Friday, June 23, 2006

Em and JD are coming back to MN today! It has been far too long... They are going to walk into this office anytime now. Can't wait to pick up that little guy and give him a big squeeze.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Here are a few more misc pics...

Here are a few pics from day one... little caddis flies were everywhere in the early AM. I had to adjust my wiring - I'm used to swatting away bugs, but these guys came in peace.

Here are some of the bugs that were on the river when we floated it...
I’m just back from four days fishing with John B out in Oregon. We had a great time, as expected. Here is a day by day summary:

DAY ONE: Outstanding fishing for Deschutes Redsides near Maupin, Oregon. We nymphed like fools and caught many nice fish. John put me on one of his big fish holes, and I caught three of the best trout I’ve ever seen in person…. In a span of fifteen minutes. I had to edge out into some fairly heavy flow, but when I finally reached the water I was eyeing, immediately connected with a beautiful rainbow in the 17” range. The fish leapt multiple times and made some great runs… it took definite concentration to hold the fish and land it. Beautiful and strong fish – vibrant colors… amazing. John left to use a facility, and just minutes after he walked away, I found another fish of the same size and attitude connected to my #16 barbless copper john…. Landed that one, and managed to hook another one before John returned. He walked up as I was fighting this third one and helped me get it into the shallows where it popped off at our feet. I actually hooked and lost one more before leaving that honey hole.

We landed quite a few trout and whitefish… all day long. The Deschutes Valley is amazing, and it was great to do a 360 and absorb it between fish. John took me to a lot of good water, and put me on the #1 fly of the day – thanks for that! We didn’t catch 100+ fish like we did in MN, but I would rate this as a premier fishing day – as good as a person could ever want…. Fishing in tandem with your buddy, no other people around (it was a Friday) and flowing water at your feet!

DAY TWO: Carping day! We went to one of John’s carp haunts – a very cool setting. I was using a 6 wt and John had an 8 wt… both using 3x or 4x tippet and barbless nymphs. We started out wading out into some deeper water (water was up due to wet conditions preceding) and we spotted a lot of carp. It was tough to see though, given windy conditions and high water. John hooked a couple and landed 1-2 out there, and I hooked two, but both got off… one took me all the way to my backing though, on a beautiful 90 foot run straight out as we sat and watched – pretty cool. My favorite part was out of the water, up on a high bank, looking down on the carp. They were cruising and feeding between shore and a weedbank, and we could spot them pretty easily. We would boom out fairly long casts down and at an angle into the water, then watch the carp. If we saw them move to the flies we’d watch for any strange behavior – pivoting body, tilting head, mouth opening… then set the hook. This was much easier for me… and obviously very exciting. In the entire day, I hooked only 10 fish, but I’ll tell you what: they tore me apart! It was great! They made spectacular runs, and bulled and bulled… took me into the weeds and broke me off with regularity. Thus, I landed only 2 of the 10 fish I hooked… but I am surely not complaining. Spotting the fish, getting the fly in position, watching the carp behavior and seeing the take is where it’s at…. The fight is great too, a close second… actual landing is probably a distant third. For anyone who is interested, I managed quite an amazing video of John expertly casting to, hooking, playing and landing a 9 lb mirror carp – it is very cool, as I have birdseye view of the whole deal.

DAY THREE: Another carping day (yes, we were a short distance from many world class trout waters). We bopped around some more local spots, and didn’t fish too hard. We actually spent a good part of the day at John’s place visiting with his family, which was very good. Elia brought me a book and asked me to read about diggers! She is a really friendly, outgoing and communicative little girl – it was great to hang out with her for a while on this day. So, given the day’s layout, more local fishing fit well. We hit some urban carp water, and I was humbled by some of these situations: having to roll cast 30-40 feet with accuracy, trying to be very, very precise with nymph presentation, trying to detect strikes when I couldn’t see the fly OR the fish… tough, but interesting and fun time. I didn’t land a single fish in approx 6 hours of fishing – John landed two carp – a fat mirror and a common. I did hook one fish that was tailing in the shallows (could only see tail), and I foul hooked one too – but landed neither. That brand of fishing is extremely challenging… basically throwing nymphs at silt clouds that indicate feeding carp, then either maintaining contact with flies, or watching for a tail behaving in a strange fashion. Very fun and informative day it was.

DAY FOUR: We floated down the Deschutes River all day. I could stop right there and arrive at an accurate description of a good day. We did fish though – to some good success. We were fortunate enough to be accompanied and guided by John’s friend Chris – he is a great guy and a very knowledgeable and skilled fisherman. In fact, there was more humbling here, as I was now in the presence of TWO superb fisherman, and I was definitely exposed. I’m used to booming out big lake casts, or flipping short and accurate casts in our SE MN streams. This river trip required a combo – long and accurate casts… also a lot of dry fly casting, and casting without false casts – all difficult for me. I caught a few trees, fouled up a number of good lies… but eventually got into some great fish. The salmon flies were on the water, as were golden stoneflies – both are ridiculously HUGE bugs that are like protein bars for fish. We watched many of them be eaten by trout, and we fished their imitations in the form of dry flies. We landed a number of beautiful fish – many on dries… I actually only got 3-4 dry fly fish to hand, but that was great in my mind. We nymphed up a few more, and added a few whitefish to round out the day. One fish was an absolute brute – deep and strong… caught on a big dry fly. I cast up into a glare, and couldn’t see the fly… but heard a splash and set the hook – pretty amazing – something I won’t forget. We also did some great ninja fishing, as called by John – belly-crawling and creeping down to within 10 feet of some good fish… to bow-and-arrow cast to them. The river, the valley, the flow, the power, the fish… the bugs – all incredible, even when a guy doesn’t work it over like an expert. I appreciate the opportunity to fish the big river with these two guys – what a trip it was.

We’ve assembled quite a succession of fishing trips over the past few years – they’re always good… and not just because we catch fish. Thanks John, Kelly and Elia for having me out there.

I've already posted a few pictures in the previous post... and John has some here:;f=4;t=018774

Having trouble posting more pics at this time... I'll try later.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Things are going really well out here in Oregon... just a few pics from last couple days. First day highlights include catching three redsides 17-19" in a ten minute stretch... Second day was watching big carp suck in flies - one of the coolest sights in all of the fishing world. John caught a beautiful mirror carp... You know it's a good sign when you hook ~20 fish (carp) between two guys but land only 7 of them. Most of them were too big and too strong for the setting in which we were fighting them - they broke off flies or took us into weeds.

UPDATED: day four highlights included the Deschutes River humiliating me and putting me in my place... but also offering up this beautiful fish on a DRY FLY for crying out loud.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Go read this post... very funny account of shad fishing.;f=5;t=003007
Please Don't Bury Me
by John Prine

Woke up this morningPut on my slippersWalked in the kitchen and diedAnd oh what a feeling!When my soulWent thru the ceilingAnd on up into heaven I did rideWhen I got there they did sayJohn, it happened this wayYou slipped upon the floorAnd hit your headAnd all the angels sayJust before you passed awayThese were the very last wordsThat you said:Chorus:Please don't bury meDown in that cold cold groundNo, I'd druther have "em" cut me upAnd pass me all aroundThrow my brain in a hurricaneAnd the blind can have my eyesAnd the deaf can take both of my earsIf they don't mind the sizeGive my stomach to MilwaukeeIf they run out of beerPut my socks in a cedar boxJust get "em" out of hereVenus de Milo can have my armsLook out! I've got your noseSell my heart to the junkmanAnd give my love to RoseRepeat ChorusGive my feet to the footlooseCareless, fancy freeGive my knees to the needyDon't pull that stuff on meHand me down my walking caneIt's a sin to tell a lieSend my mouth way down southAnd kiss my ass goodbyeRepeat Chorus

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Headed west... for fishing with John B. I'll be back with a report soon.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Got out for 1.75 hours today, and fished the Big River...
A lot of rain last night, and the STraight River is blasting up even as I write this - see the USGS link on this web log. When I got to this location the gauge read ~0.30 feet (I was in a hurry to get out so I didn't read it closely). When I left, it read 1.10 feet. That is nearly 10 inches of water in an hour and forty five minutes. I could see the clarity dropping, and big debris was floating downstream too... in fact a big log bumped me and I about had a heart attack. What that meant for fishing: garbage. Right when I got there I caught about ten fish, four different species... but only hooked two carp, and one got off after making a nice run. However, the one that I did land was a mirror carp - my first ever! Really cool fish... Only other note - couldn't believe it, but some guys actually boated up the river and fished next to me... the place is becoming far too popular for my liking. I think a certain epic day in May is really drawing the people... must be that, right? They were smoking, draining a case of beer, and casting very close to my person. Not to mention throwing giant lures... they caught two bullheads and snagged one carp that popped off at the boat.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

James has walked over and plopped himself down on his toilet a couple times... pretty cool. He even picks up reading material in emulation of Mom and Pops.

20 months between haircuts... so says the computer at the barber shop. I was recently called Grizzly Adams and a hippie by two different people - both complements I'd say. However, when hair starts to hang so low in my face it tends to give me headaches... what is more, on the rare occasion that I wash my hair, it takes half the bottle of shampoo when it's that long. My wife says she wishes I could avoid the extremes.

What is this fish? At first I thought it was a rock bass... but it doesn't have the distinct red eye, and it looks darker than rock bass that I remember. Then I thought warmouth, but they are more sunfish colored. If I had to bet I'd say rock bass, but still not sure...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Mike R's big pike... It is a beautiful fish. I'm posting it because I need to host the picture to share in a discussion taking place on the local roughfish board: Go there to check out a story re a another big pike.

First ever sight-fished carp was today... I figured I've logged ~20 of the gray ghosts to date, but all of those were nymphed blind. Today I found really low water, and over my lunch I ran around looking for fish. All of the probably holes around NFLD were too low - I found only hordes of bullhead at one location. Cows in the stream obscured another hole... so I decided to walk the Big Cannon itself. I came upon a log wing-dam of sorts, and behind it was a long slackwater situation. The entire bank was thick with stinging nettle and I wasn't prepared - no waders or even respectable pants. Also, the bank was very high - 8-10 feet in most places. However, I poked my head through a few places and saw carp milling about - some sunning, some cruising, and in the shallower places I could see them feeding. I am betting they were feeding throughout the slackwater, but I couldn't see to the bottom in most places. I ran back to the car and grabbed an 8 wt, my new and improved lanyard and a box of nymphs. I started flipping and rolling casts to these fish (too dense for any backcast, and none was needed anyway), only to be denied time and time again. In fact, many fish deliberatedly moved away from my flies when they saw them. However, it was great to be casting to these carp that I could see so plainly - new experience for me. After a little over an hour of plopping nymphs in front of stationary and cruising carp I began to walk back up toward the log dam. At the head, I saw two carp finning around under the debris - one big one and one small one... both left the shade and started swimming up a shallow near-riffle area... I threw at the big one, but didn't get a decent cast out there. The smaller one was moving slower, and actively feeding. On my second cast, my bitch creek nymph sank just to the side of his head... I saw a slight pause and a little side motion of the fish's head and I set the hook. He was there - what a surprise! Not the most amazing fight given the large rod and small fish, but he did take me toward the wood dam three times. The toughest thing about the fight was the bank - I had to shimmy down it while holding the fish on. I ended up calf deep in the water, which was okay by me.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

We've had some great bugs in our yard recently. Here are a mayfly and a dragonfly... If anyone can ID please post. The mayfly is really large.... check out the tails. I may try to key them out if I ever find a minute.
James camped at Frontenac State Park this weekend. It was his first night in a tent, and he slept from 8 PM to 530 AM - pretty darn good! He had a good time exploring the campground, watching other people in the park, hiking up and down the bluffs, and sleeping in the pack on my back.

We completed a one hour loop this morning, starting at our site, winding downhill to Lake Pepin... following the shore south, then climbing the slope back up. We were definitely tested by the altitude changes... steep and long, and I think we had a lot of lactic acid in our leg muscles for much of the hike. James slept almost the entire time. I am really out of shape.

When we woke up this morning it was somewhat cool, thus the blanket cocoon pictured here.

Hopefully we can do this often - all went well and by all appearances JD liked it a lot.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Couple more pics from SE MN Tour...

Match the hatch? How about match 50% of the general forage base? This nymph is called The Dominator. I should have rotated it 180 degrees to be perfectly accurate.