private property no trespassing sign
Photo: Gerry Tomasen

You don't want what I have

Those with questions about public lands in the West need only look east for answers

I know this awesome couple out in Idaho. Bruce and Kat, like many folks in Idaho, are avid users of the great outdoors. Bruce hunts elk with a bow and fishes rattlesnake infested canyons with a fly rod. They both ride fat tire bikes up and over majestic ridge lines. In a day, Kat can cross-country ski distances that I won’t drive without a bathroom break. All on public lands that are easily accessible.

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.