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Gone Fishing

Life on and off the waters of the Wood River Valley

Winter 2012

Top 10 White Elephant Holiday Gifts


Top 10 White Elephant Holiday Gifts

Well Ho, Ho, Ho what do you know? ‘Tis the holiday season once again. That wondrous time of the year when we happily swill eggnog (so long as it’s spiked) and celebrate the birth of baby Jesus (or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa) by giving our friends and relatives gifts they may neither want, need, nor know how to legally get rid of. Such gifts are known as “White Elephants.” To help you avoid giving any, or to give you some good ideas for a White Elephant party, here are the Top 10 White Elephant gifts for 2011/12.   10. Chia Pets, Chia Professor, Chia Scooby Doo, Chia SpongeBob, Chia President Barack Obama or any of the other two million products they make: In their defense, unlike real pets, Chia Pets never poop on the rug—and they do make a Chia...

Posted at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments: 3

Saving Silver Creek*


Saving Silver Creek*

Anyone who’s spent a little time down there has heard it. You don’t even need to have good hearing to know how it sounds. Silver Creek music is something you feel. As the man often credited with saving the spring-fed creek, Spencer Beebe, wrote in his book Cache: Creating Natural Economies, “‘Silver Creek music,’ something a blind person could enjoy with absolute wonder.” But the song of Silver Creek, so lovely to birds and their watchers, a melody that calls to fly fishers from all over the world, almost became a much different tune. While America was in the midst of celebrating the “Spirit of ’76,” Sun Valley Company needed cash to buy more chairlifts and was selling its 476 acres along the headwaters of Silver...

Posted at 04:31 PM | Permalink | Comments: 2

Resuscitating America


Resuscitating America

Aaron Swisher is not your run-of-the-mill American. In fact, “Swish,” as his friends often call him, is the type of person that Henry David Thoreau would be proud of. For when it comes to economic theories and the hope for the nation’s future, Aaron Swisher steps to the beat of a “different drummer,” as Thoreau advised. And it looks like the country might be a lot better off we all started tapping along. The West Virginia native, who attended Boise State on a wrestling scholarship, has long had a passion for economics—a passion and knowledge that paid off when he predicted the housing market crash and the following downward national economic spiral long before it happened. Just before it all started to go south, Swisher sold his home in the...

Posted at 03:54 PM | Permalink | Comments: 3

An Intimate Evening with Jodie Foster


An Intimate Evening with Jodie Foster

Hailey, Idaho’s own Liberty Theatre had the honor of hosting Academy Award-winning actress, Jodie Foster, last Friday night. Foster, who frequents the Wood River Valley with her family during the ski season, appeared at a fundraiser for the Company of Fools, the local award-winning theatre company. Down-to-earth and simply dressed, Foster quickly connected with the intimate, sold out crowd and showed that she not only has a good sense of humor about life, but she also knows our Valley pretty well. Shortly after entering the stage, she joked that she’d never been in the Liberty before, only driven by it “slowly, really slowly.” The evening with Jodie Foster kicked off the Company of Fools’ 17th season and was essentially set up like a Sun Valley...

Posted at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments: 7

Best Children’s Books


Best Children’s Books

Countless studies have stressed the importance of reading to children. In fact, it’s gotten to the point that after food, shelter and passing on annoying family traits, reading is the most important thing you can provide for a child. Seizing on this fact, almost every legal U.S. citizen has written at least one children’s book and most celebrities have written kids’ books that make Dr Seuss seem sane; see, for example, “The Jolly Mon”  by Jimmy “Wasted Away Again in Margaretville” Buffet or Stephen Colbert’s “I Am A Pole (And So Can You!).” So without further tomfoolery, here’s a rundown of one dad’s Top 10 Children’s Books.  The qualifications for rankings are that both the child and parent...

Posted at 10:35 AM | Permalink | Comments: 3

Making a Snowboard Bench


Making a Snowboard Bench

When you get right down to it, there are lots of great reasons to turn an old snowboard into a bench: It is, for example, a practical way to recycle. It’s fairly easy and inexpensive to do and can be made for indoors or out. It gives you an excuse to use power tools. It’s a great way to honor something you loved and shared many great memories with. It gives you a good reason to buy a new ride for next season. And heck, even most of those old school two-plankers, better known as skiers, admit that they’re pretty cool. Plus, a snowboard bench gives you a wonderful place to sit and ponder some of the bigger questions in life like, “Where should we go après skiing?” While it certainly doesn’t take a carpenter or a master welder...

Posted at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Comments: 2

Catching a Steelheads Game


Catching a Steelheads Game

Just like the rest of our sports-loving country, Idaho is full of hockey fans. That’s because hockey is just the type of sport us God fearing, beer worshipping Americans love. It’s fast paced, especially live and in person, and usually manages to mash in just enough violence to keep us enthralled. We like to play hockey (participation in the sport has grown by 143% nationally in the last 20 years). We like to watch it (NHL games now draw more fans than NBA games) and that’s why Puckheads all across the Gem State rejoiced when Idaho’s very own professional team first took to the ice in Boise, back in 1997. Aptly named the “Steelheads” in honor of the beloved fish that makes its way from the salty sea to the sweet fresh waters of Idaho, the...

Posted at 12:15 PM | Permalink | Comments: 4

Winter on the Big Wood River


Winter on the Big Wood River

Fly fishing’s most poetic practice... It’s during the cold and quiet days of winter when fly fishing on the Big Wood River is its most poetic. Snow falls, silence reigns, feathered hooks gently float, fishermen are few and far between, trout are hungry, insects bounce about, the wind shows its strength, eyelets freeze, fingertips numb, the river keeps on flowing. Certainly, winter fishing on the Big Wood is by no means easy. Nor is it as celebrated as its fellow seasons, especially the autumn around here that Hemingway made so famous, “and best of all he loved the fall … leaves floating on the trout streams and above the hills the high blue windless skies.” In the winter, the leaves give way to falling snow and drifting ice. The skies can...

Posted at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments: 4

About This Blog

Whether he’s being out-fished by his trash talking mother-in-law, guiding one of his young sons through the perils of manhood or finding inspiration from the people of the Wood River Valley, Mike McKenna’s award-winning writing is always sure to entertain. Order a copy of Mike's highly-acclaimed book, "Angling Around Sun Valley: A year-round fly fishing guide to South Central Idaho" from Silver Creek Outfitters.

Gone Fishing's awards include: "Best Blog" 2010 & 2011 by the Idaho Press Club, "Best Web-only Article" of 2011 by the Outdoor Writers Association of California and "Best Fishing" & "Best Humor" blogs of 2012 by the Outdoor Writers Association of America.


"Angling Around Sun Valley" was selected as the "Best Book" of 2013 by Northwest Outdoor Writers Association!

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