Our Outdoors: Inflection

By Nick Simonson “To put it in perspective, we’ve harvested ten birds in the first two days of the season,” I said in response to the truck-cab recap of the first weekend of pheasant hunting, “last year, in our only walk on day four, we bagged eleven.” Our group’s total was indicative of what the…

Our Outdoors: Early Season Pheasant Tips

By Nick Simonson Since the cold end of last year’s pheasant season, hunters have eagerly awaited opening day, and now, mere hours away from it, we’re so close we can almost hear the crackling of the dry autumn grasses underfoot and the cackling of a flushing rooster in front of a hard-charging dog.  The start…

Our Outdoors: Safe & Successful

By Nick Simonson A safe hunt is a successful hunt.  Every time you ascend the stand, set foot into the grass, or toss out a spread of decoys should end with a safe descent, a return to the truck and a retrieval of those ducks – both fake and real.  The quarry means less than…

Our Outdoors: A Summer Disappearing Act

By Nick Simonson “Hey Nick, what are we going to catch,” asked Rylyn, the oldest son of my wife’s cousin, as we made our way out to the dock. “Ninety-nine percent bluegills,” I replied as his brother Radlee and father Chase made their way behind us, trailed closely by my son AJ. Unsealing the red…

Our Outdoors: The Things I’ve Forgotten

By Nick Simonson The dark wood of our living room floor is the color of coffee, making it easy to disguise my spills when the replacement pot I bought this spring leaks a few drops down there on my first pour of the day.  But since getting Ole, my new yellow lab puppy to replace…

Our Outdoors: Christmas in July

By Nick Simonson I grabbed the pink-and-purple deep running crankbait off the floor, almost as an afterthought.  It had sat, stashed away for years in the miscellanea that most anglers have – lures, baits and other items of tackle that don’t quite make the cut, aren’t of any sort of confidence color, or just don’t…

Our Outdoors: Creek Connections

By Nick Simonson The place where running water meets still, or where a smaller trickle joins with a larger one to continue the unending hydrological cycle, is a place where you will find an abundance of fish, along with other wildlife and truly unique species.  Whether it has been in the dark of the midnight…

Our Outdoors: When You Know, You Know

By Nick Simonson It was my first trip around the fifty-acre impoundment southeast of town, a traditional decades-ago dam that shunted the water up rills and creek bottoms and turned an old meandering valley into a stockable small reservoir which absorbed some of the local fishing pressure.  Under the rippled gray skies of Sunday morning,…

Our Outdoors: Go Fishing

By Nick Simonson It’s fitting that this week is “National Fishing and Boating Week” because we need it now more than ever. I don’t know what last week’s title was, but it was awful. With the world still reeling from a bombing of a concert for tweens and teens across the pond which left 22…

Our Outdoors: Krystal Crappie King

By Nick Simonson   The art of lure making and fly tying results in a good deal of B flies and seconds that, after a few tries on the water are relegated to the bottom of the box, and are filed away for future reference, simply because they failed to connect with the trout, walleye…

Our Outdoors: Give ‘Em the Slip

  By Nick Simonson   There’s a sort of silent excitement in watching the chartreuse top and orange spindle point of a slip float slide under the surface of the water, knowing (or maybe not knowing) exactly what comes next.  The sweep of the rod tip to set the hook, the protesting pull on the…

Our Outdoors: Spring Shallows

It was fitting that the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band blared through the back doors of the pavilion, where the 10:30 crowd at the wedding reception sang along with each verse of “Fishin’ in the Dark” with growing rowdiness, especially on the well-known choruses of the song.  Just down the sandy shore of the lake, my…