toner.mitchell's posts

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Small-stream tactics in the age of non-native invasives

Native Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Contrary to many conservation-minded anglers, I am one who believes that, along with cockroaches, coyotes and Siberian elm trees, brown trout will survive the apocalypse. They possess many of the traits we Americans admire most: they are intelligent, confident, adaptable, rugged, ambitious and breathtakingly handsome. And for the time being … Read more

Honor Float

Paul Zimmerman teaches fly tying to military veterans. At 91 years of age, and as the sole care provider for his wife Patti, he is reluctant to leave her alone. He conducts all of his lessons at his home, an arrangement that’s also convenient for his students, who are often most comfortable with one-on-one engagement and places where calmness and quiet prevail.  “Our situation was different from Vietnam,” says Zimmerman, a … Read more

The Pecos is fishing great … for now

The lifeblood of the Village of Pecos, the Pecos River flows through public and private lands in a narrow canyon flanked by in aspen, Gambel oak, and mixed conifer. The Pecos boasts a fun salmon fly hatch in early summer, and I love how spooky the fish are in autumn, when elk bugles echo, the banks blaze with yellow cottonwoods, and the water resembles the air above, cold, clear and … Read more

Ranches

According to one stereotype, a rancher’s commitment to the lifestyle is mainly self-serving. The fences they build are as much to keep the public out as to detain resident wildlife (translation: elk) for the purpose of selling high-dollar hunting opportunities. When not dewatering streams, they restore and stock them for their own fishing pleasure and that of paying anglers in search of lunkers in a crowd-free … Read more

Politics and the fishing media

A Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat trout. Cutthroat trout today occupy less than 10 percent of their native habitat, and the waters where they do persist are largely headwater streams that could impacted by the EPA’s decision to gut the Clean Water Rule. If the fly fishing media didn’t cover the issue, many anglers wouldn’t know … Read more

Four flies for spring

After another two feet of mountain snow in mid-May, I’m starting to wonder when fishing season will begin. I know, I know, there’s fishing right now. All one has to do is make peace with less fishable holding water that’s cold and muddy. Don’t wade too deep, fish big stuff, and keep your line tight enough to feel the … Read more

Spring on Jack Creek

Beyond its confluence with Cow Creek near the village of San Ysidro, the Pecos River’s southward crawl is rarely supplemented by significant inputs other than random flash floods. Deriving its existence from how much snow falls on a mere six percent of its watershed, the Pecos flows most of its length through a desert, which is why I’ve always had difficulty believing that it’s the sixteenth longest river … Read more