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Last casts are always the hardest ones to make. The last cast of the day, the last cast on a trip or the last cast of the year. A fly anglers optimism is eternal, and the last cast in any scenario is the hardest one to make. I've always said that it's hard to concede to the end of the day, even to the darkness that overtakes it. Yesterday I made what is most likely my last cast of the 2023 season. I wanted it to be a fitting conclusion to the year, so one of my favorite rods took a ride to a stream that is very special to me. I wish I could write an epic story about my success, but not everyday is like that. I did spend some time thinking back on this past year and can tell you that I had a fantastic year of fishing and so much to be thankful for. There were trips to the Catskills, some beautiful waters in Maryland and my home state of Pennsylvania. There was an epic trip to New Mexico and a chance to catch Rio Grande Cutthroat for the first time. I made a few new friends, shared pools with some great friends and have many memories to look back on. Thinking forward, 2024 is shaping up to be an interesting year with a long list of new waters to explore, the opportunity to tighten up some new fly designs I've been testing, continued writing on another book and some exciting news about the future of Ramsay Flies. If you are fishing this weekend, be sure to make your last cast of 2023 a good one. Fish well and have a very Happy New Year!

While I prefer to be behind the lens when I'm shooting pictures, it doesn't work well when you are going at it solo. I hike into some remarkable places in the course of my "research" for an upcoming book project and lug all kinds of camera gear along with the fishing gear. I fish streams always looking for a pool or run that offers a picturesque setting and setup the camera and remote system. While it's a lot of work, it does offer rewards when you manage to capture a rise to a fly, a hook set, the landing of a fish or the release. I don't believe in fishing for wild trout in the fall once I start to see redds, and spend my "off season" writing, sorting through a seasons images or other tasks while the trout do their business. A cool pic from a Pennsylvania blue line shot earlier this year at the moment when one of those little river tigers met the fly. Till next time ....... www.ramsayflies #itsaboutthefish

Some time ago I posted a rant about one of these projects that left me mumbling to myself and asking questions. Since then, I’ve seen this work on many streams with some of them showing clear logic, planning and execution in tree selection, cutting and placement. I was invited to visit one project with a state forester and felt like I had learned much about how strategic tree placement in a stream can create many benefits for trout and macro-invertebrate life forms when it is done correctly. What I see too many times are projects that have little chance of ever accomplishing this goal. In this image you can see two trees that nature placed in a stream that created a nice pool where one likely didn’t exist previously. You can understand how these trees altered stream hydraulics and produced great brook trout and stream insect habitat. Above them you can see another tree cut across the stream that will not provide any benefit at all to the health of this stream. This particular stream has dozens of trees cut along its banks that are too high above the water to produce any benefit. It’s a northern Pennsylvania Class A Wild stream that lacks habitat and would certainly improve with some sensible habitat improvements. This stream didn’t get what it deserves. Yes, I still have questions …..

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