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The state of Missouri has got to be kidding

There's fishing, and then there's whatever this is
Opening day at Bennett Springs (photo: Missouri Department of Conservation).

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I get it. How you fish is not how I fish. And that's swell. Really, it is. I like to fish with a fly rod. You don't? That's fine. I prefer to chase wild fish instead of stocked fish but if you don't care you won't hear any complaints from me. I like to hike away from the parking lots and trailheads and find solitude on the river, but maybe you prefer cajoling with your buddies right by the put in with a cooler of beer. Sometimes, I do too. However you like to fish, by and large, that's how you should fish.

Evening meetings

Government governs whether we show up or not
Photo: Anythony Vinciguerra

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My fly tying desk is a mess. I recently painted my home office and that required a reshuffling of furniture and all the oddball things that one acquires in a well-lived life. There’s a desk in the corner where my fly tying stuff lives and even when it’s well organized it can never be described as orderly. In past winters, I’ve been able to slide over there after dinner and tie the handful of patterns that I’ve come to rely upon. I’ve been meaning to get that desk back in the game, I just haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve got lots of excuses, but one reason is evening meetings.

Scott Pruitt doesn't care about our fishing

Donald Trump's pick to run the EPA will spell disaster for our streams, rivers and wetlands
Photo: Chad Shmukler

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Anglers are obsessed with water. Freshwater, saltwater, moving water, still water; it matters not. We peer from car windows as we speed across bridges, staring down in wonder at even the most unimpressive of trickles. We yearn not only to see water, but to know and explore it, to discover what quarry swims in it. We’re compelled to protect and preserve it, to stand in the way of those that would harm or endanger it. And now more than perhaps any time in a generation, the waters of our United States, which so often preoccupy our minds, face a grave and serious threat.

For the classics

Why is some of the best fly fishing writing disappearing?
Photo: John Juracek

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For quite some years now, the classic books of fly fishing have been skating on thin ice. Very thin ice. Recently it appears—at least from where I stand—that the ice has finally given way. With luck a couple of classic titles may flounder for awhile, but the bulk of them seem to be plunging unceremoniously to depths from which only the most intrepid of future anglers might dredge them. Yes, the classics are pretty much gone. I’m taking it hard.

Wait, do I have to share too?

When private-ish water goes public
Photo: Steve Zakur

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There's this small brook, a couple of towns over, that I fish from time to time. It's little known except to a small cadre of small stream anglers. The fishing cannot be described as good, but that's not what turns on people who crawl along thin blue lines. Wild fish. Tricky casting. Ample opportunity to lay out f-bombs when you tangle in a pile of twigs for the third time in consecutive casts. That’s a full day for a small stream angler. Sometimes I go down to this brook with the sole intent of smoking a cigar and sipping single malt. Losing a fly to a tree is just a bonus.

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