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NC Fly Fishing Trip for Women

leah kirk

MILLS RIVER, N.C. — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is offering a women-only fly-fishing weekend on April 21-23 at the North Mills River Recreation Area and Campground in Henderson County. It is open to women of all skill levels who want to learn more about fly fishing. The $125 registration fee covers instruction, fishing equipment and camping for the weekend, and a light lunch, beverages and snacks on Saturday.

The 3-day program, which will be held rain or shine, is being offered through the Wildlife Commission's Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program ( Accommodations are at an outdoor campground, which includes a bath house with hot showers and restrooms. Participants should bring their own tents and equipment, if they have them; however, space in one of two small group tents will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Contact BOW coordinator BB Gillen at or 919-218-3638 to reserve a tent space.

WV Trout in the Classroom

leah kirk

CHARLESTON, WV— Bright minds and caring hearts--that's probably the best way to describe Melinda Humphreys’ 5th-grade class at Shoals Elementary in Kanawha County, WV.

Thanks to our West Virginia DNR and the Ernie Nester Chapter of Trout Unlimited--a group that works to keep our streams healthy and clean--the students have had a great opportunity recently to raise baby brown trout in the classroom, and it's a lot more than just watching them swim—it’s educational, too.

"They learn the life-cycle of the trout. How the environment here in the classroom differs and is similar to the life out in the natural environment. They actually get to take a trip and release the fish", said Humphreys.

This isn't this programs first rodeo, either. It's so popular--that the DNR, trout unlimited and other schools have been taking part in it for 10 years now. Schools from all over the state have been raising and releasing young trout across different parts of West Virginia.

Homer Sweeney, with the Ernie Nester Chapter of Trout Unlimited here in West Virginia, says the kids get a lot out of the program.

"This program is set-up for the teacher to teach the students--and they do most of the work", said Sweeney.

The kids don't seem to mind, either.

They especially like measuring the pH of the water—how acidic or non-acidic it is—and seeing their test tubes change colors. For the fish’s sake, they root for the water to turn green or blue after the test; this means the water is more alkaline in nature, which most trout prefer.

The trout also prefer clean and cool water—preferably in the upper 50s—to really be comfortable. Cooler water simply holds more oxygen, something that trout demand a little more than other species of fish here in West Virginia.

All of this means that special care is needed to keep them in good shape. This means a lot of work that can’t be neglected, but the students learn a lot about pH, water quality, management and even data analysis.

These 5th-grade students feel a sense of accomplishment with being part of the program—and they’re having a lot of fun also.


Kentucky Musky on the March

leah kirk

by Kevin Kelly

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 16, 2017) – Spring break for many conjures thoughts of traveling somewhere warm and catnapping on a beach between rounds of golf. A staycation sounds much better if you’re a muskellunge (known at STM as big, toothy trout) angler from Kentucky. The state’s muskellunge fishery has earned a reputation that extends beyond its borders, and experienced anglers know spring is one of the can’t-miss times of the year.

“Your odds of catching a trophy are better in the spring and fall,” said Tom Timmermann, northeastern fisheries district biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “In the fall, they’re packing on that weight to get through the winter. In the spring, if you catch those females before they release their eggs, they’re full of eggs. Either way, you’re looking at a chance at some bigger fish.”

Kentucky lies within the natural range of the Ohio strain of musky, but the population in lakes and streams now is supported with stocking. Buckhorn, Cave Run, Dewey and Green River lakes are managed as trophy fisheries and there is a 36-inch minimum size limit in place on each. A 30-inch size limit for muskellunge is in effect elsewhere in the state. Cave Run Lake reaches into parts of Bath, Menifee, Morgan and Rowan counties and it produced the current state record in 2008. The 47-pound bruiser measured 54 inches.

The longer periods of daylight and water temperatures climbing past 50 degrees trigger the muskellunge’s instincts to move shallow. Many anglers do well focusing on larger embayments, secondary cuts and flats because they warm up first.

Look for areas that offer food, vegetation or timber, warmer water and close proximity to deeper water. Scotts Creek, Warix Run, Buck Creek and Leatherwood on Cave Run Lake are popular spots in spring. Start at the points and work back to the shallows, casting to the bank and any structure or sub-surface features along the way.


leah kirk

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will offer a free workshop on the basics of fly tying, 1 – 5 p.m., April 1, at the MDC Northeast Regional Office, 3500 South Baltimore Road in Kirksville. MDC invites anyone age 12 and older to register for this free clinic that will cover how to tie three basic flies using specialized equipment, and how to present the various flies to improve the chances of catching fish with them. MDC will provide all necessary equipment, but participants should bring reading glasses if they use them.

Seating is limited for this workshop and participants must preregister by March 31 by calling the MDC office in Hannibal at (573) 248-2530. For more information on Discover Nature Fishing programs, visit

TN Fishing Guides Must Read…

leah kirk


NASHVILLE --- Tennessee fishing guides now must complete an application for their licenses beginning with the 2017-18 license year. Guides wishing to apply can go online by clicking here to get an application. Once filled out, the application can be sent by fax or mail (number and address are included on the application) or the application can be taken to a TWRA regional office. Regional offices are located in Jackson, Nashville, Crossville, and Morristown.

The agency will immediately issue a 30-day temporary license and then send by mail, a hard copy license before the temporary period ends. The size of a credit card, this year’s guide licenses features a rainbow trout.  The cost for fishing guide licenses is $150 for Tennessee residents. The cost is $650 for non-Tennessee residents.

Heber Springs Angling Expo Next Weekend

leah kirk

Heber Springs, Arkansas is the site of the Annual Angling Expo April 1st and 2nd. The Rotary Club of Cleburne County Arkansas will host the Annual expo and outdoors show. Featured will be a large variety of vendors, special events, and displays of fishing, hunting, camping, and general outdoor activities. Members of the Southern Trout family will be there manning a booth and enjoying the fun.

The expo will be held in Heber Springs, Arkansas, in the community center. The expo is produced, promoted, and managed by volunteers who are members of Rotary. Heber Springs is home to Greers Ferry Lake and The Little Red River. Nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in northcentral Arkansas, Greers Ferry Lake offers 40,000 acres of clear, clean waters inviting anglers from across the country. Fishing on Greers Ferry Lake is rewarding year-round and is home to every fish native to Arkansas. Greers Ferry Lake holds the WORLD RECORD for walleye and hybrid striped bass. (Most walleye are caught in February to late March during the spawning time.)

                Below Sugarloaf Mountain in Heber Springs is the beginning of the Little Red River. The “Little Red”, as it is often called, is one of the cleanest and most scenic rivers in America and offers excellent fly-fishing. The cold and clean water is home to huge Rainbow and Brown Trout. In 1992, the river produced the WORLD RECORD brown trout (40 pounds, 4 ounces). This record stood until 2009. Brown trout from 8-10 pounds are common and a new world record is always possible.

The weekend is broken down into five skill-building sessions and participants will rotate through each session. In the stream ecology session, participants will search for aquatic organisms using nets and kick seines to understand what type of flies work best for trout fishing. They will learn how to tie flies that mimic the organisms they find — "matching the hatch." In the basic equipment session, participants will learn about proper waders, wading shoes, vests and other items that make fishing fun.

Other sessions include knot tying, fly casting and lure presentation. Experienced instructors will demonstrate basic casting techniques and offer one-on-one instruction. On Sunday morning, participants will practice their newfound skills with a guided fishing trip on the North Fork Mills River.

83-Pound Lake Trout!!

leah kirk

The rod-and-reel world record for lake trout is 72 pounds and was caught in 1995 on Great Bear Lake in Northwest Territories. So it should come as no surprise if the next record laker comes from that same fishery.

And it almost did. Check this out: Members of the Deline First Nation harvested a lake trout from Great Bear Lake that weighed 83 pounds! They were sustenance fishing with a gill net and tried to revive the monster laker, but it was already dead.

News about the catch of this amazing lake trout from fishing guide Brandon Isaac, who works at Plummer’s Arctic Lodges, which is about 150 miles on the opposite side of Great Bear Lake from the Deline First Nation community. As Brandon writes in his Facebook post: “I’ve been privileged to visit them twice. Amazing people and stewards of the land.”

Brandon continued: “This fish is part of the reason why I love guiding in the arctic. Every morning, every guide launches their boat thinking “today could be the day”. The new world record is cruising around there somewhere. And since we’re a catch & release lodge – the 50 pounder caught 10 years ago is potentially still alive, but 20-30 pounds bigger.”

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

leah kirk

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

leah kirk

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

leah kirk

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

leah kirk

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

leah kirk

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

leah kirk

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.