children's map of rivers in yarn
Photo: Kris Millgate

Coming of age

Recognizing the outdoor industry for what it is

Most moms save their child’s handprints smeared on construction paper with craft paint. I’m saving a smattering of blue yarn embellished with natural hues of brown and green. The keepsake is art in its most juvenile form and yet it is a masterpiece.

The blue yarn outlines our nation’s major rivers. Columbia, Colorado, Mississippi to name a few. The Gulf and Great Lakes are marked too. I’d like to say I’ve fished them all, but I haven’t. I’d like to say they’re all pristine, but they’re far from it. The Stream Protection Rule was supposed to help with that, but now it’s gone.

redfish tail
Photo: Johnny Carrol Sain

Vanishing Paradise III: Force of nature

The redfish doesn’t just live in the Louisiana marsh, the redfish is the Louisiana marsh

The drag was squalling. There’s no better word for it. No staccato clicks at all. No crescendo. Just one long note of protest.

The protest began as gills flared after a nervous cast and one strip. I remember outfitter Ryan Lambert yelling at me to set the hook, then raw power transmitted from leader to line to rod. The reel took the brunt of it with a silky smooth confidence and that shrieking battle cry.

Salmon river ny
Photo: Anythony Vinciguerra

Evening meetings

Government governs whether we show up or not

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.

idaho river in winter
Photo: Kris Millgate

Who's watching my water?

A look at the local law on federal lands concept

I’m cleaning another pile of fresh snow off the cover on my drift boat. It’s a chore I do almost daily this winter, but I’m not complaining. All this white translates into more water this summer.

My home waters are Idaho’s South Fork of the Snake River, which is buried in snow, and the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River, which is farther north and buried in even more snow.

BLM lands montana

The ship be sinkin', grab a bucket

Sportsmen can make a huge difference when we stand together and speak with one voice

Back when I was guiding fly fishermen on the Henry’s Fork, I saw a sight I may never forget. We came floating around a bend in the river and there, in the distance, was a partially submerged drift boat. It was upright, and sideways to the current, and while the bow and stern were clear of the water, the rest of the boat was below the surface. Even though we were a hundred yards away, it was obvious that the boat was resting on the bottom in relatively shallow water.

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