Toner Mitchell

  • Voices from the river

    Old trout don’t need a mirror

    Unlike humans, trout only grow more beautiful with age. I know, I know, beauty’s on the inside, but come on. We are all aware of growing older and should be able to admit to being bothered by it sometimes.

    There are billions of reasons to love trout, their fickleness bordering on intelligence, their powerful reluctance to surrender in battle, and their impeccable taste in house and lot. The way trout look is enough by itself.  This latter attribute expresses itself throughout a trout’s life. Baby trout are like jewels, their scales and inquisitive eyes shooting sunshine in every direction. The…

  • Featured

    Native stories, for fish and people, are still untold

    Since 1867, an obelisk has stood in the center of Santa Fe’s downtown plaza to honor fallen Union soldiers in Civil War battles fought in New Mexico, as well as soldiers who fought against “savage Indians."   Another structure nearby honors Kit Carson who, as a Union colonel, did as much as anyone to push the Southwest’s Indigenous People to the brink of extinction. A statue on the grounds of one of Santa Fe’s prominent cathedrals honored…

  • Voices from the river

    These hips don’t lie

    Crawling around small creeks was an exercise in bad yoga, as I dragged myself to standing by grabbing branches and logs. When I finally had the hip examined, I was told what I already knew

    The John Muir Wilderness in California.

    Two summers ago, I agreed to join a backpacking trek with some friends I hadn’t seen since college.  Our mission -- honoring the life of a mutual friend who’d passed away -- took us deep into the Sierra Nevada range, a 54-mile journey filled with golden trout and jaw-dropping views of ice-etched peaks and verdant hanging valleys. As…

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    Is it good … or bad to obsess?

    Boxes full of fishing flies.

    Fly fishing is arguably the ideal pastime for someone with obsessive tendencies. Inches matter on the stream, as do thousandths when it comes to spools of tippet or fly-tying thread. A guy I once fished with said he never saved leftovers from home-cooked meals; it was a sanitary thing. Sure.  I remember thinking he probably ironed his underwear before putting them away, but…

  • Voices from the river

    From the vault: Canjilon

    Editor's note: This piece was first published in August 2020. Periodically, we'll republish content we liked a lot when it first hit the internet. The village of Canjilon sits within a donut of low hills to the west and south, and a gradually rising wall to the north and east. Its establishment in the 1870s seems late by New Mexico standards, but that tracks with…