The deal of the century

Commodity trading on Alaska's Prince of Wales Island
Photo: Chris Hunt

Coffman Cove, Alaska, is a funky little place. Situated on the east coast of Prince of Wales Island, it boasts a robust marina, a little market where an angler might be able to slide in and grab a few beers and an $8 bag of chips before heading out fishing for the day … and a bar.

And, it’s home to no small amount of irony. So long as the bar is open, the gas pump works.

Biden admin will seek to reinstate permanent protections for Bristol Bay

The EPA will resume its effort to indefinitely block the Pebble Mine in Alaska
Sockeye salmon fin through a river in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska (photo: Pat Clayton / FishEyeGuy Photography).

In July of 2014, it seemed as though commercial fishermen, conservationists, Alaska's native peoples, recreational anglers, and more had, after years of relentless advocacy, prevailed in their fight to protect the Bristol Bay region of Alaska from large-scale, open-pit mining.


And so it ends as it always does
Photo: Tom Davis

And so it ends as it always does, with me on the floor of the small, vaguely chapel-like room in the veterinary clinic, the room set aside for the final act of mercy. I cradle the head and neck of my adored English setter, Tina, as she sits close. She can no longer see or hear me. But there is my smell, and there is my touch, and there is the bond of trust, forged over the 13 years of her richly lived life, that together tell her she has nothing to fear.

When do you draw the line?

Renowned Oregon steelhead guide Jeff Hickman cancels entire season due to dismal fish returns
Jeff Hickman captains a jet boat up the Deschutes River in Oregon (photo: Jeremy Koreski).

Forty miles east of Portland, Oregon, Bonneville Dam is the first big hydropower dam salmon and steelhead must cross when they return to the Columbia and Snake River. It doesn’t matter if they are heading for the Deschutes or Klickitat Rivers a few miles further upstream, or if they are going to go all the way to Idaho, they will swim through the viewing window at the Fish Passage Center and get counted. The counting has occurred since 1938, when construction at Bonneville was completed.

The deadliest wildfire in American history

The Peshtigo Fire, which burned the same night as the infamous Chicago Fire, is unknown to most
The Peshtigo Fire showing people seeking refuge in the Peshtigo River, 1871. taken from Harper's Weekly, 1871 Page 1037 (Public domain).

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Peshtigo Fire, the deadliest wildfire in American history and an event that continues to exert a compelling grip on my imagination. There are any number of reasons for this but the one I keep coming back to is that the landscape that was burned—the watersheds of the Peshtigo and Menominee rivers, essentially—has been at the center of my pursuits with fly rods, bird dogs, and shotguns for close to 40 years.