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Gone Fishing

Life on and off the waters of the Wood River Valley
Saving Silver Creek*

05/21/12

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

04/18/12

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

04/12/12

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

03/21/12

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

02/29/12

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

02/01/12

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

01/11/12

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

A Ski Community Celebration: the 35th Annual Fall Game Dinner

11/16/11

A Ski Community Celebration: the 35th Annual Fall Game Dinner

There are many reasons why Sun Valley is considered a world-class ski town. But when the press from places like the New York Times or Ski Magazine celebrate Sun Valley they usually miss the most important reason. Sure, they cite the fantastic history of America’s original ski resort, they laude the culture, arts and cuisine, they marvel at the mountains and boast about Baldy’s long steep runs and lack of lift lines. But they usually miss the area’s most important attribute. The real reason Sun Valley is a world-class ski town is because of the community that calls it home. And there is no better example of the strength, support and pride of the community than at the Annual Fall Game Dinner & Auction fundraiser for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation...

Posted at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Comments: 3

First Timer at a Big Time Writers’ Conference

11/09/11

First Timer at a Big Time Writers’ Conference

Most writers can pretty much agree about at least two things: first, you never turn down a free drink; and second, the first lines are usually the hardest ones to write. In fact, firsts in general can be the toughest (and most exhilarating) part about being a writer. For there’s nothing quite like the first time you see your work in a new publication, or the first time someone besides your mom tells you you’re good, or the first time an editor rips you one so big it feels like it stretches all the way from Albuquerque to Bangor. The first time at a writer’s conference can be quite an experience, and quite nerve wracking, as well—especially the first time at a national, Big Time event like the 84th Annual Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA)...

Posted at 12:17 AM | Permalink | Comments: 4

Home is Where the Heart--and the Fridge and TV Are

10/26/11

Home is Where the Heart--and the Fridge and TV Are

Home is a powerful word. It isn’t simply a place or even a destination. No, home is more of a state of mind and a feeling in the heart.  It’s that feeling you get when you top the crest of Timmerman Hill, or begin to switchback down from Galena Summit, or when the plane makes the final descent into the narrow, wondrous and welcoming valley where the Big Wood River flows.  It’s the state of mind we drift into when we walk in the front door and slip off our shoes, or sit down to enjoy a fire, sunset or a favorite magazine. It’s how we feel when we share our special place with family and friends. It’s where we go when we want to get away from it all or to simply sleep like a child. Home is, after all, where the heart...

Posted at 10:55 AM | Permalink | Comments: 2

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. Pick up a copy of Mike's highly-acclaimed new book, Angling Around Sun Valley: A year-round fly fishing guide to South Central Idaho, at Silver Creek Outfitters.

Gone Fishing's awards include: Best Blog 2010 & 2011-Idaho Press Club and Best Fishing & Best Humor Blogs 2011-Outdoor Writers Association of America.

           

 

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