Winter 2017 Contents

Drake 2017 Winter Issue


  • Debonair Dirtbag
    All fishing trips to Patagonia revolve around luxurious lodges, meat-heavy three-hour dinners, and bottomless bottles of Malbec served just below room temp. Or not.
    Story and photos by Dave Karczynski
  • Golden Bones
    A journey from Canada to Illinois reveals that the love of flyfishing for carp stretches far and wide, as does a deep passion and respect for the species itself.
    Story and photos by Ryan Sparks
  • Unofficial Absaroka
    One man had a dream: Carve out a new American state by stealing the fishiest parts of a few others. It would've been a great place to call home.
    By Geoff Mueller Photos by Hank Welles


  • Page Six Chix
    Something salty, something fresh.
  • Put-in
    Why are so many people afraid of science? Our fisheries biologists are the fish's best friend. Let's listen to them.
  • Rises
    On Michigan State fans, sappy moments, and Peter Heller.
  • Scuddlebutt
    The story behind those bird-eating GTs; Bentley's SUV vs. The Drake's; looking back and looking forward at Oregon's Steamboat Inn; modern love and Instagram; Pebble Mine, again; Clyde hits the Texas coast; pound nets and salmon; three great books; new owners at Tom Morgan Rodsmiths; and Colorado's greenback cutty gets on the road to recovery
  • Tailwater Weekend
    Montana's Lower Madison, in winter.
    By Ryan Sparks
  • Tippets
    So many striper seasons; rescue at sea; the promise (and reality) of winter steelheading; high-water pike fishing; one man's ode to a lost jacket; ditching work for some bobber-doggin'; client management in AK; and flyshop shit-talking.
  • Redspread
    Reflections on a South Carolina flood tide.
    By Tom Bie
  • Passport
    The monster rainbows of Argentina's Barrancoso River.
    Story and photos by Mark Hatter
  • Bugs
    White flies of Wisconsin.
    By Elliott Adler
  • City Limits
    Thoughts on Hurricane Irma, from a shelter near Tampa Bay.
    By Scott Kinsman
  • Rodholders
    How Stan Bradshaw helped save Montana's Silver Bow Creek.
    By Michael Wright
  • Backcountry
    An impromptu solution for a forgotten fly box.
    By Daniel Weddle and Katie Cahn
  • Permit Page
    Two flies, one fish.
    By Paul Puckett

Locals fight to protect Paradise Valley from mining

THE YELLOWSTONE RIVER'S pristine headwaters are tucked into some of the most remote land in the Lower 48, draining roughly 70,000 square miles across Wyoming and Montana. These wild waters serve as a stronghold for native Yellowstone cutthroat, and, combined with Yellowstone Lake, make up the largest inland population of cutthroat in the world.

EPA moves to scrap Pebble Mine restrictions

The proposed Pebble Mine, subject of 20 years of controversy, 2.2 million public comments, a dozen Congressional hearings, multiple documentary films, media campaigns, ballot initiatives, lawsuits, and the most ubiquitous sticker in all of fishingdom, is back on the table. Seemingly the result of one 30-minute meeting between two men: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Pebble CEO Tom Collier.

Tom Morgan may be gone, but his philosophy isn’t.

Walk into the Bozeman offices of Tom Morgan Rodsmiths and an immaculate bamboo rod greets you. Natural yellow. Maroon wrappings. Agate guides. Fluid action. It’s stunning.

Unofficial Absaroka

One man's scheme for a not-quite commonwealth of uncommonly good fishing

A week from now the creek at our boots will be too thin to float. Fueled by the dregs of a heavy winter snowpack atop Wyoming's Bighorn Range, its window is on the verge of being shuttered. "Hard to say how it'll fish," Clark Smyth says from under the brim of an oversized straw hat. Instead of a handful of flies, the Sheridan-based guide casually places rusty wire-cutters in my open palm. "Hang onto these."

Three books for flyfishing nerds


Smallmouth: Modern Fly-fishing Methods, Tactics, and Techniques

Smallmouth: Modern Fly-fishing Methods, Tactics & Techniques

Tim Landwehr & Dave Karczynski
$29.95 Stackpole Books

Most of the how-to flyfishing books at your local library come from accomplished anglers that aren't very good at writing. This book isn't one of them. Lifelong smallmouth guide Tim Landwehr of Tight Lines Fly Fishing Company in DePere, Wisconsin, teamed up with the artistic stylings of frequent Drake contributor and writing professor Dave Karczynski to create what a fellow bass fanatic described as "the smallmouth bible."

Workin' the Levi's Larva. Photo by Daniel Weddle.

Make do with what you've got

Her hand, inches from my nose, is filled with a half dozen hooks in varying states of undress and oxidation. Reaching out, I choose a moderately rusty hook with a small clump of fur dangling from a bit of unraveling thread. "Just think of it like summer camp craft hour," she says, holding up a handful of pine needles, "only without the Elmer's and popsicle sticks." A groggy pre-dawn conversation filled with mumbles and yawns had led to an oversight—our fly boxes still sat on the kitchen counter while we sat streamside, hours from anywhere. After a heated "he-said, she-said" conversation in which neither of us would accept the blame, her eye caught a Blue Jay feather lying among the pine needles at her feet, and she suddenly knew what to do. "Make me a fly," she says.

Yarbrough, giving Puckett his fly back.

Better to be good than lucky

I'd never been to Guanaja, Honduras, but I did my research and learned that we'd have our own little island surrounded by permit flats. I was even told of permit before breakfast—almost as great as waking up in that special way.

#imsobadass! By Mike Tea.

Modern love and flyfishing

Instead of dick pics, I send my girlfriend pictures of myself, naked, holding fish over my junk. Sometimes they're full-body shots. Other times they're close ups of just the fish covering my frank and beans, with a halo of manicured pubic hair surrounding it. #hottie #instawizard.