(the bohr-ee-al-ist)


Posted on April 15, 2014


Pike are hell on flies.

Razor sharp teeth and aggressive strikes, leave a fly box full of torn and shredded bits of feather and fur.

At the end of every season, inventory is taken and plans are made for the next year. Materials are ordered, recipes poured over and ideas sketched out. The intention being to spend cold winter days sitting at the vise, watching the snow pile up outside, tying replacements and experimenting with new patterns.

But that vision never seems to materialize. Instead, other less productive ways to spend time are found and the vise sits idle for most of the winter. Suddenly spring appears and along with it, the realization that a single fly, had yet to be tied. Finally, after a winter’s worth of procrastination, a beer is cracked, the vise dusted off and every single spare moment is spent tying flies before the ice thaws.

Happens every year. This one being no different.


Posted on February 13, 2014


Flush a bird in the winter and this is the look you’ll get.

A mixture of anger and annoyance, contempt and confusion. She thought you were partners. She thought that you and her had a deal . . . she puts ‘em up, you put ‘em down.

But you just stood there on your cross country skis, poles in hand, mumbling apologies and justifications. Something about the date and game bird seasons.

But bird dogs can’t read a calendar and don’t grasp the complexities of wildlife management systems.

So you get the cold shoulder for fifteen minutes before all is forgiven again.



Posted on January 22, 2014


Its dark and cold and there’s a lethargy that swallows all good intentions, call it Seasonal Affective Disorder or the Post-Bird Season Blues.

The solution is simple.

Step outside.

Step outside. Break trail.

Step outside. Break trail. Go places.

Step outside. Break trail. Go places.

Break trail. Go places.

Go places.


Posted on December 16, 2013


Just a few weeks ago the skies were blue, the clover green and the birds were still moving in the afternoon sun.

But then the daylight dwindles, the thermometer plummets, the hard frosts finish off the clover and the birds begin sticking closer to cover.

Soon after the first snows blanket the ground, allowing to you to see what the dog could always smell.

You focus in on the most likely places but the birds have all but vanished. Every infrequent flush seemingly the last that you’ll see. Still you push on through the thick brush, searching for birds.

The very few that you do down are hard won, hunkered down as they were in the tangled undergrowth and dense spruce thickets. Each one a just reward for the distance on your feet and the numbness in your fingers.

Then one morning you wake up to two feet of snow, another grouse season ending and the realization that “rent-a-movie” weather has begun in earnest.


Posted on December 3, 2013


No will ever mistake me for a sharpshooting shotgun wizard but I’m not afraid of a hike and I know when to pull the trigger.

She won’t win any field trials but she works fairly close, with a good nose for birds and if I do down one she won’t come back without a mouthful of feathers.

She wasn’t always a bird dog. I haven’t always hunted birds.

No mentors. No trainers. We’ve grown into this together. Teaching each other, continually learning through trial and error.

We’re more than a little unorthodox out there, but we get it done often enough.


Posted on November 20, 2013


Two weeks into winter and I’ll already be thinking about spring. The snow melting. Long days of sunlight. Hungry pike feeding in the shallows.

Springtime will find me standing in a boat chasing pike but my mind will turn to the upcoming summer. The bugs dying down. The greening of the land. Casting smaller flies to rising fish.

And then in summer walking along a grayling stream in the middle of August, sweltering in the heat, the afternoon sun beating down, I’ll inevitably find my thoughts wandering to crisp fall mornings, bird dogs, and the return of ravenous fish.

But the only thoughts I have in autumn are about how I wish it would last forever.

Never does though . . . never does.


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