Fish to match my mountains

It’s always surprised me that more backpackers aren’t anglers. Look closely at the blue lines on those high-mountain topo maps and you’re likely to find plenty of trout habitat; get your face close to the water and you’ll see the insect life that captures a trout’s attention. You might consider knocking a few miles off your next walk to spend some time in the stream you were planning to hike along.Continue reading

Hot weather got you down?

When temperatures rise, it’s time to get crankin’

When plastic worms first hit the market in the 1950s, they so thoroughly revolutionized bass fishing that even now many bass anglers are reluctant to use anything else. But the worm may be turning (pardon the pun but not the sentiment). It’s not that soft plastics have suddenly lost their fish-catching magic, it’s simply that they’re no longer every bass fisherman’s knee-jerk preference in every situation. The lure that most lately has bulled its way to the top for hot summertime fishing is made of wood or hard plastic, has treble hooks, and has a lip to make it dive and wobble. It’s the crankbait.Continue reading

To catch this fish, put hand in mouth, hang on – and pull

Where I live out here on the Upper Mississippi, the local French name for the flathead catfish is “goujon.” An awesome creature, the goujon has a heavy head, tiny eyes and several pairs of the fleshy whiskers that give the catfish its name. Its rubbery skin is a mottled, yellow-brown color. Unlike some other catfish that are content to scavenge for much of their food, this one is said to be primarily a meat eater that prefers living prey. big ones, and the goujon may reach 100 pounds or more, are usually loners. They hang out in deep holes under log drifts or cutbanks–lurking there during the day and prowling into shallows at night to hunt other fish.Continue reading

Fishing the deep freeze

When the weather is freezing but the water is open, bait presentations have to be perfect. Of course, icefishing tactics would work, but they’re out of the question…or are they?

Some phone calls have a way of getting your attention, and this was one of them. “No, I mean big pike,” my friend Pete Bellinger said one December night after fishing in the St. Lawrence River in northern New York, so excited his words nearly ran together. “It was really warm after work so I went perch fishing off the docks. The perch bit, but the northerns bit even better. I landed a couple that went seven or eight pounds, and then broke off a really good one. You ought to come up.”

Three days later I did. But near-zero temperatures had turned the river surface to slush ice. We stood there, staring gloomily at the river, as blocks of ice passed by. Angling was out of the question.Continue reading

The state of the striped bass

The striped bass was once abundant but overfishing threatened its existence. A controversial issue as to whether the striped bass should be declared a gamefish has arisen due to interests of profiteering commercial fishermen.Continue reading