Great Bear

  • By: John Gierach
  • Illustrations by: Bob White
Around the Fire

It’s sometime around midday and either Martin or I —I forget who— has just landed the five-pound lake trout that will be our lunch fish. Our guide, Craig Blackie, motors us to shore, digs out a blackened iron grate and props it off the ground on rocks while Martin and I hunt for firewood. We’re at the northern end of Great Bear Lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories, above the Arctic Circle and near the northern tree line, so wood is scarce, but we only need enough for a quick twig fire.

On the Ranch

  • By: John Gierach
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Driving west across Colorado on Interstate 70, there was a specific quarter-mile where the public-radio and classic-rock stations I’d been grazing through all faded to static and were replaced by country-western and preachers. The exit for the town of Silt was in the rearview mirror and the Colorado River was off my left shoulder. I’d crossed the Continental Divide some 90 miles back and could have made the Utah border in less than an hour, but it was only then that I felt like I was officially on the West Slope where the airwaves are filled with pain and redemption with livestock reports on the hour.

Into the Off Season

  • By: John Gierach
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The conceit among trout fishers is that we’re all such unreconstructed fanatics that when fishing possibilities dwindle over the winter we go quietly insane. In fact, some do—and not always quietly—but others seem to take the break more or less in stride and a few even think it’s “good for the soul,” as Nick Lyons once said, to have an off-season for rest and reflection.

Stalking the Conejos

  • By: John Gierach
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"Creeks are 'dear to my heart,' as my grandmother would have said, and since I don’t have a spare heart to turn to, I’m glad to know there are hundreds of thousands of miles of them: more than I could fish in thirty lifetimes."

Sporting Life

  • By: John Gierach
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Atlantic Salmon fishing in New Brunswick...