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BOTE Backham Bug Slinger

leah kirk

Combining the best features of BOTE's uber versatile HD board and their giant-killer Ahab SUP, the hip Rackham Bug Slinger is destined for a special place in fishing lore. Twelve feet of the ultimate in fishing utility. Legendary stability, speed and versatility with a take-no-prisoners graphic treatment and durable construction. And did we mention it will comfortably transport a combined weight from you and your gear of up to 400 pounds? For most paddlers, that's a LOT of gear you can bring to the party.

The Rackham features a fiberglass shell with an expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam core formed into a displacement V-hull. Channel grooves were added to aerate the bottom of the board so it will flow a little quicker on the water than a flat bottom. At a generous 7" deep, this hull provides excellent flotation and stability with its weight of only 41 pounds without gear.

The large, flat, recessed deck makes a sturdy platform for aggressive paddling, plus casting, fighting and landing trophy fish. It's also here on the deck that the Rackham sets the standard for features other SUPs only dream about.

Starting at the bow, you'll first notice the Paddle Sheath™ that allows you to insert the blade end of your paddle into the slot, conveniently holding your paddle upright and within reach so your hands are freed up for landing dinner.

The displacement V-hull, 32" wide beam and 7" depth of the Rackham is designed for maximum capacity and stability. Rated at 400 pounds, this board will carry all you need for an extended adventure across the water.

The extra wide platform provides the stability you need to fish confidently in a variety of conditions. Remember to order an SUP paddle and life jacket (both sold separately) so you'll be ready to start your adventure as soon as possible.

Knife Robot Portable Knife Sharpener

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Redwood City, Cal. (March 2017) - Knife Robot®, the world's first no-hands, no-hold, automatic knife sharpener successfully launched on Indiegogo in early March. Currently, the Knife Robot has over 150 backers raising 270% over the projected goal of $20,000. The Knife Robot Indiegogo project will be available until April 5, 2017.

"The Knife Robot project has eclipsed our expectations," Jim Kolchin, Knife Robot founder and CEO said. "Knife Robot has a wide application for multiple marketplaces, from the home kitchen to restaurants and from knife collectors and hobbyists to outdoors men and women, the Knife Robot saves time, eliminates mess and makes for a perfectly sharp blade every time."

Renowned knifemaker and designer, Ed Schempp, upon seeing the Knife Robot told Facebook fans, "I have used the machine. It is real."

The Knife Robot takes the guess work and the physical work out of knife sharpening. It can sharpen any knife, including serrated knives with a minimum blade length of 2-inches and a maximum blade length of 10-inches. The maximum blade width is 4-inches and maximum thickness is 3/8-inches.

With the hands-off mechanism, the knife is inserted and the Knife Robot does all the work in about 5 minutes.

 Using seven motors sensing the knife shape in 4 DoF it precision sands any detectable burrs, removing them based on custom input of angle, speed, and pressure. Sander motor speed and the angle (10 to 45 degrees per side) can be customized on the portable version for home cooks and hobbyists. Additional customization allows for setting a different angle on each side and the amount of pressure (light, medium, hard belt pressure), and watch on the portable's screen courtesy of a microscopic camera.

NPS Shenandoah Tragedy Monuments

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By BILL LOHMANN Richmond Times-Dispatch

Sherman Shifflett’s father was a true mountain man: rugged, resourceful and resilient. Born in a log cabin on top of a mountain in Rockingham County, Harvey Shifflett wasn’t what you’d call book smart — he didn’t attend school past the second grade and he could barely sign his name — but he was plenty sharp. He could do math without pencil and paper, and he kept his family fed, even in the leanest times. He was brainy in the ways of living, and when he put his mind to it he could figure out how to do just about anything.

However, he could never quite come to grips with living off the mountain. His was among the hundreds of families forced from their homes in the 1930s to make way for Shenandoah National Park as state authorities used eminent domain to acquire private property that would be turned over to the federal government for the park. After leaving Rockingham in 1933, the Shiffletts settled in the foothills of Albemarle County, but Harvey Shifflett’s heart never relocated.

Decades later, still bitter at the way his family had been treated and still longing for his mountain home, he would have his children drive him to the park on weekend mornings where he would sit for hours on one of the stone walls along Skyline Drive — not far from his old home place. The old man spent the time whittling, watching the tourists drive by and soaking in the beauty that once was his.

“My dad wasn’t upset about the money. He was upset about the way they were treated; he said they were treated real ‘shabbily,’ ” said Sherman Shifflett, 74, who was born after the family moved to Albemarle, though his four oldest siblings were born on the mountain. Shifflett’s father was told later their home had been burned to the ground, a common practice to discourage former residents from returning or squatters from settling in.

“Several generations had been up there on top of the mountain,” said Shifflett, now retired after a career in teaching and administration at Louisa High School, old family photographs scattered about his kitchen table during an interview at his Louisa home. “They were fiercely independent. They worked hard. They eked out a living.

“My dad never stopped talking about it. He was really hurt. He never got the mountains out of his system.”

The story of the people who lost their homes in the creation of Shenandoah National Park was largely untold or poorly told for years and is now fading from view altogether as the youngest of those forced from the mountains are well into their 80s. The Blue Ridge Heritage Project is breathing new life into the story of displacement — although Sherman Shifflett says his father never used the term “displaced” to describe his experience, believing “evicted” better captured the feeling — by promoting the development of a monument site in each of the eight counties where land was acquired. The monuments will recognize those who were displaced and educate visitors about the lives and culture of the people who dwelled in the mountains.

The first monuments went up in Albemarle and Madison counties. The Rappahannock monument will be dedicated in April, while ones in Page and Greene are in the works with Augusta, Rockingham and Warren to come. The monuments are being developed by committees within each county that will oversee site selection, design and fundraising. The monuments will differ slightly in terms of materials and construction, but the focal points of each will be a stone chimney. The symbolism is quite intentional, said Bill Henry, who founded the nonprofit Blue Ridge Heritage Project.

“If you go up in the park today, you’ll find quite a few chimneys still standing,” Henry said. “The first chimney I came across in the backcountry was a very powerful experience. I didn’t know the whole story back then. It was like, ‘Wow, somebody lived here.’

“Once I learned about the people being evicted and the houses being burned … the chimneys left standing really had a lot of meaning to me. The chimneys show the determination and spirit of the mountain people.”

Henry, a retired school teacher, has no personal connection to the displaced people. He became interested in their story when he began attending meetings of The Children of Shenandoah, a group of descendants of the displaced that was formed in 1994. Their mission was to preserve the heritage of their ancestors, in part, by encouraging the park to more fully tell their story to visitors in a way that wasn’t demeaning, which they felt was the tone of earlier narratives.

Henry, who grew up in Fairfax County and regularly visited the park with his family, went to the meetings because he was interested in learning about the park’s history.

“I started going to hear the speakers, and then I got to wondering why all these people were so damn angry,” he recalled.

Lisa Custalow, who co-founded the descendants group with her husband, Curtis King Custalow, acknowledged there was considerable anger. Her mother was born on High Top Mountain and she was not even school age when her family had to leave their home. Custalow’s grandparents rented their home, so they weren’t compensated for their trouble.

“I remember as a young child I would ask my mom, ‘Why did you have to leave the mountain?’ ” recalled Custalow, who grew up in Charlottesville and still lives there. “She would become quiet. She would have tears in her eyes, and she would say, ‘When the government tells you you have to go, you have to go.’

“That was my signal to be quiet because you don’t want to make Mama sad.”

As she grew older, Custalow would stop at the Harry F. Byrd Visitor Center, where the exhibits put the most positive spin on the story of how the park was created, but in doing so cast a negative light on the mountain people.

“What we were angry about was the truth wasn’t being told,” Custalow said. “You can’t take the park back. We could never move back. But at least we wanted the truth to be told about our families and how they lived.”

The Children of Shenandoah got the attention of park officials, and the two entities worked to revamp the exhibits and videos, focusing considerable attention on the experiences of the people who were displaced. Depending on your perspective, those who developed the park might not come off looking so swell. Claire Comer, an interpretive specialist for the park assigned to the visual media department, said The Children of Shenandoah was “a fantastic partner for us to get that perspective.” The collaboration, she said, was part of an ongoing effort by the park to tell the story “very comprehensively and objectively.”

“We wanted to just present the facts … and let people draw their own conclusions,” Comer said. “It’s made for wonderful discussion for school groups and visitors alike: What is the greater good? What about eminent domain? Is it a good or bad thing? Is the end result of the park worth the heartache of those people who were displaced?

“This is really a story of colliding passions,” she said, noting that on one side were those who wanted to preserve the beauty of the area while establishing a viable economy that was not an “extracting” industry, namely tourism, while on the other were the people who called the mountains home.

Comer brings an empathy to the story as her family also was touched — though in not such a dramatic way: Her great-grandfather had to sell his mountain land that he used for grazing cattle in the summer. He had to give up a cabin, though not his family farm, which was nearby but not on land that became part of the park. Still, she understands the sense of place and loss that infuses the feelings of descendants of the displaced. That’s why she considers her work incorporating a more complete account “a really fulfilling part of my career. Having come from the local area, it was really a great thing for me to have the opportunity to tell that story,” she said.

Custalow is “extremely pleased” with how the park responded, but said her group’s biggest accomplishment might have been inspiring Henry — someone without a personal stake in the issue — to take an interest in their efforts and carry it forward.

Florida/Georgia "Water War" Update

leah kirk

As the water war over sharing the Apalachicola River’s flow between Florida and Georgia continues, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Congressman Neal Dunn (R-Fla.) are looking for solutions that will help relieve damage to the Apalachicola River and Bay.

Sen. Nelson filed a bill that would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to send more freshwater south from Georgia into Apalachicola Bay, while Congressman Dunn has called on the Corps to suspend its current plans for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) river system until meeting with Florida officials.

Georgia notched a victory in a long-running legal dispute with Florida on Tuesday when a judicial official urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reject strict new water consumption limits that Georgia said would have struck a devastating blow to the state’s economy.

The recommendation by Ralph Lancaster, a special master appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court to handle the case, found that Florida had “failed to show that a consumption cap” was needed after five weeks of hearing testimony in the case.

Fatter Salamanders?

leah kirk

 Warning: Wrap your head in duct tape before reading the following

Chattanooga, Tenn. (March 14, 2017) – If thinking about the dangers of climate change has you missing sleep at night, consider the literal hot water that sensitive aquatic species may find themselves in if global temperatures continue to rise.

 When placed in artificially warmed water, some salamanders respond to the additional stress by — what else? — packing on the pounds.

 That’s the unexpected takeaway of a recent study by researchers from Sewanee: The University of the South, Southeast Missouri State University and the Tennessee Aquarium. The group’s findings soon will be published in Animal Conservation, a London-based, peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Normally, salamanders live in size-structured communities, meaning larger species tend to out-compete smaller species for prime position in the cooler, deeper waters in the middle of the stream. But research suggests smaller species will adapt more readily to the warmer conditions that climate change is predicted to bring about.

What will happen to the “bigger is better” power structure of salamander communities, the study investigators wondered, when streams warm to the levels predicted by climatologists? Would smaller salamander species begin to out-perform larger ones or would the status quo be maintained?

 Scientists tested this scenario by observing how warming the water in a temperature-controlled artificial stream bed impacted populations of Spotted Dusky Salamanders (Desmognathus conanti) and the smaller Cumberland Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus abditus), which is under review for listing as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“What we found was that the smaller species actually didn’t grow longer, but they did increase their body weight,” says Dr. Josh Ennen, an aquatic conservation biologist at the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute and one of the contributors to the study.

“Over a small amount of time, these salamanders shifted energy away from growth towards putting on weight,” Ennen adds, drawing a parallel to the paunch many people develop from over-eating during trying times. “If you’re stressed out, a lot of times, you put on more weight. In the wild, that’s a response where you pack on calories because you may need to burn those calories in the future.”

Whether stress was the root cause of the packed-on pounds — or ounces, in the case of such small amphibians — will require further research, but the result was definitely interesting and unexpected, Ennen says.

“In some animals, that’s a tell-tale sign that they’re in a stressful environment,” he says. “But we need to go further and look at things like lipid content and stress hormones to say, ‘OK, this was a stress response.’”

 This study comprises the first step in an ongoing research program Ennen and his partners are conducting to better understand the implications of climate change on salamander communities.

The Southeastern United States is one of the most salamander-rich regions in the world, with 80 percent of North America’s salamander species living within a 500-mile radius of Chattanooga, Tenn.

As “secondary consumers,” salamanders feed on plant-eaters like insects (primary consumers) and, in turn, are eaten by higher-level predators like fish, birds of prey and snakes. That makes them a vital link in the food chain of whatever environment in which they reside.

 Considering salamanders’ important ecological role and their proliferation in regional waterways, that makes understanding how they will be impacted by climate change all the more important, Ennen says.

 “You think about how many of them are found in our streams, and they become hugely important to the food web,” he says. “Collectively, the whole research program that we’re trying to build looks at how climate change affects headwater stream communities, which is an important conservation issue.”

Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament

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There is still time to register for the Spring 2016 Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament and compete for over $10,000 in cash and prizes. The 18th Annual Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament will be held over two days, Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3, 2016. Tournament registration is open to everyone possessing the appropriate fishing license and permits.

There are divisions for adult and children, as well as locals and tourists. Cost is $25 per person for a single day or $40 for both days. Participants will fish for rainbow trout in the West Prong Little Pigeon River from the National Park boundary in Gatlinburg, downstream to the Sevierville City Park bridge and its tributaries (Roaring Fork, LeConte Creek, and Dudley Creek).

More than 10,000 trout will be stocked into streams prior to the event. Prizes offered include $500 for Largest Trout, $500 for Smallest Trout, fishing equipment, gift certificates, tickets to local attractions, lodging stays and more.

Register for the Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament online, by calling (865) 661-3474, or in person at Smoky Mountain Angler, 469 Brookside Village Way in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Late registration is available in person with cash only on Friday, April 1, from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Riverside Motor Lodge, 3575 Parkway in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Trout Civil War

leah kirk

One of the more obscure occurrences in the country’s partisan political shakeup is a little noticed civil war occurring in the trout fishing world. STM has no dog in this fray, but we are watching closely.

I learned a long time ago that there will never be peace between those espousing a conservation approach to the use of natural resources, and those committed to environmental preservation. They kinda sorta sound the same, but rest assured, there is a clear line of demarcation between these two camps.

It’s not my first taste of this sort of conflict. Years ago when President Reagan appointed James Watt to the Secretary of the Interior, outcry from preservationists was identical to what is happending today.  During that time I was fortunate enough to spend time with Watt and then later saw the improvements that he brought to the GSMNP. Despite predictions then that the sky was falling, it did not.

STM strives to represent trout fishing in the South. We bend over backwards to support local chapters of Trout Unlimited, the FFF, Project Healing Waters, Casting For Recover and such, which in our opinion are our most incredible feet-on-the-ground yeoman for the future of trout fishing in the region. If it is happening in the South we want to know about it. However, our interest in covering what is happening in Alaska, Canada, Vermont or Oregon is quiet casual.

Rivers Edge Stainless Insulated Drinkware

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Rivers Edge Products’ all-new line of stainless steel, double walled, vacuum insulated drinkware offered in two styles, a Tumbler and a Travel Mug, both of which are available in a total of 20 unique outdoor designs including camo, deer, bears, horses, and birds; as well as exclusive Saltwater designs from famed marine artist Guy Harvey—which contributes a portion of each sale directly to the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. Each is listed at an MSRP of $19.99. The Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Drink Tumbler is offered in both 32 and 24 oz. sizes and is perfect for keeping hot drinks hot or cold drinks cold. The double-walled vacuum insulated design maintains constant beverage temperature for hours without attracting condensation or requiring the use of a coaster. Each tumbler comes complete with a BPA free threaded screw-on lid that is completely spill and leak-proof. The bottom of each tumbler features a tapered base with a unique embossed pattern for a sure-grip in your hand and a better fit for most vehicle cup holders.

The 16oz Travel Mugs also feature a durable, double-walled stainless steel construction that promotes maximum temperature retention inside without sweating on the outside. An easy clean, sliding lid make these mugs virtually spill-proof on even the bumpiest commutes and the sleek design fits comfortably both in your hand and inside most cup holders.

Texas Trout Fishing Seminars

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PLANO, DALLAS, Texas - Join Tom Rosenbauer at the Plano and Dallas Orvis stores, on March 9 and 10 respectively, for a presentation on Reading the Water. In this presentation, Tom will show how trout behave and feed, and how they interact with currents and structures. Not only will Tom discuss how to find trout in streams, he'll discuss how to pick fly patterns just based on water type—no entomology required.

Following the presentation at 5:30 p.m., he will demonstrate the latest products from Orvis, including the USA Mirage reel, the new Battenkill Disc Reel, Orvis Snips, Orvis Pliers, Orvis exclusive Tacky Fly Boxes, Flye Wheel, and Waterproof Luggage. Some of these are not even in stores yet, so it will be your first chance to see the products that will hit the shelves very soon.

For more information, please visit

Hardly, Strictly Musky Southern Classic

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Registration for Hardly, Strictly Musky 2017 is now open. The largest and longest running musky on the fly gathering takes place May 11th, 12th and 13th on the Collins River near McMinnville, Tennessee. 

Hardly, Strictly Musky is the largest and longest running gathering of adventure fly fishing enthusiasts in the United States. Each year on the second weekend in May, Musky on the fly enthusiasts from across the US and Canada gather on the Collins River near McMinnville, TN for a long weekend of great fishing, food, craft beer, art, and music.

 ardly, Strictly Musky is proudly sponsored by Towee Boats, Patagonia, Costa Del Mar Sunglasses and Flood Tide Co. Anglers will enjoy a long weekend of great fishing, great friends, food, fun, music and craft beer. Participants will enjoy a Thursday welcome party at the award winning Foglight Food House, two days of fishing, a special edition of the Friday night BBQ in the Volcano Room 333' under the mountain at Cumberland Caverns, Saturday night awards, event t-shirt and awesome door prizes.

 Registrations can be completed online at Anglers will also find rules, event info and links to preferred lodging.

Loosing Flies to Spanish Moss at the Saluda River

leah kirk

The lower Saluda, replete with Spanish moss and wading birds, once was a slower-moving, warm-water river like those found in central South Carolina. Today though, trout are reproducing in the lower Saluda River, another reason river advocates want sewage discharges removed from the waterway. Trout fishing is nothing new along the lower Saluda, but evidence suggests the river is in better shape today for hooking a trout than ever before.

Introduced to the lower Saluda 50 years ago, trout are living longer, growing bigger and, for the first time, reproducing in a river far away from the cold mountain streams where they thrive, say South Carolina fisheries state biologists.  Until recent years, many of the trout stocked in the Saluda each winter were either caught or died by late summer as oxygen levels dropped and water temperatures rose in central South Carolina’s oppressive heat. By fall, trout were sluggish, if they could be found at all.  

Now, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources has documented scores of cases in which trout survived from one year to the next. In 2013 and 2014, agency research found that 167 trout lived past one year. When trout live multiple years, they get bigger, growing to the size of the whopper Howard caught last week in a rocky area near West Columbia. Trout in a dam’s tailwaters such as the Saluda tend to grow faster and bigger than in small mountain streams, according to DNR documents and Trout Unlimited.

Some of the trout studied by the DNR from 2012 to 2014 verify that. The largest brown trout researchers caught in 2013 weighed nearly 7 pounds and was 24 inches long, the agency said. The largest rainbow weighed 5 pounds and was 22 inches long. The average trout is often a fraction of that size. DNR officials acknowledge that trout also appear to be spawning in the Saluda River – a phenomenon few people expected. The issue came up at a recent public hearing attended by hundreds of people opposed to a planned sewage discharge permit for Carolina Water Service.

Prodded by the threat of a lawsuit from environmentalists more than 10 years ago and the need to obtain a new federal license to run the dam, the power company began pumping more oxygen into the water and releasing higher volumes of water in the summer. The installed devices called “hub baffles” that improve air levels in water below the Lake Murray dam. The company also routinely discharges more than twice the flow of water than it used to. The river once suffered from low oxygen levels for up to 40 days each year, last year had four days with low oxygen readings.

                The increased water flow through the dam also has created more habitat for trout, and it helps prevent the river from getting too warm in spots.  Water temperatures ranged from 59 to 68 degrees during the last few days of August and the first few days of September. Those temperatures are suitable for rainbow and brown trout.

In the mid-1960s, South Carolina’s wildlife agency decided to stock trout in the 10-mile-long stretch of river, figuring the water was generally cold enough for rainbows and browns. Virtually every year since then, they’ve dropped rainbow and brown trout from a helicopter to replenish those fish that were caught by anglers or died from natural conditions. The winter-time stocking releases about 28,000 trout, ranging in size from three-inch brown trout to 10-inch rainbows. The fish come from the Walhalla State Fish Hatchery in the mountains of Oconee County.

Stocking trout in the lower Saluda has created an interesting contrast found almost nowhere else. Trees that drip with Spanish moss, a signature plant of the coastal plain, line a river filled with trout similar to those that thrive in the Blue Ridge of Oconee, Pickens and Greenville counties.

For You Reading Pleasure

leah kirk

          If all goes according to plan, this week will see the initial release of Southern Saltwater Fly Fishing Magazine. Editor Jimmy Jacobs has put together an outstanding launch issue that is more of a destination oriented magazine than our other titles. The “Close Look” is Georgia’s Golden Coast. We hope it is well received.

                This week will also see the release of the March issue of Southern Kayak Fishing Magazine. Editor Ragan Whitlock has gone all out with his first issue. If it is a sign of things to come, he will certainly have SKF back on the fast track. Kayak fishing is experiencing a 20 percent annual growth. This title is a 50/50 split on coastal/inland fishing.

                Associate publisher Jerry Davis is corralling up a bunch of giveaways for trips to places like Belize. Elk River Resort (WV) and others that will be offered to anyone willing to sign up for a chance to win. Jerry and I go back to the early 1990s when he was the president of Thickett Publishing, and I was the editor of BowMasters, Buckhunter and a bevy of other sporting titles. His arrival has literally reenergized this five years company.

                We’ll all be at the Blue Ridge Trout Fest next month. This includes Olive K. Nynne who writes the “Blackwing Olive Chronicles” in STM. At Atlanta last month several people stopped by our booth hoping she would be there. Unfortunately, it was a service dog only allowed shindig which, despite her prestigious press credentials, precluded her attendance.

Olive is a classic “kiss-and-tail” journalist with two passions in life: chicken and internal scandals. If I am ever allowed to make any real decisions again in this organization, mind you that the first thing I plan to do is muzzle the old girl. Things are looking up for me here, too. I received a new I-Phone yesterday as a reward for not creating any internal crisis for a full year.

Speaking of things in which I am only casually involved here, we have a new website for Southern Unlimited, LLC that sorta, kinda ties together our current five magazine titles. I am told too, that the plan is to ramp up the social media campaigns. When I asked how this was going to happen, I was assured it was not something I would understand—you know---one less thang to worry about I suppose.

Stream Access Rights Back in Court

leah kirk

SALT LAKE CITY – Years of legal uncertainty surrounding public access of Utah streams and waterways soon could be resolved, as the Utah Supreme Court prepares to issue a ruling on a controversial state law prohibiting public access on waters that cross private property.

Recently the court heard oral arguments on Utah's stream access law. At issue is the public's ability to access waters that flow across privately owned lands. Some landowners want to bar the public from fishing, hunting, floating or otherwise accessing these water resources.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, a national sportsmen's group with a growing presence in Utah, urged sportsmen and recreationists to advocate strongly for sustained and expanded public access opportunities.

"As more and more of Utah's backcountry becomes developed, the public's access to Utah's streams and rivers shrinks dramatically," said BHA Utah member Rachel Dees, who lives in Sandy. "BHA stands in solidarity with the Utah Stream Access Coalition in the fight to restore the access rights of all hunters, anglers, kayakers and other recreational water users."

"I am pleased with the way the oral arguments in each case were handled by the justices," said USAC Director Chris Barkey of Monday's court proceedings. "They had several legal questions for each side. Our attorneys were nothing but pure class and proved their value in a court of law with knowledge and grace."

In 2008, the Utah Supreme Court ruled unanimously in the case of Conatser v. Johnson that the use of public waters for recreation and other lawful activities permits citizens to touch streambeds, even if they are owned by private interests. In 2010, however, the Utah legislature passed the deceivingly titled Public Waters Access Act (H.B. 141), which outright closed public access on 2,700 miles, or 42 percent, of Utah streams and rivers. A district court decision in 2015 restored public access, yet that decision has been subject to a stay issued by a state Supreme Court judge. The court's ruling could bring closure to this long-running dispute.

Alabama’s Frogg Toggs Takes First Place

leah kirk

Fernandina Beach, FL. -Southwick Associates has announced the 2016 top brands for many angling product categories. This list has been compiled from the internet-based surveys completed in 2016 by panels.  Alabama based Frogg Toggs took first place in the Top Rain Gear Brand category.

In 2016, the most frequently purchased tackle brands included:

*     Top combo brand: Shakespeare

*     Top spinner bait: Strike King

*     Top swivel brand: Eagle Claw

*     Top leader brand: Seaguar

*     Top fly reel brand: Orvis

*     Top fly tying material brand: Hareline Dubbin

*     Top fish finder brand: Humminbird

*     Top clothing brand: Columbia

*     Top rain gear brand: Frogg Toggs

*     Top fishing net brand: Frabill

*     Top knives brand: Rapala

 The list above is only a fraction of all fishing products tracked in the Southwick Associates bi-monthly consumer panel surveys.  Aside from brand purchased, information also includes the percentage of product purchases across different retail channels, total spending and average price paid by product, and demographics for anglers buying specific products. In addition, Southwick Associates tracks angler participation information including total days spent fishing, type of fishing (fresh, salt and more), preferred species, and where they go.

Ultra South: Argentina Spring Creek & Dorado Fishing

leah kirk

By Kevin Howell

Walker Parrott and I just returned from a week long exploratory spring creek mission in Northern Patagonia, followed by a week of superb Golden Dorado fishing on the Upper Parana River Spring creek trout fishing in Northern Patagonia.

The spring creeks are all located high in the Andes Mountains and totally encompassed by the famed Pehuen (Monkey Puzzle) trees.  Most of the Pehuen trees in this region date anywhere from 500-1000 years old.  These unique trees grow about 1mm in diameter a year.  These creeks rarely get fished as they are well beyond the reach of most anglers out for a day on the river. In fact, we never even saw another boot track.  Fishing ranged from sight fishing 24" brown and rainbow trout in the small spring creek to blind casting size 6 dry flies to likely looking lies.

We followed this spectacular week of Trout fishing with a week on the Upper Parana with Andres, Marcello, Carlos and Rodrigo, our buddies from Parana on the Fly.  What a great week it was! We caught and landed a lot of different species, including Dorado, Pacu, Pira Pita, Boga and others.  We did have a few storm delays through the week, but a very good time was had by all.

Join Walker and I next year for a week of trout fishing on the spring creeks or a week chasing Grande Dorados on the Parana. You can also join us for both weeks, as we repeat this epic journey. The trip is strictly limited to 6 anglers and will fill fast.  Be sure to get your name on the list.

FFF Southern Council 2017 Fly Fishing Schools

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Every year Riverside Retreat donates 20% of gross sales of the Fly Fishing School to the IFFF Southern Council for fishery conservation. This year our goal is $4,000. You can help by forwarding this email on to those you think might be interested or pasting this link on your Facebook page or other media.

The April 7 - 9 session (great for novice through intermediate anglers) is approaching, and we have 5 - 7 spots open. Call and reserve now!

The April 28 - 30 session with 4 time author Jason Randall will be geared toward intermediate to advanced anglers. Call and reserve now!

Instruction over 3 days, with 2 nights lodging and all your meals for $495. This is the highest value Fly Fishing School you will ever find.

Why is School our different? We believe that fly fishing is something that cannot be learned just by giving you information. It must be knowledge given through a 'hands-on' application.  You can read all the books and watch all the videos you like, but there's no substitute for on-the-water instruction from a patient, helpful, humble, and experienced guide/instructor.

Our guide/instructor to student ratio is 3:1. Sessions are limited to 10 -12 attendees.  3 hours of personal, one-on-one casting instruction by IFFF Certified Casting Instructors.  11 hours of classroom presentations of fly fishing techniques followed with 8 hours of on-the-water time to help you convert "what you heard" into "what you now know", all while fishing one of the nation's finest trout streams.

Lodging is at Riverside Retreat, located on the White River in the Ozark Mountains of north central Arkansas. You will have a private room, complete with a full bathroom. Private cabins are available at additional cost. The food is great!

 Information geared to help you catch fish!

 The focus of this learning opportunity is to pass on knowledge that will help you catch fish, or more fish, or larger fish.

*          How to read a river

*          Playing, landing & handling fish

*          Steamer fishing techniques

*          Dry fly presentation techniques

*          Fishing nymphs productively

*          How to fish wet flies


Our program will take your fishing to the next level. This program is a great way for people of varying experience to enjoy fly fishing. Seasoned anglers can focus on improving already known techniques, while less experienced anglers can learn the skills on which to base a lifetime of fly fishing.

1st Session    April 7 - 9 - taking reservations now!

 2nd Session   April 28 - 30 not for beginners - taking reservations now!

 3rd Session    Sept. 1 - 3 (Labor Day)

 4th Session    Nov. 3 - 5

Sessions 1 – This session is great for those new to the sport and those who are intermediate fly fishers, but have limited casting skills and are only are comfortable with one or two techniques and wish to catch more fish. Even if you are an advanced intermediate angler, you will learn new things at this session.

Session 2 – This session is not for those who have never fly fished. It requires a basic overall knowledge and some experience to be able to apply the advanced information presented.  Special guest, author Jason Randall will present portions of the instruction. His insights combine the science of hydrology and the science of fish biology and how they relate to fly fishing.  If you want to know more about the 'where, when and why's of fish behavior' this session is for you.  This session will also have an emphasis on tight line nymphing techniques. Jason will also conduct an on-the-water class on this fly fishing method. In addition, one of our casting instructors at this session can offer instruction on 2 handed casting and single hand spey casting.

Session 1 - great for novices through advanced intermediates

$495 is for double occupancy

$695 single occupancy

$250 for lodging and meals for a non-participating guest of a School attendee.

$400 if you are local or wish to lodge elsewhere.

Session 2 with author Jason Randall - great for intermediates to advanced anglers 

$595 double occupancy 

$795 single occupancy

Frequently asked questions

Attendees are separated by skill level (ask you what your goals are, and work from that point). If you know where the feeding fish reside in any river, know all methods of how to effectively fish nymphs, wet flies, streamers and dry flies, there would be no compelling reason for you to attend.

If I come alone do I have to pay for a single occupancy? No, we will room you with another single.

What if I desire to have a certain area of my casting worked on?  You can request any type of specific casting instruction you want. Help with distance, accuracy, specialty casts, and single handed spey casts are available at all sessions. 2 handed casting instruction is available at session 2.

I've never fly fished, is this School for me? Come to Session 1. We separate attendees by skill level and begin building from where you are now.

Itinerary and other information can be found at

Don Says: Who's on 1st -- Watt's on 2nd

leah kirk

Occasionally I like to slow down long enough to share with you what is happening at Southern Trout. As of now we are publishing five digital magazine under what probably appears to be an ad hoc franchising scheme. Each title has its own editor who has virtual autonomy over the content, direction and personality of his magazine. Oddly enough that was the easy part.

        Last weekend I took my annual vacation at the local hospital. I entered “Motel Hell” with ten toes, and despite the considerable efforts of a few carving oriented professionals there, check out with ten toes. In all honesty, it was a nice hiatus from reality.

            So what’s next in my crazy world? I can share that which I am privy to, which these days is not much. Rumor has it that Southern Unlimited, LLC, which is what we are officially known as, we will be launching four more new magazines with survivalist/camping themes and perhaps two more national hunting titles. Also much to the relief of many, odds are I will be passing off content responsibly of Southern Trout Magazine sometime this summer.

            Oddly enough, I am not sure where my spot is at the rapidly evolving Southern Unlimited organization. Each editor is roughly twice as smart as I am. I find myself getting lost in high level conservations in the sales department. The designers do not even know my name. The only staffer that I half way trust is Olive K. Nynne, and everyone knows she is a certified bitch. Mind you I am not complaining, as I hoped this day would come, but I do find myself confused at times. Thank goodness my probation period resulting from that lion being shot ends in November.

North Carolina’s New Fishing Regs

leah kirk

RALEIGH, N.C.— The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has voted on proposed rule changes to state fisheriesregulations that become effective Aug. 1, 2017. Wildlife commissioners approved fishing proposals that will add 40 miles of wild trout waters to the agency's Public Mountain Trout Waters program — 10 miles on Rendezvous Mountain State Forest Game Land in Wilkes County and 30 miles on Stone Mountain State Park in Alleghany County. The addition of these wild trout waters brings the total number of miles in the Public Mountain Trout Waters program to more than 5,300 miles.

Of the 39 proposed rule changes, one proposal that was not approved would have prohibited the use of archery equipment for taking nongame fishes on a section of Lake James. This proposed change was designed to protect muskellunge during the spawning season. After hearing from constituents, wildlife commissioners recognized that stakeholders are working together to resolve those issues outside of rule changes and instead through angler education and signage on the lake.

Harry Murray’s March Trout Fly Special

leah kirk

Take advantage of the excellent trout fishing this month by showing the fish the flies which match the natural insects they are feeding upon. Available from Harry Murray at Murray’s Fly Shop is a special collection that includes: (3 of each) Mr. Rapidan Emerger size 12, Mr. Rapidan Beadh Head Nymph size 12 and Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry Fly size 14 with one FREE Murray's Trout Nymph 9ft 5X Leader.  Regularly priced at $30.60; right now they are available at the discounted price of $25.35. For more visit

Superiuminova Wrist Watch

leah kirk

Throughout the history of the wristwatch, designers have struggled with the best method to illuminate the watch face for easy viewing at night or in dark environments. Superluminova and tritium are popular solutions today, but both have shortcomings. When exposed to light regularly, Superluminova is the brightest option, but that brightness fades to below that of tritium over several hours. Tritium can illuminate constantly for ten years with zero light exposure, but it isn¹t as bright as Superluminova making it hard to see your watch when you go inside after being in bright sunlight.

               Reactor's Never Dark technology uniquely combines Superluminova and tritium making its watch faces visible in any lighting environment without waiting for your eyes to adjust. Even the blacked out Atom field watch is easy to see on nighttime hunting, fishing or boating trips, working in the garage or basement, or when stumbling around in the morning getting dressed in the dark. For more visit