Back Issue Content: 2012

Photo by Darren Clark (

An argument for catch-and-release fishing

I rarely keep trout—let’s get that straight right away. I have no ethical objection to killing them when done responsibly, I just prefer to leave them in the river. Plus I’ve never really enjoyed the taste of trout, which my wife still regards as “strange,” given the amount of time and effort I spend chasing them. In fact, I didn’t develop an official stance on catch-and-release fishing until the summer of 2007, when six friends and I traveled across the country to fish and camp in the Yellowstone area.

Undammed Rivers Revival

When natural flows return, so do the steelhead

Across the continent, 2012 was a bad year to be a climate- change skeptic, but a much worse year to be a fish. Before you bid a tepid au revoir to this torrid 12 months, consider: According to founder and climate raconteur Bill McKibben, June broke 2,132 high-temperature records across the country. May was the warmest month on record for the northern hemisphere. That was also the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th century average. Like anecdotes better than statistics? Recall certain South Dakotans who enjoyed a 90- degree day in mid-February. The fundamentalist Christian faction in Colorado Springs may have a more accurate vision of hell after living through the fires there last spring. Hurricane Sandy made Manhattan look like The Day After Tomorrow. Welcome to the new climate reality.

Image: Mark Lewis

The pilgrimage to my perceived Mecca took 22 years, 11 months, 16 days, and 20 hours. I arrived fresh out of college, riding a 2.7-liter American-made Japanese chariot, complete with three-inch lift kit and the white silhouette of a blitzing Montauk striper across the back window. I was hell on wheels and ready to set the Rockies ablaze.

Image: Stewart Cohen

Back in the fall, during the second presidential debate, President Obama and Mitt Romney got into a somewhat spirited exchange on the topic of energy. It began by Romney saying that “oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land, and gas production is down nine percent. Why? Because the President cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands and in federal waters.”

City Limits: Orlando, Florida

Sneaking onto a golf course to catch a few unguarded bass is one of the most time-honored traditions in flyfishing, especially if you’re a golfer. Who among us hasn’t walked down some random Sun Belt fairway (or rough, more likely) only to peer upon a hungry four-pounder lurking in a water hazard along the way? What a waste, right?