Fly Fishing Panfish in the South

A thin ribbon of water cuts through a forest. A shadowy figure rests in a hole among the branches of a fallen tree just out of the current. A roll cast, necessary because of the limited space for a back cast, places a #10 woolly bugger gently near the fish. Slowly pulling in line, the fly moves within striking distance. The fish pounces. Grabbing its prey, it turns back to the safety of the submerged log. You set the hook and a short but ferocious fight ensues. He is very small. Too small to keep but the bright greens flowing seamlessly to red are captivating. You let the little bream go, gather up your line, and continue your trek along the clear, tannin-stained creek somewhere in the southern United States.

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The Phenological Calendar of Kokanee

Whether you realize it or not, most outdoor enthusiasts are phenological scientists. You may never have published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal or even considered proper phenology as practical in everyday life. Maybe you’ve never even heard of phenology. But if you appreciate the outdoors or even just vegetable gardening, chances are, you’re a seasoned phenologist.

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How to Catch More Fish: Trout Fishing in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has over 1,000 streams and lakes that are stocked with more than 3.2 million brook, rainbow, and brown trout. There are also over 600 streams designated as Class A Waters that have a natural population of trout and do not get stocked. Pennsylvania is loaded with opportunities to trout fish and I like to take advantage of those opportunities. If I had to pick only one outdoor pursuit to enjoy the rest of my life, stream fishing for trout would be the winner, hands down.
I have fished for trout in many different ways, from dunking a warm, casting a lure, to dry fly fishing. But there are two specific methods I keep coming back to because the consistently produce the most fish.

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Rainbows of the High Desert

I fished my first desert stream when my good friend and fly-fishing sensei, Chas Kyger, moved to Washington State. Both transplants from the same Appalachian hometown, we interestingly ended up three hours apart working as fish biologists.
Spring can offer formidable conditions in the Pacific Northwest mountains, where high flows and snow melt careen through narrow canyon creeks. Spring on a desert creek, however, can be epic, with early warming waters and insect hatches.
A hard left from the Columbia River pointed us toward a large desert canyon, characterized by steep, rocky bluffs, talus, and sagebrush. Various alfalfa, wheat, and corn crops created a lush patchwork landscape across the canyon floor broken only by the random cattle or horse pasture.

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Fishing With Young Kids Isn’t That Fun. Do It Anyway

Have you ever taken a little kid fishing? As much as I love providing my kids with a new experience, it kind of sucks the fun out of fishing to be honest.

To be fair, fishing isn’t exactly the most exciting activity for younger kids. Heck, it took me 25 years to finally get into fishing, so I get it.

But if you’d like to raise outdoor loving kids, nature enthusiasts, and future anglers, the earlier you start, the better. It’s important to take them out there, even when it doesn’t feel worth it. Even when you only get a few minutes of fishing in, it can still be a successful day fishing with your kiddos.

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Spawning Bass in a Public Park

Fishing for spawning bass is something anglers look forward to each Spring. It’s the time of year when an angler has the best chance to catch their personal best bass as female fish are loaded with eggs adding to their overall weight.

In this video I teamed up with my friend and die-hard bass angler, Megan Long. We actually went bank fishing and sight casted to largemouth bass at City Park in New Orleans. City Park is an amazing place for public fishing in New Orleans Louisiana.

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We Suck At This

Earlier this month, a reservoir holding byproducts from an old phosphate mining operation just south of me in Florida at Piney Point came in imminent danger of a collapse that would spill an incredible amount of wastewater into Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The situation has thus far kind of stabilized. There is no 20-foot wall of water barreling down to the ocean. The discharges are being monitored and, so far, meet water quality standards. But, sitting here thinking about it and reading reports from various news agencies, I realized something. We suck at this.

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Fish and Chips

By Saturday afternoon, I had hit a point where it didn’t really matter how soaked everything was. What had started off as a wet heavy snow during our snowmobile ride to the portage, had slowly transitioned to a sleet after the sun fully came up. Our packs where covered in snow, everything in them soggy, my mittens water-logged from wiping snow off the flasher screen every few minutes and my already heavy ice fishing jacket and bibs were even heavier. There was actually a sense of relief with succumbing to the fact that nothing was going to be dry anymore and it didn’t matter. We stuck it out for a few more hours just in case the lake trout changed their mood, but it would ultimately be a one-fish day.

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The Old Admiral

I followed the snaking stream up current from pool to perfect pool landing good sized trout around every turn. As I continued upstream, the small gorge became thick with native forest. Stands of mountain beech and rimu towered overhead with cabbage tree and kanuka filling every gap in between. The scene was so otherworldly I couldn’t keep my eyes from wandering past the river at times to take in the surrounds.

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