Wild Rivers—“That’s what’s so appealing about fishing and hunting the smallest streams and biggest rivers. You can reap the rewards only after putting in the time. Rivers are always changing. They act more like living organisms than static landmarks…. To be successful on these waters, and near them, you must learn to read their habits and be willing to adapt as conditions change.” —Alex Robinson, Editor-in-Chief


Rivers were the original highways and backroads that allowed hunters and trappers to crisscross this country. But somewhere between horse-drawn buggies and four-wheel drive with GPS navigation, we forgot about traveling waterways to find uncharted hunting areas and unpressured game. From a raft hunt in Alaska to four rivers that are flush with spring turkeys, the editors of Outdoor Life take you on a tour of the stories, gear, tactics, and remote rivers that will carry you to better ground.


“I’m here for the bass—and the rapids. We could find more-pristine whitewater out West, but there’s no river with a better story. The New River is a comeback kid,” writes Senior Editor Natalie Krebs. Despite decades of environmental damage, the country’s oldest river remains resilient—and flush with smallmouth bass. But to access the best fishing, you’ll need a boat, the skill to row it, and the will to take on West Virginia’s whitewater.


In the 1970s, the Bighorn River was one of the best-kept secrets in the fishing world. Local angler Phil Gonzalez helped put the river on the map, but not in any way he could have imagined. In 1978, he was fishing with friends on the river when a game warden, brandishing a shotgun, arrested Gonzalez and confiscated the 5-pound rainbow they had caught. The arrest and subsequent court case made national headlines and shaped the river’s future. Decades later, Shooting Editor John B. Snow joined Gonzalez on the Bighorn to hear how his life became intertwined with one of our greatest trout fisheries. “As we floated downstream, I listened to him dissect the river. Each twist, side channel, and run had decades’ worth of stories,” writes Snow.


Every turkey hunt is a head trip as much as it’s a pursuit of beard and spur. The gobbler that was so vocal on the roost at dawn has suddenly clammed up. Did you blow a sour call? Or did he move away? While most callers are questioning themselves and the turkeys, Mike Chamberlin at the University of Georgia can tell you precisely why that gobbler went quiet. Hunting Editor Andrew McKean sat down with Chamberlin to go through the new research that might cause you to rethink everything you know about turkey calling. What you learn will make you a smarter and, hopefully, more successful hunter.

PLUS Access Rights and Wrongs; Willow Creek; American Silver; Hunting Nutria in the Louisiana Bayou; Reviving a .270 Winchester; Turkey Hunting Gear Guide; Essential Rowing Tips; and more.