Friday, April 25, 2014

April 18, 2014 Notes

Had maybe 4-5 hours to fish on a Friday, due to various scheduling items.  Some good notes came away:
(1) Driving far to fish isn't too great.  What a miser.  It bothers me.  I convince myself now and then to drive 45-55 minutes but then I note that I am driving over good water.  More than anything it makes me anxious: worried about burning time and gas, and worried about what to do when I get there if I run into folks.  This being a Friday morning, figured I might be okay.  But it was a Friday morning in April, with sun and clear water.  Should have understood that my odds were not good and confirmed as much when I pulled up: two cars already parked.  One party gone, presumably upstream; the other party gearing up for a big day - car drop in play.  So I offered them sunflower seeds and went on, relegated to fish downstream and somewhat poorer water.  Wished them well on their journey; I think it was a good one.  For me it meant anxiety, which was amplified when I realized that streamer fishing wouldn't be good.  Too bright, too clear, water just not having it.  Plus I was fretting, thinking someone had been through already. 
(2) Lesson and reiteration: if something is giving you trouble, start nymphing.  Look for water in which the fish figure they have you; have their safety secured.  Dig into it.  The fish are there.  I put away the streamer and skipped the still clear pools, fished the seams.  I was offered some degree of relief as fish started to come.
(3) Dry fly action can save the day.  I found a nice configuration of three pieces such as that pictured below.  BWO were rising steady; dark dun colored flies that look very delicate and edible.  I remembered one dry fly - the exact one - that I've fished during this hatch on this stream.  Tied it on and commenced to catch maybe 8-9 smallish fish.  Right away.  Kept a few.  Decent casts resulted in takes.  Lost a few too.  And one tooth-jacked the hackle on my fly and broke it.  Fair it seems.
Rising fish in this water.

An old fly; one that I appreciate.

Nymphing.  The irrestible. 

Pretty big forage for a BNT of maybe 11 inches.

Best take of the day was here.  Had nymphed these seams.  All the while a splashy riser on the far side.  Flipped the nymph rig over and right as dark trailer hit water, the riser scooted over and ate it with a nice flash.  That fish is dead now.

Slightly larger and lighter dry fly that the fish seemed to hate.  This goes back to Dave Hughes saying if you are not getting takes, go smaller and darker in iterative fashion.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Catch and Keep Opener 2014

Lost one creel and broke the strap on another; the latter being one that I bought at a garage sale for $1.  Mint condition wicker basket.  Strap broke due to excessive fish weight last April.  Never fixed it.  Will be on my list forever.  That's how things go for me.  So in the foreground here is my great uncle's old creel.  Given to me just months ago after sitting in the old family house for years.  I value it; honor it on this day by showing it a new water.  

Was nervous starting out; paranoid that someone would jump in ahead of me.  Despite fact that I drove on a road that required 4WD and care to not use brakes and then crossed an extensive field up top and then climbed down a steep valley wall, I was still worried about running into someone.  So given that, I moved too quickly through good water, so as to get up to a point at which I knew no one could jump me.  The result being that I pulled 0-1 fish out per hole, instead of 3-5 fish per good water like this beauty corner.  I have hooked and landed two BNT at once, twice standing in this exact foothole.  Main river was just a bit turbid (15-18 inches clarity I think), which made for great streamer offerings.

Nice layer cake.  You wouldn't know it walking in the woods.  Part of our character.

Love triangle.

Bedrock control.

This deep green water.  Begging for streamers.  Cast.  Stare at streambed for about ten seconds.  Retrieve.  Let that damn thing get down there.  Picture it kicking little silt plumes.

Probably about 15-17 fish to hand fishing 10 AM to 1 PM.  Of which five were selected for harvest.  This one was the sole photo, due not to size, but to spots.

Season of stomach content examinations.

God grant us the wisdom to keep this place roadless and forever free of the touch of man's heavy machinery.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Last of C&R 2014

The thin line that holds us
here of water and riffles and deep
green depths, together in the dark
drinking in our better self
and gazing at the stars like failures
or like kings: take your pick.

- from Fishing Friends, one poem of many in new book, The Initiation of Praise by L. Gavin

Thinking about camping with kids and then weather comes up; go anyway.  Only minor challenge was setting  up the tent so it'd stay dry; we used some innovation for that; worked pretty well.  We were the second tent pitched on this ground in the calendar year 2014.  Lots of steam coming off in this picture.  We had just come awake around 22 F.  Things warming up though.

We walked down the sideslope right into fish.  River in great shape.   We didn't fish really hard; trout came when we did look though.  This is the last photo of a fish caught by me in the C&R season in 2014.  We found a deep slot and casts of a streamer quartering up and across and stripped back drew strikes.  We clocked this fish right around 14".

This guy has caught many fish but until this day he hadn't logged any stream trout in MN.  Here he works his way up in good sun; no people in sight.  Working up the valley.

Mostly we left kids alone; to their own adventures.  But they did ask to fish.  This gal can cast a fly line; she can get the fly where it needs to be.

Most every rock is a record of past ocean life.

Gamer.  Overtops his boots within five minutes every time but does not complain.

First fish for DF.  He worked up to the head of a nice configuration and flipped a tandem nymph rig up above the drop point; where the blond streambed gave way to gray.  The fish were there unseen although we could sense their noses pointed forward.  Maybe first cast he hooked this one.  Then more.  High sticking; looking good.  Rod bowed as it was meant to be. 
Next day the main river was too turbid; some of that snow had gotten in there carrying various other constituents.  We fished a smaller trib for just a short time; it was in fine condition.  Here is first streamer fish for DF.

Deep water at river right.  Good number of fish in there. 
Including suckers.

Had a little trouble with mud; nothing too bad though.  Managed it well with special rigging of tent rugs at each door.  Nice outing; kids are tough.  No one got cold; no one felt cold in bones at night even as coyotes yipped all hours.  We listened to barred owls over beer and then even over coffee.

Red dots denote arrival and departure.  Closest continuous temp I know of is in Rochester.  Probably pretty comparable.  That second night was noticeably warmer;  these data corroborate.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Last paragraph of The Road by C. McCarthy

Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.

Blood Meridian excerpt by C. McCarthy

I seen Studebaker wagons with six and eight ox teams headed out for the grounds not haulin a thing but lead. Just pure galena. Tons of it. On this ground alone between the Arkansas River and the Concho there was eight million carcasses for that’s how many hides reached the railhead. Two year ago we pulled out from Griffin for a last hunt. We ransacked the country. Six weeks. Finally found a herd of eight animals and we killed them and come in. They’re gone. Ever one of them that God ever made is gone as if they’d never been at all. 

The ragged sparks blew down the wind. The prairie about them lay silent. Beyond the fire it was cold and the night was clear and the stars were falling. The old hunter pulled his blanket about him. 

I wonder if there’s other worlds like this, he said. Or if this is the only one.

- An Old Buffalo Hunter