10 Unforgettable Fly Fishing Locations in the U.S.

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Lists aren’t easy. We know because it was hard setting a limit when we reviewed five of Alaska’s foremost rivers. It’s probably impossible to narrow down the country’s best fly fishing to just 10 locations, but we’re giving it our best shot.

1. Manistee River, Michigan

Its 200-mile run through the northern regions of the state’s lower peninsula ends at Lake Michigan. The river produces great salmon, trout and steelhead action especially downstream from Tippy Dam. We really enjoy the year-round crystal clear water.

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2. Penobscot River, Maine

Let’s swing east to the west branch of this river known for its world-class salmon fly fishing. The 11-mile stretch between Ripogenus Dam and the Abol Bridge presents some of the wildest angling available. We strongly suggest this one for fishing, not relaxing.

3. Connecticut River, New Hampshire

New England’s longest river offers more than 400 miles of fly fishing adventures. Whether you drift or wade, cast your luck, and sharpen your skill chasing trout, salmon and sturgeon. The Connecticut always looks its best when it’s wearing fall colors.

4. The Florida Keys

Obviously, this one isn’t a river, but we really recommend the action off Key Largo. Bogie and Bacall would definitely approve and join us for some of the finest saltwater fly fishing in the Western Hemisphere. We sound prejudice because we are.

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5. Little Red River, Arkansas

As we head back up and across the country, we have to stop in north central Arkansas. Since their introduction in the mid-1960s, ‘bows and brownies have earned their reputation as the state’s favorite sporting fish. Be sure to try the river’s stretch between Greers Ferry Dam and Pangburn.

6. San Juan River, New Mexico

We love the high country and endless plateaus in northwestern New Mexico. We go crazy for huge river trout below Navajo Dam. The San Juan River makes it on our list because it consistently produces fish in one of the American West’s most beautiful settings.

7. Glenwood Spring, Colorado

We’re including one more non-river location. This is the Rocky Mountain State’s center for amazing fly fishing action. The Colorado and Fork rivers roar through town, the area enjoys 300 days of sunshine every year, and even winter fishing is fun in Glenwood Spring.

8. Yellowstone River, Montana

You know it’s the longest undammed river in the country. You know the headwaters are filled with cutthroats. You know downstream teems with huge populations of big ‘bows and brownies. We know we’d hear from you if we didn’t include this one.

9. Snake River, Idaho

Head for the Snake’s south fork, and enjoy year-round fly fishing just 45 minutes from Jackson Hole. We favor the canyon run through Magic Valley for cutthroat, brownies and rainbows. The scenery is breathtaking wherever you fish on this legendary river.

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10. Kvichak River, Alaska

From Lake Iliamna down to Bristol Bay the Kvichak River is spotted with some of the best fly fishing lodges in the world. The river flows wild and wide and did we mention that the world’s largest red salmon run happens right here every year? Enough said.

You might not agree with all our choices, but you have to admit it’s a pretty good list. It’s certainly reason enough to keep expanding your angling horizons and checking locations off your fly-fishing adventures list.

An Insight into Fostering: The Myths and the Truths

foster children There are lots on uncertainties that circulate around foster parenting. It’s widely believed that marital status, age and personal experience are the deciding factors in whether you are allowed to foster a child. We spoke to Lorraine* to gain a better insight into the world of fostering and to have all of the common myths and truths brought to light.

Can I become a foster parent if I’m single?

There are certain qualities that a foster parent must possess, lots of patience, empathy, supportiveness and a big heart, but surprisingly having a partner is not included in the list! Foster children are working through what’s called a transition period when they are placed into care – this is a period where they will be waiting to be either reunited with their birth parents, or placed with the right “forever family”, so it is an extremely difficult time for them that will require the upmost sensitivity – if you can provide a stable and loving environment for the child, that will cause them as little trauma as possible, then you could be the perfect candidate. So it doesn’t matter if you’re single, married, male or female.

Lorraine* is a single mother of 3, who began fostering a little over 7 years ago and hasn’t looked back since.

Can I foster if I have my own children?

One of the most common misconceptions about fostering is that people who have their own children are not suitable foster parent candidates. When speaking to Lorraine, she said “I have experience of being a parent, with 3 sons of my own I believed that I had the experience to benefit a child’s needs”. If you have your own children, it demonstrates that you are able to provide a stable and loving environment that a foster child needs. Also bringing a child into a home that already has children, who they can speak to, play with and learn from, can actually help them to acclimatise to their new home better.

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Am I too old to foster?

If you are 25 years of age or older you can be a suitable candidate to foster. As long as you are of sound health both mentally and physically, then you can foster a child regardless of how old you are. Lorraine* began fostering when she was 48 years old, she is now 55 and is planning to continue to foster.

Do I have to be qualified to become a foster parent?

Before you are allowed to foster a child, there is an extensive process that you have to go through. You will be paired with a social worker who can visit you up to 10 different occasions – in this time they will complete the Form F Report, which is an in depth assessment of your family history, medical records and overall suitability to foster a child. If you pass the initial stages of the fostering process, you will also have to attend a 3-4 day course, which will prepare you for all of the different challenges that being a foster parent will bring. Lorraine* told us that “nothing can fully prepare you for the challenges and difficult times that you will be faced with as a foster parent. I have looked after so many children and teenagers during my time and every experience is different. This is such a rewarding life choice, and as long as you remain patient, open minded and supportive, you can really make an impact on the child’s life”.

Lorraine* fosters through a private fostering agency called Lorimer Fostering, but you can also foster via your local fostering authority.

*Lorraine’s name has been changed to protect her identity and that of the children in her care.

Outdoor activity, even napping, in winter leads to happier, healthier and more resilient kids…

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Kids of all ages love to ride the toboggan down slippery, snowy hills


Well, its finally happening…

The cool, crisp air of yet another onset of winter has finally arrived. While it would be easy to light the fireplace and snuggle up inside for another long, cold winter— rather than retreat inside, we should actually be spending more time outdoors. Walking, hiking, playing, skiing, snowboarding, learning, exploring discovering and even… napping. Yes, napping. Outside.

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Nordic (or Cross Country) Skiing is a great way to have fun, get fit and actually enjoy winter.


While it is easy to think that winter is long, and cold and hard to endure year after year, it really is more of a state of mind than a set of circumstances we have to endure. When you take the time to actively engage in activities that force you to dress up and get outside and move around for extended periods of time, winter can actually be really fun. If you set your mind to it, it becomes a great opportunity to seek out and find ways and things to do that build resilience, shorten the season, and put you in great shape emotionally, physically and mentally.

Outdoor learning is alive and well in Sweden – a priority even. The team at the Swedish think tank Movium has been able to advance a national agenda in support of outdoor play and learning, mobility and independence.

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Get the kids outside skiing early on in life and you will give them a gift that lasts a lifetime.


Here in Canada, we see signs of movement in that direction. More schools and school boards are encouraging play and learning outside and creating school grounds that are healthy for kids living in cities.

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Running, jumping and all around tomfoolery in the powdery snow is a great way to burn off steam and get plenty of fresh air. Dress them up right and they won’t even notice its cold outside.


Cam Collyer, Director of Programs at Evergreen, shares what Canadians can learn from outdoor education around the world…

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Back Yard Hockey rinks are a bit of work in the fall, winter and spring, but well worth the effort if you can get a cold enough winter in your area. Here in Toronto, it is hard to believe we can actually do this in the city, but it is possible if you roll up your sleeves and are dedicated to the cause.


What are you waiting for? Bundle up the kids and get outside!

 

Tips on Creating Inspirational Spaces for Kids

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It always seems that a good part of every weekend is spent working on some home improvement project. Either we’re replacing the leaky kitchen sink, fixing the upstairs toilet that keeps running, or the usual sort of stuff like cleaning the gutters and raking the yard. Sometimes we guys get lucky and can work on something we actually want to work on, like a mancave or setting up a home office the exact way we want. Another project that is worth the time and effort, that is also fun, is making something for the kids.

1. The Tween Cave

As much as we try and deny it, our kids are growing up. The happy little twerp that was glued to your leg is now a moody teen who wants to be left alone in his room. Why not make him a dream room he will love? Ideally, the best place is a basement or an attic. It gives the budding adult a greater sense of privacy, while allowing you to still keep an eye on him.

The key here is to let them have a major say in how the room looks. If they want everything painted black and dark purple, like their favorite band (or whatever sort of music they like) then let them paint the room that color. It will show them that you value their thoughts and ideas. Did I mention that they also have to help? Working on their own room like that will give them a greater appreciation for what they built.

Remember, it’s during these years that a teen will be tempted to do things like drinking or drugs. If they have a cool place where they feel in control, that along with your guidance, make all the difference in what choices they make.

2. A Tree House or Fort

The treehouse has been a staple for boys and girls of all ages for a long time. This is one of those things that has gotten better over the years, because there are more options than ever. If a yard doesn’t have big enough trees to build a treehouse, you can build a fort. Pirate ships and rockets are also an option.

There are tons of YouTube videos that can give dads a step by step guide to build whatever they want. If you aren’t gifted in the carpentry arts, there are kits you can buy. These are relatively easy to assemble, but still give the dad an excuse to bust out the tools and let the kids watch while he builds something. Failing that, there are even professional treehouse and fort builders who will do all the work, but where’s the fun in that?

3. The Classic Playroom

The best thing about a regular playroom is that it can be used all year long, regardless of the weather. There is also a lot of flexibility in what can be done. No matter what the kids are into, building the perfect playroom is a cinch. It can be a rough and tumble superhero lair, or the ballroom in a castle.

Decorating the playroom is easier than most people expect. The main thing is to keep it fun and fitting with the chosen theme. Having custom chairs with the most creative upholstery fabric is a great way to bring a playroom together, and spark a child’s imagination. To them, you aren’t building a playroom. You’re building them a magical place all their own.

Conclusion
The list of things a dad can do is nearly endless. The project can be indoor or outdoor, and depending on the age of your kids, the scope and tone can go from princess in pink to rock stars in black leather. If there is enough of an age difference, you might have to do more than one project. Like that’s a bad thing. Use these few ideas to get you started. Take them, run with them, and make them your own.

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Kids, Residential Garage Doors and Home Security

Sometimes even the most agile Heads-Up Dads discover they can’t have nice things stored out in their garage anymore because with so many kids playing on the property, they can’t keep their storage areas locked and safe from thieves.

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Its a hard decision to tell kids they can’t play with the neighbors on the home property anymore, but a parents’ eyes can’t be everywhere at once. In more urban communities with high pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk,an unattended garage space can get pilfered in less time than it takes to answer a ringing phone.

When the neighbourhood kids run amuck about the property they frequently leave doors and windows wide open, and adolescent teens are especially prone to leaving the garage door open at night.

Prowlers Pounce on Open Garage Doors

Here in Toronto almost half the burglaries that police investigate occur in residential garages, and these numbers are rising. McKee Horrigan garage door installers report a 30% increase in ‘armoured doors’ sold over the last two years. The steel plated garage door is ‘custom build’ with extra metal on the front. Its almost impossible to cut through, and the frame can be additionally reinforced to prevent buckling if rammed by car or truck. Suburban thieves often work in pairs, prowling side streets looking for targets of opportunity. Unsecured or open garage doors rank high on their list. More sophisticated burglars might travel with binoculars in their car to spy valuables inside open garages from a safe distance. They like expensive tools and toys, especially bicycles they can ride away to a nearby rendezvous point.

Any Toronto residents reading this might remember Igor Kenk the local bike shop owner who both stole bicycles and bought hundreds of stolen bikes. The photo below is the grand cache seized by police, many of which were later donated to inner city youth. Not all of these bicycles were stolen while locked to parking stanchions; the most expensive bikes with composite materials in lightweight designer frames were often lifted from inside locked garages where the owner felt safe storing them between rides. .

Bicycles stolen from streets and open garages in Toronto

High tech alarms systems with IP cameras video surveillance are fine, but all too often security protocol starts and ends with the youngest members of the family.

Brian Mcleish the CEO of Guru Security in Toronto has a lot to say on the subject of home security and garage security as an extension of family discipline. He identifies a role for Heads-Up Dads as Security Boss.

Five Ideas To Help Keep The Family Garage More Secure

  1. Install a perimeter alarm system with magnetic contacts on garage side doors and windows that can be ‘armed’ at night at a panel in the house; this display should show open doors and windows at a glance. Most home alarm systems require all windows and doors to be shut and locked before the system will arm – be sure the array includes the garage door.
  2. Install motion sensors tied to flood lights on the outside corners of the garage and where they would be most effective on the property.
  3. Consider a possible security role for the family pet.
  4. Better utilize remote locking systems – most modern home security systems now feature remote locking devices which can give parents added control from inside the dwelling and when they are away from home. Parents can unlock the door for their teen when they arrive home from school. Also, if the child forgets to lock the door, parents can easily secure it, and check to see that its secure from inside their car or office.
  5. Security Protocol – The head of the household should create an easy to follow, easy to remember security protocol for the whole family.. Put a list of to-dos on the fridge and front door of the house. Designate the garage a ‘high security’ zone.

If the garage door doesn’t include an automatic close function, The Autocloser addresses the need to keep your garage door closed by automatically shutting your garage door if you inadvertently leave it open. The device attaches to most residential garage door openers and will automatically close the door after the user specified closing time has elapsed. The times can be set to 2, 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes. Autocloser comes equipped with a disable button that will allow the door to remain open indefinitely.when required.

Keep Garage Flat Roof Safe From Sneaks With Sawsalls

Brian Mcleish posted a piece on Guru Security blog about keeping flat roofs safe where he showed how easy it is to cut through a modern flat roof with the right equipment. He posted a graphic courtesy of ToughRoof flat roof repair that shows how modern flat roofs are composed of layers of tar, plastic foam insulation and wood like chocolate layer cake, which is not so hard to slice through with a drill and Sawsall.(heavy duty jigsaw). The takeaway is simply ‘don’t forget the flat roof’ and put motion detectors and flood lights up there too if roof access is even remotely possible from the street.

The hardest part about keeping the family garage safe may be the delicate task of informing children that burglaries happen all the time and theft is more likely when bicycles, tools, and expensive toys are left lying about or within easy each inside an unattended open garage.

Growing things together with your kids outdoors

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If you’re anything like me, I’m on some level always feeling that I’m not spending quality time with my kids like I want to. But at the same time, I’m also somewhat incapacitated. Between work, the stuff on the calendar, and meeting the kids’ basic needs, I often collapse at the end of the day in one exhausted heap.

One thing we’ve started doing as a family is working outdoors together. From planting a garden to landscaping to planting new trees on our property, I’ve found it rewarding.

The nature of gardening and landscaping is that it is an ongoing process, not a one-time thing. You’re planting new life. It needs water, sunlight, and care. So at the outset, you’re committed. You’re going to get out there with the kids on a regular basis.

If you’re like me and can only handle so much (or not any) playing dollhouse or Star Wars light-saber fights or painful “Fine” responses as you try to engage your teen, this is a game-changer. I’m going to lay out 3 important lessons that getting outside as a family instills in your kids.

IMG_0012PATIENCE

Unless you were born with a green thumb, working with plants is going to take patience. You’ll need to learn how to plant and care for plant life.

Getting a garden started takes persistence and patience. It’s not done in an hour. You have to prepare the soil, plant the produce and herbs you are going to grow, and prune and water what you’ve planted.

It can be tedious at times. In a world in which research papers are as easy as a google search and in which 200+ tv shows and movies are at my kids’ fingertips on Netflix at any given moment, working outdoors is a valuable character-builder.

Not everything worth having, can be acquired quickly. Often those things of greatest value take time and patience. It’s not always as easy as Tweeting an acquaintance for a job recommendation. Sometimes it is, but I want my children to be prepared for the times when it’s not. For those times when waiting is required in order to see results.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY

Your children know what is most important to you, by how you spend your time. Spending quality time with them will show them that they are important to you.

Working together with your spouse and kids will deepen the bond you all have. It will draw you closer. And this close bond will create trust.

When my girls are in the face of intense peer pressure, this foundation of trust will assure them I will always be there for them. That no matter what, I have been there and will be there for them.

Having a supportive and dependable family structure is vital for kids. These traits are indicators for success down the road. This falls on your shoulders.

HARD WORK

My kids are skilled at finding the path of least resistance. Left to themselves, they would play video games all day, never bathe or change their clothes, and never clean up after themselves. An onlooker may wonder if the chores we subject our kids to our actually physically painful to them, judging from the sighs and grunts that leave their mouths.

All that to say, diligence and hard work do not come naturally. In part, it is up to us as parents to help foster these quality traits in them. They may hate us for it at the time, but in the long-run, they will thank us.

The most effective way to teach your kids to have a good work ethic, is not just to force them to work hard, but to get in there and work with them. Set an example. Get your hands dirty. Show them how it’s done.

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CONCLUSION

Whether you are planting a garden in the spring or taking a Saturday morning to plant a tree to shade your front porch, these are projects that will guarantee family time and teaching opportunities in days to come.

Make the most of your time. Take advantage of those opportunities. You will blink, and these years will be passed. Slow down and determine what you want to instill in your kids now.

How about you? What benefits have you found from working outdoors with your family?