Chris Hunt's blog

It's tomorrow

It’s today. But yesterday, today was tomorrow.
Photo: Chris Hunt

Son of a …

My eyes flip open. I reach for my phone and blindly swipe the screen to turn the damned alarm off. Everything is blurry. The alarm keeps blaring. I close my eyes tightly and reopen them.

The phone is upside down.

I flip it and slide the alarm bar to, “OK, already! I’m awake! Sweet mother of Christ!”

Yes. I know. Blasphemy is no way to start the day. But, seriously. It’s 6 a.m. already? Where did the night go?

Maybe I'll fish tomorrow

Mother Nature clearly has it out for me
Photo: Chad Shmukler

What the …

Is that … ?

Oh. The alarm.

I reach blindly for the phone on the nightstand. I don’t usually set an alarm, but today is different. As consciousness slowly overcomes dreamland, I have a vague memory as to why.

The Firehole. Fishing. One the last shots at it for the year.

Giving away fly rods

Parting with rods can be like parting with memories
Photo: Toby Rose Photography

My cup runneth over.

Or, rather, my fly-rod collection is embarrassingly big. I’m not braggadocious. There’s actually a bit of guilt associated with this claim. No one angler ought to have to spend 20 minutes debating which rod or rods to pack for a single outing to the river.

Dear Chad

You should have been here last week
Photo: Idaho Fish and Game / cc2.0

Oh, man. You should have been here this last week. By the time you’re reading this, it’ll be over.

That first blast of real winter is on its way in a day or two. Not the snow. The snow isn’t what kills it. It’s that blast of Arctic air that crystallizes what little water is in the air around here and just puts everything in a funk.

The day after the deep freeze is the worst. Skim ice on the river. Layers of fleece under waders. Raw hands. Frozen beards. And fish that just don’t give a damn.

But did I tell you how good this last week was? Like, how it was the best week of the year? Yeah, we got some rain and even some snow, but it didn’t get too cold. Yeah, it cooled off quite a bit. The baetis started hatching in earnest. The cottonwoods are finally changing to match the aspens, and the river, right after lunch, boiled with risers. Big ones, too.

Best. Week. Ever.

We're all landowners

Protect what's yours from those that would seek to take it from you
Photo: Chris Hunt

It’s no spectacular feat of modern engineering, but it represents one of the greatest achievements in the history of conservation. The Roosevelt Arch, constructed to mark the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park just outside of Gardiner, Montana, captures the essence of public lands protection in America, and it’s a threshold every American should have the chance to cross.

Throw out the playbook

You don't have to color between the lines
Photo: Jason Tester Guerrilla / cc2.0.

My daughter turned 21 over the weekend. She’s a wanderer. And I’m envious.

Several years ago, on a swing through New South Wales and Queensland to meet with recreational anglers in Australia about the importance of conservation, I had the chance to spend about four days chasing odd fish in the rainforest. Jungle perch were a kick in the pants, even though I had to walk past signs that reminded me that “fresh water crocodiles kill people, too” to get to them.

When did using a dropper become taboo?

The ranks of the fly fishing ethics police seem to be ever-growing
Photo: Chad Shmukler

The ethics of fly fishing can get pretty sticky, or at least I’m gleaning that from social media, where some folks aren’t afraid to scold fellow anglers for teetering on the edge of angling impropriety, whether that impropriety is real or perceived.

For instance, when did using a “dropper” become taboo?

Finding Yellowstone's grayling

Hiking for grayling in one of America's trout meccas
Photo: Morgan Peirce

Cameron was just over a year old when he took his first steps in the cobble along the south shoreline of Grebe Lake in Yellowstone National Park.

My wife and I had hauled our little family down the three-and-a-half-mile trail from the Grebe Lake Trailhead between Norris and Canyon to the shores of this beautiful little backcountry lake for one simple reason.

I wanted to catch Arctic grayling.

Winter in July?

In Leadville, it doesn't matter what the calendar says
Photo: Martin Ludden

Years ago, while working in the upper Arkansas River Valley as a small-town newspaper reporter and editor, I shared layout space with a number of other local newspapers. Our papers were owned by a small chain based in Salida, and every week, editors from Buena Vista, Fairplay and Leadville would descend upon the offices in Salida to put their papers to bed, get them printed and then haul them back up the hill to their respective communities.

Back from the brink

It's going to be a great summer
Angler Chris Hunt tangles with an Ascension Bay bonefish (photo: Chad Shmukler).

Five years ago, as I gingerly walked along the gunwale of a Mexican panga while the boat sat anchored in the sand of Ascension Bay, I misjudged my footing. Had I stepped down into the boat, I would have crushed my fishing buddy’s camera gear and earned his ire for the rest of the trip … perhaps the rest of my life. He really likes his camera gear.

But I was committed. My substantial body weight was headed in that general direction. But I did have an alternative. With my left foot, I kicked out, and flopped unceremoniously into the crystal clear water of the bay.

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