Review: Fisknat Landing Nets

For most of my fishing years I’ve used a second-rate landing net. You know the kind I’m talking about—aluminum tubing, green nylon netting, cheap as hell but serviceable. Last summer my net slipped off my belt loop and floated down the Shoshone River, never to be seen again. I didn’t mourn for long. If it had been a Fisknat wooden landing net, though, I’d still be out there searching for it.

I had the opportunity to use Fisknat’s San Juan Hand Net while fishing mountain lakes in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada last summer. Feisty, colorful cutts in the 16”-20” range rose all around. I wanted to land these beauties and release them as quickly and safely as possible, and the San Juan proved up to the task in every way.

A great-looking net, handcrafted from triple-laminated ash and walnut, the San Juan has a sturdy one-piece rubber bag that’s sewn securely into the wooden frame—it’d take a pregnant sturgeon to rip this rubber out. Unlike some less fish-friendly nets, Fisknats contain no staples or other sharp edges and are far less likely to remove a trout’s naturally protective slime. The firm yet pliable rubber effectively repels hook points, so no worries about getting your fly hung up after landing a fish—can’t say that about the nylon cheapies.

Each Fisknat net is handmade by Bob Nelson, the company owner and founder, and his daughter Shannan. With over 17 different models—from small hand nets to much larger boat nets for guides and big rivers—Fisknat nets are the result of considerable consultation with guides, fly shop owners, and private clubs across the West. Models range. Fisknat nets can be found locally at Greater Yellowstone Flyfishers in Bozeman, Hatch Finders in Livingston, or ordered directly from the company.