Monday, December 31, 2012

Eat at your own risk...

Imagine a menu at some high-brow seafood joint in the near future ... AquAdvantage salmon, broccoflower in a cheese sauce produced from milk taken from hormone-enhanced guernseys and a big, fat genetically modified Idaho baker, slathered in butter and sour cream (also enhanced by hormones, steroids and anti-biotics).

I just threw up in mouth a little bit.

The ocean pout, an eel-like deep-water dweller that grows
all year long in very cold water.
Just before Christmas, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released its "finding of no significant impact" on the environment from the production of genetically-engineered salmon by AquaBounty, a company that's been toying with the fishy building blocks of salmon for a few years now. The company has successfully created a "salmon" for commercial production by mingling the genes from Atlantic salmon, Pacific chinook salmon and the ocean pout. The fish's eggs are to be hatched in a facility in Canada and then transported to inland Panama, where they'll be reared to maturity and then, presumably, brought to market as "salmon."

Monday, December 24, 2012

20 Questions: Mrs. Claus


Last year, I managed to procure an interview with the Jolly Old Elf himself--and it's easily the most popular post I've ever done. I think it speaks wonders about the world--that no matter how desperate the times or depressing the headlines, folks are still looking to learn more about Santa Claus and they still turn to Christmas for comfort.

This year, I thought it would be wonderful to get an interview with Santa's other half--and I have no doubt he would call her his better half--Mrs. Claus. It took some doing, but just in time for Christmas, she came through like a champ. Just a short chat with the woman behind the man that is St. Nick reveals a lot about how the Christmas spirit endures, and why folks continue to turn to Santa each year for hope, inspiration and embodiment of the season. 

Mrs. Claus, it turns out, is just as festive and just as committed to making Christmas what it is... to putting smiles on the faces of kids the world over. That she does it behind the scenes is no less remarkable than the deeds of her magical husband. 

Enjoy getting to know Santa's significant other. On with the questions:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Weekend 10: The Big Easy

I spent much of last week in south Louisiana with some fishing buddies, chasing reds and specks around the marsh just west of New Orleans. I love this little corner of Louisiana, both for what it is now, and, with a little love, what it could be once again.

The marshlands of south Louisiana are disappearing to the tune of a football field every hour thanks a channelized flood-control system that pushes sediment down the Mississippi River and out into the Gulf of Mexico, where it just falls off the edge of the Continental Shelf and is lost forever. Before the levees and the channels were constructed, the river would frequently change course and deposit sediment all through the marsh--building land and actually increasing the barriers that stand between the Gulf and the higher ground inland. Now, the waters of the Gulf, pushed by tides and sometimes by severe storms that bear names like Katrina and Isaac, lap against the marsh grasses and pull the earth away from the grass, eroding fishy swamps and turning them into vast, shallow, brackish lakes that stretch miles across.

Chris Macaluso with nice Lake Bourne black drum.
It's one of those unique problems--we know what causes it, we know what the solution is, but for some reason, we can't look past the challenges to reach the compromise needed to protect the coastline and all that great fish and game habitat so many of us love. Thankfully, there's a campaign afoot, and I got to fish with its director, Chris Macaluso, last week and learn more about it.  The Vanishing Paradise effort, conducted largely by the National Wildlife Federation, the Louisiana Wildlife Federation and Ducks Unlimited is making great strides, bringing important partners together and working to find ways to reintroduce fresh Mississippi River water--and the sediment it carries--into the marsh in hopes of stemming the land loss this area experiences every single day.

Chris toted me and my buddy John Gale around the marsh for a couple of days lastweek, and we stuck a few decent speckled trout and a few really nice redfish. I love fishing the marsh--within 20 minutes, a guy can leave the French Quarter and be far enough out into the wilderness to cast to wild fish out of sight of the city. It's a unique little corner of America... and I hope it stays that way.

Here's what's best about it, in my book, anyway:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Little Things...

Maybe it's the season ... the chill in the air... you know, the holiday contagion, when everybody seemingly has a bit of bounce in their step and a hint of a smile on their faces for no particular reason.

Whatever it is, I've taken the hint. I'm officially in the Christmas spirit.

I woke up this morning in a lonely hotel room in Denver, ready to face the rest of the week away from my family and, honestly, ready to feel pretty bitter about it. But then, I got a Facebook message from my pal Rebecca Garlock, aka, The Outdooress. She sent me a link to her latest blog post, which was all about ... me.

Rebecca and Chris on the river... hopefully, we get to
do this more often in 2013!
I read the post and can honestly say that I've never felt more humbled... more flattered. It's always interesting to read what others think of you, and it's not often you get the chance. So, to Rebecca, thank you. And Merry Christmas, my dear friend.

But wait... there's more. My friend Marshall Cutchin, the publisher of Midcurrent, flattered me recently as well, when he asked me to contribute now and then to the online fly fishing site. I absolutely adore Midcurrent--it's an aggregate of all the great things happening in the fly fishing world, and it has real personality... real relevance.

So I happily submitted a piece I was originally going to submit to a magazine to Midcurrent, with a few edits for the online crowd. I'm looking forward to being a part of the Midcurrent family--and I'm honored to have been asked.

To Marshall and Erin and Glenn and the gang, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, and all the best in 2013.

But, perhaps most of all, I wanted to send the season's greetings to all the folks who swing by this little hobby spot over the course of a year--Eat More Brook Trout is a "for fun" endeavor that serves to enrich the side of me that just likes to fish.

Granted, much of my life is centered around fly fishing, but I realized long ago that just fly fishing wasn't enough--that, if my kids were to enjoy it as much as I do, I had to do my part. I think that's why I'm equally passionate about protecting our wild places and our wild fish.

But it starts with fishing, and that's how we must connect with the next generation of conservationists... we simply need to give them something to care about. So, to those of you who care enough to fish, and then care enough to protect your opportunity by taking on the threats to our fishing, Merry Christmas... and keep up the good fight.

Happy Holidays to all... And God bless you in 2013.