Category Archives: Freshwater

REVIEW: Where The Yellowstone Goes

Where the Yellowstone Goes starts not with trout but with chickens and irony. Then it jumps right into its premise–a 30 day float trip along the length of the Yellowstone, from the edge of the park to the Missouri River. The people are introduced and the reasons laid out, much like the nut graf in a magazine article, and then the focus shifts entirely onto the extended float down probably the most famous river in fly fishing.

For the viewer it’s an enjoyable low-key ride filled with breathtaking landscape and, as the opening blip foreshadows, understated quirkiness.


The movie is full of interesting people and you’re invited into their conversations in a way that seems like eavesdropping. Or, it’s akin to stepping up to a bar and joining a discussion that’s already been started. The discourse reminds me of my favorite fly fishing movie, Tarpon, in the best way.

My favorite scene involves the crew inviting Margot Aserlind, the widow of a fly fishing guide, for a day on the river near Livingston. It’s her first time on the water in years, and it becomes this tender moment recording the interplay between the river and the people who love it.

The movie takes a dark turn when the crew comes across the site of the Exxon oil pipeline that breached in July of 2011, dumping 63,000 gallons of crude into the river. This event serves as the gateway for the movie to deliver a strong conservation message.

I love the movie’s languid pace. The soundtrack is fantastic if mellow but it reminds that for many practitioners fly fishing is a contemplative–not extreme–sport. The fly fishing scenes are realistic rather than heroic as the protagonist–the director Hunter Weeks–is a neophyte and just learning. This seems appropriate, how many people have been introduced to the sport during family vacations to Yellowstone? (There is one pretty awesome fly scene where Robert Hawkins, the fly fishing guide on the trip, duels a carp.)

Overall, Where the Yellowstone Goes is an atypical but enjoyable fly fishing movie (and the only one with a sheep rescue). Then again, it’s not really a fly fishing movie. But if you love this river or find meaning in any body of water, you will enjoy this story.

For more information, go to Where The Yellowstone Goes.

How Far Is 1000 Miles?

Half the Mississippi River.

Almost as long as the Snake River.

Longer than the St. Lawrence River, the Ohio, the Green, and the White.

Maybe in more relatable terms, it’s farther than a plane flight from LA to Denver.

This is the scope  of the initiative being undertaken by Trout Unlimited and Orvis, who are joining forces to open up 1,000 miles of fishable habitat across the US.

The 1000 Miles Project is one that is easy to rally behind. Too many fights in the environmental realm seem to succeed in making people angry but fail in channelling emotion into action. This campaign is all about action, with an identifiable target and attainable goals.

The target? Culverts. As stated on the TU Blog: “Culverts–those big pipes that carry entire waterways under roads and trails–are stream-stealing culprits. If they’re old, or poorly designed, they can be barriers to upstream migration of trout and salmon. By simply removing or repairing culverts at stream crossings, we can open significant chunks of habitat for fish … and fishing.”

Together Orvis and TU have targeted streams and waterways around the country where removing or restoring faulty culverts will benefit trout and salmon habitat. (For a list of waters, click on the TU and Orvis links below.)

It’s a simple, beautiful plan that all anglers can endorse, regardless of geographic location or political affiliation.

1000 miles raises the possibility of this exponentially

Should you choose to donate money to Trout Unlimited for this cause, Orvis will match your donation–promising $90,000 in matching funds.

The simple math is: 1,000 more miles of fishable habitat will multiply the number of fishable fish exponentially, and everybody wins.

For more information, and more detail on how culverts affect fish habitat, go to:

Trout Unlimited


Florida, Press Repeat

Bass in Florida are like Led Zeppelin on the radio: Always on somewhere.

I’ve said that before* (in one of my infrequent posts on Buster Wants to Fish.) But I am saying it again because the words and the actions behind them are repeatable.

Sometimes I wonder if it seems like a broken record with me, and maybe it does, but we all need sporting traditions.

One of my main riffs goes like this: Fly down, rent car, criss-cross the State on back roads and wait for the rain to break. Drive past a body of water, look for access, cast.

The coasts and the Keys are incongruous with the interior, the land of Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Marjory Kinnan Rawlings. All the way up to Shingle Creek (documented by a green highway sign on S.R. 528 as the Headwaters of the Everglades) the fresh water that flows South through Okeechobee and the big swamp is dyked, funneled, redirected, canal-ized and otherwise manipulated so that the River of Grass and Florida Bay do not get their full eventual dose.

The roads cut through cattle ranches and orange groves and migrant farms and small town main streets that maintain an Eisenhower ambience despite the scarcity of Buick Roadmasters.

The water is a distraction. It’s always sitting just off the main road or down obscure side streets, where it would remain undiscovered if not for the invasiveness of Google Maps. Whether it should rightfully be swampland or something other than a containment born of front-end loaders is past the point of consideration.

It could contain bass, and is impossible to pass by.

*(Self plagiary.)

The Importance of Having No Good Reason

These are the known facts. The stream holds trout and fishermen sometimes fish for them and sometimes they bite.

Trout do things here







There is much conjecture about every other circumstance.

The trout have not been here since the beginning of time; the stream wasn’t even here until the Wisconsin Glacial Episode. In the next epoch the rocks and till will  be worn into fine powder or trapped and redistributed in retreat.

The path to the edge of the bank was muddy from the recent rain and when I stepped onto the rocks in the stream bed mud swirled around my boots. There are other things I could have been doing but freedom of choice extends only so far into the continuum–80 years with luck and genetic fortitude.

I chose a wooly bugger. I liked the way the rod felt as the line loaded on the back cast, and I liked the way the line came tight in my hand.

Tasty Evil

Perch eat their own. They chase flies designed to look like small perch and flies designed to look like big perch. Flies intended, obviously, to catch fish that eat perch.


No perch is safe, even amongst its own kind.

They don’t fight worth a damn on rods heavier than a 2-weight but for a species lacking any and all moral distinction they taste exceptional fried in beer batter.