The Friday "Five Fish On The Fly" Bucket List

I love fly fishing. Absolutely love it.

It's taken me to places I'd never thought I'd visit, introduced me to people I'd have never met otherwise, and provides the therapeutic elixir needed to offset the daily grind of everyday life.

Oh, and the fish. The freakin' beautiful fish...
(I mean it's practically translucent!)


That said, there are a lot more places I'd like to go, people to meet, and fish to attempt to outwit. Not all are exotic, heck most aren't, but I'd really love to expand my species list beyond the standard brookie-brown-rainbow trout trifecta, and of course, the warm water panfish & bass.

This is my short list of five fish I'd like to catch on the fly, in no particular order.


Arctic Grayling

Photo: Alaska Fish & Game

Yeah, there's something somewhat pornographic about how people take photos of them with their fin fanned out, and I've heard they're not the best of fighters, but there's just something about this fish that intrigues me. Word on the street is they might try to reintroduce them to Michigan waters, so perhaps the quest won't be that far out of the way after all. 


California Golden Trout

Photo: Wikipedia/Rayfound

Perhaps with the exception of brook trout, I think this is the prettiest trout/char on Earth. The colors are just...well...put it this way, I'd be heartbroken if the photos I've seen online are deceiving and the byproduct of some sort of post-production digital filter. Plus, from what I understand, these suckers live quite a bit off the beaten path, so finding them would be an adventure onto itself. "Tenkara Tanuki" Luong Tam is going to try and find some in August, I wish him luck!


Snook

Photo: SaltyShores.com

I live in Florida, but a little bit too far north to really get into snook. We get some up in Jacksonville, but it's not like further south or on the Gulf coast. Like I said, not particularly exotic, but I haven't caught one yet, and probably the best part is they're typically accessible by walking the beach at the right time. No boats required. I think my best shot was the time I spent in Sanibel a few years back, but back then I didn't know what I didn't know...


Tiger Trout

Photo: John-Paul Povilaitis

My Facebook buddy JP posted some really sick tiger trout pics the other day, including the one above. I'm not ashamed to admit, I've never caught one of these brookie/brown hybrids. Heck, I'd never expect to catch a chunky one like this, but I think it'd be fitting, and absolutely Troutrageous!


A DIY Bonefish

Photo: Deneki Outdoors

Rod Hamilton's ears are probably perking up right about now...
I half-ass tried this once on vacation in the Cayman Islands. It was one of the biggest adrenaline rushes I've ever had fly fishing. Unfortunately, I really had little to no idea of what I was doing, and was just in the right place at the right time with the right tide. I totally spooked the few I was able to approach, but to see those fish explode and take off...well, damn...  Yes, I could probably get my first bonefish quicker if I hired a guide, particularly one with a boat, but I don't know, I'd rather catch one on my own, on foot. No offense to guides out there, I'm just weird like that.

So that's my five.

Any fish on your bucket list? 
Let's hear it in the comments below...

Comments

  1. I have a simplistic bucket list - the next one.

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    1. Ha! Figured I'd get at least one response like that. Can't say I disagree with your either!

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  2. I've got the wild tiger and Arctic grayling. Wouldn't mind getting the others - except bonefish on foot. I'll never wade in salt water flats (irrational fear of sharks). I still need a carp and pike too.

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    1. Excellent. I never consistently fished close enough to brookie water... Sigh... I'm not scared of sharks on the flats, at least you can see them coming and you know death is near. In the ocean with breakers...oh forget that...

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  3. Mike, Come out to Idaho I can get you on all 3 of the trout/char species on the list in under a weeks time. Bit of hiking and a bit of driving but we have Greyling, Goldens and tigers within a few hours of my place. Our Greying are in lakes and don't tend to get as big as the one you have pictured, Our Goldens are also in lakes and get way bigger than the one you have pictured and the tigers that are near buy can be anywhere from small to big.

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    1. That sounds amazing, mental note made. I'd like to visit Idaho at some point...

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  4. Michael, bravo to you for sharing your "bucket list" of fish you want to catch on a fly. From that group, I have landed Grayling in Eastern Idaho near Yellowstone. They were not that big, but, boy were they beautiful. Purplish cast to their color you will never forget! Recently, I wrote a post over on my blog about putting the Tiger Trout on my bucket list, too.............Sounds like we have something in common here. Colorado has some Tiger Trout, Utah has some great water for Tigers, Idaho may be getting with the program but never in the 25 years I lived there before moving to Loveland.

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    1. Nice, good luck in your quest for tigers. Perhaps you can christen your new CGR with one!

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  5. Close to home (well, sorta close), I've caught grayling at Zimmerman Reservoir, which is up the Poudre west of Ft. Collins, and more golden trout than I care to think about in the Wind Rivers, just a couple days' backpack northeast of Pinedale, Wyoming. And yes, the colors really do look like that, and the flesh is like a lighter pink salmon. Yumm!

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    1. Bolder_in_boulder: Thanks for sharing some local information. I am too old to do the Wind Rivers project, but, will check into Zimmerman Reservoir...................

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    2. Nice, you're lucky to have those waters so close to home. Karel (Tenkara on the Fly) & Graham (Tenkara Grasshopper) took me somewhere they thought had Grayling for an hour or so while killing time at the 2014 Tenkara Summit in Boulder, wonder if it was the same place... (We didn't catch any that day).

      P.S. Good on you for taking notes Mel. I see a trip to Zimmerman in your future...

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  6. Replies
    1. Michael
      You've just been elected our ambassador of fly fishing--I only wish I had the years you got left to enjoy this great sport. At my age I am playing catch up---all those years I was tournament fishing for bass; was when I really should have been chasing the fly---thanks for sharing

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    2. I'd like to think so Mark.

      Bill - Ambassador of fly fishing? I'll take it. I assume it's all relative, as I kick myself for not getting into fly fishing until my 30s...thinking of all the trout bumming I could have done back in the day...

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  7. Mike that's a beautiful wild rainbow. The others are awesome as well.

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    1. Thanks Alan, it was a really pretty fish. The picture only does it partial justice.

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  8. A great bucket of fish list, similar to my own, although I've recently caught a few small grayling. Like you, I'd prefer to catch a first bonefish or a tarpon on my own, without a guide, with a fly, of course.

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    1. Awesome, and I wish you luck as well. I'll get that solo bonefish one of these days...don't know about the tarpon, maybe a smaller one. I'm not sure I'd even know what to do if I hooked a large one...besides hold on tight!

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  9. Interesting. I've got no desire left in me to try the salt. Maybe in my dreams but that's all. I'm still trying to land my first carp. (Did I say that out loud?) Now there's a challenge.

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    1. Funny you say that. I live 30 minutes from the ocean, yet I too have little desire to fish there. It's strange. There is something about fishing a flat is appealing, sort of like small stream fly fishing, perhaps it's the on-foot, stalking aspect. That's why the bone makes the list for me. Otherwise, my mind is on trout...

      No go get that carp!

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    2. Howard... I can help put you on a carp if you come out to Utah... =)

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  10. Well, this is one of my favorite posts of late and I have some good news for you. I can help put you on two of these fish. Just come on out to Utah and you will be able to cross off the arctic grayling and the tiger trout. = ) Easy peasy...

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