Todd Tanner's blog

Steve vs. Steve: Montana hunters and anglers weigh in on the Daines vs. Bullock Senate race

Both candidates have presented themselves as a friend to sportsmen and women, but which really is?
Montana Governor Steve Bullock talks to voters at a campaign event (photo: Matt Johnson / cc2.0).

Montana is known more for its trout fishing than for its politics, but this year’s contest between Steve Daines and Steve Bullock could potentially tip the balance in the U.S. Senate. I reached out to several respected Montana anglers for their views on the Daines/Bullock race. Here’s how they responded.

From world-renowned angler, author and conservationist Craig Mathews:

Stay dry

Fishing on top during uncertain times
Photo: Chris Daniel

I’ll turn 60 later this summer and I’ve noticed a truth that seems to reveal itself over the course of a lifetime. It’s called “change.”

As the years have passed by, I’ve seen rivers reshape their banks, saplings turn into trees, and new houses spring up where I’ve never seen houses before. At the same time, my friends and family have grown older, my son has shot up like a weed, human technology has advanced, and my daily activities and routines have evolved. It’s just the way things are. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once pointed out, “the only constant in life is change.”

It's time for an anti-grizzly stimulus bill

Congress needs to get its act together
Photo: Frank Vassen / cc2.0

Some years ago, during a trip to a wilderness fishing lodge, three friends and I were attacked by a grizzly bear. Believe it or not, I actually ended up running away from the bear in a pair of LL Bean slippers. While we all survived, it was way, way too close for comfort and I don’t think I’ll ever forget my reaction when I looked back over my shoulder and saw that massive grizzly racing after me. I was seconds away from being dragged down, mauled and killed, and all I could think of was the soon-to-be inscription on my tombstone:

Countdown

How to prepare for post-pandemic fishing
Photo: Todd Tanner

You love to fly fish. Which means that life is hard right now. And that’s especially true if you live someplace where you can’t get out on the water, or if you’re facing challenges you’ve never had to address in the past. So what can you do while you’re trying to stay safe and healthy? Here are a dozen suggestions that will help you get yourself ready for the all-clear signal, whether that happens in a week, a month or a year.

Fly fishing through a pandemic

In times of turmoil, should we even be talking about fly fishing?
Fly fishing—especially in remote locations like this one—can help us decompress and de-stress during these trying times, not to mention help us soak up much needed Vitamin D-fueling sunlight. But, if you head out, be sure to respect all social distancing measures recommended by local, regional and national authorities (photo: Chad Shmukler).

The world is changing all around us. March Madness was cancelled. The NBA season was suspended. So was the remainder of spring training and the beginning of the Major League Baseball season. Schools are closed. Grocery stores are having a hard time keeping goods on the shelves. (Good luck finding hand sanitizer or toilet paper.) Meanwhile, anything approaching a normal life has disappeared in Europe, where Italy and France are locked down and modern medical facilities are being overwhelmed by the global pandemic.

Looking ahead

Before society can move forward, we need to develop a shared vision for the future
Photo: Swithun Crowe / cc2.0.

When I was a young boy, seemingly immune to my mother’s constant focus on all things neat and proper, I spent my summers mucking around in the swamp behind our house. As swamps go, ours was neither large nor particularly dangerous, boasting not one single crocodile, alligator, poisonous snake or patch of quicksand. To be absolutely candid it was a small swamp, and its most perilous (if you could call them that) denizens were snapping turtles and water snakes, either of which might decide to give you a nip if you happened to stick a finger or toe in the wrong place.

The view from the oars

It's always the poor guy rowing the boat
Photo: Chad Shmukler

My friend Steve Mate once told me that it was bound to happen, and he was right. I was guiding on the Henry's Fork, floating two gentleman from Texas down the Box Canyon, when the fellow in the bow turned toward me.

Which anglers have influenced your fly fishing?

Todd Tanner shares his "dream team"
Photo: Matt Shaw

When I first started fly fishing back in the ‘80s, I used to drive forty five minutes to a lonesome stretch of river, leave the pavement behind for a bumpy dirt road that twisted through the maples and oaks of rural New England, park, and then hike a half mile or more down an overgrown trail through the briars and brambles that paralleled the river’s edge.

Burning down the house

It's on fire, better grab a bucket
Photo: U.S. DOI

Back when I was working as a fly fishing guide in Montana and Idaho, I spent every spare moment fishing. While that may seem like an odd choice to some folks, it made perfect sense to me. Guiding and fishing are two very different things, and while I enjoyed my guiding, I’ve always loved my fishing more.

We Take Our Stand: The path of water

40 Montana outdoor writers take a stand for public lands
Montana's Swan Range (photo: Todd Tanner).

Every day, we—my wife, my son and I—are infused with the blessings of public lands. And not in some vague, generalized, ambivalent sense; not in the way that some folks are inspired by the presence of public lands as a remote bastion of wilderness or as a metaphor for freedom. When my family turns on the tap, water that falls as rain or snow on the Swan Range a mile or so to our east - water that works its way down through the cracks and crevices of those sheer, gorgeous, publicly-owned mountains - comes gushing out from our faucet and slakes our thirst.

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