A Pocketful of Electric Ants

Sometimes you only have to tell a guy once that behaving a certain way could have consequences. But when the warning signs outnumber logic, you can’t blame a fellow for being a bit skeptical. In the case of tropical northern Queensland, put your skepticism aside -- everything here wants to kill you. In fact, plane tickets to Cairns should come with a warning label, much like a pack of cigarettes, or rat poison, or hydrochloric acid or ... you get the idea.

Tar Trees Warning

For instance, the short walk from the hotel in Port Douglas in the tropical north of Queensland to the beach was a jaunt ripe with caution.

First, I was told by the concierge not to touch the tar tree along the trail through the jungle to the water. Nasty burns, he told me--enough to ruin a weekend.

Review: Orvis Silver Sonic Guide Waders

It has been a while since I’ve acquired a new pair of waders, mostly as a result of my preference to wade wet whenever temperatures will allow, thus limiting my need to replace my sad old pair of White Rivers. But, given that I’ve been seeking to expand my season, it was time to get into a new pair. Given the positive feedback that Orvis' Silver Sonic Guide waders have been receiving from the field since their release, they seemed like a good place to start.

Orvis Silver Sonic Guide Waders

Orvis termed this new addition to their Silver Sonic wader lineup “guide” waders because of the way they’re built to stand up to abuse. To quantify that, Orvis compares them to other waders in the Silver Sonic line, rather than using ambiguous language about competitor’s offerings. If you’ve ever inspected the other waders in the Silver Sonic line, you know that they’re well made, hardy waders themselves, making the fact that Orvis describes the Silver Sonic Guides as 4 times more abrasion resistant and 40% more puncture resistant than the Silver Sonic convertibles truly something to talk about.

The Silver Sonic Guide Waders are constructed with Orvis’ SonicSeam ® technology (no stitching) and according to Orvis they are bulletproof. Orvis touts them as likely to outlast your last 3 pairs of waders combined. But, being durable isn’t all a great pair of waders needs to be, they need to be comfortable and offer features that can make your day on the river more convenient and successful.

Michigan senators applauded for bill to protect great lakes from Asian carp

The Guarding Our Great Lakes Act, proposed by two Michigan senators, is being praised by groups seeking to protect the fisheries of the Great Lakes from an invasion from Asian carp. Both Trout Unlimited and the Great Lakes Commission issued releases today commending Rep. Dave Camp (R) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) for proposing the legislation.

The Brandon Road lock and dam site.
The Brandon Road lock and dam site.

Asian carp, prevalent throughout much of the Mississippi River basin, pose what is regularly referred to as a "devastating" threat to the species regularly targeted by anglers in the Great Lakes region, such as king and coho salmon, steelhead, lake trout, brown trout, walleye and more. Many preventative measures are already in place throughout the region but the battle is an ongoing one and vigilance is required in order to keep Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.

Tenkara and Winter: A Perfect Pair?

Winter is a great time to go fly fishing. While far too many anglers are busy at the vice instead of on the water, trout keep doing what they do, albeit a bit more slowly and methodically. And so there are trout to be caught and far fewer anglers to compete with. But winter fly fishing comes with its own set of difficulties and frustrations, chief amongst them those that come when temperatures drop below the freezing mark. Freezing temperatures bring ice, which wreaks havoc on fly rods, lines and reels. Colder temperatures also make an angler's exposed hands and fingers not only unpleasant but potentially dangerous.

Tenkara in Winter
Photo: Daniel Galhardo.

If only there was a way to go fly fishing in winter while avoiding all of these common aggravations. Well, perhaps there is: tenkara. By nature, tenkara fishing can offer a respite from many of the complications that a traditional fly rig faces when hitting an icy stream.

No Steelheader

It's 18 degrees. The mid-thirty degree temperatures that were forecasted to offer relief from the previous day spent in the teens and twenties are hours away, if they show at all. The wind has picked up and the morning sun is hiding behind the hillside, refusing to arrive and offer even the most minor respite from the biting cold.

Frozen Fly Rod

The feeling in my fingers is gone. I'm having trouble pinching the running line against the cork handle of my spey rod and when I sweep the set anchor, the line slips through my hands and and the head and sink tip fall limply to the water in front of me. As I dejectedly look down at my lifeless digits, I notice that two of them are encrusted with ice. I lament, again, not bringing my gloves. I've never been able to fish effectively with gloves, due to the lack of dexterity they present when handling line. But, paralyzed hands are even less useful than fabric-clad ones, leaving me wishing for the warmth.

I try again, with better results. The anchor is set in place and despite the cold and my rustiness, I load the rod well and it launches the head forward. Thirty or so feet along its trajectory, the line bucks to a halt and falls awkwardly to the river's surface. Ice sheathing the rod's largest stripping guide has captured the thin running line that traverses its center, pinching the line and refusing to allow it to move.