Madness and Magic bio picture
  • Welcome

    "Doubtless the biggest reason why fishermen make such gay and charming companions, such stimulating fellows to have about, is their bubbling willingness to talk about anything under the sun -- so long as it concerns fishing. With themselves in a stellar role. And when they aren't fishing or running on about fishing they prefer to read or look at pictures about fishing. Between seasons some of them even write books about their passion."

    John Voelker
    Anatomy of a Fisherman

    On these pages I'll tell tales and share knowledge about two of my most maddening passions: photography and fishing. The tales are largely based by my adventures throughout the abundant territory of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and most of those adventures are inspired by a small-town attorney who taught me that "so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant -- and not nearly so much fun."

    (You can use the 'Categories' links to filter this material if you are interested in viewing only the fishing posts or the digital camera posts. Of course, I invite you to read them all.)

He Was After Walleye

Catch and release is a difficult thing to explain to someone who has never thought about catching a fish with a deliberate plan to release it. Opposable thumbs and a three-pound brain have enabled us to invent spectacular and efficient ways to feed ourselves, and some people can’t understand why other people use those methods […]

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TimJune 20, 2017 - 10:11 pm

Test comment

A Modern Angler in Judge Voelker’s Court

A lone fair-weather cloud in an otherwise blue sky was the first thing Josh recognized when he regained consciousness. The familiar sounds and smells of the river came next. Then, gradually, he began to remember the missteps that had caused his awkward fall. Josh would have drowned if the old fisherman hadn’t pulled him from the […]

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Howard LevettOctober 12, 2016 - 8:04 pm

Wonderful story in so many ways Tim. There are some wonderful lessons as well in Trout Magic.

Rob WoodlandMarch 30, 2017 - 6:31 pm

This brings a smile. It is clear that I have quite a bit of reading to do.

Growing Older But Not Up

Much of the fun of getting to know a new fishing buddy is the slow and pleasant process of asking questions about their life and answering questions about yours. Where’d you grow up? What do you do for a living? If you could have any superpower, what would it be? That’s the routine Tom and I […]

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MikeAugust 10, 2016 - 7:22 pm

Love this story, I totally relate to it.
I also think most fly fishers end up right here at some point.
Not quite at the river mouth yet !

howard levettAugust 10, 2016 - 10:11 pm

There comes a time when whether we like it or not, we are old. It allows me a lot of leeway in things I say and do whether I’m fishing or just around people. When you reach that stage of life, you seem to relish in those things that are important and get irritated at those things that aren’t too you. I don’t know where I’m going but I will know it when I get there.

Tim SchulzAugust 10, 2016 - 11:06 pm

Wherever you go Howard, I hope it is near a good river.

Tim SchulzAugust 10, 2016 - 11:07 pm

Thanks Mike, I’m glad you liked it. Stay away from that river mouth, there is still plenty of good water upstream.


Sincerity—if you can fake that, you’ve got it made. Attributed to many. Those of us who relentlessly pursue large trout with a dry fly are hopeless addicts. If we weren’t, we’d take up easy chores like curing cancer, ending world poverty, or explaining how long forever is. The essence of our addiction is uncomplicated: When we see a good trout rising, […]

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Howard LevettJune 18, 2016 - 2:53 pm

Once again your way with words (suitably and beautifully illustrated as well) has just absolutely stunned me. I had one of those days with a friend yesterday and you described it perfectly. Thanks Tim.

Tim SchulzJune 19, 2016 - 12:57 pm

Thanks Howard. I’m happy that you enjoyed the essay, and I’m more happy that you had one of those days with a friend. Best wishes.

Everything’s Amazing and These Guys Are Happy

Everything is amazing right now and nobody’s happy. Louis C.K. The modern marvel of flight transports us from New York to San Francisco in under six hours, but—as Louis C.K. observed in his brilliant comedic rant—a twenty minute delay on the airport apron is an occurrence we remember for its extraordinary cruelty. Humankind’s spectacular escape from the Malthusian trap has […]

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Howard LevettMay 21, 2016 - 6:56 pm

I may never make it to Voelker’s Pond but even reading about someone’s trip there is enough to evoke images of fishing along side of one of few heroes. Another winner Tim, thanks.

Why I Let Them Go

When someone asks why I release nearly every fish I catch, I have a friend who says “Tim likes to play with his food.” I didn’t always do it this way. Much like Howell Raines, I was schooled in the Redneck Way. Sure, fishing was fun, but a bucket full of bluegills proved that I […]

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howard levettMay 11, 2016 - 6:02 pm

As I small stream guy who revels in equally small fish, I release them not to grow larger, but just to make sure they are there the next time I come to visit.

Fishing with a Worm

Bliss Perry was a pioneer in the teaching of American literature. He taught at Williams, Princeton and Harvard, and edited the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, among others. But I wouldn’t know anything about Professor Perry if he hadn’t written a book called Fishing with a Worm. His short book—published in 1916—begins with an indictment […]

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Howard LevettMay 3, 2016 - 9:02 pm

I’ve been giving this some thought because it did hit home for me. Unfortunately, my story has to do with fishing with Powerbait, isn’t nearly as romantic (To my knowledge no one has written a classic about Powerbait)and doesn’t have nearly as good an ending. Thanks Tim.

Tim SchulzMay 3, 2016 - 9:44 pm


This looks like an opportunity. I think your story “Fishing with a Powerbait” could become the classic we need on this topic. Put the pen to paper, my friend. The nice folks at Berkley might even sponsor your project. 😉

It Looked Like He Knew What He Was Doing

I have a friend who casts a fly for neither distance nor accuracy nor stealth. Aside from those limitations, he’s a splendid fisherman. It’s not for lack of strength or dexterity or intellect. Warren is a farm boy from Catawba, Wisconsin, and he has the farm-boy frame you’d expect: bone, muscle and gristle. He learned […]

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howard levettApril 26, 2016 - 11:44 pm

Tim I just discovered your blog over on Facebook and all I can say is keep telling stories. I can’t wait to read more!


Two recent deaths in my family sent me searching through old boxes and files for a photogragh someone took during a camping trip in southern Illinois sometime around 1970. My obsession worsened for about a month until the person most affected by those deaths sent me a scanned version of the photograph. The man with a child in […]

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Bob MillerApril 25, 2016 - 1:43 pm

I’m a fan of the Mike’s Gone Fishing blog and there was a link to your Madness and Magic page. I’ve read this one post and it was excellent and real. I’m looking forward to reading more on your blog.

howard levettApril 27, 2016 - 9:48 pm

This story touched my heart. Thanks for sharing with us.


Fishermen acquire the talent. They start out lying to themselves and, before they know it, they’re lying to anyone who’ll listen.             – Paul Quinnett The latin word for witness is testis, which—according to ancient lore—arose because male Romans testifying in court were required to place one hand over their “jewels” as they swore to tell the truth, the whole […]

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AlexFebruary 15, 2016 - 7:42 pm

Good stuff, one of the best pieces I’ve read in quite some time, in print or electronic.