Gravel roads don’t have the adventurous chops of a two-track. Still, turning off of pavement stirs that part of the brain which knows wilderness. When the road disappears...
The Henry's Fork is Valhalla, the place you visit when you've reached your pinnacle as an angler. And as a result, the Fork, more than any other river, transcends numbers, size, and every other form of tyrannical quantitative analysis; it is a star in the angling sky, a fly fishing temple where the only thing that truly matters is your next cast.
It doesn't really feel like summer up here until the solstice hits; I've always felt a little righteous about that. First day of summer, both on the calendar and outside. And in the Upper Great Lakes, the longest day of the year generally coincides with the start of the best fishing of the year. So we—myself and whoever I can drag along; this year, my wife—pack the truck and hit the road for a week or so.
We got our first look at the Rio Yelcho as we motored across a bridge spanning its mouth on the way to the lodge from Chaiten’s small airport. We’d been driving through Chile’s northern Patagonian rainforest for the better part of an hour, our attention diverted by the Jurassic flora and mountain scenery that just kept getting better with every passing bend.
It's not every day you are greeted by the smell of bait at your doorstep and is rarer still to revel in such a fishy odor wafting through your neighborhood. But there I was, following my sense of smell from my house in Melbourne, Florida to the ocean, several blocks away. I climbed the boardwalk steps and just past the shore break was a mass of pogy, swimming south.
Ankle-deep and frozen in the reed-stagnated shallows of Lake Michigan, Brian Pitser stood alert, deep-bagged net crossed valiantly over his shoulder. His eyes—hopeful, calculating, and resigned—scanned a backwater bay for answers. For fishy shapes, movement, and lumbering shadows. For carp.