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Bitter Grounds

While there are still a couple of good weeks of fall trout fishing remaining, dates are being bandied about for steelhead trips to Lake Ontario. It's hard for me to consider these trips when the weather occasionally makes sunny spurts into the 70s and fall foliage is rocking. I'm terribly behind on visits to the Housatonic and there are plenty of local trout streams that are finally in shape after a long summer. Yet, I still find my mind wandering north.

Digging out a new pattern on the Salmon River (photo: Chad Shmukler).
Digging out a new pattern on the Salmon River (photo: Chad Shmukler).

The Salmon River in Pulaski, NY is my Steelhead stream of choice. I've fished others in the region but my limited knowledge of the Salmon exceeds many-fold my knowledge of the others so that, and habit, make the Salmon my usual destination.

By the time I get up to the Salmon River it's after the prime. Part of that is my fault. I'm not what one would call “hard core” so I start my planning much too late to secure lodgings during the sweet spot of the season. By the time I can clear a few days on my calendar and rooms become available I'm fishing at the tail; some would consider it offseason. Of course that affords me the opportunity to enjoy real Steelhead weather; single digit temps and double digit snowfall are not uncommon.

2014 Photo Contest Update: 1 Month Left

This year's photo contest is by far our biggest yet, with over $3,000 in prizes up for grabs. The grand prize winner will walk away with a big prize pack that includes an Orvis Helios 2 fly rod, a Cheeky Fly Fishing reel, a pair of Smith Optics ChromaPop sunglasses and a Scientific Anglers Sharkwave fly line. Three other winners will also take home a mix of prizes from Cheeky, Smith and Scientific Anglers.

Tricos on the Missouri
"Tricos on the Missouri" - last year's third prize winner.

Perhaps the best part of all the prizes - including the grand prize winning pack -- is that the winners can customize them as they see fit. Looking to put a bonefish outfit together? Pair the Orvis Helios 2 8-weight with Cheeky's Mojo 425 reel, a Scientific Anglers Sharkwave saltwater line and a pair of Smith Optics ChromaPop sunglasses with blue mirror lenses designed to perform on the flats. Or maybe it's time to refresh your trout setup, or build a roosterfish arsenal? You can do that too.

The Touchscreen-Compatible Orvis Waterproof Pocket

Orvis makes an inexpensive, useful, disaster-saving accessory that, for some unknown reason, seems to go virtually unmentioned. Inside each pair of Orvis Silver Sonic waders is a waterproof pouch, which Orvis calls the Silver Sonic Waterproof Pocket. Though the pocket is included with each pair of Silver Sonic waders, Orvis also sells it separately.

It's a simple pouch made for storing things that can't get wet. But, despite it's simplicity, Orvis has designed the pouch to offer up a number thoughtful features which easily justify spending the meager $12 required to upgrade your on-the-stream water protection from Ziploc brand to Orvis brand.

Orvis Silver Sonic Waterproof Pocket

The Pebble Fight Isn't Over and Tomorrow is Your Last Chance to Speak Up

It is possible that you are tired of hearing about Pebble Mine, tired of spreading the word about the importance of the world's greatest salmon fishery and asking others to do the same. It is also possible that you stopped paying attention back in July when the EPA proposed restrictions that would presumably block development of a large scale mine at the Pebble deposit. But the fight to protect Bristol Bay isn't over. Not yet.

Spawning Bristol Bay sockeye salmon (photo: Pay Clayton).
Spawning Bristol Bay sockeye salmon (photo: Pay Clayton).

The EPA proposed restrictions remain open for public comment until tomorrow (September 19) at 11:59 pm. The content of the almost 150,000 comments that have been received to date during this legally required comment period play an important role in whether the restrictions proposed by the EPA are ultimately approved and put in place.

While groups like Trout Unlimited, which has tirelessly advocated for Bristol Bay's protection, have repeatedly asked anglers and others to join the fight and make their voice heard, they're asking us all to do it one more time.

Fantasy Football is the New Golf

Almost a decade ago, I put my golf clubs down for good. I've never looked back. For many years prior, though, my free time was shared between fly fishing and golf. This split was never even. Considerably more of my time away from work and family went to fishing. But still, a couple evenings and weekend days each month were stolen by golf.

Fantasy Football Draft Board

I took lessons. Went to the driving range. Sat with friends over a beer talking about swing issues and improving my putting. And then I'd hit the links, soak up the sun and fresh air, often making it through three, four or even five holes before the afternoon descended into a profanity-laden, club-throwing horror show.

The reality, which I eventually stepped back to perceive, was that golf made me miserable. It wasn't that golf was an inherently bad sport, it was that I wanted to enjoy golf more than I actually did. The occasional, slowly-climbing long drives straight down the fairway, those 80-yard wedge chips that land softly on the green, the graceful exits from nasty bunkers -- you know, the shots that everyone says are "all it takes to keep you coming back" -- just didn't do all that much for me.

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