chic safari garb, it was understandably hard to discern that your new potential love was a hiking/camping/fishing/hunting/general outdoor enthusiast, but now that you know, we’re here to help.

Disclaimer: We don’t advise completely changing who you are for love. We just thought this was funny. Also, we want everyone to love the outdoors.

So, read closely, friends. We’re going to tell you how to dress the part of an outdoorsperson. Luckily for us, it’s in time for spring fashion finds, so here are our picks!

For the fellas:

dress the part of an outdoorsperson

Image: www.patagonia.com/us/product/mens-skeena-river-waders-long?p=82310-0

These men’s skeena river waders are lightweight but durable. If you show up to the watering hole with these on, you’ll look like a fly fishing pro.

backpacking shoe for men

Image: www.thenorthface.com

The North Face’s men’s storm mid waterproof leather shoe is fashionable yet rugged, and is perfect for backpacking on wet terrain. Put these babies on and your new special someone will think you’ve been hiking for ages.


men's fishing jacket

Image: www. pocketrangerblog.com/gear-store/

Throw on the Simms men’s flyte jacket, and its windstopper technology will have you feeling comfortable throughout your whole excursion.

For the ladies:

These women’s wreck mid GTX North Face hiking boots are fashionable (get a load of those blue laces) without being too in-your-face. Plus, they’re lightweight, waterproof, and have Grippy Vibram® rubber soles for optimum traction when hiking on wet or dry surfaces.

hiking boots for women

Image: www.sunandski.com

These grey socks may not look like stunners, but SmartWool mountaineer socks will show your new partner that you mean serious business when hitting the outdoors. Perfect for hiking, mountaineering, etc., the extra cushioning, breathability, and ability to not get stuck in your new boots will have you thanking us after your excursion. (We accept all kinds of gifts, like love letters, Twitter shout outs, etc.)


women's mountaineering socks

Image: www.rei.com

Did your new squeeze suggest a trail running date? No problem! Get yourself these Patagonia Houdini® pants, and you’ll look like you were born ready. They have a water repellent finish, cuff with snap closure to get them on and off over running shoes, and a reflective logo so everyone will see you speeding by.


clothes for outdoorsperson

Image: www.shoebuy.com

Love is in the air, friends, so fall in love with the outdoors with these fashion finds. For other get-ups perfect for outdoor adventures, check out our Gear Store.

What are your favorite picks for outdoor wear?


Unique Wilderness Excursions

We love regular ole’ hikes and climbs and hunts as much as the next outdoor enthusiast, but sometimes it’s fun to mix it up. That’s why we’ve rounded up a few unique wilderness excursions happening in 2014 for adults! Just scroll down and get excited.

Outdoor Adventure Under The Expansive Southwest Sky

Feel like spending January in northern New Mexico? Head to Ghost Ranch, part of which was once home to Georgia O’Keefe. This retreat and education center has tons of programs all year round, but their January term excites us the most. Originally for college students on break, now the courses are open to anyone! We’re aware that it’s nearly impossible to get away for a month, but if you’re retired or otherwise able to, check out the Outdoor Adventure introductory course in outdoor learning and adventure! From January 2nd through January 24th you’ll be doing tons of activities, including archery, orienteering, high and low ropes courses, hiking, wilderness survival training, snowshoeing, horse therapy and riding, etc. For more details and to register, click here.

Ghost Ranch Wilderness Weekend

Ghost Ranch. All that natural beauty + all those nature activities = one heck of a wilderness excursion.
[Image: www.tumblr.com]

Adventure Getaways with Georgia Pelligrini

Georgia Pellegrini caught our eye recently, when she was featured in T Magazine  (The New York Times’ style magazine). The investment banker turned chef turned hunting and back-to-pioneer-days lifestyle guru has filled a niche we didn’t even know we needed (but now that we know, we really want to be a part of it): group getaways that consist of things like quail hunting with a guide and trained dogs, hiking, fly fishing, ATV rides, bird cleaning classes, falconry, cooking classes, great food, and fireside s’mores. Most of these trips are just for girls (but she can tailor-make a trip for your group, and she has done couples weekends, as well), and the next Girl Hunter Adventure Getaway is at Barnsley Gardens in Adairsville, Georgia, from Friday January 24th to Sunday January 26th. This one has a luxury spin (the others are fairly rugged) and spa treatments are available, “for the woman who wants to quail hunt by day and enjoy a bubble bath by night, with perhaps a facial or 9-minute hot stone massage thrown in.” It’s a pretty penny to spend, but we’re all for innovative ways of turning people onto a hunting and outdoors lifestyle. Click here for more details and to sign up!

georgia pellegrini falconry wilderness weekend montana

Georgia Pellegrini during the falconry portion of her Montana Girl Hunter Adventure Getaway.
[Image: www.georgiapellegrini.com]

Writing In Nature/Writing In Place

If you’re a Michigan resident, or plan on traveling there, make sure to check out the Leslie Science & Nature Center in Ann Arbor. We suggest going on March 16th and/or April 13th because from 2-5pm, they’ll be holding the third and fourth sessions of their nature-inspired writing workshop. Nature sure makes us feel creative, and the Center’s wooded trails and green fields near some non-releasable birds of prey could be the perfect setting for some reflection. According to the Center, the workshop will “explore how our surroundings, particularly the natural world, shape how we express ourselves.” A significantly cheaper option ($10, unless you’re a member, and then it’s $5), the series is overseen by author Rebecca Adams Wright, a former University of Michigan Zell Fellow who also earned her MFA in fiction from the university (which is one of the best creative writing programs in the country).


Writing + the outdoors = a perfect combination.
[Image: www.franmacdonaldwriting.files.wordpress.com]

The March 16th program will be led by Dave Karczynski, another Michigan MFA graduate who won a prestigious honor for outdoor writing. A perfect match for a Pocket Ranger® fan, Karczynski is interested in writing about “wildness and wilderness” and has a “passion for wild, flowing water and the fish that live in them, as well as the passionate men and women who pursue their quarry with a fly,” which has inspired his current work about fly fishing in Poland and the night fly fishing culture of the Midwest.

fly fishing

One of the workshop teachers is passionate about fly fishing!
[Image: www.tumblr.com]

The April 13th session will be led by Keith Taylor, a writer who coordinates the undergrad creative writing program at the University of Michigan. According to his website, Taylor “has worked as a camp-boy for a hunting outfitter in the Yukon,” and in 2004 he received a research grant to “work on a project that attempts to recreate the life of his pioneering ancestors in Alberta, Canada.”

Big Foot Adventure Weekend in Salt Fork State Park

Any idea where you’ll be from May 29th to June 1st? If you don’t say the Big Foot Adventure Weekend in Ohio’s Salt Fork State Park (the heart of Ohio Bigfoot country), then we’re about to convince you to change your plans.

The only wilderness excursion in this post that’s actually happening in a state park, the four day and three night trip promises to have “seasoned researchers…take you in the field on guided expeditions” so you can “learn from seminars and hands-on training, as well as actual night investigations, to help you along the road of Bigfoot research.”

If you’re not much of a true believer, you’ll still get some out-of-the-ordinary outdoor fun, through a casting class that will teach you how to mix and pour materials to preserve tracks, information about past Bigfoot sightings, and the opportunity to camp, hike, or just wander around in nature.

Bigfoot Adventure Weekend

State parks are great for hiking, biking…and finding Bigfoot.
[Image: www.listverse.com]

There’s always new ways to head outdoors—just be creative!

What do you think about these programs? Do you know any other unique wilderness weekends/excursions? Let us know in the comments!


Stream School: Lessons From My First Fly Fishing Expedition

Contributed by Will Jenkins, The Will to Hunt


I recently made my way to Highland WMA in Highland Country Virginia for 4 days of backpacking, camping, hunting and fishing. This was my first time backpacking and camping since I was much younger and the first time I’d ever done it with the goal of hunting and fishing. For this post we’ll focus on the lessons learned as I’m a very new fly fisherman.

First off, make sure you bring sandals, water shoes or waders. I didn’t. I ended up rolling up my pants taking my boots and socks off and making my way into the river. If you go this route be sure to take your phone, keys, or anything else out of your pockets. Luckily my fishing partner Zac reminded me of this just before entering the water. Bare feet and slippery river rocks don’t mix well especially when the water temps are pretty chilly. I wasn’t 20 minutes into fishing before one misplaced step, and I was face planting right into the river. Luckily the weather was pretty warm and I was wearing a wool shirt and KUIU, pants both of which dry extremely fast.

Next up, if you’re new to fly fishing like I am, practice your casting how you’ll be fishing. In other words don’t practice in the middle of your yard. Practice your casting where there are some trees or obstacles that replicate casting on a small river. This will help you get used to aiming under trees on your back cast so that you aren’t hooking every limb and losing your flies.

That leads me to my next suggestion. Bring extra flies. There a lots of things to snag and you will lose flies. Don’t freak out just make sure you have extra flies and a variety. Some fish can be picky so making sure you have a good variation of flies will help you hone in on what they are biting. That said, also do your research to figure out what flies the species you are after tend to like.

Lastly, have fun! I had a blast fishing even though I never caught a fish and neither did many of the people fishing that day. Our trip ended up being plagued with tons of rain and wind making fly fishing pretty much impossible. However, that first day of fly fishing and falling on my face in beautiful weather was a blast!