Fly fishing requires a great deal of patience, skill, and perseverance. It is a passion for many, and those who enjoy it often find themselves venturing into remote and unexplored locations in search of the perfect catch. But fly fishing can also be unpredictable, and it is essential to have a plan before heading out on a fishing trip. Being successful and getting home safely are both extremely important. Knowing what the local conditions are when planning a trip is an essential part of ensuring both of those outcomes. So let me share a story that taught me the value of keeping a fly fishing journal.
I had been planning a fly fishing trip with my friend Pawel for weeks. We had decided to visit a remote river in the mountains about a 5-hour drive away to go and catch some trout. However, the weather had not been kind, and it had been raining for several days before the trip. I was worried about the condition of the river and whether it would be safe to fish. I could see the river level had risen and dropped back down but I had no idea if the level and flow rate were going to be safe. Pawel, on the other hand, seemed unfazed by the weather and was eager to get out there. When I asked him how he could be so sure, he told me that the last time we had been there the river level was about the same.
It turns out Pawel was keeping detailed records of each trip we do, including weather and river levels. This meant he was able to confirm the river level was safe based on our previous trip and that the fishing was likely to be good. In the absence of having a local contact with up-to-date river info, it was a trip-saving load of information. Imagine having driven 5 hours to turn up to an unfishable river. I've been there and done that!!
Now records from a previous trip certainly do not guarantee success on your next trip, as we found out, but it certainly provides a lot of useful intel. As we made our way to the river, I couldn't help but think about how useful a fly fishing journal could be. I had never kept one before, but I could see how it would be an invaluable tool for any fly angler. Not only could it help me plan for future trips, but it would also serve as a record of past experiences, allowing me to relive and learn from each fishing trip.
After our trip, I immediately tried to find a fly fishing journal or logbook. While there were lots out there, there wasn't anything that really worked the way I wanted it to. So I got to work creating my own fly fishing journal. I included sections for recording the date, location, weather conditions, water levels, and any notable observations about the river or the fish. I also included a section for recording the flies that worked well, along with any other tips or tricks that I learned along the way.
As a result, I ended up with a great-looking fly fishing journal designed by a fly fisher for flyfishers. So what do you do in this modern day with such a gem? Well, I self-published it via Amazon and now it is available all over the world for any fly fisher to buy and use. How amazing is modern technology?
Below are some images of an actual printed copy of the journal. Just click on the relevant Amazon link below should you be interested in buying one. All the earnings are put straight back into making more content on my channel.
Watch the video of this trip fly fishing trip with Pawel that inspired the journal below: