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.

plastic marine debris
Plastic bottles and other marine debris wash up on beaches like this one (photo: NOAA).

Whiskey and steel

2 out of 3 fish test positive for plastic

We live in an imperfect world where the problems we face as anglers — what fly to use, where to fish, what rod to buy, how to fix leaky waders — are dwarfed by a whole litany of issues that impact not only our fly fishing but also our day-to-day lives. Our political system is dysfunctional. Our economy is held together with balling wire and duct tape. Free market fundamentalists and rapacious profiteers are trying to steal the public lands where we fish, hike, hunt and camp. Our oceans are filling with plastic, and growing ever more acidic.

A native Alaskan arctic grayling.
A native Alaskan arctic grayling (photo: Chad Shmukler).


Killing natives

I’ll never forget the look on my buddy’s face that fateful September day on the South Fork of the Snake River several years back, when I unhooked the little hybrid that had sucked in a small nymph and, without ceremony, knocked it over the head and tossed into the willows. Had it been just a bit bigger, I might have pocketed it and brought it home for the frying pan.