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Back 40: The Evening News

A poem by Michael Earl Craig

Photo by Val Atkinson

Letter from the Editor: The Angler’s Sojourn

I’m reminded of my own daughter’s summer adventure with her godfather

Written by Seabring Davis  

Seabring Davis

Other Contributions

Summer Camp Perfect Harmony Winter Getaway: Red Lodge, Montana Beyond the Cabin A Fine Balance Good Country Authentically Western A Home for the Ages Where the Living is Easy Music in the Mountains The Flight of the Hummingbird Living the Dream Integrating Nature Mountain Exposure Eclectic Parkitecture Uniting Color Historic Symmetry The Year Of The Horse A Yellowstone Club Retreat Hearth and Soul Building a Timeless Legacy An Uncommon Cabin in the Woods Timeless Fusion Mountain Tradition A Modern Vision Dining Out: Lone Mountain Ranch Serves Up a Sense of Place Western Design: Uniquely Rustic Western Design: JLF & Associates Letter from the Editor: Season of Possibility Dining Out: A Montana Tradition, Chico Hot Springs Letter from the Editor: Design Trends Dining Out: The Ranch at Rock Creek Redefines Montana Cuisine Dining Out: Seasonal Bliss Western Design: Refined Rustic Letter from the Editor: Winter Wave Letter from the Editor: Blending Seasons Western Design: A New Mountain Lodge Western Design: Historic Haven Western Design: In the Studio with the Viers Western Focus: Classic Connection: Miller Architects Western Design: Reviving the Barn From the Editor: Seasons of Simplicity Dining Out: Innovation Meets Tradition at Bisl Letter from the Editor: What is art? Dining Out: Holland Lake Lodge, Rustic Wonderful Letter from the Editor: The Secret Weapon Letter from the Editor: Fly Fishing for the Greater Good Western Design: Mountain Zen Western Design: Creekside Contemporary Living Big Sky on HGTV The Spirit of the West in Jackson, Wyoming Letter from the Editor: First Snow Dining Out: The Old Hotel Letter from the Editor: Signs of Summer Letter from the Editor: The Angler’s Sojourn Dining Out: Simply Good Food From the Editor: Hit the Road Making a Statement: Miller Architects Letter from the Editor: Winter’s Toll Letter from the Editor: Evolving Home Dining Out: Comfort Food Western Design: Cowboy Modern Western Design: The Idaho Club Letter from the Editor: Talking Art Dining Out: Conserving Montana One Table at a Time Dining Out: Cosmopolitan Cuisine at TEN Dining Out: Ranch to Restaurant Letter from the Editor: Waiting for Summer Letter from the Editor: Arts Economy Letter from the Editor: First Frost Letter from the Editor: Why Art? Letter from the Editor: Up Close and Personal Letter from the Editor: A Tradition of Talent Letter from the Editor: Winter Reflection Dining Out: The Taste of Whitefish Letter from the Editor: How Big is Your Bucket Letter from the Editor: Falling Short Western Design: Rustic Allure Dining Out: Fish Food Western Design: In the Studio with Painter Hugh Wilson Western Design: Home Base From the Editor Dining Out: Tradition, with a Twist Letter from the Editor: I Know Where the Fish Are Letter from the Editor: Big Sky Country Letter from the Editor: Forging Ahead Dining Out: Barn Dance Letter from the Editor: Like an Open Road Letter from the Editor: The Language of Fishing Letter from the Editor: Cast Again Editor’s Letter: The Passing Season Dining Out: Saffron Table Letter from the Editor: Staying Power
February 2014


Reading through the articles in our annual Fly Fishing issue, I’m reminded of my own daughter’s summer adventure with her godfather, an angler of considerable note in these parts. At 9, I’d never bothered to take her fly fishing, assuming it would be too frustrating (mostly to me) for a young child. So when “uncle” Tim offered to take her out on Mill Creek to a “secret spot,” I warned him that it might not be her thing. He insisted, so I packed them a lunch and sent them out the door.

They didn’t return until dinnertime. To be honest, they didn’t hook a thing. A couple of bites, Tim said, but nothing of note. 

My daughter was a little banged up; her knee was bruised and she had a significant scrape down her shin from “stepping over a huge log in the middle of the deepest part of the creek.” She was a little sunburned and hungry. I expected her to cry as soon as Tim turned his back. I anticipated her disappointment and steeled myself with motherly patience. Instead, she gushed with a story of adventure, of daring and risk. She’d learned to fish, she explained, “but not to catch” — yet. Catching would be another time. 

She’s not the first fly fisher to have this experience. And ultimately, isn’t that what each of us loves about fly fishing? Not so much the catching (though that makes for an even better story), but the searching. The adventure. The journey.

In his feature story about Wyoming’s Sweetwater River, writer Jeff Erickson likens fly fishing to a hegira (a pilgrimage), albeit cushy compared to the 19th-century pioneer history he references. There’s more than a little truth to the comparison of fly fishing to a religious sojourn.

For writer Brian Hurlbut and friends, getting into the backcountry (In Pursuit of Adventure … and Shimmery Fish) was the goal of fly fishing alpine lakes in the Pioneer Mountains. Greg Thomas, Julie Lue, Chad Hanson, all write of days spent searching for something meaningful — time with friends, stolen moments immersed in nature, a return to simplicity. 

In our annual “Fish Tales” short essay section, Carter G. Walker, John Heminway and Shann Ray tell us of Home Waters that conjure memories of intrepid youth, the practice of faith and a sense of place. They’ve been on many excursions, but fly fishing has taken them to new places.

I hope this issue inspires you to seek your own sojourns on distant waters or even out the back door.