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I’ve caught steelhead salmon before. They are highly prized, both for the fight they put up on the water, and for their tastiness on the table.

Kokanee are the landlocked version of steelhead. Kokanee don’t occur naturally; they’re hatchery planted fish. This practice began in Washington state, but occurs in lakes throughout the Northwest today. Idaho is one of the states that stocks kokes, as they are known to locals.

During the fall, it’s not only the leaves that change colors. Fall is also kokanee spawning time. That’s when they turn a dazzling red with a green head. When the spawn happens, they aren’t great for fishing (at least if you want to eat them), but they are a favorite target for such predatory birds as the bald eagle. Find out the best places to watch this amazing spectacle in this article from Outdoors Unlimited.

idaho_fallAs autumn approaches many outdoor adventurers enjoy watching a natural transformation that changes the look of Idaho’s high country; while the autumn sky is filled with the colors of changing leaves, so are many Idaho streams filled with color of spawning kokanee salmon.

Kokanee are the land-locked version of the anadromous sockeye salmon which spend most of their lives in the ocean, then return to places like the Stanley Basin to spawn. The domesticated kokanee planted in Idaho reservoirs and lakes originated in Washington state in the 1930′s and 40′s. Fish and Game has successfully introduced them into many lakes and reservoirs around Idaho including: Lake Pend Oreille, Lake Couer d’Alene, Priest Lake, Dworshak Reservoir, Payette Lake, Warm Lake, Lucky Peak, Arrowrock Reservoir, Anderson Ranch Reservoir, Deadwood Reservoir, Island Park Reservoir, and Ririe Reservoir, just to name a few.

Photos: 52 Rivers (top); Visit Idaho (above)


I’m often asked why I bring so many rods for a trip. The reason is you really don’t know what you’ll encounter until you get out there. I ride on open party boats that are on a schedule, so I want to maximize my fishing time during the allotted time for a trip. I’ve got enough time on the boats to have a general idea of what to expect for a given trip. I bring enough rod/reel combos and set them up for different situations. I do this prior to fishing so that once we’re into the bite, no time is wasted.

Despite the fact that I fish mostly saltwater, the same idea applies to bass fishing. Read how professional bass angler Scott Bonnema prepares to win on the water.

big-smallmouth-on-soft-plasticsThe recent Minnesota B.A.S.S. Nation Tournament of Champions, held Sept. 4-5 on Lake Vermilion, is a great example. I was among the field of 170 anglers competing for 12 berths in the 2015 Northern Divisional, and the chance to advance all the way to the Bassmaster Classic.

Vermilion has such high-quality fisheries for large- and smallmouth bass, I felt I needed the one-two punch of both species to be competitive.

For largemouths, I avoided hard-fished docks, banks and easy-to-spot timber, and instead dialed in patterns for reeds and coontail in 5 to 8 feet of water. This was deeper than most anglers were fishing. Sunken logs also held fish.

Photos: NAFC (top); Wired2Fish (above)


Did you know West Texas has some of the best ancient Native American rock art in the United States?

People have been camping out in Texas for many thousands of years, and there is some obvious evidence of that fact in many different locations.

In multitudes of sites in West Texas, up deep, dry canyons, lonely and hidden draws and forgotten places, are some of the best examples of ancient Native American rock art in the entire United States.

They are spectacular and awaiting your exploration.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you are interested in discovering some of these absolutely amazing sites, joining the Texas Rock Art Foundation may be the key to your path of exploration. The Rock Art Foundation is dedicated to preserving and studying these incredible examples of ancient rock art, and boasts many members who have contributed to saving and protecting these excellent sites for many years.

A great first trip to get a taste of what West Texas has to offer can be found at Seminole Canyon State Park west of Del Rio, Texas. Here you can camp and explore some of the Chihuahuan Desert landscape splendor. Also consider visiting Panther Cave, an enormous rock shelter covered in paintings thousands of years old. It’s an amazing place and gives you some real perspective. The fact that people have been living and camping out in Texas for a very long time is made even more true after seeing them.

A weekend trip to this region from many points in Texas is very achievable, but it is even better if you can carve out five days to take in the solitude, the strong, warm desert winds, the awesome sunsets and the great fishing on Lake Amistad. Saddle up your gear and get out in the vast expanses west of town and learn all about the interesting history of Texas!

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and try something new and see the fascinating Native American rock art in Texas, and expand your horizons.


Any steak is better with bacon and butter…

Bacon Wrapped Venison Steaks are just, yum! The combination of two different meats, with an additional flavor of butter will make every bite savory. Venison is a lean meat so when combined with other ingredients, the yield is delicious.

In just one bite, you will get to taste bacon as well as venison meat. It’s a simple, yet delicious, dish. If you use small sized venison steak, it won’t take more than 5 minutes to grill them, otherwise, a few more minutes will be required.

Try this recipe and enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Venison Steaks with Garlic Herb Compound Butter


4 venison steaks, cut to 3/4-inch or 1-inch thickness (or 8 small ones like I used)
salt to season
pepper to season
4-8 slices of bacon (enough bacon to wrap each steak)
Toothpicks, skewers, or plastic/metal food holders
¼ lbs unsalted butter, softened
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp rosemary, chopped


Make the garlic-herb compound butter:
Mix the butter, garlic, and parsley together in a bowl.
Scrape the butter out onto a sheet of wax paper.
Wrap the wax paper around the butter, roll it into the shape of a log (diameter is up to you) and twist the ends tight. Refrigerate for probably up to an hour.
When the butter is firm, remove from the refrigerator.
Warm a knife under hot water. Dry the knife and cut the butter into slices.
Makes 1/2 cup of garlic-herb compound butter.
Make the venison steaks:
Season the steaks on both sides with salt and pepper.
Wrap a strip of bacon around each steak and secure the ends with the instrument of your choice.
Grill on high heat for 2-4 minutes a side for smaller steaks, and 4-5 minutes per side for larger, thicker steaks. Rare to medium rare is best (internal temperature of 130-140°F).
When the steaks are done, remove from heat and serve with a individual portion of the garlic-herb compound butter on top.


Residents of Mississippi may soon have the best excuse ever for going on a hunting or fishing trip — it’s their constitutional right.

The Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment, up for the vote on November 4, 2014, is expected to be approved, according to the Sun Herald.

Nevertheless, the NRA has thrown its full support behind the amendment, declaring it a priority in order to protect the right to hunt from political influence.

fishing-on-the-mississippi-river“Years down the road, even a hunter-friendly state might turn the other way,” said NRA spokesman Lacey Biles in the Sun Herald piece. “That’s the whole point of a constitutional amendment, to protect the future, and a hunting heritage that is rich in Mississippi currently, we want that to be enshrined for generations to come.”

Certain animal rights activists have declared that hunting is on the decline, and that the amendment is an attempt to maintain its popularity. The National Council of State Legislatures has also suggested amendments such as the The Right to Hunt and Fish are a response from sportsmen who are losing access to available hunting and fishing areas.

However, officials at the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks said Mississippi has seen declines in hunting before, but they have successfully campaigned to bring more young people, women, and minorities into the sport.

“In Mississippi, our numbers are pretty strong,” said spokesman Jim Walker to the Sun Herald. “Our hunting classes are full. Our youth hunts are sold out.”

Walker and the NRA’s Biles also stressed the importance of hunting in Mississippi as the preferred means of wildlife management.

If passed, Mississippi will join 17 other states with pro-hunting amendments, including Vermont, which passed theirs in 1777.

Do you think that hunting and fishing should be a constitutional right? Let us know in the comments!

Photo (bottom): Shani Anona’s Blog


The hunting rights to your land are an asset. As with money in the bank, you need to take precautions against those who would take your resources without permission. Laws vary greatly from state to state, but there are a few common steps to take that will reduce poaching and trespassing. Although law enforcement is charged with the legal steps to make arrests, conservation officers are spread very thin, so your best bet is to be proactive, as this Whitetail Institute post suggests:

There are ways to protect your private property without going to extremes.  Here's how.

There are ways to protect your private property without going to extremes. Here’s how.

A few years ago during deer season, I was sitting in my easy chair late one evening when the phone rang. When I answered the phone, I recognized the voice of a landowner next to one of our leases in an adjoining county about 40 minutes away.

“Brad,” he said, “a few minutes ago I heard a shot down the road on your lease, and I jumped in my car and raced down there as fast as I could. Unfortunately, I didn’t get there quickly enough to get any identification on the vehicle. I believe they probably poached one of your deer near the wooded point that comes down close to the road.”

The next morning, I drove over to our lease and, sure enough, just inside the woods I could see the outline of a deer’s body. I walked to the deer and found it to have a huge body for our region, but it was headless. Obviously, a poacher had shot one of our best bucks and took only the head and antlers, which, though taken illegally, was still obviously a “trophy” to him. Instances of poaching such as this just leave us with a sick feeling in our stomachs. And although we typically associate poaching with huge bucks, this isn’t always the case. For example, six years ago, soon after dark, I was waiting for my wife, Carol, to pick me up from my hunt when I heard a shot in a field east of me. “They’ve shot another one of the area’s good bucks,” I thought. When Carol showed up, I told her about the shot. She had seen a truck in the field, so we went and checked it out. We found a small gut pile in the field, indicating they had poached a fawn of some type. Although a trophy buck is a monster to all of us, we must remember that a fawn, doe and small buck might also be something worth poaching to many people. Even when a small buck is shot, we lose years of growing time, and our lives are only so long. Let’s examine some of the steps that can be taken to keep deer poaching to a minimum.

Photo (top): Mister Tristan