Category Archives: FLYFISHING

Cleaning and storing your gear for the off-season from The Orvis Company

Battenkill Bar Stock Instructions

Always make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and lubing your reels.

While the fishing season is by no means over, it may be time to start thinking about putting away some of your equipment—dry-fly rods, the 2-weight you use for native brookies, etc.—for the long winter. Although most fishing gear will last for years if you treat it right, incorrect storage can shorten that life span or ruin the aesthetics of a fine rod or reel. For instance, C. Boyd Pfeiffer, the godfather of tackle craft, tells of how he put a fly rod away wet, and when he retrieved it in the spring it was covered by tiny white blisters under the finish. Here are some tips to help you avoid such an unwelcome surprise.

1. The end of the season is the perfect time to clean all your gear. Before you store rods, reels, waders, and lines, you should wash them and allow them to completely dry.

Rods: An old toothbrush is perfect for lightly scrubbing around the hardware and guides. Pfeiffer notes that taking several rods into the shower with you is a convenient way to get the job done quickly. Make sure you rinse the rods thoroughly and allow them to air dry.

Reels: You can use the same toothbrush for getting all sand, salt, and grime off your reels. Take the lines off all reel before you wash them (although you can leave the backing on). Again make sure you rinse all parts thoroughly and put them on a towel to dry. When one side is completely dry, flip the parts over, so any water hiding in nooks and crannies can run out. Do this a few times.

Waders: Rinse them completely, wiping off any dirt or salt, and hang them to dry. Then turn them inside out an allow them to hang for awhile longer to air them out.

Fly lines: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your lines. Using dish soap will actually remove the slick coating. A moist rag will usually do the trick.

2. Now it’s time to inspect and perform routine maintenance.

Rods: Check all the guides and ferrules to ensure they are in good shape. Apply ferrule wax to the male ends of the ferrules. Check the reel seat to make sure the threads are clear of debris.

Reels: If your reel requires lubricant (although few modern models do), follow the manufacturer’s instructions for doing so. Make sure all screws are tight. Do a final inspection to see if you missed any sand or salt residue.

Waders: Check them for wear and tear or leaks. If there are abrasions or nicks that look like they may become leaks, you might want to do a prophylactic repair with a patch kit.

Fly lines: Check the line for nicks, and test the loops at both ends to ensure that they are still strong.

3. Storing your gear correctly will ensure that it’s good as new when you need it.

Rods: Again, make sure the rod is completely dry before you put it in its sock or tube. Arrange your rod tubes horizontally, rather than standing upright. Finally, Pfeiffer suggests that you leave the end caps off entirely to allow the rods to “breathe” during the long months of storage.

Reels: The big enemy of reels is corrosion, so make sure they are fully dry. You can choose to store them in their bags, but leave a gap in the opening to allow any moisture to escape. Before you put a reel away for the winter, back the drag off completely. This will reduce wear and tear on the discs or other components.

Waders: The best way to store breathable waders is to hang them, but not by the suspenders or the boot feet. Instead, drape them over a hanger, allowing air to circulate all around them. This way, you don’t stress the suspenders or where the wader and boot material come together.

Fly lines: Fly lines should be clearly labeled and hung in loose coils over a hook or a nail. This will keep them from developing too much memory over the winter.

It goes without saying that all your gear should be stored somewhere that’s dry and is relatively climate-controlled—that is, a place that doesn’t experience wide swings in temperature.


The American Museum of Fly Fishing

After Irene:  Assessing Our Streams

Saturday, October 22

2:00 p.m.

IreneWhen seemingly small streams become raging rivers, fish and other inhabitants have to fight their own battle to survive the rushing water, increasing amount of silt, and after effects of a depleted food source as insect nymphs are washed downstream.  
Join fish biologist, Ken Cox, from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife as he talks about the damage done to our local rivers from Tropical Storm Irene and all of the work that is being done to protect and rebuild the wildlife habitat. 

Annual Membership Meeting

Saturday, October 22


red flyThe annual members meeting will be held at the Orvis Fly Fishing school at 9:15 am on Saturday, October 22. 
Join us that evening for a celebratory dinner at the Wilburton Inn.  Here you’ll enjoy fine wines, a gourmet dinner, and good company among your fellow anglers and members!  For more details and to make a reservation, contact Kim Murphy.

A Graceful Rise Exhibition Catalog

The museum is pleased to announce that funds have been secured to publish an exhibition catalog to complement our current exhibition, A Graceful Rise: Women in Fly Fishing Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. The catalog will include the profiles of each of the women as well as some of the images and personal artifacts on display in our gallery. We hope to have these available by early December for your holiday shopping.  Check our website for details.

Improvements Continue Around our Casting Pond

After a site review by the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we were approved for funds to remove the invasive plants along the banks of the back stream (which eventually deposits into the Battenkill). Over the three-year grant period, this will enable wildlife to again use these natural resources for subsistence. This past fall, the low-growth bushes were removed, and the overgrown weeds in the yard were trimmed and maintained. Most of the fish that were restocked in fall 2010 survived the winter weather and the high waters brought about by Tropical Storm Irene. As always, the public is en- couraged to cast a line or two in the pond (and to practice catch-and-release so others can enjoy!).


The American Museum of Fly Fishing promotes an understanding of and appreciation for the history, traditions, and practitioners of the sport of fly fishing.  It collects, preserves, exhibits, studies, and interprets the artifacts, art, and literature of the sport and uses these resources to engage and benefit everyone.  

The Underground’s Short Casts for 2011-10-07


by Tom Chandler on October 7, 2011 · 0 comments

  • Ready for another “brutal” winter? Brutal Winter Predicted for U.S.: Scientific American #
  • It’s not just Vermont; New York suspends stream protection laws, trout streams getting hammered: #

Upstate FlyFishers Meeting

Our next meeting will be Wednesday, October 5th. We will meet at the Pittsford Rec Center (Spiegel Community Center), 35 Lincoln Ave, Pittsford. Meeting starts at 7 PM with a fly tying demo by one of our members. Business meeting is from 7:30 to 8:30.

Our speaker this month will be Josi Curtice who is the owner at Have a photo or description of a trophy fish and want a show piece? Josi can help you out. Josi has studied, trained, fished, and lived in many different places around the world.

Our tyer this month will be UFF member Doug Stratton. Doug will be tying some cdc patterns and demonstrating the Pettijohn Majic tool.

Noteworthy Dates



A Japanese Form of Fly Fishing Gains Fans in the U.S.


James Card

Misako Ishimura with a Japanese tenkara rod in Arkansas. She began fly fishing in the Catskills in 1989.

Published: September 15, 2010
  • CROOKED CREEK, Ark. — Misako Ishimura waded knee deep into the current, the water temperature perfect for both swimming and soothing relief from the afternoon sun. But Ishimura, 58, had other things in mind as she swept back her rod and flicked the line upstream in a controlled, gentle cast. The soft-hackle fly dropped into the surface film and drifted near a rock undercut.

A shiver vibrated up the line, and Ishimura leaned back with her rod and brought in a scrappy longear sunfish. From a distance it appeared she was fly fishing in the usual style, but the long, supple rod that she cast had no reel, and the line did not run through guides. The line was knotted at the very tip of the rod and formed a direct connection between her and the fish.

That is the minimalist essence of tenkara, a form of traditional Japanese fly fishing that has begun to attract anglers in the United States.

Although the etymology is unclear, the name tenkara is thought to mean “from the sky” or “from heaven,” which may describe the situation from a trout’s point of view: a mayfly gently touches down on a coldwater stream, a free lunch from above. To the angler, the mayfly is an imitation on a hook and an effective and intimate way to connect with the fish.


Hurricane Irene Update: Good News for the Battenkill


Posted by: James Hathaway

Date: 09/19/11

We have received a lot of emails from readers concerned about trout populations in Vermont post-Irene. For the Battenkill, anyway, there is good news for anglers.

It is not often that Monday morning brings good news, so I was very pleased to get an email this morning from our local state representative here in Sunderland. She was forwarding me a report from Ken Cox, VT Fish & Wildlife Fisheries Biologist on the state of the Battenkill river post-Irene and the condition of habitat restoration Orvis funded a couple of years ago.

There is good news, indeed, and it’s a fascinating read. Here is his letter in its entirety:

Subject: Status of Batten Kill post Irene
This message concerns how the Batten Kill has fared with Irene with respect to stream damages, habitat impacts, effects on habitat restoration, and trout populations.
Yesterday, Dan MacKinley, Scott Wixsom (both with the U.S. Forest Service, Green Mountain National Forest) and I inspected the lower Batten Kill which I define here as the VT 313 bridge by the Arlington recreation field downstream to the NY state line. Even though the river overtopped its banks inundating numerous locations throughout its floodplain, the river came through remarkably unscathed. Very little new bank erosion has occurred, most of the large wood habitat structures installed into the river since 2006 remain in place, and the riparian woodlands are intact. Overall conditions remain pretty much as they were prior to the flood, and we were unanimous in our conclusion that it is extremely unlikely that the recovering trout population experienced any setback as a result of the flood. If there is anything good to be said for the timing of Irene with respect to trout populations is that it occurred before the spawning season and the river substrate is loose and not overburdened with sediments. So, the prognosis for spawning and egg incubation success looks good pending “normal” winter and spring river conditions.
Being that the majority of habitat structures weathered this record flood event, we do not see any need to change their design and placement. There is no evidence that any of the large wood placed in the river resulted or contributed to damage to private property, roads and bridges. No doubt Irene caused much debris flow but most of this material appears to have originated from the Roaring Branch and Kelly Road washout. The new concrete arch bridge that replaced two old undersized culverts on Benedict Hollow Brook and designed to provide trout access to spawning habitat came through the flood fine and conducted water and any debris downstream without incident.
Dan, Scott and I attribute the ability of the Kill to come through the flood event so well to so much of the flood plain continuing to be accessible river overflow which allows the river to lose power that can be destructive to transportation infrastructure, personal property and stream and riparian habitat. Furthermore, much of the upper river flows through wetlands that have the ability to dissipate hydraulic energy, store water and capture excessive debris and sediments. Where trees remain on the river banks (which is the case throughout much of the river’s length) banks are held in place minimizing erosion and large debris is retained within the river corridor.

Personal History: Birth of an Angler


Posted by: Gordon M. Wickstrom  

Date: 09/15/11


Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado, just a few years before this story takes place.

It was after morning recess in Mrs. Winter’s sixth-grade class at Mapleton School in Boulder, Colorado. I remember the moment precisely, when the boy behind me, right in the middle of the lesson, leaned over his desk and my shoulder to whisper in my ear that if I’d take a nickel down to Woolworth’s at Broadway and Pearl, I could buy this fishing “thing” with which I could catch lots of fish out at East Dagues Lake.

There’s no way for me to explain why my imagination was so immediately galvanized, if not downright obsessed. I could think of nothing else the rest of the day. And that was strange because I knew nothing of fishing. My father had never fished; though assorted of my uncles sort of had, and one of those had taken me at the tender age of five, out to Johnson’s Trout Farm, where I was allowed to pull out a lot of pan-size rainbow stockers.

But that was the extent of it. Granted that, as a small boy, I had doted on what was to be known as Goose Creek and is now lost under melancholy development. It was a lovely, small brook flowing east along the other side of this great old hill. There I could chase garter snakes, watch minnows and red-winged blackbirds, and generally dream away an afternoon with the sandwich my grandmother had made me.


Trout Survival After the Floods


Posted by: Drew Price  

Date: 09/12/11

  Vermont's Williams River Raging

When you see a trout stream transformed into a frightening, raging torrent—as the
Williams River was—you have to wonder how a trout could survive such power.

photo by Len Emery

My home state of Vermont was recently ravaged by flooding from the rains of Tropical Storm Irene. Tiny creeks became rushing torrents, midsize rivers hit record levels, and the state’s largest rivers flowed over parts of their floodplains that rarely see water. The devastating impacts of this flooding on the residents of the Green Mountain State have been widely broadcast, and recovery will take a great deal of time. I wondered about the impacts of this flooding on the local fisheries, so I began to research what happens to fish during floods.

Eminently Adaptable
Fish are incredibly adaptable animals. Stream-dwelling trout, for example, live in an environment that has a tendency to change a fair amount. Spring flooding is part of the normal cycle for these and other animals, and they have learned to make it through this annual event for millennia. A flash-flood event is somewhat similar, albeit far more abrupt.