2014 Fall Contents

Drake 2014 Fall Issue


  • Hating the Thompson
    British Columbia's famed Thompson River will be open to steelheaders this October, for the first time in a decade. But what will the fishermen find when they get there?
    By Dana Sturn | Photos by Adam Tavender
  • A Fisherman's Monument
    Idaho's Boulder and White Clouds Mountains make up the largest unprotected roadless area in the Lower 48. It's time to preserve it.
    By Mark Menlove | Photos by Ed Cannady
  • Black Tar Permit
    They say you always remember your first time. But is that a really a good thing?
    By Zach Mathews
  • Insert Trout, Here
    Meet John Goodall, the godfather of Tierra del Fuego's sea-run brown trout.
    By Geoff Mueller
  • Departments

  • Page Six Chix
    Two freshies, two salties
  • Put-in
    The value of Wilderness (with a capital “W”)
  • Rises
    On hatcheries, access, Yellowstone, and smallmouth
  • Scuddlebutt
    A glossary for striper fishermen, Clyde meets a cop, an Olympic Peninsula fly shack, paddle-makers in Minnesota, more golf-course bass, a collaborative fish-art project, and if tarpon could text each other
  • Tippets
    Ode to the Elwha, Gierach's coffee, a lost strain of striper fishermen, fake fly anglers, resilient brim in Texas, gangster carp in Jersey, nights in northern Michigan, and death of a dog (spoiler alert: it's sad.)
  • Tailwater Weekend
    Colorado's other Gunnison River
    By Tom Bie
  • Redspread
    Alabama's year-round redfishing
    By Wally Kirkland
  • Passport
    Pike of the River Test
    By John Hall
  • Bugs
    Want East Coast fish? Find Monarch butterflies.
    By Jason Skruck
  • City Limits
    The smallmouth of Traverse City, Michigan
    By Alex Cerveniak
  • Rod Holders
    Lee Spencer, guardian of North Umpqua steelhead
    By Tom Bie
  • Backcountry
    Montana's South Fork of the Flathead
    By Christopher Solomon
  • Permit Page
    Some considerations when tying permit flies.
    By Drew Chicone

Washington's Olympic National Park is best known for iconic steelhead rivers such as the Hoh, Bogachiel, and Sol Duc. It's also home to America's largest dam removal project, which was completed on the now free-flowing Elwha River in August 2014. Here, contributor Brian Irwin recounts his days pouring drinks in the park and exploring a river that "courses through the temperate rainforest amid Paleozoic-sized ferns before crashing into the sea."

The Other Gunnison River

It's not all about the Gorge and Black Canyon

MENTION THAT YOU'RE PLANNING A TRIP to Colorado's Gunnison River, and a likely response will be something like, "Oh, cool—are you fishing Black Canyon or floating the Gorge?"

Which makes perfect sense. After all, between the famed salmonfly hatch and national park status of Black Canyon, and the horse-pack/ rafting reputation of Gunny Gorge, it's hard to imagine a flyfisher having not heard of the Gunnison proper. But what about the upper Gunnison, near Crested Butte? Never heard of it? Join the club.

Hating the Thompson
“As with rush-hour driving or the public use of cell phones, everyone believes we need a code of etiquette, but no one can agree on what it would be, and some couldn’t bring themselves to observe it regardless.”
—Ted Leeson, Inventing Montana


I’ve seen this before. It starts as a spark, then a faint flicker of vermilion on the landscape. Soon it will grow and undulate, slave to the movement of air. This midnight fire will burn until pre-dawn, bringing the illusion of warmth and light to those gathered round it. Tales will be told, punctuated with laughter and silence in equal measure as the faithful indulge in herbal, fermented, or distilled distractions to push back the dark. In each passing moment burns the promise of glory. In the pre-dawn, anglers wobbly with exhaustion stumble after ovals of light in search of grace.

Autumn Monarchs

To find the fish, follow the butterflies

In March and April, depending on where you live on the East Coast, the first broods of monarch butterflies hatch from their chrysalis (a cocoon to you and I) and enjoy a short two- to six-week life span. They do what butterflies are best at: they flit around, eat flowers, look pretty, avoid elementary schoolers with nets, and dodge feisty birds. They will follow an irresistible pheromone-scent trail, find some butterfly love, mate, lay eggs on a select milkweed plant, then die. From these eggs, a second generation of monarchs emerges in May and June, and sows the seeds for the third generation to hatch in July and August. A fourth generation hatches in September and October from the eggs laid by the third.

The Guardian

Lee Spencer and the steelhead of the North Umpqua

THE SUMMER OF 1998 was good to Lee Spencer. By fall he’d raised 77 steelhead to his fly on Oregon’s famed North Umpqua River, landing about half of them. (Spencer keeps meticulous notes.) Yet there was a problem. Of the fish he’d landed, three had died—two of them wild. He’d also once brought in a steelhead eyeball on his hook.

The Holdout by dave hayward

Chasing one elusive sunfish

I passed the Rock Bottom Brewery on the final mile of my evening bike loop, where more than once I’d stopped for a thick porter to celebrate not being killed riding the second busiest road in Houston. Restaurants come and go quickly around here, but this place had a twist: A lily pad-filled concrete moat stocked with ravenous rent-a-bass. Even late into a summer pub crawl, I could see hotwater gamefish finning below the front deck, making predatory lunges at dip spit, lime rinds, and roaches.