Finding bigfoot

In the woods in search of North America's great, wild ape
Photo: Hannes Flo / cc2.0

A chilly autumn breeze filters through white oak leaves. They’re on the cusp of turning from the tired green of late summer to autumn russet. Within the gentle rustles is another sound. This one is not so easily identified.

Very stable geniuses

Not a hunter? Neither am I. But that doesn't mean you can't put grouse on the menu.
Photo: NPS / Jacob W. Frank

The cooler mornings and the slowly changing flora across western forests offer folks visiting our public lands some of the best scenery of the year. It’s also maybe the best time of the year to see wildlife while driving into the woods, and for anglers, it’s the season that presents some opportunities to expand their sporting opportunities.


You’re here, towed the boat all this way, so you fish it
Photo: Tom Hazleton

We all love to fish clear rivers. Sun-lit crystal water intrigues the mind, enchants the imagination with possibility. A muddy blown-out river obscures, chokes, and demoralizes. Opacity means relying too much on faith. We are deprived of the little signs of life that we take to heart on long days of fishing: minnows, crayfish, logs, boulders, shadows, undercuts, even the reassuring side-to-side swim of a good fly. It’s as interesting as a dead television.

Small trout

Size matters, but not how you think
Photo: Spencer Durrant

I was near enough to death that I started worrying about who’d distribute my fly rods after my passing. I have a collection of sticks that makes it obvious I was a bachelor with little regard for financial responsibility for a good long while, and I want certain rods to go to certain folks. I knew my dad would take all my Winstons, every bamboo rod, and ensure that Ryan McCullough ended up with my Tom Morgan Rodsmiths. And there’s the matter of my bamboo rod shop, which must go to someone who will carry on the craft – but who?

The sail cat

Lost in the mangrove
Photo: Su-Lain / cc2.0

The sun hadn't quite poked over the mangroves off to the east, so it hadn't had the chance to burn off the thin film of humid mist hanging over the dark waters of Matlacha Pass. With each uncertain stroke, I powered the much-too-small, lime-green borrowed kayak across the bay, headed toward a cut in the mangroves about a half-mile away in hopes of arriving early enough to stake out some prime fly fishing water.