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  • Fly Fishing | Gear Tips & Questions Answered by a Fly Fishing Biologist (2021) | Eeland Stribling

Fly Fishing | Gear Tips & Questions Answered by a Fly Fishing Biologist (2021) | Eeland Stribling

Fly Fishing | Gear Tips & Questions Answered by a Fly Fishing Biologist (2021) | Eeland Stribling
May 26, 2021

A biologist that fly fishes is one heck of a resource for folks that want to learn about fly fishing. Eeland Stribling sees things in more complete way when it comes to approaching fly fishing and he came to Gearbox Talk to share what he's learned. Eeland covers questions like, what are your top 3 favorite flies for Spring Trout, what do you look for in the water and/or on the bank to know where to cast, what piece of fly fishing gear would you recommend spending the most on and what would you recommend spending the least on, what is your favorite rod and reel combo, and how do you decide what fly you’re going to throw out at any given time?

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Gear Mentioned:
Cabela's San Juan Worm Flies

Cabela's Sili Worm Fly 12

Cabela's Prestige Stonefly Life Cycle 16

Cabela's White River Fly Shop 20

Cabela's Ultimate Cicada Fly

White River Fly Shop Montana Fly Company Clipped Head Hopper Flies
Cabela's Mosquito Fly
Rainy's Galloups Peanut Envy Fly 
Costa Permit 580G Polarized Glass Sunglasses 
Simms Tributary Stockingfoot Wader https://timetogowild.com/products/omnia_fishing-5938216992937-simms-simms-tributary-stockingfoot-wader
Orvis SuperStrong Plus Tippet 4X https://timetogowild.com/products/fishusa-180913-orvis-orvis-superstrong-plus-tippet-4x
Trout Hunter Nylon Tippet 5x https://timetogowild.com/products/bobwards-713813-trout-hunter-trout-hunter-nylon-tippet-5x-
Rio Powerflex Tippet 6x https://timetogowild.com/products/bobwards-739758-rio-rio-powerflex-tippet-6x-30yds-
Redington Crux Rod https://timetogowild.com/products/basspro-100063725-redington-redington-crux-fly-rod
Redington Rise Reel https://timetogowild.com/products/cabelas-2373144-redington-redington-rise-fly-reel-
Orvis Helios 3D Fly Rod https://timetogowild.com/products/cabelas-2470893-orvis-orvis-helios-3d-fly-rod


Show Notes



Brad: talk to any fly fisherman and they'll tell you to watch the hatch so that might be challenging for a beginner but what about a wildlife biologist today we have fly fisherman wildlife biologist educator and funny enough comedian eeland stribling on the show jacob kentucky waterfall knight joins me as a co-host as we pick eeland's biologist brain about fly fishing we'll cover how being a biologist impacts his angling decisions his favorite style of fly fishing elin's top three flies for spring trout the gear you should invest in and maybe what you shouldn't his line and leader set up and of course we're gonna hit his favorite rod and reel set up sounds awesome right it is hit the button hit the bell to make sure you're not missing any of our fishing content on gearbox talk we've had professional fly guides saltwater savvy anglers pro bass fishermen ice fishing and we even had a show about dark house spearing links to all of that's in the show notes but subscribe so you don't miss what's next hint it's spearfishing all right let's wait a line this is gearbox talk with eeland stribling meet the industry's widest variety of game-changing ammunition however you shoot and whatever you hunt fortune favors the prepared find your federal premium advantage today

eeland stribling welcome to gearbox talk how's it going man
Eeland: good how are you
Brad: good man I got jacob we're here with this kentucky waterfall back on gearbox talk as well jacob you got you got the mullet showing today yeah I appreciate that for you yeah you fluffed it out you had it all tucked into the back of the hat last time I mean I feel like if you're going to grow it you got to show it all right Eeland let's dive in man I want to talk to you because you you're a biologist so it's an interesting angle here I'm really curious how being a wildlife biologist comes into play for you while you fish you got to have some advantage can you talk through some of how that knowledge impacts you know maybe how you select your style of fishing or just how you approach fishing in general
Eeland: well I mean you're very kind I wish it gave me an advantage no I yeah girl going to school for wildlife biology I've always had a desire a love for looking at things kind of like the whole system the whole environment of something so when I do go fishing and I'm headed to the water I'm looking at weather I'm looking at like what was the previous day's weather I'm looking at the moon a little bit like there's so much that goes into it and you know as I'm walking to the river as I'm walking to the lake or whatever I'm looking at if there's bugs while I'm walking to the water what what sort of bugs are there you know are there what sort of habitat am I in you know if it's a big grassy field you know there may be some bigger fish that may be eating mice or or big hoppers if it's a small stream there may be you know just tiny insects that are in the water system so I kind of look at as I'm fishing everything as a whole so I'm looking at you know it is everything affects everything in in nature and so I'm looking at is the you know is the bank good are there a lot of undercut banks you know if there's osprey or eagle around I mean they eat fish so I'm like they're the best anglers I've ever seen so if they can get there there's healthy fish there then they're they're out there eating them so I kind of take everything and kind of piece it together I still sometimes don't catch anything but you know I blame that on the fish not so much my skills
Jacob: I can get behind that so so tell me what's your favorite style of fly fishing are you into nymphing streamers drives what's what's your go-to
Eeland: yeah I mean I love I love the techno the the technicality of streamer or nymphing just there's such minute things that you can focus to and a lot of people can really nerd out about but also I'm sometimes just seeing what what works because I don't know that many aquatic bugs but I know I feel like a good baseline and I love just trying out new new flies and and dry fly fishing I feel like is a little bit more precise but it's the most exciting sort of fishing because it's it's the most visual you know you get to see a fish you know come up from the depths of whatever water you're in and and eat an insect so and then streamer fishing you know you just kind of do that for the for the for the big kids in the water you do that for the the the fists that are pissed off and having a bad monday so I i kind of like them all for different reasons but if I had to choose I would probably always go dry fly just always if I'm nymphing all day and I'm catching fish and I see one fish rise to take a to take a dry fly I'm switching I'm switching to a dry so yeah
Jacob: yeah it's much more visceral when you can see them coming up
Eeland: yeah instead of just standing there looking and wading and hoping
Jacob: yeah so what's this time of year I know it's springtime you guys deal with runoff that we don't deal with here but what are you what's the three flies that you're going to go to in the springtime for trout
Eeland: in the springtime so so runoff is is you know when all the snow that we got over the winter sort of melts and all the water kind of pushes into water systems so you know river that's 50 cfs or 100 cfs like the how much water is being moved bumps up to 200 300 400 500 or you know bigger rivers bigger river system it gets bigger than that but so the water gets kind of murky it gets kind of fast it gets kind of deep and fish are just as lazy as people are so they don't want to really be in that deep fast water they don't want to be like wasting energy so a lot of fish during runoff will kind of push up to the to those outer banks and just kind of hang out where they can like still get food get oxygen but not have to expend that much energy trying to survive in that in that rough dirty water so you know during the springtime I just throw anything that is big and bright and and I is ugly because you know during the winter fish don't use as much energy as the spring summer or fall and so they're hungry they're like you know I I've only been eating sliders all all winter and now I want like a big a big steak just to start filling up and and so you know the the dirtiest of them all the dirtiest fly the of the world the san juan you know little or a little squirmy wormy I think everyone I think every fish in the world I don't care what you're fishing for tarpon or trout you know you well with either or but so the squirmy wormy and then I love a good I know in different places it's called different things but I love a good not on my flight I love a good girdle bug you know there's a bunch of different names for it but it's the same sort of just fuzzy body with six legs and then golden stones so those are kind of my my three sub surface my three nymphs you know I sort of go with is a squirmy a golden stone and a pretty heavy and then a girdle bug and then for you know dry fly fishing I my three favorite flies are just any sort of big bright hopper or caddis looking thing or not catas or cicada looking thing just something big that the fish you know you may not see a lot of grasshoppers early this spring but the fish know it's not like the fish forget what a grasshopper is and they know what good food is and so anything that can it's bright and you know if you're in dirty colored water that'll get their attention and floats well this also one of my favorite flies in the world and I caught a lot of fish in new zealand on it I don't know if you can really see it yeah we can see it it's sort of like a it's it's sort of like a hopper it has like a foam body but it also has like this like caddis hair wing case in this like dear hair kind of up top material I don't know what the actual name is I just call it my caddish hopper my caddy hopper and this is one of my favorite flies ever whenever I fish any sort of you know fish that's rising this is the one that I go to and I have them in brown black and orange and then in different sizes so I have in green I have them as well for earlier in the year and then I go darker later in the year but yeah I feel like these little catalyst hoppers they can look like a bunch of different things they can look like a grasshopper they can look like a catalyst they can look like even really really like the bigger ones look like a really small mouse with the tails you can kind of scurry across the surface so that's one of my favorite dry flies and then just the mosquito you know I love going with a mosquito because they're everywhere and fit a big face little fish any fish will will keen on a well-tied mosquito so those are my favorite three dry flies and then all my favorite streamers in the articulated big black streamer and articulated just means that there's a hinge in between kind of the two different hooks so you have your whole streamer here


of your whole streamer here sort of the ai and then you have one hook and then you have your other hook and I really just love articulated streamers rather than you know woolly buggers or or or you know the classic leeches or anything like that just because as this swims in the water it just looks really natural especially with the turbulent water or dirty dirty water that's coming up you can see a lot of fish will just they may not even see the fly but they may just see something that's like going crazy in the water and that'll just attract hopefully you know more fish bigger fish so any articulated streamer you know the the darker the better the flashier the better all this chanel up here and all this dubbing that just really makes it glows I couldn't find my streamer box I can't I don't know what my streamer box is but I just I just look this is just an example fly so any articulated streamers my is my go-to streamer during kind of early spring that was a lot of talking I'm sorry
Jacob: man so you talked a little bit about what you're looking for cut banks overhangs that kind of stuff what's what's your assessment when you get up to water what are you looking for how are you identifying where you're gonna fish
Eeland: great question I when I'm when I'm approaching water I'm all I'm never looking at where I can get in the water if I can fish without getting in the water then to me that's success because a lot of times I see people standing in spots where fish should be just because they want to rush into the water I'm like well if you just if you just took a second and sat and waited for a second as you approached the water you could see that there were fish there and then you just spooked them and now you're like casting to where fish are in the fast water rather than fisher looking to eat so I always kind of look and wait when I first get to water and then after that I yeah is that how clear is the water you know if the water is really the clearer it is the more precise I have to be with my imitation or or drab neutral colors the dirtier is the the brighter and flashier I get yeah where like are there spaces for fish to be lazy that's all I'm pretty much I'm looking for there's places where fish can eat get oxygen and also like not be wasting energy so though that's kind of what I look for and then I just you know hit spots where I think there are fish and if you know I don't connect with any fish which happens often I just start fishing other parts of the river I'm just like all right we'll figure out where we where they're at and yeah that's pretty much it
Brad: reminds me the first time I tried surf fishing I i was in the water and this local the next day I was talking to him and he before I started fishing I started talking to the local and he's like you can tell all the idiots that don't live around here because you'll see them standing out in the water where the fish should be he's like yeah man those dummies
Eeland: yeah yeah same was like yeah I get it yeah
Brad: so I'm curious man you know there's you can spend a lot of money on anything outdoors like no matter what the outdoor hobby is I feel like you can just run up thousands of dollars but again we're trying to help people who are new to this what piece of fly fishing gear would you recommend putting your budget into you know you could spend a lot of money on a lot of different stuff but if you're gonna recommend spending on just like one thing that you should really put your money towards what's that item for fly fishing
Eeland: well you know rods you know a standard rod out here at least in in the west as you know nine foot five weight I had a really really cheap one for like four or five years before I slammed it in my car door on accident and it lasted me a lot of fish good sized fish so rod not that important you know if you're if you plan on fighting big fish you know a good reel is always important but I feel like for fresh water fishing is not as pertinent or as important as if you go saw water fishing if you go salt water fly fishing then you know those rods and reels you know helping you cast in the wind helping you set the drag on the fish helping you fight you know a big fish in salt water is important but for fresh water I guess the most important equipment would probably be probably glasses probably polarized glasses because you know you can you can spend a hundred dollars on a rod in the rail and and have all the equipment you need but if you can't see fish or if you can't see structure in the water that might hold fish then it's going to be very difficult to at least start out learning where where they're at because I mean if you're new to fishing and you look at a river system and someone says okay look for you know soft water if you're new to fishing you don't know what soft water is but if you know if you have polarized glasses that allow you to kind of cut that glare and see into the water then when someone says hey look for soft water and even though you know you're looking across the river and you see fish in this particular type of water that's already you know teaching your brain to like okay so fish are in this spot you know this this time of the year or this day so I would say polarized glasses is probably probably a big one you know I i go I like to go glass just because it's a little bit higher quality and I feel like it's a little bit better than and plastic but any sort of polarized glasses that help you cut glare and see into the water and then and even you know when you're wading across the river just to help navigate it so polarized glasses would probably be my my big one
Brad: I think that's a good one and I've i've noticed the the quality of like cheap polarized glasses even even in that 50 range you're still getting they're like it's dark at least the ones I've used they're just super dark and you can't see anything it's like counter-intuitive you know you think you're gonna be able to see through that glare it kills the glare but the tinted so dark that I haven't been able to use them so it defeats the purpose so whereas some of my nicer polarized glasses like you said you can see it's like opening up a new world under there that you're not used to seeing yeah jacob's a big fan of that answer too
Eeland: there's different lens colors for different situations or light and that's just something cool to learn about whether you're going to be fishing or not just a different light and lens color so yeah polarized glass that's a good one
Brad: what about your waders how much if you're new to this how much should you invest in because again waders can go all over the map on you know price what's your thoughts on on how much to invest in that it kind of sounds like you're you're not you're trying not to use your waders as often as possible but how important is that piece of gear
Eeland: yeah I would even say during the spring and during the summer you don't really even need waders you know like if the if the weather is hot out you know you know first see if there's fish on where you're gonna be standing you know just watch the water but but then you know just wear some tennis shoes you that have good grip or I mean if you're not going to be like walking across the river a lot then you don't even really need waders but once you kind of start getting into the colder months or you know you're fishing chest deep or waist deep or you go to some places like that then yeah I would even say you know the waders depends on how much you beat them up you know I have a pair of waders that I wear once a year when it's super cold and those aren't beat up but I have a pair of weighers that I wear 90 percent of the time and those you know have small holes in them that I just I'm just like whatever I'll patch them up yeah because they're you know they're they're cheaper but what I what I think is most important is are the boots so all waders are kind of the same material all have different you know gidgets and pockets and and patches or whatever but if you get a good pair of wading boots then I think you should put your money into that because waders you know keep your feet dry but wading boots if you're wading across the river if you're walking far then they have good tread on them you know that's that's important so you know waders you know go fishing without them see if you like to because I i know I like the wet wade but you know once it starts getting colder get a good pair of waders or even you don't have to get like the full weights for a long time I just had those like hip waders that you like tied to your belt buckle and now because I was only going you know ankle deep knee deep in some places and they were insulated so I would use them during the winter because I'm not going to be standing chest deep in cold water while it's snowing so I think a good pair of boots with with a you know the lower level waders is is perfect awesome
Jacob: yeah I think the on the wader's side of things too you're walking through so much brush in some areas yeah rubbing across rocks and everything like they're gonna take some wear over time so
Eeland: yep and if I've had ways where if you don't if I didn't like fold them up right or dry them right and they like dried in a certain position like they would get cracks in that position so and those were cheap those are on the cheaper end and expensive ones so it's just something that you know first see if you like fly fishing really just go out to the water and see if you is something that you like learning about or trying and if you enjoy it then you'll get a some decent waders and then just get good boots
Jacob: so let's switch back a little bit to the to the rig side of things you can obviously go into a fly shop and they've got tons of different lines and leaders and everything for you to choose from what's your approach and and how do you go about selecting the line and leader set up that you're going to roll with
Eeland: so you know every every rod and and real sort of combination at least with fly fishing has a weight behind it so if you so the normal rod that eeland fishes with is a nine foot five weight rod which is pretty standard across the world for you know trout pan species bass so I'm nine foot five weight and so I would have a five-way line on my on my reel and then you know I'm going next week I'm going pike fishing and I'm taking my eight weight I'm going eight weight I'm taking my eight weight rod it's still a nine foot eight weight I'm taking my eight weight rods my 8 weight reel and the only difference between the a weight and the 5 weight is just the the higher number you go in the weight the more the bigger the fish you can manage you can you can easily manage so I have a 12 weight and that's for like freaking you know sharks and then I have a three weight which is just for like tiny bluegill that you know when I take my students when I take my little cousins fishing we fish with the three weight because you know even with a small fish it seems like it's it's it's quite the white so uh-huh and so yeah just kind of depending on where you're at yeah here in the here in you know colorado in a lot of places it's usually five to six weight even four weight are are pretty standard and in terms of like leader and tipping and stuff getting at fly shops it's counterintuitive to the line weight so the line weight the higher the number the bigger the fish with leader size the higher the number the the the smaller the fish we'll say like that so you know if you're fishing 0x that means you're fishing really really thick diameter leader and line or leader and tippet and that's for you know bigger fish if you're fishing you know some of our tail waters here in colorado they get pressured a lot we have to fish 6x 7x and that just means the diameter is really really tiny so it's almost invisible to the fish but also it can it can't handle as much weight so you can kind of tug on a you know zero pound I mean you can kind of tug on 0x you know 20 pound 40 pound and really pull on it and it won't break you know if you have 7x and you tug on it with the same sort of string most of the time it's going to break so you kind of have to find that balance of how spooky are the fish versus what do I really need to fight with and so most of the time people here you know they fish with 4x 5x 6x is kind of the general thing and you know the bigger the fish the higher x you got to go but if it's a picky fish you know that doesn't like for like that spooks when it sees your fly with forex or 5x or 6x and you got to just kind of keep going down from there so it just kind of depends on where I'm going you know if I'm going to a place where there's a lot of people fishing it a lot I got to go 6x7x I'm going to a place up in the mountains that you know people haven't been to in two years and those fish don't get fished to a lot I'll go 3x 4x just because it's like yeah I might as well you know land the fish quickly so I can revive them and let them go rather than trying to delicately bring them in
Brad: all right we're going to wind down here with the question everybody probably thought we would start with but i'd like to keep it for the end keep everybody engaged I want to talk just a little bit about your favorite rod and reel combo kind of your go-to overall I know you we we mentioned it but but you know people love to nerd out on the brand you use and kind of see what different sets of gear people are using can you talk a little bit about your setup
Eeland: yes but I have quite a few probably like every other hobby you just when you first start you have like one thing for a really long time
Jacob: I don't have any fishing rod
Eeland: and you have like one thing for a really long time and then like a couple years later you're looking and you're like where did all this come from but so the rod and reel I use the most I have a reddington crux rod and the reel as well is I can't remember what the reel is called reddington rise the reel and I have this in four weight of five weight and the six weight and then that's for if I'm going trout fishing like normal size just regular travel here in colorado I just came back from honduras guanaja where we were fishing for you know saltwater species like permit and snook and tarpon and and saltwater species like that jax and I was fishing with my you know orvis eight and nine weight and those were the the helios so those are those you know the the orivis eight helios is what I kind of do if I'm doing bigger fish that's what I'm gonna take to go pike fishing and then the reddington crux with the rise reel it's it's standard it's really really light I don't you know trout they're kind of they're kind of sweethearts so I don't really need the to bang on them as bad as if I'm going you know pike fishing or or bass fishing and stuff so I really like a light setup with trout other species like snook or tarpon or you know the saltwater species I like to go something a little bit heavier just because you know setting the hook and finding those fish is is part of the fun is part of the little bit of the challenge and so yeah my my reddington and stuff is light it's it's it's cheap I would never endorse something that I don't like using so I i really do enjoy yeah just just how light how light they are and I've broken several rods one on I wish I could say more on fish but more of just me being an idiot and tripping over them or stepping on them or having my back window like clothes on and I was like dang it
Brad: I'm picking a theme with the car man
Eeland: yeah they've always they've always been really good and really reliable you know sending just getting it out quick or taking it to my flight to my local fly shop and saying like hey can I get a replacement or how long or it was usually like 20 bucks or something so that's what my that's what my usually day-to-day rod is is is is my redington five and six
Brad: awesome man this has been really fun and if anybody missed jacob's joke jacob has like seven fishing rods behind him
Jacob: that's one rack of two and then all my fly stuff is down
Brad: not to mention your car you get in this car and there's fishing poles swinging over your head you're sitting on hooks yeah this man's got a problem eeland this was awesome jacob thank you for coming in and talking a little shop too I appreciate you guys coming on man I appreciate
Eeland: thanks for having me
Brad: yeah you guys take care me too


thank you eeland the gear that eeland talked about is in the show notes along with some other popular fly fishing gear in GoWild if you buy any of the gear we probably make money if we make money we donate a portion of our proceeds into a non-profit called raise em outdoors that teaches kids to fish give back with your purchases buy on go wild remember I'm going to have some links to those other fishing shows I talked about in the intro I'm going to put those in the show notes as well you can go through and find those again the gear recommendations are in there too side note eeland is actually coming on to my other show restless native it's a longer show talking more about how he got into fly fishing his career as a biologist we'll talk about his comedy and it's a really awesome chat and if you want to find that show it's not on youtube it's a it's an actual podcast so wherever you're listening to podcast go and subscribe the show is restless native you do not want to miss that show all right that's it for me today I'm out

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