Chris Hunt's blog

Have we taken our love for native trout too far?

It’s time to embrace wild trout. Wherever they swim. Whatever their pedigree.
A wild, wonderful brown trout swimming in non-native waters (photo: Chad Shmukler).

It’s possible we’ve taken our passion for native trout a bit too far. Not that North America’s native fish should be held in disdain. Far from it.

In putting the notion of Manifest Destiny into practice — first by identifying it as the inevitable future for European Americans in the mid-1800s and then by actively pursuing it as an ideal — our predecessors doomed more than just the Indigenous people of our continent.


Broncos, Nuggets, tarpon and dive bars
Photo: Chris Hunt

Carl Jung coined the term “synchronicity.” The term applies when multiple, unrelated events play out in a way that makes them seem intertwined, even when there’s no evidence that they are linked in any way.

In February of 2016, I was in tiny Punta Allen, Quintana Roo, steeped in Mexico’s wild and jungly Yucatan. I’d spent a perfectly lovely Sunday prowling the flats for bonefish and permit, catching the former and getting an abrupt middle finger (fin?) from the latter.

Group sues to block plan to save Yellowstone cutthroat trout by relocating them

Wilderness Watch files lawsuit to stop efforts to relocate cutthroat trout to a formerly fishless creek
A spawning Yellowstone cutthroat trout (photo: Jacob Frank / NPS / modified).

Sometimes the enemy of good isn’t evil. Sometimes the enemy of good is perfect. This may be the case on Buffalo Creek, a wild trout stream that runs through the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness of southern Montana before crossing into Yellowstone National Park. Buffalo Creek is a tributary of Slough Creek and, eventually, the Lamar River. It’s also been identified as the source of the non-native rainbow trout that have persistently been showing up in both Slough Creek and the Lamar.

A pike trip to brook trout lake

Not all fishing trips follow the script
Photo: Chris Hunt

My fascination with Labrador started sometime in the late 1990s. Having grown up in the mountains of Colorado, where seemingly every little creek and beaver pond was stacked with non-native brook trout that topped out at about eight inches long, I yearned to feel the tug of a real brookie — a five-pound behemoth that swam where it was supposed to swim. That place, of course, was Labrador. The far-flung Canadian province might have been on the same continent, but for a young angler with limited means and designs on a somewhat normal existence, Labrador might as well have been on the moon.

Hope, optimism and fly fishing in a post-Jimmy Buffett world

5 essential songs to help every fly fisher find their inner Parrothead
Photo: Steven Miller / cc2.0.

I don't want to live on that kind of island
No, I don't want to swim in a roped off sea
Too much for me, too much for me
I've got to be where the wind and the water are free.

— Jimmy Buffett, Cowboy in the Jungle

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.

Florida man

Heading south
Photo: Chris Hunt

Several years back, I had three vertebrae fused in my lower back, the “solution” to nagging sciatica that, when the surgeon reported to me, post-op, was caused by my S1 vertebrae cracking and slowly splitting.

“I bet you didn’t know you’ve been walking around with a broken back,” he said, noting the crack and split hadn’t shown up in the pre-surgery imaging. “Probably for a few years.”

The roadhouse

A good roadhouse is a gathering place for people from all walks of life
Photo: Chris Hunt

As I pulled into the parking lot of the little dive bar located on a lonely country road outside the idyllic community of Live Oak, Fla., I was suddenly transported back to my early teens, when one of the most illicit acts for which I was ever punished was sneaking out into the living room late one night and watching the movie “Porky’s” on HBO.


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