Buffalo River Arkansas
The Buffalo River (photo: Johnny Carrol Sain).


This is not where you put a massive, manure-spewing industrial hog farm

I’d lamented about rained-out local creek smallmouth fishing all summer long. High water had made fish tough to find and often posed a wading hazard. But just an hour’s drive north of my home, the crystalline cool flows of the Buffalo National River resembled something closer to normal summer conditions. Ever since the fly rod — an elegant tool for a more civilized angler — found its way to my hand last fall, I’d dreamed of a trip to the iconic Buffalo River.

rainbout trout release
The release of a wild rainbow from the Smoky Mountains (photo: Rueben Browning).

Seeking absolution

The catch and release debate, inside and out

There’s a tension at the heart of fly fishing, a baffling, bulbous, gordian knot that we can’t untie with logic or reason or emotion. Yet most of us — in fact, the vast majority of us — are not even aware of the issue.

creek low water
Photo: Todd Tanner


In all things, we need balance

I drove over to the West Fork late this afternoon. Molly was gone for the day, off to Idaho with her friend Elizabeth, and I’d been holed up in the house with the doors and windows shut to keep the heat - low nineties in the shade, a hundred and two outside in the direct sun - at bay.

sabine river railroad truss bridge
Railroad bridge over the Sabine River (photo: Patrick Feller).

Home again

No thanks to the Ted Cruzes of the world

I got a Facebook message from an old junior high friend the other day. He’d been out to the Sabine River in the sticky thicket of East Texas, and visited the spot we’d all camped as kids, “Stand by Me” style.

lawnmower wildflowers
Photo: Johnny Carrol Sain

Green menace

The futility and stupidity of the American lawn

Man versus nature is a common theme in America. The idea that Europeans whittled a civilization out of wilderness is one of the tired old narratives crammed full of erroneous assumptions and misinformation that has reinforced this idea. Even an education can’t turn back the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, message pumped into our brains from an early age that we are supposed to subdue nature; bend it to our will. And this is often motivated purely by ego. Lawns are the perfect example.