Not even a hint of skunk

Without dark, you’ve got no light. Without down, you’ve got no up.
The author, circa 2005.

Some of you might remember It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, the animated Halloween cartoon that featured Linus, Snoopy, Lucy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang. One particular line out of that classic 1966 TV show still rings true. When the kids asked him how he’d done trick-or-treating, poor Charlie Brown, who was wearing his sad-sack, many-holed Ghost costume, answered, “I got a rock.”

I got a rock.

Could a sex change operation be the key to restoring native trout?

Scientists are attempting a novel approach to eradicating non-native brook trout in the West
Photo: Will Griffiths

Several years back, on an early September day, two fishing buddies and I trekked into a southwest Montana trout stream outside of Ennis, where we spent the day catching pan-sized rainbows, virtually at will.

The day left us spoiled, feeling gluttonous, and as we sat at a bar in town after hiking out to the truck, one of my buddies lifted his mug of amber.

Review: Alpacka Raft Oryx Packraft Canoe

At a mere 11-pounds, Alpacka's tandem Oryx is a go-anywhere workhorse
Photo: Jeremiah Watt

How is it that no matter which direction we paddle, it’s always into a headwind?

That was the question I kept asking after two days and 20 miles of shoulder-throbbing strokes. I was in the Boundary Waters aboard Alpacka Raft’s interpretation of the flat water canoe, the Oryx, hoping to enjoy the mystique of the North Woods, encounter some wolves, and hook up with a few bruiser smallmouth bass.

A Hex emergency

Michigan's Hexagenia hatches are famous. Nights like this are why.
Hexagenia limbata (photo: Tom Hazelton).

It was fixing to be another long night. We weren’t complaining: this year, we’d been able to set aside a full week to float every night. The Hex hatch is annual, of course, but it’s tough to know which nights of which week will be worth fishing. The best way to hit a good night or two — a good spinner fall or two — is to fish more nights.

Review: Simms G4 Pro Shift Fishing Backpack

Simms' innovative, new 2-in-1 pack is aimed at all-day, adventurous anglers
Photo: Paul Snyder

As one who spends more than 90 percent of my time on the water on foot, a great pack is something I relish, especially for days that run up to 10 hours or more away from camp, the rig, or a drift boat. I need space for food, hydration, emergency items, rain gear, fly boxes, bear spray and more. And I need that space to balance well on my skinny frame, preferably keeping its extras out of the way when the hatch comes off and it’s business time.