With friends like Ryan Zinke, who needs enemies?

It's time for sportsmen to get real about our Secretary of Interior
Photo: Lance Cheung
In Kipling’s The Jungle Book, bandar-log (monkey people) are hypnotized by the gyrations of Kaa, the python. They then march zombie-like into his gaping jaws.

That scene comes to mind whenever I hear sportsmen gush about anti-environmental bureaucrats and politicians simply because they pretend to hunt and fish, have kids who hunt and fish or, as with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, do hunt and fish.

Of cutthroat, elk and pine

National monuments protect more than artifacts and historical sites.
Photo: Johnny Carrol Sain
Following guide and owner of Taos Fly Shop Nick Streit along the banks of the Rio Grande in northern New Mexico isn’t easy. There are so many potential ankle-twisting scenarios—rocks, holes, steep and slippery mud banks—and so many distractions. For a curious nose like mine, it was smells that were distracting. The spice of sage mixed with smooth vanilla of ponderosa pine, and then a medley of something else I couldn’t identify. The fragrant richness was unexpected in such austere country.

When forests die: Climate change and our sporting heritage

A report from the front lines of climate change research
Dying aspens in the Colorado Rocky Mountains near Fairplay, CO (photo: William Anderegg).
I grew up fishing and hunting in rural Colorado. My brother and I would fish all day for cutthroat and rainbow trout in the streams and lakes, long beyond when I’m sure my dad was ready to head home. I remember the sheer joy I felt as I unwrapped my first gun—a beautiful little .410 shotgun—and learned to shoot it, first at cans and then eventually upland birds. We had our favorite campsites nestled in the quaking aspens that we returned to year after year, where we’d chase chipmunks around with small bows.

Dry flies need slack

So give it to 'em, George Harvey style
Photo: Josh Stewart
Drag kills drifts. On the surface or under, it’s an enemy to every fly fisher, destroying the elusive dead drift and turning good presentations bad. Luckily, the right leader, tippet and casting stroke can beat drag long enough to trick even the fussiest fish.

Imitating a naturally drifting insect is at the heart of fly fishing and for many is the baseline approach. Let’s set aside swung wet flies, nymphs and streamers for a while, and deal with the roots— the top water game—the foundation of modern fly fishing.