Montana Ruby River Fly Fishing
Fly fishing on Montana's Ruby River (photo: B. Ater).

Ducks Unlimited decision puts bottom line ahead of ethics

Firing of journalist Don Thomas calls organization's judgement into question

It’s hard to imagine that even a single one of Ducks Unlimited’s more than 750,000 members isn’t presently ashamed of their affiliation with an organization which has long been widely regarded as a well-respected and incredibly accomplished conservation organization. Over the years, Ducks Unlimited (DU) has built for itself a reputation of credibility based largely on its effective grassroots organization, efficient use of dollars and conservation of almost 14 million acres of North American waterfowl habitat.

yupik fishing village
A Yupik fishing village in Bristol Bay (photo: Pat Clayton).

Report on EPA review of Pebble Mine lacks basis in fact, human decency

Bought-and-paid for report lacks facts, ethics and morality

Yesterday, The Cohen Group, which the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) and its supporters are lauding as an independent review firm, released a report that sharply criticized as unfair the EPA's process which led to a preliminary ruling that, if finalized, would prevent the so-called partnership — which now only contains Canadian firm Northern Dynasty Minerals, as all other former partner firms have long divested and distanced themselves from the ill-conceived project — from ever building the Pebble Mine.

belize bonefish
Catching bonefish during a Belizean rainstorm (photo: Chad Shmukler).

Catching bonefish and tarpon, for science

Yet another reason to hit the flats

Catching a bonefish or a tarpon is reward enough in itself. Both fish are elusive. Both are amongst the angling world's most impressive fighters. Both are beautiful specimens to behold. Should you, however, require additional motivation in order to land yourself on a sunny tropical flat or the bow of a skiff patrolling tarpon-friendly waters — then do it for the good of science.

Paddle Board - SUP Fly Fishing - BOTE Drift
Fly fishing the mangrove on the BOTE Drift.

Stand up paddle board fly fishing

The virtues of fly fishing from a SUP may leave you hooked

I admit it. I’m a sucker for fool’s gold. If there’s a gadget, I’ve got it, which is why my garage is always full of stuff. For me, more has been better. I’ve gone through more fly rods, canoes and kayaks than the average angler. I swore I would stop hoarding after I got a kayak, a Native Ultimate, but I didn’t. I recently added a paddle board to the fleet. For years, I had resisted buying one, because I figured I was too stiff to stay upright, even against the weakest of tides. While casting a fly rod? Not unless I took Pilates.

Firehole River Fly Fishing
Casting on the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park (photo: John Juracek).

A different reason to improve

Catching more fish is a sound reason to become a better caster, but is it the only one?

When most fishermen decide to improve their fly casting skills, they generally share a similar rationale for doing so. Better casting, they reason, will make them better fishermen, which in turn will lead to their catching more fish. And in my experience as a teacher, this is exactly what happens. Better casters do catch more fish. So that’s a perfectly sound reason for wanting to improve. But is it the only one? Not for me. Not by a long shot. I’d like to offer up a different reason for improving—one rarely talked about these days—but which I believe is equally valid.