Ben Kryzinski's blog

"Tricos on the Missouri" - last year's third prize winner.

This year's photo contest is by far our biggest yet, with over $3,000 in prizes up for grabs. The grand prize winner will walk away with a big prize pack that includes an Orvis Helios 2 fly rod, a Cheeky Fly Fishing reel, a pair of Smith Optics ChromaPop sunglasses and a Scientific Anglers Sharkwave fly line. Three other winners will also take home a mix of prizes from Cheeky, Smith and Scientific Anglers.

Perhaps the best part of all the prizes - including the grand prize winning pack -- is that the winners can customize them as they see fit. Looking to put a bonefish outfit together? Pair the Orvis Helios 2 8-weight with Cheeky's Mojo 425 reel, a Scientific Anglers Sharkwave saltwater line and a pair of Smith Optics ChromaPop sunglasses with blue mirror lenses designed to perform on the flats. Or maybe it's time to refresh your trout setup, or build a roosterfish arsenal? You can do that too.

Orvis makes an inexpensive, useful, disaster-saving accessory that, for some unknown reason, seems to go virtually unmentioned. Inside each pair of Orvis Silver Sonic waders is a waterproof pouch, which Orvis calls the Silver Sonic Waterproof Pocket. Though the pocket is included with each pair of Silver Sonic waders, Orvis also sells it separately.

It's a simple pouch made for storing things that can't get wet. But, despite it's simplicity, Orvis has designed the pouch to offer up a number thoughtful features which easily justify spending the meager $12 required to upgrade your on-the-stream water protection from Ziploc brand to Orvis brand.

A native brook trout stream in Pennsylvania's natural gas country.

The natural gas industry has long held that extracting natural gas poses no threat to surface water and groundwater, including private water supplies, while opponents of Pennsylvania's record-breaking natural gas extraction industry have long refuted these claims as false. Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released to the public a list of 248 documented cases where the state found that drilling and other activities related to hydraulic fracturing had damaged water supplies, offering further concrete proof of the false nature of the industry's claims.

The Pennsylvania DEP has been widely criticized for a lack of transparency and a failure to report to the public claims and findings of water supply contamination resulting from activities of the natural gas industry. While the recent release of these documents has generally been regarded as a step in the right direction, conservation and environmental groups have called the DEP's latest action insufficient, and it is easy to see why.

As fishermen, we don't spend a lot of time talking about apps. There are, however, quite a bevy of apps out there made specifically for anglers. Unfortunately, most of them aren't particularly useful. But there are a select few that can be assets whether you're on the water, in the field, or on your couch planning next outing. RIO has recently released a fly line selector app which strives to demystify the process of selecting a fly line for a given rod or application, and it seems destined to join that smaller crowd of fishing apps -- the useful ones.

Let's face it, while not always the case, choosing a fly line can be perplexing. And, every time it seems like the industry is starting to simplify choices on the fly line front, things take a turn for the more complicated. The process can be especially troublesome for those that don't spend their time poring over product SKUs and keeping tabs on each fly line company's new releases and R&D efforts -- in other words: most fly fishers.

Ben Knight films a river that someone forgot to dam in Washington’s Olympic National Park.

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If you missed the nationwide free screening of DamNation, the award-winning documentary on America's aging dam infrastructure and its effects on our rivers and their inhabitants, you'll have to cough up some dough to view it. And we highly recommend you do now that the film is fully available to the public for the first time.

Ben Knight films a river that someone forgot to dam in Washington’s Olympic National Park.
Ben Knight films a river that someone forgot to dam in Washington’s Olympic National Park. (photo: Travis Rummel)

If you're not familiar with DamNation, despite our droning on about it, here's the film's synopsis form Vimeo: "This powerful film odyssey across America explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Dam removal has moved beyond the fictional Monkey Wrench Gang to go mainstream. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access. DamNation¹s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature."

The rewards of heading into the backcountry can mean stretches of water like this, on the famed Yellowstone River, where you won't see another angler for days at a time.

We've spent a fair amount of time writing about fishing in the backcountry. Regardless of how you define "backcountry", fishing there means getting away from roads and parking lots and finding rivers, streams and creeks whose banks see fewer bootprints throughout the year. So, if you've found lingering winter weather conditions or soaking spring rains keeping you from hitting the stream as often as you'd like to this spring, why not take advantage of your indoor residence to plan this year's angling departures from the beaten path. Sure, leaving the conveniences of access-point fishing means more work. But, as is commonly the case, with greater work often comes greater reward.

If you're considering exploring a bit more this year -- and we strongly suggest you do -- hopefully the resources below, published over the last couple of years, will help kick start your planning.

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