1. Hit B.C.'s backroads for cutthroat trout: There’s nothing genteel about fishing for westslope cutties in the backcountry of B.C.’s Eastern Kootenay after the early-summer snowmelt has passed. You need to get back, away from the paved roads, with forestry road maps spread out across your knees and the truck in low gear, poking your way toward the promise of great fishing. These backwoods rivers are small, sometimes small enough to be called creeks, but they hold hungry cutthroat trout, bold and colourful and ready to take whatever you can cast to them. Sometimes, it means scaling down steep canyons and sometimes it requires stepping aside for a wandering bear, but that’s all part of what makes westslope cutthroat fishing so addictive. —George Gruenefeld

2. Get laid off or go on a sabbatical (and go fishing): They call it a pink slip, but mine was a sickly yellow-green. Two hours later, I was sipping coffee on my deck, wondering what to do next. So I went fishing. Thus began one of my best summers ever. For three glorious months, I fished when everyone else worked. And on weekends, when productive members of society went fishing, I did my laundry, tied flies, hit the town and pretended to look for work. Eventually, the real world called. “Can you start Monday?” my new employer asked. “Love to,” I replied, “but I’ll need a few days.” What could I do? My fishing gear was already packed. —Scott Gardner

3. Fish new waters: There’s a certain appeal in fishing the same reliable spots year after year. But for some of us, once we’re pretty sure we can catch a fish, we start getting bored. That’s when it’s time to head somewhere different. New water is like a mystery, waiting to be unravelled by studying maps and exploring unfamiliar back roads, culminating in the tingling excitement of that first cast. It’s like the first game of the playoffs, the opening credits of a summer blockbuster or crossing the room to talk to a pretty girl. Whatever happens next could be great or could be miserable, but it’ll definitely be interesting. —Scott Gardner

4. Visit your hunting grounds—without a gun: Who says the hunt is only about hunting? Hunts can be about summer, too. Hunters often miss the big picture because of their focus on detail—the best approach to that patch of cover, how to place their feet silently, or whether that clump of cattails hides a pheasant. In summer, freed of the need to be alert for game, we can learn the lay of the land. It’s a great time to figure out where game trails go, and why; to study the vegetation patterns that produce feeding and hiding habitat for wildlife in the fall; and simply to get better acquainted with the animals or birds whose lives and ours intersect each hunting season. —Kevin Van Tighem

5. Fish the Columbia's caddisfly hatch: When the snowmelt off the surrounding alpine finally slows to a trickle in mid-July, blizzard hatches of caddisflies, along with mayflies, come off B.C.’s Columbia River in dense clouds so thick they obscure vision and make it difficult to breathe on warm summer evenings. A bother it might be to most who work and live along the banks of the upper Columbia near Trail, but for anglers it’s a special experience. Picture hordes of heavy-shouldered rainbow trout, many weighing in the double digits, feeding recklessly in the eddies and riffles turned golden in the late-day sun. It’s unbelievable fishing—the kind that’s bound to keep you coming back every summer. —George Gruenefeld 

6. Travel across the Gaspe for Atlantic salmon: Come late June and early July on Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, the breezes are a curious mingling of sea air and heady lilac blossoms. Wild strawberries ripen along the riverbanks and fresh-run Atlantic salmon come storming into the clear rivers, fresh  rom the ocean with sea lice still clinging to their sides. They’re silver bright, volatile and strong, quick to rise to a swung fly and always ready to perform aerials. Being on the Gaspé at this time gets under your skin, bound to become an annual pilgrimage. And linger a lifetime in your memories. —George Gruenefeld 

7. Score a ground squirrel trifecta: Hunters and plinkers looking for a unique and exciting challenge should head to southwestern Alberta, where three difference species of ground squirrels overlap in range. In one summer's day, you can target Richardson's, Columbian and thirteen-lined ground squirrels—and help farmers in the process. —Brad Fenson