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There's an app for everything now. Fishhound has its mobile app that helps you know where to go and what to throw. There are make-you-a-better-angler apps like the Strike King Fishing app or the Fish Notes app that Jimmy Houston endorses. Navionics has taken its popular lake maps and made them available on your phone. Then there are the make-you-a-better-steward apps like the Seafood Watch app that lets you make better...
The year is 1968. Dick Sternberg is pulling his 14-foot foot aluminum boat out into Lake Michigan for the first salmon run the lake has ever known. Water extends to the blue horizon. Even the giant lakes of his Minnesota home don't begin to compare.
In those days, at least where Dick and his fishing buddies were launching, there was no ramp, so he and the boys had to carry the boat.
Today's high-tech salmon gear didn't exist yet. Armed with just their walleye rods that these Minnesota kids spooled with heavier line, they shoved off into the Great Lake.
Today, king salmon swim in those waters, but in 1968, it was just cohos – silver salmon.
"I remember firing up the motor and flipping out a Tad-Polly from Heddon," says Sternberg. "Couldn't have gone 100 feet...
Out here in Big Sky Country, it's not about 2-weight rods and casting to hot-dog sized brookies in streams no wider than your bathtub.
It's driftboats on rivers as wide as an interstate, but out here there aren't so many roads, either.
"It's not always about how many fish you catch or how big the fish are," says Fleck. "It's about the total experience."
But we all know that small fish aren't the ones that stories are made of.
DATELINE: Lake Waukewan, New Hampshire. Springtime. Sunrise.
Standing on a boat ramp is 83-years-young Jim Hughes.
He's impressed by the precision – the organization – demonstrated by the anglers as they jockey boats and launch them for the day's bass tournament.
But Jim's not there as a spectator. A longtime Selectman for the Town of Meredith, he's got a new mission, defend the lake. Jim's one of New Hampshire's "lake hosts" – a band of volunteers and paid staff who stand on boat ramps across the state to make sure "obnoxious weeds" never make their way into the lakes.
And it's working. In the past 10 years, they've pulled invasive weeds – mostly milfoil – off more than 1,000 boats that could have infested the lakes.
They see a lot more than weeds...
In attics all across the country, there are curled black-and-white photographs of grandpa holding up a stringer of cutthroat trout. The white border has yellowed, but still contains captions in the cursive penmanship of yesteryear. "Yellowstone 1962 – a good day of fishing."
Those days and those fish are gone now, and it's not because the fishermen caught them all.
Introduced non-native lake trout have created fewer fishing opportunities for fewer fishermen.
"Fishing in many of Montana's lakes – Flathead, Yellowstone among the most famous - is totally different today than it was just 20 years ago," says Bruce Farling, executive director of Montana Trout Unlimited. "At one time, Flathead Lake was one of the most...
A very handsome barstool chatters on the floor as it's pulled up by its sitter at Alewife, Baltimore's best modern American beer hall. Forty beers on tap makes for some tough decisions, and the menu doesn't make it easy, either. Lots of good options, including some food that makes a difference.
This fish story starts and ends in these walls, because Chef Chad Wells, who runs the place, has fished since he was a kid. The thing is, the fish that live in his waters? They've changed – and he's got a plan to save them.
"A lot of areas near Baltimore – especially south – where you could have gone 5 years ago and might have seen a Northern Snakehead, if you caught one, you'd be considered lucky, because anglers like to catch them," says...
Standing under a salty morning sky are a hundred or so predators, armed for battle.
They mill around on two legs, trading strategies and smiles on a dock that's bordered on both sides by miles of beach. Scientists watch – NOAA, USGS, the University researchers, the private foundation people.
These are lion hunters, preparing for the day's chase.
Some are armed with spears and bags, others with rod and reel. Some bear SCUBA gear, others board boats bristling with graphite poles, deep-water reels mounted to each of them.
And they're off! It's a lionfish derby, and the granddaddy of them all is the Green Turtle Key Derby on Abaco in the Bahamas. Unlike bass and walleye competitions where catch-and-release is at the core of the sport, these are harvest events...
Towering overhead are steep bluffs, decorated in the explosive colors of fall.
The river's clear enough to see the bronze flash 50 feet away, as the smallmouth peels line off the reel.
On the oars of his historic longboat, Kyle Kosovich coaches his young client, whose rod is bucking against the infuriated smallmouth as Kosovich holds the craft in the current.
"I didn't realize until I built an historic boat what I'd brought back to the area," says Kosovich. "I put something together that was different, and it's caught on."
Kosovich runs Longboat Outfitters, where guests take historic-style trips with modern amenities down Ozark rivers that have seen a lot of change.
Massive dam builds...
The sun has dipped as low as it's going to before it's altogether gone. The other boats are pulling off the water. That's good news, because they'd spook the fish.
Eric Strehlow is backing his 18-foot Tracker Pro Tournament aluminum boat down the ramp below Gavin's Point Dam, which links Nebraska and South Dakota and holds back the waters of the Missouri River.
It's still, and there's no moon tonight, which is good. Darkness favors the hunter.
Eric cuts the big motor. Drops the trolling motor. Rolls up to a hole. Depth finder shows 20 feet. And there at the surface of the water, shapes. Big ones. Eric picks up his bow.
"This is the routine," Eric whispers. "Go to the area you think they are, drop your trolling motor and drift into 'em quiet. Light 'em up,...
Teeg Stouffer is executive director of Recycled Fish – the national nonprofit organization of "anglers living a Lifestyle of Stewardship both on and off the water, because Our Lifestyle Runs Downstream." Visit RecycledFish.org.
Tourists pose for snapshots as the Washington Monument towers behind them.
Lobbyists bustle from one meeting to the next and pound out deals on their Bluetooth headsets while they text their assistants on their Blackberries.
A group of high-school sophomores herds along behind a pair of haggard chaperones.
And Rob Snowhite, with fly rod in hand, weaves...
about the author
Recycled Fish is the national non-profit organization of "anglers living a Lifestyle of Stewardship both on and off the water, because Our Lifestyle Runs Downstream."