bridge construction jackknife creek idaho
Rockin’ T Construction dismantled the car bridge over Idaho’s Jackknife Creek in one day. Some of the beams are now in use farther up the trail. The new pedestrian bridge is 55 feet long instead of the old 24-foot bridge that bottle necked the creek (photo: Kris Millgate).

Restoring hope

Fish return to reconnected waterway

I have my eye on a bend in Jackknife Creek. I know it holds fish. It has to. It’s perfectly sculpted to host a hotel for fish with a deep pool to swim in and overhanging willows for shaded cover. I position myself on the bank across from the bend. I hand my rod to my son. He hands it back. He wants me to cast first so he can watch what happens. My husband is watching too. We’re pretty competitive and we both like to be right so we’ll place bets on just about anything. We have a bet running on this water. If fish are in here, I win.

tex creek wildfire
Fish face a more serious threat after wildfire because of erosion. Rain washes ash down steep hillsides into waterways (photo: Kris Millgate).

Fire turned Tex Creek into a black hole

Looking for wildlife in wildfire

I've stood on this ridge at least a dozen times. I've shot photos and footage every time. In every season. At any hour. Seeing all colors but black. Now I have black. Wish I didn't. Black is depressing personally and difficult professionally. My lens struggles with the stark contrast of smoky-white sky and tar-colored ground.

outdoor retailer show floor 2016
There are 1,626 exhibitors at Outdoor Retailer Show 2016. Among them are 333 fishing related vendors (photo: Kris Millgate).

The ties that bind the Outdoor Retailer show

Cross-continent collaboration in search of consumer tolerated pricing

I’m having breakfast before I walk through the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, Utah in early August. The conversation at the table next to me is a combination of English and Chinese. I’m reviewing my media appointments for the day so the talk to my right is background noise until I hear the word wader. Not the waiter pouring coffee in cups, but wader. The kind I wear when I fish. I stop drafting questions for upcoming interviews and start listening to the wader discussion.

idaho watercraft check station
The watercraft check station is open on the Idaho-Montana border. All vehicles carrying or pulling watercraft must stop for inspection before entering Idaho (photo: Kris Millgate).

A closer look at the Yellowstone River fish kill

What Idaho can teach us about Montana's closures and PKD

Whitefish belly up on my right. Few minutes later, another one off the nose of the boat. It’s early fall on the South Fork of the Snake River in Idaho. The cool release following summer heat is a relief, but it didn’t come soon enough in this cottonwood-lined corridor. Dead whitefish are the fatal sign and the sight is alarming. Whitefish are a river’s canary in a coalmine. If something is wrong with whitefish, something is wrong with the river.

yellowstone cutthroat
Fly fisherman Todd Lanning shows off a native Yellowstone cutthroat trout caught on the Yellowstone River (courtesy Todd Lanning).

Cutting for cutthroat

Yellowstone throws net wide to save native fish

The message comes in via text: “Millgate, get up here. We gotta fish. The Yellowstone is like it used to be.”

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