Most of you loyal reader(s) probably don't read such trash (except in the checkout line of the grocery store), but Field and Stream is a popular, mainstream outdoors magazine, known to snobs like TWK as a hook and bullet rag. One thing that F&S loves--almost as much as photos of guys with dead critters and B.S. bear stories--is ranking stuff. They probably are second only to People and VH1 in the number of rankings of the useless and unrankable.
A fishing pal, sent me a link to F&S's rankings of the best tailwaters in the U.S., presumably so we could share a good chuckle. I checked it out just to see how silly they were in choosing one fine well-known stream over another.
The article is mostly about the Green in Utah. Haven't hit it yet, but it isn't one to argue about. Then I got to the 'Best of the Rest' piece that is required in any ranking article and here is the summary:
Here's a quick guide to five of the best:
1. San Juan River [New Mexico]
2. Fryingpan River [Colorado]
3. Lower Sacramento River [California]
4. White River [Arkansas]
San Juan, Frying Pan, blah blah--all famous tailwaters. Then I got to:
5. Gunpowder Falls [Maryland]
WTF? The Gunpower? One of the top tailwaters in the US? Now, I love the Gunpowder and fished it all the time when I lived in the area--and even hit it a few weeks ago for old times sake when passing through--but no way is it one of the top tailwaters. Sure it may be one of the top tailwaters in the Bodymore-Washington Metroplex, but F&S listed it over some far, far better steams.
I was just about to close out of the window, when I noticed their latest list 150 Best Fishing Spots (near you). This one was complete with Google Maps of said spots. So, I checked it out in all the states with which I am familiar and it was even weirder than the tailrace list. Each state (that had all three) got a saltwater place, a bassin' impoundment and a trout stream. However the trout streams were either all very famous streams or completely wrong. Some crappy stocker stream that nobody but the greenest n00b would waste a minute on.
Then it hit me. Field and Stream is actually one of the good guys. Unlike many of it's 'highbrow' bretheren, F&S isn't telling anyone anything about where to fish, unless it is a stream everyone in the world already knows. Deliberate misinformation. A conspiracy.