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Matthew Pizza

Backcountry Expert Gearhead Matt Pizza is an avid fly fisherman who has been fly fishing since he was a teen. He has fished all over Utah, as well as Idaho, Wyoming, a bit in Colorado, and even upstate Wisconsin and New York. Although trout makes up the bulk of his prey, he has been known to land pike and walleye, and has found a new love for catching bass on the fly. Here, he breaks down one of the essential skills for fly fishing, tying knots. Tying knots is a huge part of fly fishing. There are dozens of knots [...]

Matthew Pizza

Backcountry Expert Gearhead Matt Pizza is an avid fly fisherman who has been fly fishing since he was a teen. Here, he breaks down the essential step of rigging your line. We all know that there must be some work before you can play; it makes plucking that hog out from his favorite hiding spot all the sweeter. Preparing your fly line is necessarily painstaking, but doesn’t have to be painful. Here are some guidelines for making that all-important first step of rigging up your fly line a little bit easier. Dry Fly Dry flies simulate natural patterns hatching and [...]

Dan Gates

There are countless fly fishing rod options available and choosing one can be an overwhelming task. Dan Gates, an Expert Gearhead at, shares a few tips to help you select the ideal rod for any given situation. It’s an overcast day in June, the mayfly hatch is thick, and there is a ‘pig’ (really big fish) consistently rising 40 feet away. After a long, slow stalk you are finally in position to cast. All you have to do is place your fly in the perfect position to drift into the fish’s feeding lane. Too many false casts and the [...]

Dan Gates

To the seasoned fly fisherman, there is no sound sweeter than the mechanical hum of a quality fly reel, especially when the drag sings under the strain of a big fish. Expert Gearhead Dan Gates outlines the basic functions and features to consider when you are looking for your next reel, whether you’re new to the world of fly fishing or are brushing up before selecting your next reel. Modern fly reels are more than just line holders. The correct reel will help balance the fly rod, perform smoothly, and most importantly, help you land that big fish. Following are [...]

Curtis Jensen

Fly fishing is any sort of fishing in which the weight of the line is used to cast a fly so as to lure a fish to bite. Sort of. With the publication of Izaak Walton’s Compleat Angler in 1653, the fly fisher was idealized as a gentleman angler casting dry flies on an English chalk stream to dignified trout. But Walton fished with frogs and worms, and some flies are tied to look like things other than flies (deer hair mice, for example—big browns love ‘em, especially at night).  Since Walton’s book, fly fishers have developed a range of techniques and tackle [...]

Curtis Jensen

Flies are ‘tied’ to imitate insects, invertebrates, baitfish, crustaceans, small animals, and other fish fodder. Traditionally, flies were tied with natural materials like feathers, thread, and animal fur or hair. Now, a range of synthetic and natural materials are used, sometimes on the same fly. Flies fall into roughly five categories: dry flies, wet flies, streamers, poppers, and saltwater flies. Dry Flies Dry flies are fished on or at the surface of water and typically imitate adult or emerging insects like mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies, midges, grasshoppers, and damselflies. Flies are tied in patterns, general recipes for specific types of imitations. Dry [...]

Curtis Jensen

Winter offers unique challenges for anglers, and it can therefore be an especially rewarding season for those who really want to hone their skills. Here are a few important facts about fly fishing during the winter months. Most rivers don’t freeze Unless you’re at very high elevation or very far from the equator, your favorite moving waters don’t freeze in the winter. This is especially the case for tailwaters, any river or stream coming from a dam or other impoundment. Most dams are built such that outflows come from positions lower down the water column, making for generally consistent water [...]

Ian Provo

Fly fishing clear water in the pristine jungles of Bolivia for golden dorado has been at the top of my to-do list for over 10 years, and now I know it will stay there. After two hours of flying in a single-engine Cessna above the Amazonian canopy, I knew this trip was going to be crazier than anything we had done before. I looked out the window, and all I saw was jungle, the kind of impenetrable stuff I’d seen in my parents’ National Geographics as a kid. I couldn’t help but think about Alaska, where my brother Neil and [...]

Ian Provo

The concrete jungle of Santa Cruz, our temporary home, a world away from the distant Tsimané territory where, only 24 hours before, the greatest fishing experience of our lives came to a close. Navigating the inner rings of the city, in and out of the maze of markets with our new friend Tiko, we dodged the erratic drivers and street meats while embracing the relentless culture shock. Two days go by in the city, and I can’t stop thinking about getting back into the real jungle somehow. Even as the idea of climbing into the mountains lingered, we still had time, and [...]

Ian Provo

Our desire to travel to Bolivia has always been fueled by the fly-fishing potential in the exotic jungle rivers of the Amazon. As we found out over the course of three weeks, the legendary tales of carnivorous fish and breathtaking scenery were all true, and they exceeded our wildest dreams. The month of August seemed like the best time to go; the prime time for fishing and climbing overlapped, giving us the perfect chance to pursue our two greatest addictions in one trip. We couldn’t travel all the way down to Bolivia, the highest country in South America, without experiencing [...]

Backcountry Video

As the scope and range of outdoor pursuits grows and mountain athletes continue to specialize, the need for activity-specific outerwear tech is more apparent than ever. To satisfy the wide range of performance needs, Gore-Tex offers three unique technologies—Gore-Tex, Gore-Tex Pro, and Gore-Tex Active. But before we break it down, a few definitions are in order. At the heart of the Gore-Tex fabric is an extremely thin membrane with over nine billion pores per square inch (as shown to the right between the two fabrics). These microscopic pores are 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet, so they don’t allow [...]

Ian Provo

Judging by the Provo river access lots on an average weekday, and my Facebook and Instagram feeds flooded daily with fish porn, I’d say that fly fishing is getting popular. Over a decade ago when my brother and I started as youngsters, we were the only ones under 30 in our fly-tying class, YouTube hadn’t popped off yet, and we had absolutely no idea what we were doing. Now the secret’s out, and fly fishing is one of the best summertime activities for all types of people, especially those living in mountain towns where shredding pow and slinging trout are one [...]

Backcountry Video

Nearly every piece of technical outerwear today is treated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish before leaving the factory. The DWR treatment is the first line of defense against wet weather conditions and prevents the face fabric from becoming saturated. When you see water beading up and rolling off your Gore-Tex jacket or down puffy, that’s actually the DWR technology at work. DWR is a polymer applied to the face fabric that creates microscopic pegs, or hairs, that protrude from the fabric. (You didn’t know that you were bristling like a hedgehog in your new ski jacket, did you?) [...]

Rocky Thompson

We can’t all be gods at every sport we try. In fact, I’d guess that many of us discovered the singular joy of our respective outdoor sports by being quite awful at the sports offered on the high-school menu: basketball, football, flag squad. Few people are good at certain sports their first time. Surfing, for example, requires a great deal of humbling, which often involves being hurled onto the ocean floor time after time before attaining even a slight degree of proficiency. Fishing, on the other hand, is an outdoor sport where you can get the basics down on your [...]

Tanya Christensen

Above Photo: Backcountry Employee Brandon Collett Shot By: Re Wikstrom In no particular order: 1. Bait stinks. 2. Tuna tacos (legal-sized trout and mahi mahi are tasty, too). 3. Striking out on the river is easier on the ego than striking out at the bar. 4. Saying, “Here, fishy, fishy, fishy” or talking sexy to your fly won’t attract odd looks.  5. Fresh air, gorgeous scenery, and peace and quiet.  6. It’s easy to start and hard to master. (You can fly fish for a lifetime.) 7. Looking at fish porn at work won’t get you fired. 8. Fins and flasks go [...]