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Tom Hazelton

Northern Minnesota native Tom Hazelton fly fishes, writes, and photographs his way around the Upper Midwest, trying to stay above the 45th parallel. He also occasionally updates a blog that can found at www.voyageurpursuits.com.

Author Articles

How to Slay Your Dragon

“Before you can come fish with me again you have to get one on your own. There’s too much pressure now.” It was said with a half-joking half-smile by my good friend and fly rod musky guide Chris Willen at the end of a hot, hard-fishing day on which no muskies were caught. The late summer Wisconsin sun was still high, warm yellow columns angling...

Rod Review: Orvis H3

“SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY,” the local radio weather said. No surprise, I thought, as I pulled into the motel parking lot. Rain was slashing sideways in a steady gale beneath the streetlights, and I got soaked running to the office to check in. I was really hoping we wouldn’t have to cancel tomorrow’s trip. Dave was driving up all the way from lower...

Fall Trout Fishing: Experts Speak

We love fall. Even though the things about it that we love — the clear, cool mornings, the riparian foliage aflame — are harbingers of another season’s end, the pulse quickens and the yearning to be outside on the water blazes anew. We asked some small-stream experts from across the country how they approach fall trout fishing, and the one thing they...

Switch Hitting for Musky

We shoved off the dock that morning last September, my wife Amy and I, with our confidence already low. The mighty Mississippi was running especially mighty and carrying so much sediment that it seemed prime for catfish noodling, not musky fishing. As we ran upstream, I realized that the low-odds muddy river presented an opportunity to try something I’d...

How to Choose Fishing Sunglasses, Part II

Who Can Afford a Bin Full of Fishing Sunglasses? So now we know what the different lens colors do, and even why certain colors are better for certain situations. But damn, these high-tech specs are expensive. The old waders analogy breaks down a little here: I only own one pair of pricey waders, not a different pair for every weather situation. So what if...

How to Choose Fishing Sunglasses, Part I

I used to wear cheap waders. I had a chronic case of sticker-shock that flared up every time I looked at the wader rack in the fly shop, and I’d flee back to the big-box store to buy a pair of $99 breathables, which replaced the $99 pair I’d just worn out. I realized one spring that instead of spending $100 per year on crummy waders, I could spend $40...

"Spring Is Coming"

Two weeks ago I was in the northeast corner of Minnesota wearing all my layers and drilling holes in lakes to fish through. It was good to be out in the woods breathing cold air. It was also good to be reminded that at the foundation of my fly fishing life is a childhood love for fishing of all kinds. The frozen world around me precluded fly fishing and so...

"Walking the Line"

Wintertime cold changes the nature of things. Trout, of course, slow down a bit. It also changes the nature of a river. Rather than an eternal force of erosion and motion, it becomes a prisoner of entropy, channeled and capped and trapped within its banks by its only natural enemy: ice. This in turn changes the nature of fishing, and of the angler. At least...

"String Theory," Or How to Have More Fun Fishing Without Really Trying

Our drive to go fishing rises from deep in our hunter-gatherer past. We’re scratching a primordial itch, like so many others that are disguised in modern life. For example, curiosity: an urge to pattern and order things, to know their names and to expand our understanding of the world. It’s an ancient genetic skill that made easier the passing of...

A Musky Fly Fishing Starter Kit

Over the last few years, we’ve fished with and interrogated some of the top fly-rod musky experts, and here we’ve distilled their rigging down to some smooth-sipping starting points. These are the essential pieces of kit that will get you on the water, safely, so you can begin grinding away at your ten thousand casts. We know you want to talk about the...