Autumn Gold

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Chanterelles come in all kinds of shapes and sizes; some are 1/2 inch across the cap, while others are six inches; some are shaped like buttons, others grow into wild free-form shapes you’d expect to see on a coral reef. Every once in a while you find one so perfect and classic in shape, you have to snap a picture.

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But they’re all delicious, and looking for them is a fun, easy activity we can do in limited windows of time. Monday, after school, we had a brief bit of dry weather, no sports practices, and very little homework, so the kids and I made a quick run to one of our local, public places before dark. Halo says “Leash laws are so insulting! We don’t need no stinking leashes.”

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Of course, Mondays are the worst days to pick on the Island. Everybody goes on the weekend and new chanterelles haven’t come up yet. There were trails and flattened vegetation all through the usually dense woods. The remaining, unharvested chanterelles were few and far between, but we managed to scrape up a few good ones–enough for a meal or two–in the deepest darkest spots, and had a good time busting brush and breathing the clean, rain-swept air.


Writers On The Fly Events

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Check it out: Based on the fantastic response to Writers On The Fly events in Seattle, Jason Rolfe, the man behind WOTF, is taking the show on the road. And I’m lucky enough to be a part of two of the shows. In Portland, November 2nd (Patagonia Portland, 7:00pm), I will read with Cameron Scott, Cameron Chambers, Steve Duda and my great friend–and fellow Patagonia ambassador–Kate Taylor. In Seattle, November 3rd (Emerald Water Anglers, 7:00pm), with Langdon Cook, Steve Duda, Cameron Chambers and Michael Doherty.

The tour supports local conservation organizations and I think it’s going to be a ton of fun. Post-event antics to follow as well, I’m sure. Details on the poster above or on the web HERE.

Come on out, listen to some stories, drink beer and hang. Kind of like fish camp, only indoors. Sounds like a pretty awesome evening to me.


And Yes, There Were Fish

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Sometimes, you get lucky and hit it right. We arrived just as the rivers were coming back into shape from high, dirty water. A fresh push of fish moved in, and between visiting with friends, cooking huge meals and generally hanging out, we found a few that wanted our flies. Yvon wasn’t messing around. That’s him, below, hooked up minutes after arriving on the river.

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Yvon fought his fish with an audience, and landed it for an up-close look by 11-month-old Will. That’s Uncle Aaron providing fish-viewing assistance. The poor kid’s doomed to be a steelhead junkie like the rest of us now.

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A few days later, after a morning spent on an enormous breakfast and serious socializing, Aaron and I walked down to the river for some fresh air and a quick fish. Aaron did his job, and then some.

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On the one full day we actually dedicated to fishing, we found plenty of takers. It was a pretty epic six-fish day for me, and I was even spooled for the first time ever, by an enormous buck that turned downstream and never came back. When there were about four turns of backing left on the spool, I just clamped down until the hook straightened out. I’m already stoked for next year–there are friends to visit, meals to cook, and even a few fish to chase.

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Kitchen-Table Conservation

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My buddy Yvon and I made the trek up to Skeena Country to give talks at the SkeenaWild fundraiser, but also to spend time with our friend Bruce, and sneak in a little fishing, too. I don’t know if there’s a more important place for Western Canadadian conservation–or epic meals–than the wooden table in Bruce and Anne Hill’s kitchen in Terrace, BC. Ideas, plans, strategies and campaigns have been hatched, setbacks lamented, victories celebrated around this table, and I always feel honored to have a seat here. On this morning, Bruce and Yvon talk history and strategy for the video cameras.

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Then we were off to The Shack, for more time with friends I never get to see enough, and some actual fishing. After a day on the water, that’s (from left to right) Yvon, April, Aaron, Bruce and Calvin chewing the fat before dinner. Rick, our host was, I believe, outside turning moose steaks and deer backstrap on the barbecue, and I took a quick break from tending the matsutake mushroom rice to snap this shot. The highlight of the night, and probably the whole trip, for me, was when Bruce put his prized Martin six-string in my hands, and with a mix of embarrassment and fumbling fingers, I plunked out and sang a couple verses of Long Black Veil with Bruce. My utter lack of guitar and singing skills made me unworthy of the instrument, but it’s a moment that’ll stay with me forever.

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Lured in by the aroma of sizzling moose steaks, our landlord, Bob and his giant friend Ootza(sp?), dropped by for a bite and a visit. Bob is one of the finest steelhead anglers and cane-rod makers on the planet, as well as a staunch protector of his beloved river and fish. He’s also a hell of a nice guy. Any time I fish or talk with him, I learn something new. Stay tuned for fishing and fish…