Introducing the Local Slam
By Phil Monahan, editor of the Orvis Fly Fishing blog
My home in southwestern Vermont is less than two miles from the Battenkill, the wild brown-trout river for which the legendary Orvis reel is named, and there are countless freestone streams full of native brookies flowing out of the Green Mountains just on the other side of the valley. A trout-loving angler is spoiled for choice on any given day, and I was laser-focused on salmonids for many years. But this all changed the summer that my 10-year-old son, Niall, expressed an interest in fishing from our canoe.
It was through him that I rediscovered my love for warmwater species—such as large- and smallmouth bass, pickerel, and panfish—on lakes and ponds throughout the region, many of which I’d never considered fishing before. The joys of spending time with Niall, working topwater flies through weedbeds on warm summer evenings, and sharing in the excitement of an explosive strike changed my view of my local fishing options forever.
Then, in 2014, the Orvis Fly Fishing blog launched the “20 Days in September” Project, which set an ambitious goal: to go fishing 20 days during the month. No one wants to fish the same water over and over, so now there was even more incentive to try new places, which led to even more species to target. And because I still had to go to work and spend time with the family at night, I did most of my fishing within a few minutes of home. Oftentimes I was joined by Orvis colleagues who were surprised to learn just how good the fishing was in places they’d driven by for years.