Iron Creek - Yellowstone National Park
Photo: John Juracek

For the classics

Why is some of the best fly fishing writing disappearing?

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.

Private trout stream connecticut
Photo: Steve Zakur

Wait, do I have to share too?

When private-ish water goes public

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.

microfiber mop
I catch trouts.

3 flies you hate to love

Those who don't like catching fish should move right along

There comes a time in every fly fisher’s life when your morals are compromised. Sure, you can stay pure and fish that dry fly upstream all the while extolling the virtues of your fine English tweed, but every now and then that nonsense doesn’t work and it’s time to get dirty. It’s time to tie on one of those flies that you hide from your buddies. The ones you tie late at night after that fourth whiskey. The ones that catch fish. Bright colors, flash, pom-poms.

flats casting from bow of skiff
Still on the bow. For now (photo: Chad Shmukler).

Age, pain and apologies

As we anglers age, we face unavoidable, inevitable truths

I woke up one morning late last month and felt like I’d been doing sit-ups all night. Not that doing calisthenics in my sleep would necessarily be a bad thing, but the muscles in my gut had clearly been involuntarily enlisted into some sort of nocturnal enterprise, and not one I consciously approved of.

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.

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