When the cupboard is bare

Pheasants, trout streams, duck marshes, and climate change
Typical CRP cover in southwestern Nebraska in 2017. This year, The U.S. Department of Agriculture allowed most of the CRP plots in drought-stricken Nebraska to be hayed, drastically reducing cover at a time when wild animals on the High Plains need it the most (photo: Chris Madson).

Freya the Brittany and Finn, her apprentice, had slept through the drive on the right side of the front seat in the wee hours of the night, but, the second the tires hit gravel, they were up and focused, studying the strips of grass along the section road, twitching every time a meadowlark rose out of the ditch.

It was our first day on a series of public-access areas that had been very kind to us over the years. The dogs’ enthusiasm was infectious— I could feel the old surge of adrenalin as we topped the last rise in the first soft light of the morning.

The 10 most read articles of 2022

Reader favorites from the past year
Photos: various.

Every year, we pause to look back at the stories from the previous trip around the sun that most captivated our readers. As it is with most years, 2022’s favorites list features a mix of tips, destination features, conservation stories, gear coverage, and more.

Here are the 10 Hatch Magazine stories of 2022 that saw more eyes than all the others.

Improve your fly casting

Have more fun, catch more trout
Photo: Jeremy Roberts / Conservation Media.

Whenever a thoughtful, well-written story on fly casting pops up on the web, you can bet that some folks will be incredibly appreciative of the information. They’ll embrace the challenge of becoming better casters and soak up everything there is to learn from the piece.

Others, though, will dismiss fly casting as an unnecessary skill; one that simply isn’t relevant to their trout fishing. They’ll proclaim that they already catch plenty of fish and since “trout-in-the-net” is their metric of choice, fly casting must, of necessity, be overrated.

The Boat Company joins the effort to help fishing guides

Now your year-end donation to the Guide Relief Program can be tripled
Photo: Chad Shmukler

The Boat Company, a non-profit corporation that operates educational and recreational excursions in southeast Alaska aboard two intimate touring vessels, is following the lead of Orvis and matching end-of-the-year donations to the Guide Relief Program (GRP), up to $10,000.

Catch-and-release hunting

Using hunting dogs in the battle to preserve ... turtles?
John Rucker waters the pack (photo courtesy: John Rucker).

Curling, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is an arcane winter sport of Scottish origin in which one player slides a 42-pound disc of polished granite down a sheet of ice toward a kind of bullseye target. This disc, called a “stone,” moves at a glacially slow rate of speed, and as it’s doing so the other players furiously sweep the ice ahead of it with brooms in order to influence its velocity and direction of travel.