It’s the 10th anniversary of the Alberta Outdoorsmen magazine and I’ve written 119 “Fish(ing) Lines” columns since the first one in the inaugural April/May 1999 issue—a collector’s magazine with a front cover photo of me fishing on the Maligne River in Jasper National Park.
When Rob Miskosky approached me about writing a column back in 1999 I decided it would be about fish and fishing to provide a voice for anglers about issues related to these subjects in Alberta, as well as entertaining and informative articles about fishing.
Alberta Outdoorsmen started off as an 11 x 15 inch magazine/newspaper “dedicated to providing hunting and fishing news to the hunters and anglers of Alberta.” Rob's goal was to keep Alberta’s outdoorsmen and women up-to-date on the challenges anglers and hunters face day in and day out, and the issues surrounding these activities and the people who are fighting for change.
In my first column I wrote that I didn’t intend to use the column as a soap box because I feared that readers would soon grow weary of a litany of seemingly unending issues that are associated with Alberta’s fisheries, and there have been many. Rather, I’d try to provide a diversity of articles and include some good news stories, which I think are on the rise, as well as some informative “how-to and where-to” articles about fishing.
The Alberta Outdoorsmen is the only publication that provides an opportunity to focus on issues and concerns related to fishing in our province. The major daily newspapers do not have any columnists who cover this beat and with the departure of Bruce Masterman from the Calgary Herald several years ago the lines have been fairly quiet. Likewise, when that same paper discontinued Bob Scammell’s weekly outdoors column a couple of years ago reporting on such matters grew even more silent. With the exception of Neil Waugh of the Edmonton Sun, none of Alberta’s big daily papers have a go-to reporter who specializes in matters pertaining to fish.
Other regional outdoor magazines do help fill the gap but the nature of their editorial cycle does present challenges to feature mainstream news in a timely manner.
For these reasons, it’s been left to the Alberta Outdoorsmen to carry the torch on behalf of Alberta’s outdoorsmen and women and report on various issues and concerns regarding much of the mainstream outdoors news.
The magazine has provided me with an opportunity to write about subjects that I consider of importance to Alberta’s fisheries, such as The Dirt on Alberta’s Culverts; Catch-and-Release Fishing Backfires – An Inconvenient Truth; Kakwa River Bull Trout Obituary; Lac La Biche Fish Restoration; Alberta’s 2005 Recreational Fishing Survey; A Case for Saving Large Fish in the 2008 editorial alone. It’s quite likely that you wouldn’t have heard so much as a peep about these matters if it weren’t for the Alberta Outdoorsmen.
Regarding my other column, “Fish and Wild Game Recipes – From the Field to the Table,” it presented some start-up challenges but I’ve found it to be very rewarding over the years. Based on feedback from various readers it appears to have been well received, likewise my award-winning book of the same title. This cookbook is now in its fourth printing, which is even better than the earlier printing with a superior layout and better quality stock paper.
When I get a call out of the blue from a reader asking what recipe I’d recommend for a Sunday dinner when company is coming, I know that both the column and book are filling a need. I’m also a firm believer in enjoying the bounty of nature and that eating Alberta’s fish and wildlife is good for your health. On that note, there’s only one publication in Alberta that provides a monthly fish and wild game recipe—the Alberta Outdoorsmen.
I’d like to take my hat off to Rob and all of the Alberta Outdoorsmen crew—Paul Milberry, Jim Wallace, Gaye Williams and Graham Edwards—for making the Alberta Outdoorsmen a reality and I would like to congratulate them on the 10th anniversary of this publication.
– Duane Radford
I just wanted to say congratulations to you and Paul and the rest of the staff on the 10th anniversary of Alberta Outdoorsmen. I must admit that I had doubts about the magazine when you first approached me a little over 10 years ago about writing for you but your drive, determination and commitment to Alberta’s hunting, fishing and trapping heritage quickly swayed me and I’m proud to have been associated with the magazine since day one.
I’ve been fortunate to win a number of writing awards for articles that appeared in Alberta Outdoorsmen and I credit that to the fact that you allow your writers to write from the heart and deal with issues that are often very controversial. I know of no other outdoor publication that allows writers the freedom that you do and that’s what sets you apart and makes writing for you such a pleasure.
Alberta’s outdoor community is well served by the magazine and all your behind the scenes work to protect the rights of outdoorsmen and women in this province does not go unnoticed.
Once again, congratulations and I look forward to working with you for the next 10 years.
– T.J. Schwanky
I know I speak for both myself and Paul Milberry when I say that... because we truly mean it. Without our writers, an incredible group who are the real leaders that give AO its direction; our advertisers, who are the spine of the magazine that gives it strength; and our readers, the dedicated outdoorsmen and women that care about what happens in their province, we would not have had the ability to move forward as we have. We thank each and every one of you for your commitment to better our outdoor pursuits.
When the idea of AO was first born, I had a vision to be different, to discuss those things that most would rather ignore. My belief was that if we discussed all of the issues that affect us as hunters, anglers and trappers, we would be much better for it, perhaps teaching ourselves a little bit about ourselves as a group along the way. And while we may have occasionally stepped on some toes, I believe that AO has lived up to its expectations and that it is making a difference.
From our very first issue through to this issue you hold in your hands right now, we have touched on our reader's emotions. I know this because even back then with our very first issue and without a single subscriber, we still managed to receive several letters to the editor, and to this day our letters section is considered by many to be the first pages read. If you can convince somebody to write a letter, you have done your job, because it takes a lot to inspire a reader enough to put pen to paper. AO does this on a consistent basis. And that tells me we are on the right path, a path that will lead to change in the way we represent ourselves to not only the general public, but to ourselves as well.
And that is all I ever asked for... the chance to help make a difference to the pursuits we hold so close to our hearts through the Alberta Outdoorsmen.
Our commitment to you is to continue the course for the next 10 years and beyond. I hope you join us for the ride.
– Rob Miskosky
For previous Outdoor Pursuits click here.