Fly fishing on New Zealand's South Island.

Sometime in 2007, after reading one too many fishporn-laden features on trout fishing in New Zealand, I cleared three weeks in February 2008 and bought a plane ticket. Ok, it wasn’t quite that simple, but it was close. One of those features was dubbed, “Do it yourself,” something or other.

After three trips, which were more than 80 percent were self-directed, I have come to realize that article didn’t capture many key points for a successful self-directed trip to the south island of New Zealand in search of big browns and rainbows.

Fisherman's Paradise, near the Bellefonte Hatchery on Spring Creek in Pennsylvania.

In January, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced plans to close two of the state's thirteen hatcheries, in Bellefonte and Oswayo, in order to meet a $6.7 million budgetary shortfall introduced by newly mandated state and federal healthcare and pension requirements for employees. In a surprise turn of events, the commission announced yesterday that it will stash plans to shutter the two hatcheries and will fund both operations through July 2015, while seeking a long-term budget solution.

“Since the board of commissioners voted in January to close the two hatcheries, staff and Commissioners have met with members of the General Assembly to try to identify opportunities to secure long-term funding sources,” said Board President Steve Ketterer. “As a result, we have voted to keep the hatcheries open while we pursue these opportunities.”

PFBC Executive Director John Arway noted that "[the PFBC] must still find $9 million in annual savings or revenue over the next four years.” No information has been made available regarding what potential long term funding sources were identified during meetings with members of the General Assembly which may have led to the commissions' decision to reverse the Bellefonte and Oswayo hatcheries.

Storm clouds threaten two fishermen on the East Branch of the Delaware River.

The Delaware River is widely considered to be one of the greatest natural and recreational resources in the United States, the pinnacle of fly fishing in the eastern half of the country and the source of drinking water for over 15 million people. The multi-state commission that regulates the region surrounding the this river system, the DRBC (Delaware River Basin Commission), has been the focus of a great deal of controversy as of late, due to its failure to impose regulations regarding the construction of natural gas pipelines in the Delaware River watershed.

Until recently, the DRBC -- which was established in the 1960s by President Kennedy as an organization "with the force of law to oversee a unified approach to managing a river system without regard to political boundaries" -- has taken a tough stance against fracking in its watershed, and continues to maintain a moratorium on the process. However, the commission has allowed -- thus far without review -- 13 natural gas pipelines that are being built or are planned to be built through the Delaware River watershed. Though the commission's rules do not traditionally permit it to regulate pipeline constructions, critics claim that certain exceptions give the DRBC the power and responsibility to review and regulate pipeline construction, a responsibility which these critics say the DRBC has ignored.

The sun rises on tents in Yellowstone's Black Canyon.

The task of choosing a tent for a trip into the backcountry can be a daunting one. There is a seemingly endless progression of options. Do you want a 2 person tent even though you’re only one person? Do you want a 3 season tent or four? Do you need a footprint? What series aluminum should your tent poles be made from? What about a bivy, should you be looking at those?

The topic is an expansive one, and wrapping your head around it is a worthwhile undertaking. That said, for most folks, especially those headed off on your average backcountry fly fishing excursion, much of the mystery surrounding tents doesn’t need to be unraveled.

Walt Geryk lands a steelhead on New York's Salmon River.

After almost a year of extensive testing in a wide variety of environments, Endura Fly Line dressing is now available for purchase. Endura is being introduced by Walt Geryk, a member of Hardy/Grey's and Airflo's pro staff and a well known guide on the waters of New York's Salmon River. Endura is comprised of proprietary formula and is touted to offer line-changing performance in salt and fresh water and regardless of water temperature.

According to Geryk, Endura has been tested in conditions "ranging from freezing temps and 33 degree water to hot summer days on the Salmon River [and] the Miramichi, the Deerfield River region and into the salt waters of Cape Cod. Tested by dozens of anglers, [the] results are: lasts longer, applies on wet and dry lines, floats lines higher, slides through the guides with unnoticeable friction, increases casting distances and can be used on any fly or spey line. Gives older lines a like new slickness and floatability."