Introducing “The West Today”

By Spencer Durrant | TMTB Managing Editor
May 25, 2018


No Politics. No Agenda. Just Facts.

The West Today is The Modern Trout Bum’s publication dedicated to shining a light on environmental issues and wildlife conservation here in the American West.

The idea is to create a publication that spurs conversation around the topics that determine the future of he unique heritage we have in the American West. The West Today isn’t political and doesn’t have an agenda beyond promoting conservation.

Subscribe Today

Lee Wulff captured the essence of what The West Today is all about:

Game fish are too valuable to be caught only once.

Wulff’s words have echoed through the generations of conservation-minded anglers who now enjoy the fishing the American West has to offer. But Wulff’s words apply to more than just fishing. They provide guidance for the conservation goals we need to accomplish today.

The biggest roadblock between conservationists and positive change is accurate information. We all know how biased news reporting is in this country.

The West Today strives to be different. We want to deliver only the facts. Opinions are left for the general section of The Modern Trout Bum. Down-the-middle, accurate aggregation of data and reports is the best way to make sure that each hunter, angler, and outdoors enthusiast is on the same page when it comes to the issues facing our great national heritage.

I’ve wrestled with this decision for a bit, but there’s really no other way to do it. To make The West Today the viable news source the outdoors community needs, I need you – the readers – to pay.

I know, I know – why pay for content when you can get it free elsewhere?

Well, I’m asking you to pay for quality over quantity.

For work that has a positive end-goal in mind, and articles without clickbait headlines. I’m asking you to pay for the opportunity to read all the facts in one place and form your own opinion. Do you want to know more about the Pebble Mine, but don’t want to sift through paragraphs of opinion for a nugget or two of actual information?

That’s what The West Today will do. But it can only do that with your subscription.

A subscription will run $19.99/year for 6 digital issues of The American West. 

If print-only is still your thing, we’ll mail issues directly to you on the date of publication for $39.99/year. These won’t be like your common outdoors magazines. They’ll be filled with substance, and you won’t see ads on every other page.

If you want both editions of the magazine, we’ll hook you up for $49.99/year.

I know it’s a big ask. But $20 is what, five cups of coffee at Starbucks?

You get immediate gratification from Starbucks. I get it. A subscription to something like this is delayed gratification, and you don’t know what you’re getting. This is new. Untested. Original.

But so is trying that new latte your friend mentioned last week.


Gear Review: Simms Dry Creek Hip Pack

By Spencer Durrant | TMTB Managing Editor
January 29, 2018


The Simms Dry Creek Hip Pack looks like a fanny pack.

But it’s a helluva lot more utilitarian.

I’ve always been a vest guy. I’ve tried sling packs and never found one I liked much. I’ve had the same Colombia PFG vest for half a decade now (birthday present from my dad) but the zippers are shot. I’d gone back and forth on what to replace it with, but decided to give a hip pack a try.

The Simms Dry Creek Hip Pack has the advantage of being waterproof, light, comfortable, and it stays out of the way (for the most part). Surprisingly, I didn’t much like it at first, but it’s grown on me in the month since I bought it.

But is it the right choice for your day on the water? Let’s break it down and take a look.

Image courtesy simmsfishing.com

The Nitty-Gritty

The Good

100% Waterproof

Some days it feels like I spend more time behind the camera lens than I do with a rod in my hand (though I’m nowhere near the level of Ryan Kelly, one of the best photographers I know). The only problem there is that water and cameras don’t mix.

The Simms Dry Creek Hip Pack is the solution for anyone who wants total assurance their gear is as waterproof as it’s going to get.

The first day I had the Dry Creek Hip Pack, I took it out to Lee’s Ferry in Arizona, filled it with all of my favorite fly boxes, reels, and other gear, and dunked it in the river for a good 30 seconds.

Everything was bone-dry. As long as you get the roll-top closure system tight, you don’t have to worry about losing a camera, phone, or walkie-talkie to the water ever again.


I’ve always loved a vest because it’s such a comfortable design. That’s a big part of the reason it’s endured for so long.

The Simms Dry Creek Hip Pack is surprisingly comfortable. The padded shoulder strap helps reduce arm fatigue, and the padding on the belt and body-side of the pack itself are soft enough.

Add the waist belt and cross-shoulder strap to the equation, and you have a much better balance of weight than with a vest. Instead of weight hanging from your shoulders, it’s spread across your upper body and into the hips when wearing the Dry Creek Hip Pack.


I’m always the guy who brings “too much stuff” on a fishing trip.

Yeah, like that’s possible.

But the Simms Dry Creek Hip Pack has room for all your boxes, and then some. Seriously, the interior space may not look like much at first, but you could easily fit a day’s worth of food, a backpacking stove, matches, emergency blanket, and water bottle in there alongside a few boxes of flies and tippet.

The Not-So-Good

No Comparments

I may be picking at nothing here, but the trade-off you make for all the room in this pack comes at the expense of no compartments. Aside from an outer zippered pocket (which Simms has very loudly labeled not waterproof), and two internal mesh pockets, the rest of the pack is completely open.

All that room makes it easy for tippet, small boxes, floatant, split shot, and anything else to end up on the bottom of the bag. Digging around to find the gear you need isn’t fun, and it takes away from time on the water.

Needs adjustment

The first few times I took the pack out, I knew I’d tinker with tightness of the shoulder and waist straps. A month later, I’m doing the same thing.

It’s just the nature of how Simms built this pack; Velcro nylon stoppers keep the nylon buckle straps from tightening past your chosen setting, but it doesn’t keep them from loosening. Likewise, the shoulder strap always seems to need a tweak or two before it’s ready to rock.

Final Word

The Simms Dry Creek Hip Pack is a stellar piece of gear at a reasonable price. $129.95 isn’t too much to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing your gear is always dry. It’s comfortable, has more than enough room for all your flies on the water, and you could use it as a day pack if needed.

The only knocks on it are the lack of compartments and need for constant adjustment. If you think this is the pack for you, visit your local fly shop to try one on.

related content cta

Spencer Durrant is a fly fishing writer, outdoors columnist, and novelist from Utah. His work has appeared in Field & Stream, Hatch Magazine, TROUT Magazine, Sporting Classics Daily, and other national publications. He’s also the managing editor of The Modern Trout Bum. Find him on Twitter/Instagram, @Spencer_Durrant. 

provo river fishing report header image

Provo River 7- 17 – 17


Provo River Fishing Report 7/17/17

The latest Provo River fishing report is good! Flows are down and the green drakes are hatching in abundance. The Middle Provo has more drake activity than the Lower, although both are worth your time. Flows are still high on the Lower, though they’re much more manageable than in weeks past.

This is the time of year when the tube hatch is in full force. Remember to be mindful of rafters and not to start too many arguments over who has the right to be in a certain spot in the river. The Lower Provo gets crowded this time of year due to floaters, while the Middle is more crowded with anglers.


provo river fishing report brown trout

green river fishing report header photo

Green River below Flaming Gorge Reservoir 6 – 12 – 17


Green River Fishing Report 6/12/17


The Green below Flaming Gorge Dam is a frustrating – yet rewarding – fishery at the moment. Flows are still high at 8,600cfs – but the cicadas are out! If you hit the water first thing in the morning you won’t have a problem getting fish to eat. Sizes 8 – 12 are fishing well.

On Saturday, 6/10/17, a few anglers hooked into fish on nymph rigs, but it’s far from effective. Jigging through the deeper holes is a better option and if you can hold in one hole for a few moments to let the jig sink, the fish usually hit on the first twitch. Streamer fishing is best in the evening towards night, with things picking up from Secret Riffle downstream to Little Hole.

The fish below came off the A Section of the Green on Friday, 6/09/17.

brown trout green river fly fishing

provo river fishing report header image

Provo River 3 – 25 – 17


Provo River Fishing Report 3/25/17


The Lower Provo River, from Deer Creek Dam to Olmstead, is flowing high, around 400cfs. The water is clear, though. The high flows have displaced the fish and they’re not stacked in runs like usual.

The BWOs are finally popping, in addition to midges. Fishing warm days with overcast weather will produce good dry fly action. If they’re not taking dries, try an egg pattern. The rainbows are beginning to stage for the spawn, so all the fish in the river are eating eggs. The fish pictured below took a pale orange egg a few days ago.

provo river fishing report rainbow trout picture