S3:E41 Legends of Fly Fishing: Bud Lilly

fly fishing

The fly fishing industry today is a mature industry with a thousand niches, such as salt water fishing, Tenkara, even fly fishing for carp. Before fly fishing’s emergence into the conscience of popular culture came the trailblazers, such as Lee Wulff, Joan Wulff, Lefty Kreh (who passed away recently), and, among many others, Bud Lilly. In this first in a series on fly fishing legends, we attempt to tell a little of Bud Lilly’s story and contribution to the broader fly fishing community.

Listen now to “Legends of Fly Fishing: Bud Lilly”

Great Stuff from Our Listeners. At the end of each episode, we often include a feature called “Great Stuff from Our Listeners.” It’s the last segment of each episode, where Steve reads one of the comments from our listeners or readers. We enjoy hearing from you, and appreciate your advice, wisdom, and fly fishing experiences.

Have you read any of Bud Lilly’s writings? Ever talk to him in person? What influence did he have on you?

WOULD YOU REFER OUR PODCAST?

We’d love for you to refer our podcast to a friend, your TU chapter, or fly fishing club. Be sure to pass along our podcast to others.

That is the most simple way to help us grow!

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To see every episode that we’ve published, click on “Fly Fishing Podcast” on the top navigation.

The Fly Fisher’s Book of Lists

We’ve published a book for regular-Joe-and-Jane fly fishers called The Fly Fisher’s Book of Lists: Life is short. Catch more fish.

One person who purchased the book called it “cliffsnotes for fly fishers.”

To switch metaphors, perhaps it’s more like a handful of potato chips. It’s an entire book of lists. The goal is to help you find practical help quickly and in an easily digestible format!

Buy it today on Amazon for only $15.99!

S3:E26 One Fine Day on the Madison at Baker’s Hole

fly fishing

Baker’s Hole is a bucket-list stretch of the Madison River near the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Baker’s Hole Campground is located approximately three miles north of West Yellowstone, Montana, and in the fall, Hebgen Lake rainbows move up the Madison River to spawn. The stretch that winds near the campground features several deep runs where running rainbows stack up as they move up the river. Click now to listen to “One Fine Day on the Madison River at Bakers Hole”

Listen now to One Fine Day on the Madison River at Bakers Hole

Great Stuff from Our Listeners. At the end of each episode, we often include a feature called “Great Stuff from Our Listeners.” It’s the last segment of each episode, where Steve reads one of the comments from our listeners or readers. We enjoy hearing from you, and appreciate your advice, wisdom, and fly fishing experiences.

Do you have a story from a fine day on the river from this past year? We’d love to hear about it! Post your story below.

REFER THE PODCAST!

By the way, we’d love for you to refer our podcast to a friend, your TU chapter, or fly fishing club. Be sure to pass along our podcast to others.

That is the most simple way to help us grow!

More Episodes in Our “One Fine Day …” Series

    One Fine Fall Day in Yellowstone National Park

    One Fine Morning on the Little Jordan

    One Fine Evening on Wisel Creek

    One Fine Day on the Blue River

Download a Podcast App on Your Smartphone

Be sure to subscribe to our podcast feed. You can do that on your smartphone or tablet by downloading a podcast app. The most common app used by 2 Guys feed subscribers is “Podcasts.”

Or you can simply subscribe to the RSS feed here:

Subscribe to 2 Guys and A River2 Guys and A River

To see every episode that we’ve published, click on “Fly Fishing Podcast” on the top navigation.

The Fly Fisher’s Book of Lists

We’ve published a book for regular-Joe-and-Jane fly fishers called The Fly Fisher’s Book of Lists: Life is short. Catch more fish.

We like to say it is a book of bite-sized snacks.

Maybe even like a handful of potato chips. It’s an entire book of lists. The goal is to help you find practical help quickly and in an easily digestible format!

Buy it today on Amazon!

5 “More” Fly Fishing Myths

fly fishing myths

There’s a four-letter word fly fishers should avoid. It’s not what you yell when you snag your fly on the bottom for the umpteenth time or when your back cast lands in a pine branch. Rather, it’s a word that can mislead you and set you up for disappointment. The four-letter word is “more.”

Here are five “more” fly fishing myths that you will do well not to believe. Each myth has the ring of truth. But at the end of the day, each one will mislead you or leave you dissatisfied:

1. The more I fly fish, the better I will become.

The problem is that practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent. It reinforces. If you’re intentionally working to improve, then you’ll improve. Otherwise, your bad habits will become more ingrained.

This is the reason why I watch casting videos, read helpful articles, and fish at least once a season with a guide. These habits help me unlearn some bad habits—like being lazy about keeping my fly line through my finger of my right hand at all times during my retrieve. When I fail to do this, I end up setting the hook on a strike with my left hand. That is much slower.

The truth is, the more you work at the craft of fly fishing, the better you will become. The fly fishing myth that more time on the water will lead to better skills is just that – a myth.

2. The more flies I have in my fly box, the better my odds at catching more fish.

There is some truth to this.

If you’re fishing when Pale Morning Duns (PMDs) start coming off the water, and all you have are darker flies like a Parachute Adams, then you won’t have success.

However, some of the most skilled fly fishers I know say that using fewer patterns has helped them catch more fish. If you have a few dry fly patterns (Parachute Adams, Pale Morning Dun, Elk Hair Caddis), a few nymphs (Beadhead Prince, Copper John, Zebra Midge), and a couple streamers (perhaps a black Woolley Bugger and an olive one), you’ll be fine. This assumes that you have them in a few different sizes.

Of course, I have a lot more patterns than this in my fly box. I like trying new patterns. Yet I find myself returning to the same basic patterns over and over again. The reason is that they work.

The truth is, the more you can simplify your fly selection, the better your chances at catching fish.

3. I will fly fish more if I move to a prime fly-fishing area.

I could write a book on this one. I lived in Montana for two decades and loved it.

But I noticed how life got in the way of my fly fishing. They were high school sporting events to attend, evening board meetings, long hours at work, and all kinds of family responsibilities. I do not begrudge any of these. My point is simply that moving to a prime-fly fishing area sounds romantic. But life will crowd your calendar.

When I lived near Bozeman for fourteen years (and my parents lived on the Yellowstone River in Paradise Valley for several of those years), I was able to get away for a couple of hours here and a couple of hours there. Occasionally, I could slip away during the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch or when the Blue-Winged Olives (BWOs) were coming off of the East Gallatin less than a mile from my house.

Now, I spend about a week a year fly flshing in Montana. I probably spend as many hours on the water, though, as when I lived there.

If you get a chance to move to Montana or Maine or Oregon, do it. But don’t forget that

The truth is, you will have opportunities and obstacles to fish the great trout waters whether you live twenty miles from them or a thousand miles away. Living near a blue ribbon trout river is a terrific blessing. But it’s not bliss.

4. I will fly fish more at the next stage of my life.

Good luck with that!

I thought it would be easier when my kids were out of diapers and in school. But football, volleyball, soccer, concert choir, band, church youth group, and an endless string of activities took a lot of time. Then, when they moved away from home, I thought I’d have even more time. But now that “extra time” is spent visiting with them.

Of course, I love visiting them! I’m not complaining. I’m just saying that the next stage of life will probably not give you as much time as you want.

I’m not at retirement age, or close to it. But I suspect that my retirement body will not handle quite as much hiking and wading as I do now.

The truth is, you have to be relentless to carve out time at any stage of life to fly fish. Don’t wait for life to slow down. Get out there now because tomorrow will have scheduling issues of its own.

5. The more fish I catch, the more satisfied I will be.

Believe me, I love catching a lot of fish. I’ll take a forty-fish day over a ten-fish day any day! I’ve had a few of these the last two years. But when I do, I find that I have trouble slowing down the moment and savoring the experience when I catch one after another. I find myself almost getting greedy. I hurry to get one trout off the line to hook another one.

Then, I find at the end of the day that I rarely remember one or two specific fish I caught.

Besides, my desire to catch more fish doesn’t diminish at some magic number. I quit at 30 or 40 (if I’m fortunate to have such a great day) because I’m too tired or it’s too late—not because I’m so satisfied that I can stop. Catching trout number 30 makes me want to catch trout number 31 which makes me want to catch trout number 32.

The truth is, I need to savor each fish I catch and to remember that one more fish will not necessarily make the day better. It’s hard to say that, but it’s true. More satisfaction is just another fly fishing myth.

So don’t buy into the fly fishing myths of “more.” Thinking realistically will help you get more enjoyment out of your time on the river.

S2:E33 Fishing the Wild Places

fly fishing guides

Fishing the wild places is one of the great thrills of the sport. Yes, it’s a lollipop if you are well off enough to fly fish Patagonia, Russia, and New Zealand, but there are many wild places near where you fly fish. Something about the chance of fishing the wild places gives us hope. There is more river in front of you. There’s more opportunity. There’s experiencing nature in its most pristine form. Click now to listen to “Fishing the Wild Places.”

Listen to our episode “Fishing the Wild Places”

Great Stuff from Our Listeners. At the end of each episode, we often include a feature called “Great Stuff from Our Listeners.” It’s the last portion of each episode, where Steve reads one of the comments from our listeners or readers. We enjoying hearing from you, and appreciate your advice, wisdom, and fly fishing experience.

What experiences have you had fly fishing the wild places? Have you had a fly fishing encounter with “wild”? We’d love to hear from you. Please post your comments below.

Here are some related podcasts and articles that we’ve published on fishing the wild places:

    Fly Fishing’s Wilder Side

    The Trail Less Traveled

Download a Podcast App on Your Smartphone

Be sure to subscribe to our podcast feed. You can do that on your smartphone or tablet by downloading a podcast app. The most common app used by 2 Guys feed subscribers is “Podcasts.”

Or you can simply subscribe to the RSS feed here:

Subscribe to 2 Guys and A River2 Guys and A River

To see every episode that we’ve published, click on “Every Episode” on the top navigation.

The Baseball Phenom Who Became a Fly Fishing Legend

The kid dug into the batter’s box, checked the trademark on his bat, and got set for the pitch. It was the biggest moment of his life. At fifteen, this future fly fishing legend was the second baseman for a team of Montana farmers.

Staring at him from the pitcher’s mound was legendary pitcher, Satchel Paige. In the 1930s and 1940s, many of the Negro Leagues teams did a lot of barnstorming. They traveled through small towns all over the country and tried to schedule as many games as they could. It was a way to pick up a little money.

Satchel Paige was the star attraction wherever he went.

Crowds flocked to see him pitch. He had a larger-than-life personality to match his ability to throw a sweeping curve ball. Now peering at the fifteen-year old in the batter’s box, Satch wound up and threw a big roundhouse curve. The kid almost fell on his face trying to get out of the way of the pitch before it broke over the plate for a strike. But after toying with the kid, Satch game him a pitch to hit. That would play well with the home crowd. The kid hit a ground ball single. It was a moment he would never forget.

Reputation on the Rise

The kid’s name was Walen, and his reputation continued to rise.

His team kept winning against other teams in Montana and even against the barnstorming teams. One Sunday, two men showed up to see the team. Walen didn’t know it, but they were scouts from the Cincinnati Reds. Walen’s dad asked him to take them fishing the next day. By this time, Walen was as much a prodigy with a fly rod as he was with a baseball glove. These scouts were also fly fishermen, and they were more impressed with his fly fishing skills than his baseball playing. But two years later, just as World War II was starting, they came back and signed Walen to a contract with the Cincinnati Reds.

The Diverging Road

However, the war beckoned. When Walen returned from his military service, he had lost interest in baseball. He was a slick fielder, but he was a little gun-shy against the better pitchers. Walen ended up graduating from Montana State University and teaching high school science in a couple small Montana towns, Roundup and Deer Lodge.

One summer, a teacher-friend suggested that they supplement their teachers’ salaries by putting up a little car wash in West Yellowstone, Montana. They worked from dawn to dark and made good money. But then another opportunity presented itself. A local fly shop was on the market, and Walen scraped together the money to buy it.

The fly shop was more of a hobby at first. But when Walen retired from teaching at Bozeman Junior High School in 1970, the fly shop was primed to develop into a year-round business. And it did. The fly shop thrived, and so did Walen. He eventually sold the shop in 1982.

The Walen Legacy

A long-time advocate of catch-and-release, he spend countless hours on conservation efforts. He testified and lobbied frequently before state congressional committees in Helena. He even helped establish a fly fishing museum in West Yellowstone. It’s through the efforts of fly fishers like Walen that we have such tremendous fly fishing today. In an interview in July 2015, shortly before his ninetieth birthday, Walen said that he led the movement towards catch-and-release fishing because it simply made sense.

Yes, it did. And it still does.

It’s been years since Walen sold his fly shop in West Yellowstone. But if you drive through town, you can visit the shop which still bears his name. Keep in mind that nobody called him Walen. Since his birth, Walen Lilly Jr. has been affectionately known as Bud.

So look for Bud Lilly’s Trout Shop. And remember that Bud Lilly has had a lot to do with the good fishing you’re about to enjoy the next time you cast your fly upon the water.