Spring 2018 Contents

Drake 2018 spring Issue


  • Transitions, with Darcy Bacha
    How a photographer turned his camera into a fishing vehicle and pointed it toward a seasonal home on Northern British Columbia's hallowed steelhead rivers.
    By Geoff Mueller
  • Bolivia Lessons
    The Amazon jungle is home to many intriguing animals, none more so to flyfishers than the hard-fighting dorado. But be careful what else you learn about along the way.
    By Tom Bie Photos by John Sherman
  • Smallmouth in Mexico
    Somewhere at the murky confluence of wilderness and industry, Maine's Androscoggin River reveals itself in a resilient, brilliant bronzeback fishery.
    By Ryan Brod Photos by Molly Haley
  • The Woods are Lovely
    Exploring the world's largest temperate rainforest, Alaska's Tongass, for springtime steelies.
    By Don Thomas Photos by Don and Lori Thomas


  • Put-in
    Exotic a-list species are badass. But a rising cutty in a high-country freestone has the capacity to outshine 'em all.
  • Rises
    Missed satire, miffed father, dismissed editors.
  • Scuddlebutt
    Scorpion Atoll; Clyde's Gulf Coast gamble; flyfishing festivarians; and a new film from Shane Anderson.
  • Tailwater Weekend
    Utah's fishy flipside.
    By Tom Bie
  • Tippets
    Steelhead reverie; people in cabins with cats; a case for Wisconsin; permit while pregnant; fishy-stick status; Haida Gwaii—where cutty chasers go to die.
  • Redspread
    Shrimp treats for lockjawed reds.
    By Drew Chicone
  • Bugs
    Silver Creek damselflies.
  • City Limits
    Don't call me Dodder.
    By Elliott Adler
  • Rodholders
    Pete Soverel, champion for wild steelhead conservation.
    By Jeff Mishler
  • Backcountry
    Reshuffling circuits in the Smokies.
    By Ty Goodwin
  • Permit Page
    Post-storm troopers.
    By Geoff Mueller

The gritty appeal of Maine's Androscoggin River

Past the Far East Restaurant, and Big Daddy's Buff n' Wax, we turn left at the Mexico Congregational Church and find the boat launch empty. This is normal in the mill town of fewer than 3,000 residents, but surprises me on a spring morning: the Androscoggin is at its most fishable (around 4,500 cfs); it's free fishing weekend here in Maine; and the river's numerous, overweight smallmouth should be holding tight to the banks. We unload the canoe, neither of us complaining about our lack of company.

Fishstick. Photo by Hansi Johnson.

Being "fishy" vs. being "a stick"

"Hey, Lucky," Scott asks, "I can't get this Chuggernaut to chug. What am I doing wrong?"

My friend Scott Noble has traveled from Spokane, Washington, to Hayward, Wisconsin, with the singular goal of catching a musky on a fly. And now, finally here in the bow of the boat, being guided by Brian "Lucky" Porter, he can't make his popper pop.

Soverel, on Kamchatka’s Utholok river, Russia, 1998.

The fighting spirit of Pete Soverel

The status of wild winter-steelhead populations can drive the most committed steelheaders to seek refuge near the fringes of Salmo Mykiss' geographical range—fewer anglers can mean a few more fish. So, after 19 hours of driving, I pull my truck into the dark driveway descending to a rustic lakefront cabin. Towering cedars block what scant skylight remains at the end of a dreary day. The lake out back is frozen. In the northernmost corner of the British Columbia coast I have found the springtime hideout of an old friend, but by the looks of things my favorite season is still held in the grasp of a stubborn winter, and won't break free for another three weeks.

Dream Weber

Utah's tailwater two-fer

Once upon a time, Utah's Green River below Flaming Gorge was the only tailwater in the state that anglers knew or cared about. Sure, the Green was, and is, one of the most famous in the country, but beyond that, or wading the Middle Provo if the snow sucked in Park City, the Beehive State just wasn't seen as much of a flyfishing destination. Utah was only for skiing, or roaming around national parks in the desert. But not anymore.

Cabin Cats

If My cats were talking cats they would ask me the same question my father does: why don't you keep the fish you catch. Why are you so spineless, so un-hungry, so thoughtless as to our longsuffering? I've released countless fish, many which could have turned a day into legend for my dad. We didn't have much luck on the water when I was growing up, and the thought of releasing anything of keepable size is akin to saying there's no God. Heretical. Where I'm from you get disowned for that shit.

Dumping Eminent Domain

Palmetto pipeline gets spiked

PIPELINES GET A BAD RAP, which they often deserve. Last November, the Keystone Pipeline—of Standing Rock protest fame—leaked more than 200,000 gallons of oil from a below-ground crack, adjacent to Sioux lands near the Lake Traverse reservation. The irony was lost on no one, least of all the protesters who were forcibly evicted from their camp after months of protests about the risk posed to groundwater.

Bluegrass and Fiberglass

Chronicles of a flyfishing festivarian

It's 1 a.m. and we've just shuffled out of the Sheridan Opera House, halfway through The Travelin' McCoury's NightGrass after-show. Not because they weren't fantastic. Fronted by the sons of bluegrass legend Del McCoury, they lived up to their pedigree. But we're exhausted. Ignoring the advice of experienced Festivarians, we have not paced ourselves. It's day one of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and I can barely stand. We have a 20-minute shuttle ride back to our campground, and I plan to be up early, in search of fishable water.