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Every angler's fantasy

Your own wild trout stream
Photo: Brett Holmquist

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Molly and I closed on our new property in early March, but the tail end of winter turned to spring, and then spring to summer, and I still hadn’t fished the creek that bordered our land to the east.

Wolf Creek.

Savan sized

Standing slack-jawed on one of Kamchatka's fish factories
Santos Madero releases a Savan sized rainbow (photo: Earl Harper).

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I’m sitting with Jack Handey, who has deep thoughts and loves chocolate. We’re perched on the edge of our jet boat which we’ve pulled aground on a mid-stream sandbar of Kamchatka’s Savan River, finishing off our lunches as we marvel about the river’s rainbows. Thirteen days into a 14 day trip down the Savan, we’re still blathering on about its resident trout—not specifically about their size, strength, beauty or numbers, but more about their unique combination of all those qualities. It is the Savan’s rainbows that truly define the river.

Patagonia and friends release Finding Fontinalis film to aid conservation fundraising efforts

Film chases world record brook trout and more on the other side of the world
Photo: Bryan Gregson

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Fishing records are kind of lame. You know, IGFA length records, tippet class records and so on? What species of fish you were able to haul in on what strand strength of monofilament doesn't tell us anything about the experience. Or the fish. Or the place. It might tell us something about why you're out there but, if it does, it probably tells us stuff we'd rather not know. As a general rule, fishing records don't tell us anything of value at all, except maybe that a lot of people are missing the point. But, as is the case with any rule, there are exceptions.

Coming of age

Recognizing the outdoor industry for what it is
Photo: Kris Millgate

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Most moms save their child’s handprints smeared on construction paper with craft paint. I’m saving a smattering of blue yarn embellished with natural hues of brown and green. The keepsake is art in its most juvenile form and yet it is a masterpiece.

The blue yarn outlines our nation’s major rivers. Columbia, Colorado, Mississippi to name a few. The Gulf and Great Lakes are marked too. I’d like to say I’ve fished them all, but I haven’t. I’d like to say they’re all pristine, but they’re far from it. The Stream Protection Rule was supposed to help with that, but now it’s gone.

High light, low light

Tips for using the sun, or lack thereof, to your advantage when fishing
Photo: Pat Burke

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Low sun angle provides a significant advantage to the angler. The shadows are deeper; they’re wider and longer. In the winter months, the sun sits lower in the sky, and that shallow arc creates more shadows with less direct sunlight. Trout love the dark areas and seek them out.

By contrast, the summer solstice has the sun directly overhead. The hard sunlight beats straight down, erasing the comforting shadows and putting trout on edge.

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