I CAUGHT THE FIRST fish in a small pool that clung to the rock face like lichen, 15 feet below the top drop of a double waterfall, just before the creek plunged over a 120-foot cliff. I was simply messing around as we took a breather before the trail’s final descent to the bottom of the gorge. Nothing could live in there, I’d figured, as I halfheartedly rolled a yellow Sweat Bee into the hole.
The fly held less than two seconds on the edge of a foam line before a little trout smacked it as if it were the last piece of a pizza at a frat party. The trout ping-ponged around the pool, with nowhere to go. I was just as surprised as the fish. It seemed incredible that a trout could live in this crack in the cliff. The fish must have washed down from upstream at some point, and unless high water swept it over the waterfall— a ride it likely wouldn’t survive— its life forevermore would be constrained by this one plunge pool hardly four steps wide. These days, we all know how that feels.
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LIVING THE DREAM
After the author arrives in Maine’s fabled North Woods with a moose tag in his pocket, an adventure he’s been wanting to take his entire hunting life, reality sets in, and he learns a valuable lesson: Be careful what you wish for
Get the Drift
How to make an accurate windage call under pressure
An icebreaker outing in a pristine spot produces the rut hunt of a lifetime
A Local Haunt
The author finds a sense of place in an overlooked creek, close to home
A Hop and a Pump
Jump-shooting rabbits with classic upland guns is about as good a time as you can have in the outdoors
Welcome TO camp
Is there any place better than a good hunting camp? It has everything: great food, games and pranks, and of course, hunting. Shoot, we don’t even mind going to camp for grueling work days in the summer. Here, our contributors share their favorite stories, traditions, and lessons learned from camps they’ve shared. So come on in and join us. The door’s open.
Before you even claim a bunk, you need to eyeball the hardware your buddies have brought. In the process, you’ll see that the guns at deer camp are changing. What was walnut and blued steel may now be Kevlar and carbon fiber. The 10 rifles featured here aren’t your father’s deer guns. They’re today’s new camp classics
THE JOURNEY TO PIKE'S PEAK
Last summer, the author and three friends ventured off the grid to a remote fish camp in Canada. They hoped for great fishing, but what they experienced was truly something else
When early-season whitetails vanish from open feeding areas, follow this woods-edge ambush plan
A pup’s first year, from preseason training to fall’s big show