The most read stories of 2017

A look back at year marked by controversy and debate
Photo: Gage Skidmore / cc2.0

It is likely a gross understatement to say that 2017 was a transformative year for the American political landscape. The American electorate is divided and political discourse more rancorous and contentious than perhaps ever before. And with the new administration taking a decidedly different approach to managing the health of our air, water and landscapes, the outdoor community is facing an existential crisis—many have decided to take an increasingly activist stance in seeking to defend against threats to our outdoor and sporting heritages.

How to drink your way through the fishing day: Northwest Washington

Your guide to the best beers, wines and spirits on the steelhead, salmon and trout waters of the Pacific Northwest
Photo: Earl Harper / Harper Studios

As a one-time beer journalist and bar owner, current nano brewery partner, and overall miscreant, it’s probably surprising that I actually have any time to fish. However, since days that include alcohol before sundown have largely been deleted from my databanks, there turns out to be large swaths of non-drinking time to fill. At the end of any good day, though, I’m reminded of what my Sensei said when told that the other Senseis decided that perhaps they should stop drinking beer at the dojo, which was also a Buddhist temple. To this he replied, “I’m 83 years old.

Stop, don't do it

Avoiding problems makes for better fishing and happier anglers
Photo: Todd Tanner

If you hang around enough fly fishing guides, you’ll hear every one of these lines on a regular basis:

“That guy can’t fish.”

“That guy can’t cast.”

“That guy can’t mend.”

And then there’s my favorite: “Wow, that guy just sucks.”

Do you want to be that guy? No? Then pay attention to the advice below and stop trying to convince other anglers that you have absolutely no clue what you’re doing. How? That’s easy. Don’t do it.

Scenes like this are common on beaches throughout Asia, the Caribbean, the Arctic and across the world (photo: Vaidehi Shah).

Trash, mostly plastic, in the oceans is a serious problem and visible reminder of our careless attitude toward the planet. In recent years, the fly-fishing industry has dedicated continued energy to address this problem. Through the introduction of cardboard fly boxes, the American Fly Fishing Trade Association has worked to get plastic out of the waste stream.

Out there in the dark

Our DNA remembers
Photo: Johnny Carrol Sain

It’s about 15 minutes before graying of the eastern horizon, and I’m sitting in a tree overlooking the head of a steep draw. Everything for the hunt is in place here, 25 feet up a pine. All the shuffling and adjusting is over and I turn the light off. A tiny shudder tremors up my spine in the blackness. But it ain’t because I’m cold.