Get your gear ready for trout season

Tips for making your gear last through this season and beyond
Photo: Chad Shmukler

One quick glance at the high peaks of the Caribous is all any backcountry trout angler in my neck of the woods needs to come to the realization that it’s going to be a while.

Snow cornices still grace the tops of Red Ridge, and Fall Creek is running dirty. Getting up high to the cutthroat water is weeks away. And I’m sure I’m not alone as I struggle with my impatience. Backcountry trout anglers all over the West are fighting itchy trigger fingers, just like they do almost every year at this time. Winter hangs on in the Rockies. It’s a fact of life, and all we can do is wait.

Steelhead mornings

Back in my steelheading days, I walked on the wild side
Photo: Eric Fisher

Long before dawn on a chilly April morning, with just enough grainy light to see by, my friend Adrian Webber and I found ourselves where we so often did in those days: prowling the serpentine banks of Riebolt’s Creek in northern Door County—a.k.a. Wisconsin’s “thumb”—fishing for steelhead.

Review: YETI LoadOut GoBox

YETI's tough-as-nails gear box delivers on all its promises
Photo: Matt Reilly

For as long as I’ve been drawn to the outdoors, I’ve been obsessed with gear bags and boxes. Likely, it’s a natural evolution of an obsession with gear that most all outdoor recreators come to share. You invest in and depend on specific tools to get the job done, and so you need them organized and protected from damage.

Built by godly men

Carp are beautiful and mirror carp, bred by Trappist monks, may be the most beautiful of all
Photo: Chris Hunt

Every fly fisher that takes the leap and opts, voluntarily, to start slinging flies at carp eventually arrives at a moment of clarity. The garbage fish that have found their way into nearly every drainage ditch, irrigation canal and city settling pond in the country over the last 190 years becomes less onerous, more appreciated … even valued.

Stiff competition

And just like that, without another word between us, the contest had begun
See any? (photo: Chad Shmukler).

"Keep your eyes peeled for any heart-shaped rocks," I called to John as we walked down the riverbank. The section of river we were fishing was so remote that it likely had fewer visitors over the course of a season than most places had over a single weekend, raising our odds of finding something good.

"I look for them in every corner of the world I visit, so I can bring the best ones home to my wife."