Land of the free

America’s public domain was saved from the excesses of business by visionaries
Photograph from the mid-1870s of a pile of American bison skulls waiting to be ground for fertilizer, circa 1870 (photo: Unknown).

America’s public domain was saved from the excesses of business by visionaries. It was set aside for all the people. That’s how it should remain.

Tips for fishing for springtime carp

Spring can bring the biggest carp of the season, but you better be on your game
Photo: T. Pigz

Here on the edges of the Snake River Plain, spring has quietly snuck up on us. With snow in the air less than a week ago, it seemed like spring might just miss us altogether, but after three fairly nice days in a row, it looks like the weather is turning and we won’t do one of those patented jumps from winter directly to summer, which isn’t unusual around these parts.

And spring here in eastern Idaho is carp season.

Power from lower Snake River dams can easily be replaced by solar and wind, study says

Replacing costly dams with clean energy would be inexpensive, lower emissions and be more efficient
Ice Harbor Dam (photo: Salmon Recovery)

Proponents of the removal of the lower system of dams on the Snake River have long cited the dams' inefficiency as yet another reason for their removal. Another reason, that is, in addition to the big looming one—that the dams block passage to the largest tract of intact salmon and steelhead in the lower 48 and have continued to stymy multi-billion dollar efforts to restore the river's native salmon and steelhead runs. The Snake, which once saw salmon and steelhead returns as high as 16 million fish, now sees returning fish that number a paltry 1.7 percent of historical levels.

Don't paddle angry

No one's chasing you
Photo: Mike Sepelak

I endured the indignity of boarding the the “sit-in” rental kayak on the shores of the fabled Okefenokee Swamp in deep, south Georgia with relative aplomb. There’s nothing sexy about a boat you wear, I don’t care who you are. But you make the best of it.

And if you’re me—all six feet, five inches of burley, middle-aged Idaho man-mush—I’m here to tell you there are more graceful things I can do. Like parkour. Or the trapeze.

Never underestimate the town dock

Docks and jetties offer enormous learning—and catching—opportunities
Photo: Chris Hunt

On a recent trip to the far southern Yucatan, our plans to walk and wade the sea-side flats for bonefish and permit were spoiled, quite literally, by decaying sargassum that lined the beaches and chased most folks away with its rancid stench.

Ocean conditions in the Caribbean were just right for this agal seaweed bloom, and as mats of it drifted ashore with a full-moon tide, the beautiful little fishing village of Xcalak was was awash in an aroma that simply can’t be described appropriately without an occasional retch.