Thursday, February 17, 2011


When I started fly fishing I never wrote down my experiences on the water, committing most to memory, but as I gained a few more years on this earth, and many more fishing trips, my memory got a bit fuzzy and what particular fly worked on May 6th, in rough water was no longer easy to recall.
Thats when I started writing down certain facts that related to a fishing outing, the only thing most of what I wrote down was on index cards and cheap pocket small note pads. These notes were soon lost and I was back to guessing. Thats when at a fly show I discovered journals just for fishing.

This made my trips documented and organized. The first journal was a nice hard cover book, the only drawback was it was not easy to take with me.
I used to write down my entries when I returned home, so as not to forget.

I soon found a small journal that would fit in my pack and I could document my thoughts and results right at streamside.

I still carry my journal, although not every outing has a page. I now reserve some of my special trips to document.

On some of my outings a special fish will be taken on a certain fly. I'll put that fly in plastic, staple it to the page entry, and retire that fly.

This is one of the smaller journals I now carry streamside

This is a larger journal I had made a few years ago. Its a photo of a small stream wild brown trout.

I also keep a small journal of the streamer patterns I design, with recipes and results when fished.


  1. Nice! You are two steps ahead of me...I have been wanting to do something like this. Just trying to figure out how in depth I want to take it. I like your book cover with Mr. Brown Trout!

  2. very nice article. Short, sweet and well written as usual. It is true how much one forgets by not keeping a journal. I too have started and stopped over the years, mostly due to forgetting to add information at days end. I like the small journal idea though very much as this would solve that problem. Keep up the great work!

  3. Me too, I keep a diary almost as a necessity as I forget to much stuff I do on the river.

    This year I'm going to do more, and keep details of buggs found too.

  4. Brilliant idea... I kept a journal one summer, and only one summer. I found it other day and spent a good hour thumbing through the pages. The one thing I asked myself was, "Why don't I still do this?"

    Thanks the reminder... great post.


  5. Great suggestion ! I've been keeping one for two years. I've found it very helpful for reviewing the past season and determining which flies to tie for next year and what I will actually carry with me during different times of the year.

  6. Great post, this is an idea that I've been kicking around for a couple years. I don't really want the whole story as much as I want the baseball card facts. Do these journals have organized boxes for water condition, fly, water temp, ect..... Because I think that is what I'm after.

  7. River Damsel, thanks, The first journal is quite detailed, water temp, moon phase equipment.
    To much I think, I use the smaller less complicated one

    browntrout, Flyfishermanrichard, thanks.
    Many times the journal will tell you what was last time out or last year, and it doesn't work now.
    But its nice at snowy times to look back at nicer times

  8. Chris, thanks. Go for it, get it done.

    Mark, thanks. They are a good solid reference. Not angler info passed around, sometimes reliable and sometimes not

  9. Bruce thanks.
    The top journal has seperate areas to log your info, if you follow it its quite detailed and easy to use. The other journals are plain, and lined notebooks

  10. Very nice. I have a journal in which I have recorded several trips, but I'm not as dedicated to it as I should be. This post is just what I needed to remind me how important it can be for recording memories.

  11. Jay,thanks.
    I know I don't write in it as much as I should, but those special entries are so nice to go back and read.

  12. I guess that I'm out of step here. I keep my records of trout caught, patterns used, weather and stream conditions all on computer. Access is easy and recording is just as easy. At one time a few years ago I kept a computer log by stream. It was interesting to see what streams produced the best nymph to dry success, what was hatching and the best success by hour fished. I've downplayed this approach but it gave me a good understanding of how some streams worked. Record keeping is interesting!!


  13. I take notes for my golf game (not that it has helped greatly) but I will take notes as I start off fishing.
    There is no doubt that I will benefit from this. Thanks for the nudge.

  14. Ken, thats a good idea.

    Ed, the journal not only lets you look back at a fishing situation, perhaps giving you an edge, but it's also a book full of fishing memories.

  15. I started keeping a journal shortly after I started fly fishing. I wrote every outing down. I loved it. Somewhere along the way work started to get in the way and I skipped a few years as my fishing time declined. Now that I have been going more and attempting to make fly fishing and tying more of a priority in my life or at least more important than work, I tend to write a lot more. I found a small journal that I love but they no longer make it. I have three of them filled up. It is nice to go back and see what happened on certain days and what the fish were keyed in on.


  16. Great idea Alan. For years I've been keeping a large format calendar with all the important info written in the little daily squares. Sometimes there's not enough room for everything but it's easier to search and see big picture trends. I think a combo of both ideas may idealy suit my needs. Thanks

  17. Jeff, they are a great source of info, as well as very good reading on those winter nights.

    John, thanks. Your idea of using both means is a good one.

  18. May I suggest a Rite in the Rain journal. You can drop it in the water and it will survive if you can catch it before it floats off. Great for collecting field data.

    Pete Carlson
    hookandhackle on another site.