Meet the Fly-Fishing Editor

Written by: Phil Monahan


Welcome to the OrvisNews.Com fly-fishing blog, where you can get a daily dose of news, tips, lessons, and more! Although Orvis is behind this great new venture, our content will not be Orvis-exclusive. Instead, we aim to cover the entirety of the sport, bringing you cool stories, videos, and pictures from around the angling world. We’ll take advantage of a large network of contributors to bring you timely, accurate, and relevant updates—the stuff you need to know.

But, first, allow me to introduce myself:

I didn’t become serious about fly fishing until I was in my 20s, when, after a few years working in New York City, I returned to my home turf in southeastern New Hampshire. My older brother, Brian—a much better fly fisherman than I was—lived nearby, and we began fishing together regularly. We ranged as far afield as the Androscoggin River, in the northeastern corner of the Granite State, but most of the time we fished the small ponds and streams that were within minutes of our homes—such unfabled waters as the Isinglass River and Stonehouse Pond. Although the sibling rivalry was always good-natured, we pushed each other to work hard at honing our fly-fisPhil in AKhing skills. As a result, we both became better anglers.

The next important phase of my fly-fishing career included stints as a guide in Alaska and Montana, where I was exposed to many different styles, techniques, and philosophies of angling. I tried to learn as much as I could from my fellow guides, from clients, and through trial-and-error. I was able to fish with anglers of all skill levels and in all kinds of situations—surrounded by brown bears in Alaska, surrounded by Winnebagos in Yellowstone Park, and surrounded by incredibly finicky trout on the spring creeks of Paradise Valley. Best of all, I got to be on the water almost all the time, in some of the most beautiful settings on the planet, and I got hang out with fellow fly fishermen.

But, as they often do, real-world concerns took over (translation: I was broke), and I found myself in need of a “real” job. Through dumb luck and good timing, I landed a position as an assistant editor at Outdoor Life magazine, and my career in publishing was off and running. Although I enjoyed the work, there weren’t nearly enough fly-fishing articles for my taste, so I began to look for other opportunities. Again, I had good timing, for the folks at American Angler magazine were looking for an editor. I jumped at the chance.

I edited American Angler for ten years, which meant I also worked on the company’s other titles: Fly Tyer and the now defunct Saltwater Fly Fishing and Warmwater Fly Fishing. In that capacity, I had the chance to meet and/or work with pretty much everyone in the fly-fishing industry, including the good folks at Orvis. It was a remarkable education. Since January 2009, I have been a freelance editor, writer, and consultant, working for magazines, Web sites, and book companies.

When Orvis approached me about editing this blog, I knew that it was a unique opportunity to make a big splash on the Web for a company with a dedicated following. I look forward to exploring the worlds of fly fishing and conservation with an educated and interested audience. As is the nature of virtually all media in this ever-changing world of technology, this blog will always be a work in progress, and a collaborative one at that. If you have ideas about what we should be covering—or how we should be covering it—feel free to drop me a line at

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