Never Get Out of The Boat, Or How I Lost My First Fly Rod

The first rule of hitchhiking is simple: Don’t walk when you can ride. That means never use your feet to walk while searching for a ride. Instead, find a place with frequent vehicle traffic passing – shade tree preferred – and start thumbing. Vehicles come to you and so will rides. Many novice travelers fail to obey that primary rule, and wear themselves out needlessly walking toward destinations, rather than waiting for rides to materialize organically.

The Last Hike to King Lake

I was afraid to open the package when it arrived. An ominous star image was emblazed on the front, and the words “Sheriff’s Dept., Grand County, Colorado.” The return address label read, “Rodney P. Johnson, Sheriff.” Slowly, I slid it open and inside found my blue Guatemalan-made fanny pack along with my Arkansas driver’s license. I’d lost them the previous week while hiking and fly fishing in Colorado.

Seattle Sockeye Salmon Say, “Sayonara!”

Sockeye salmon have become functionally extinct in Seattle, Wash. Last week, the final remnants of that city’s once-famed sockeye run were scooped up in hand nets, loaded onto trucks and driven to holding pens. There they will be milked for eggs and milt in hopes that science can save those few remaining fish that have thrived in the Pacific Northwest for 6 million years.

The Strange Death of the Ancient Grass Carp

The giant grass carp had to die. I pondered a well-placed .22 bullet to its skull as it swam just under the surface of the pond, nosing its snout into the air to pluck fresh-fallen leaves from the water’s surface. Or I could try and net the monster fish and hope to bash its head with a rock as it flailed on the shore. No matter the method, it wouldn’t be easy to murder the venerable carp, but it had to be done.

The Tale of Jason and the Golden Trout

Fly fishing can be a dangerous obsession. Anglers are compelled to travel down unknown roads and rivers while on the quest for ever-more elusive fish. In fact, some wise fishing writer, whose name is long gone from my memory, once identified five stages that all fly fishers pass through on that often-perilous journey.

What is Low-Petroleum Fly Fishing?

After more than 30 years fly fishing, I’ve learned that the White River does not need any more gasoline motors. Besides being loud and disruptive, motors use both gasoline and motor oil. Every gas-powered motor trickles a steady stream of oil into the river as the engine runs. Water is pumped through the engine for cooling, and the water expelled leaves an oily sheen on the surface behind every boat.

‘Bangin’ Tony’s Hole’ and Other Fishing Adventures with Kyle Faulkner

Tony hated his hole getting banged so hard. Who could blame him? That’s because Kyle Faulkner and I had just caught nearly every trout trapped in a shallow, White River side-chute near Tony’s house. Helplessly, Tony watched from the shore, and paced back and forth as our rods bent repeatedly with heavy trout on nearly every cast. “You don’t have to keep them all,” Tony cried from the riverbank.