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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.