Thursday, February 28, 2008

Escapee Rainbows

Caught these fish on Monday... confused to find specimens this small with rainbow-like coloring [DNR stocks catchable size bows]. I confirmed this week with DNR Fisheries that these guys escaped during the August flood when the hatchery raceways were inundated with river water.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Also got over for a short bit of winter trout fishing.

I've got this down now. I can wake up on a day like today, have a leisurely breakfast with entire family... OR, like happened this AM: Em can head out either by herself for some fun, or with one kid. In the afternoon then, while the kids nap for a couple hours, I can jet over to fish for a bit. Return by dinner time for a family affair, and then bathe kids, read stories and put to bed. Yes, it is good.

This fish happens to be a beautiful rainbow caught from a little slot that I almost skipped. Instead I knee-crawled and cast my little bits of fly and shot. Pink Squirrel in the top lip is what got this fish to my hand. Very pretty fish - for sure mid-teens and I am thinking probably high teens (likely 16-17"). One of the bigger MN rainbows I've caught.

Other fish included some smaller bows and a number of pretty little browns. A slow walk that was good.
Got over to Oak Center this Sunday for the Bill Staines matinee. Highly recommend visiting that joint, whenever possible. Third concert I've seen there, but first for the boys. As you can see from the pics, it's a kid friendly deal. In fact, they can walk around and do what they please really - upstairs, downstairs... whatever. The strings are plucked regardless and there are no ushers. It's relaxed at its best. James walked right up to the front and sat in some little kid chairs they had set out... pretty independent that day. Had a beer and we shared some popcorn... muffin, etc. All made by the owner of the store, with organic ingredients. Can't get that at Target Center.

Another means of eating the stream...

Recall back in the fall, this bit about picking grapes with James... Well they sat in the freezer until recently. Finally, we turned them into jelly. The stuff is good... wow, is it good. Another product of the dirt and water of the Zumbro Basin, as assembled by the Sun.


It's my contribution to the Carp Anglers' Group fly swap.



It's self-explanatory. It's adapted from the fly I got from Zonker that caught me the record micro-rod carp last May. The brethern in the background were iterations that failed in one or more respects.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

We're comin', we're COMIN'... [KG]

The annual SE MN fly fishing tour has been booked, and John Montana will be joining us. All indications are that it will coincide well with Buffalo Days. Woohooo!!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A few degrees can make a difference.

Last time out the high was in the mid 30s or maybe even low 40s... This time high 20s I think. That is significant. It means that (1) your guides seize, as the surrounding air temp is below freezing, (2) the fish aren't as active, and (3) your fricking fingers don't work as well for tying knots, and they're a lot colder after releasing fish.

Those are observations though - not complaints. If you're in Heaven you can't tell God that yesterday was better than today. That's the deal here. In Heaven. And it is only 30 minutes from stationary position in my garage.

So the fishing wasn't as great... but still good. Someone gave me a good reminder this AM to fish small stuff. He said he recently pumped a trout's stomach and found ~70 midges... not a surprise - I've got photos and documentation of similar conclusion... He also said he ran into a 24" rainbow the other day, fishing the small stuff. I vowed to go away from attractors for today then, and fish some midges.

Started off forcing the soft hackle (emerging midge) on the fish, even though there was only an oh-so-occasional rise in each of the two slicks I fished. I knew it was wrong but I just kept ramming it at them and finally got one fish. I then moved to nymphing and put a PS #18 on front trailed by a midge larva #18. Proceed to catch a number of fish - probably 7-9 or so - nearly all took the midge. I recall one that ate the PS.

It was fairly slow. Okay. The fish were where they should have been I guess. I had one weighty ghost take me way under an ice sheet... pretty cool. Never saw the fish - got off and got gone. Chalk it up to the already-long list of those that got away.

Saw a few midges in the air and on the snow - one was kind enough to sit on my fly line for a minute. The fish were all healthy looking beauties. Two were little rainbows that pounded the nymphs as soon as they hit the water.

I saw one other set of boot tracks, one truck pulling a Bobcat, one flatbed pickup and a couple dozen snowmobilers. So I wasn't in a secret place. Hawk flew overhead though, and the sun shone down.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sunday night I set up a special screening of Carp Rock - a short vid I put together featuring Nirvana laid down under some radical carp footage. Em was impressed. James was impressed further.... and he asked me to replay it ~8 times. At some point during this showing, he said this, with solemn expression:
"I wish I could be there."

That one line just melted me, crushed me, and inflated me all at once... wow. Sorry that he wasn't there, and happy that he wanted to be there. Anyway, the long and short of it is that it crystallized a change that I knew was coming: if that guy wants to go fishing when I'm going fishing, he's going fishing. Like in the movie Blow, when Carl Jung asks his dad to go to work with him... and the Dad's coworkers give him crap over it... he silences them with something like "Hey - if my kid wants to come to work with me, he's coming to work with me." Or something close to that anyway...

Seems like the best approach here is to offer it up every time, and if he wants to come along, change plans accordingly. Don't force it on him, but make it available to him.

This guy is truly an amazing kid.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Let me get outside he says... Let the snow melt and the sun come. I need to see some black dirt and smell some too. Let me feel a little warmth on my face. I'd like to plunge my white and soft hands into the garden and ram some life under my fingernails. Let me see the streamside grass poking through last year's old guard.