We drove west toward the setting sun, which was disappearing into a heavy cloud bank. The put-in was only a few minutes’ ride from our campsite, but we spent it mostly in silence.

“I’m kind of nervous,” I said at last.

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Night School

After a month and a half of intense and diverse fly fishing it feels like a lifetime ago that I was sitting at my tying bench anxiously waiting for the rivers to open. But that doesn’t mean the anxiety is gone. Michigan Junes are so full of important hatches and active fish that I am terrified I’ll miss a critical week or evening or hatch or rise or fish because I managed my time wrong. I feel actual physical anxiety over this for the first part of the month.

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Living in the North means waiting for spring. The winter has its charm, with its silent woods and clean whiteness; but at some point it reaches its annual apogee and begins to decline, through thaws and melts and mud and gasping blizzards. We notice this turn with our noses. Frozen air does not carry scent well and it’s the first smell of earth and water that recalls our ancient memory of spring. At that point we stop enduring winter and begin waiting for spring.

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On really good writing

“…when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”
Holden Caulfield

I’m not sure a phone call is always appropriate, but I understand what he’s saying. We all crave just a few more words from Maclean and Hemingway, yet we know that in truth it’s the unanswered questions in their stories that leave room for us: missing sequences in a DNA helix, for us to splice in just enough of ourselves to allow the story to really mean something.

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The night is dark and full of terrors.

Especially for Hexagenia limbata in northern lower Michigan.

These American mayflies spend most of their two-year life span burrowed in underwater muck banks, but near the end, they are compelled by hot June weather to swim to the river’s surface, shed their nymphal shell in the surface film, and ride the current as their cellophane wings dry. They are cumbersome, nearly two inches long, and don’t fly well, so they evolved to make this transition at night, when they are less visible to fish and other predators. For thousands of years, this emergence was the ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner

more “The night is dark and full of terrors.”