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A train of loose cabooses

But for the vegetation, you’d swear you were in the Bahamas
Photo: Mike Sepelak

We drift quietly to the lee side, set the anchors, and slip over the aluminum gunnels into the cool turquoise water. Crystal clear. Rocky bottom. Surface slick as glass. Smallie haunts. But being a day short of the smallmouth season opener, we wade instead to shore and dive into the dense, hardy cover that keeps this thin spit of island from blowing away in the Lake Michigan winds.

The bathtub

Here's hoping normal hangs on at least a little bit longer
Photo: Chris Hunt

It had been a weird summer, which should have been predictable, seeing as how it followed a long and brutal winter and a short spring that seemed to last just a couple of weeks. It’s not all that uncommon in Idaho — this winter-turns-into-summer thing. One day, it’s 26 degrees and snowing sideways, and then, a week later, it’s tickly 80 and the lawn needs mowing. Badly.


For most, the idea of being stranded at a fishing lodge doesn't sound too bad
Photo: Chris Hunt

Fifteen years ago, I and a group of anglers spent three unscheduled days loitering around a southeast Alaska fishing lodge waiting for the weather to lift so our float plane back to Petersburg could make the flight across the salt to pick us up. But the weather in southeast Alaska is a finicky bastard, and it refused to cooperate. For most, the idea of being “stranded” in an Alaskan fishing lodge doesn’t sound too bad.

Brook trout trouper

Circling back to fly fishing
Joan plies the waters of Grouse Creek in search of brookies (photo: Tom Davis).

The sound of air being forcibly expelled from the human body, usually represented in print as oof or umph or something along those lines, is unmistakable. And when I heard it from the area close behind me where my wife, Joan, was picking her way towards the happily murmuring waters of Grouse Creek, I had a pretty good idea, before I turned around for visual confirmation, of what had happened.

A more perfect day of fishing

Some fishing days are perfect, and a few of those are “more perfect.”
Photo: David N. McIlvaney.

Oh, it’s such a perfect day;
I’m glad I spent it with you.
— Lou Reed

There are fishing days where everything goes wrong. I once arrived at the check-in counter at LaGuardia for a saltwater trip only to realize that I left my rod case leaning against my apartment door.

Forgotten gear, broken rods, blown-out water. When it happens, you try to laugh it off with some bullshit angling line like – A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of anything else. It’s not.