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The tiger trout takeover

Are frankenfish what we want swimming in our backcountry fisheries?
Photo: Spencer Durrant

The creek looked like something pulled out of a wilderness designer’s catalogue. It snaked through a sweeping meadow valley, each turn revealing deep undercut banks and plenty of hiding spots for trout. Rocks peppered about half the runs, giving me a mix of pools, riffles, and pocket water, in which I knew were cutthroat eager to smack a dry fly.

Winter midges

The smallest things can reveal a river's biggest surprises
Photo: Rueben Browning

Within a minute of leaving the truck, I regretted the extra layers I’d added at the last second. Sure, it was cold, but the snow was waist deep. The exertion of moving through the landscape warmed me up plenty. More than necessary, probably, since I felt my extra layers trapping too much moisture against my skin. But I wasn’t about to head back to the truck and change.

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.

Despite winter, we fish

Undeterred by the frozen toes, numb feet and the stinging wind, we make our way to the water
Photo: NPS

Cold fingers sting back to life, pressed firmly against the vent as warm air, fresh from the engine block, puffs on pink digits. The heat reawakens icy toes, and what was numb is now just painful.

I gobble a sandwich. Cameron is lost in his phone. We don't speak. Not because there’s nothing to say. Our faces are frozen.

It's the wind, really. It's not terribly frigid out there, on the other side of the glass. But with a steady gale blowing up from the south and armed with a cleaver's edge, it feels cold. Bone cold.

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