Category Archives: John Voelker

Secrets

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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Small Stream Sisu

Steelhead are not native to Lake Superior. They have, however, made their homes in the great lake and its tributaries since the late 1800’s. In the minds of some local anglers, this fabricated fishery is a simple two-stage process: put and take. For others, it’s a more nuanced affair. The states of Michigan, Wisconsin and […]

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Voelker’s Nijinsky

“It sounds like you’re sunk. Does your wife understand that this isn’t just a bamboo rod, it’s the first bamboo rod?” The pronouncement and query came from a man who—while conceding that plenty of people had more skill with and knowledge about bamboo rods—once wrote that “no one loves them more” than he. I had […]

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The Year that Was

Here is a brief review of the first year of Madness and Magic in a video slideshow set to the tune of Upstream from the excellent album Fishing Music by Ben Winship and David Thompson. I look forward to documenting more of the adventure in 2012. For better viewing select 720p(HD) and fullscreen, or try […]

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Anatomy of a Weekend

Cast of Characters ADAM, John Voelker’s quick-witted grandson TIM, the bumbling photographer and flailing fisherman BROOK TROUT, the foolish and unwary native Scene One: The Internet Prologue (Email exchange, day one.) ADAM Tim, I’m thinking of coming up to camp for this weekend. If you are free why don’t you come down and we can […]

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The Last Day

As the sun sank behind the large maple at the end of our driveway, the Last Day morphed into the Last Night and I sorted through the last of the photos. Now I was trying to tell the story. . . . What could I do, that’s never been done before? What can I say, […]

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“They’ve never really been there”

It would be ironic — and a hideous thought to contemplate — if this little book should help bring about the discovery of the “forgotten” Upper Peninsula. Yet I take comfort when I reflect that the people who might find and deflower my native heath rarely hold still long enough to read books.  . . […]

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Rolling a Cast on Frenchman’s

All Hail the roll cast: all fishermen should be required to learn it at birth. I teach it by special appointment, but only on Leap Year Day. John Voelker Anatomy of a Fisherman I think the instructor would be proud of his student . . . (John Voelker’s grandson Adam Tsaloff rolling a cast on […]

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Solitude Lost

The Middle Branch of the Escanaba River begins northwest of Humboldt, Michigan and flows south and east until it joins the East Branch just below the the town of Gwinn. Highly oxygenated riffles, pools the size of small lakes, spring-fed tributaries, and an abundant supply of food make the resident trout happy which, in turn, causes […]

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An Ivy League Education

The main branch of the Escanaba River — or the Big Escanaba — begins at the confluence of its East and Middle Branches just south of the town of Gwinn and east of the small settlement of Princeton. From there the big river flows south and east spilling over four dams before it surges into […]

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Rubus Parviflorus

So with the advance in years, if not precisely wisdom, I looked for other things to do to while away the more resolutely riseless hours and avoid the risk of ever becoming bored with my greatest outdoor love. These antiboredom diversions were few at first but presently grew and grew. Chief among them was gathering […]

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The Grass is Sweeter

To my mind there is no fairy wand in creation more graceful and beautiful than a good bamboo fly rod. John Voelker Spots Before the Eyes in Trout Madness “If you have the okay to pull the trigger, I would do it and enjoy the rod for the rest of your life. You could get […]

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