Fishing John's river

A day on Geirach's St. Vrain
The St. Vrain (photo: Spencer Durrant).

I think it’s the abrupt honesty of his writing that’s made me such a fan of John Gierach’s stories and essays. He’s plugged away since the 80s, churning out story after story from his home in Colorado. You’d think he’d have told all the fish stories he could but apparently John’s not quite done.

Review: Patagonia Tough Puff Hoody

The latest addition to Patagonia's lineup of puff jackets offers anglers more than ever before
Photo: Chad Shmukler

Patagonia puff jackets are a staple on rivers and streams from coast to coast. Calling them ubiquitous doesn't really cut it. Puff jackets of all shapes and sizes are more common these days on steelhead and trout rivers across the country than flat brimmed hats and beards. They're even regularly found on flats boats, as armor against the morning chill or the long run back home in the evening. Their prevalence is well earned. Patagonia's puff jackets provide warmth, varying measures of protection from rain and snow, pack down well (often exceedingly well) and take a beating.

Photo: Hank Patterson

Each year, around this time, the Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) emerges from the darkness to help us through the bleak midwinter with films that tell compelling stories, satisfy our curiosity about exotic locales, introduce us to the rich tapestry of personalities that pervade our sport and more. 2018 is no exception.

This year's lineup consists of 8 films and a few shorts which will take viewers to destinations including Alaska, Honduras, Tanzania, Dubai, Costa Rica, Gabon and more.

For my wife

Between the wall and the river are oaks, and the trail down to the Solitude Pool
Artwork: Bob White

The river is bordered by oak. In truth, there are other trees on the surrounding hillsides — maple, birch, the occasional willow — but the oaks give the river it's character, it's flavor. As the vintner's barrel shapes the wine, so a hardwood defines this narrow New England valley and the river that shares its name.

The Missouri River in winter (photo: Todd Tanner).

I have a cautionary tale I’d like to share. Forgive me for not painting a more eloquent picture, but everything is still a bit too real, and raw, to gussy it up with pretty writing.

Yesterday was January 2. It was also very nearly the last day of my life.

I drove down to the Missouri River on New Years Day - Wednesday, the 1st - hoping to take advantage of the 40 degree weather and test a bunch of gear for our annual Sporting Classic fly fishing equipment review. I spent most of Wednesday afternoon on the river, and despite the cold water temps - it was in the 33 to 34 degree range - I had solid fishing and the opportunity to check out a number of new rods, reels, waders, jackets, packs, etc.

For those of you who don’t know the Missouri, it’s a big, wide, open river near the tiny Montana towns of Wolf Creek and Craig. It deserves respect - as does any big river - but it’s not the kind of water that typically gets people in trouble. Yesterday was a little different.