Jump to content

Fly fishing or Bird Hunting?

Recommended Posts


I don't know how to answer this one, both are so important to me. Thing is, I'm closing in on 70 and this is probably my last dog. Maybe. I've been totally immersed in dogs and hunting for my entire hunting life, some 50 plus years.

The older I get, the more physically taxing it is. I truly love fly fishing and everything about it. The rods (have now built my own with the help of members on this forum), the flies, the casting; gads, I love it all.

Plus, the fly fishing is relaxing to me and easy to do.

I know though, that if I gave up bird hunting, come october when the leaves are gold, the geese flying, and the pheasant cackling, I'd miss it like Hell.

Not to even mention how much I'll miss the dogs.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 104
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • john mcg


  • bobman


  • garyRI


charlo slim


How 'bout "salmonids by bird dog"?



Actually I'd choose bird hunting, without doubt.  Fly fishing has lost luster for me, largely cause I'm not much for catch and release, more the catch and eat type.  And I somehow don't feel right about catching and killing wild stream trout.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always thought that I would transition out of bird hunting as I neared death and cling to fly fishing in my senility.  I've got fly rods that I wore the cork grips clean through to the blank and enough gear to outfit a boyscout troop.  If I had to choose today, I'd pick bird hunting because I can still do it.  

I see fly fishing as elegant, a gentleman's sport.  I see upland gunning as more of a rough and tumble affair that stresses ligaments and makes me breath hard.  While there is breath in my lungs and strength in my legs, the dogs and I will be out there.  

Don't get me wrong, I take my body plenty of places with a fly rod that are downright unhealthy, but when it comes to the cast and drift, I'm generally prepared for the outcome.  Bird hunting is all that and more.

Link to post
Share on other sites
WI Brookie Guy

I just got back from 8 days of fly fishing -- 3 days over Memorial Day in the SW WI Driftless area (where I also picked up a new Brittany puppy) and 5 days in west-central WI.  That very question was asked of me as I was showing some of the guys the pics of the puppy pointing a grouse wing and I told them that there's no way I could choose between the two...both are integral to the fiber of my being.

The golden October days in the aspen and the endless June twilight on laughing water...grouse hunting satisfies my spirit and fly fishing for trout heals my soul.  That said, if you were to take dogs out of grouse hunting equation, I think that would clear up the picture for me.

Edit:  Just caught up with the rest of the thread...we were seeing some Hex this week amongst the sulphurs, March Browns, crane flies, caddis and Yellow Sallies.  It's a great time of the year to be on the stream.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Fire Marshal Bill

My Springer is 12+, I'm 67+; my fly rod is always in my truck with me, but so is my Springer! Bird hunting, with fly fishing so close you wouldn't be able to seperate them.


Link to post
Share on other sites
Field Grade


That is an amazing photo of your ' trout retriever.'

I hope he has a soft mouth.  :D

There's no way I could choose between bird hunting and fly fishing.

I treasure each in its season, with a bit of overlap.

By the end of February, when bird hunting winds down here in N.Y., I am footsore, brush-whipped and bone tired from months of trudging up and down hills and hacking through rhodie jungles and wild rose tangles. So I put up the shotgun and sit down to tie flies, mend my bones and anticipate fly fishing season.

From April through July angling 'casts its spell' and I can't get enough of mayfly hatches, early mornings and late evenings on the misty rivers and all the other good stuff steeped in fishing.

By August, like the rest of you, I want to rush the seasons, leave the baking heat behind and follow the dog through the cool, bright fall hills.

Burton Spiller said pretty much the same thing, in a much more poetic way, of course.

-Rob J.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My dogs love to fly fish and as you can see they do it very well. Fly fishing is great " IF " bird season is not open


Aug in the High Country on the way to bird hunting

Link to post
Share on other sites


Ahhhhhh... I guess I would choose fly fishing, as long as I could still take my dogs into the field and wouldn't have to give up trials as well as 'hunting'.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Newwood Hunter

I feel late to the party with this thread...

My first response is to choose "bird hunting" without much consideration, but only because I have been doing it longer and because of the dogs.  Without the dogs, the hunting would not be hunting.

As a guy who has been on the stream 30+ days this year (and 3-4 days a week for the past three weeks), I can't imagine not having the relaxation (combined with the adrenaline surge) of witnessing a hatch and having a feisty trout take my fly.  

Both activities seem to be integrally woven into my DNA.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Bird Hunting, but I love fly fishing as well, plus using the feathers off the birds to tie flies. Thats a really tough one tho, good question for a topic. Now maybe I'm bouncing back,nope bird hunting, but  fly fishing is a close 2nd !!!!! Hard to beat a sunny 90 degree day on the Yellowstone in rib high water with with waiting sandals on and a Winston B3 in your hand!!! Also hard to beat a 40 degree day with light snow melting as it hits  and pointers and setters running the skyline, and then rock solid points with, with a covey of Sharpies or Hunz getting up.
Link to post
Share on other sites
L. Gallagher
Bird hunting till I can't move anymore, for sure. Fly fishing and fishing in general has always been a bit frustrating for me. But if I didn't have a dog I'd probably do more of it. It's not bird hunting unless you have a dog.
Link to post
Share on other sites
rosies dad
I havent fished for 25 yrs, maybe longer and I dont own a fly rod.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...