Monday, March 28, 2011

Five Years Ago Today

Looking through some files. Found these old notes that I made some years ago. Struck me as a good end-of-winter-season-post.

Various angles in there, and various thoughts re whether or not a person has changed at all over five years. Maybe not. Probably though.

I used to take meticulous notes in journals - did that for years. Still take notes and photos but resolution is diminishing. The write up below was meant for my own annals - something to keep and review. I remember the day: still recall the wilted spinach takes and the wonder that came with them.

Anyway: happy spring, and enjoy the (broader) catch and release opener: April 1st.

Friday, March 25, 2011

As I face new water, I always ask myself if I ought to fish with a nymph or not. Presumably you don’t walk directly into rising trout. Camus said that the only serious question is whether or not to commit suicide. This is rather like the nymph question. It takes weight, a weighted fly, split shot. Casting becomes a matter of spitting this mess out and being orderly about it. This requires a higher order of streamcraft than any other kind of fishing, because it truly calls upon the angler to see the river in all its dimensions. Gone are the joys of casting, the steady meter and adjustment of loop that compare well to walking or rowing. The joys of casting are gone because this ignoble outfit has ruined the action of your fly rod.

From Midstream, an essay included in The Longest Silence, by Thomas McGuane

Book recommendation came from a fellow fisherman. I'm passing on the recommendation. The fishing literature genre is pretty packed, and to be honest I've explored only a fraction of it. I can say though that McGuane offers great content, exceptional writing skill, good humor, and sincere reverence and thought. Good author and good book. $5 from

Monday, March 21, 2011

Let's go fishing Dude

Moderate level of depression around here, due to the assault on public employees. A guy can take the lowest salary of all his college buddies in the course of serving the public and still be attacked as having too much. Layoff the taxing of the wealthy; instead take pensions and salaries from pisant public employees. Jesus, who wants to get into that. The point of it as intro material is that one of few escapes is to get out and see planet earth as it's meant to be seen: in reality. In dirt and water and the perfect geometry. Hold some fish. I worship fish 100x more than any politician. For the record that is. If a guy sits around languishing at the house with all the pixels and soundwaves - man - he's going to die right there. Depression and disrespect floating around. So he needs to leave and remember that even if all goes to hell it really isn't a lot more than pixels and little grooves written into silicone media somewhere that represent bank accounts. If it goes to hell he can take advice from Greg Brown and become a hippy in a tent. A much more valorous endeavor anyway. So that's the point here: remind onself of the great Walter Sobchak: Fuck it Dude, let's go bowl. Or if you're in the Midwest, fish.

Before I get into the report, one more thing on the plan to attack the 2% of the state expenditures that goes to state government: suck it Trbek.

Fished 11 AM to 3 PM
One of few streams that was not blown out
Nymphed all day with standard PT and HE
Saw a couple small black stoneflies
Midges were about
Waited for rising fish but they never came
Water was very clear
Probably 15 fish caught, of which several were decent, one pretty nice

Danny came along on this day. He didn't execute all components of fishing, but he did about what would be expected of a ~4 year old kid. Fought some fish, unhooked a few, held and released a lot of them.

This little brown came on the second cast. The action was right to keep things moving along. Paced very well. Picture confirms that he gets pretty excited about fish.

This water gave up at least six trout. Even after Danny threw multiple sticks at it. The red line delineates the drift. Up past the overhanging veg, mend to right and drift through slot. Take. Take. Etc. One nice fish came here.

You can see that his fish holding got better as the day ticked by.

This pic requires some explanation. I regularly urge the kids to place fish back in the water after a short examination and appropriate respects paid. They don't always comply immediately. So as I was urging Danny on I cast again and caught another trout. Kid asked to hold two trout and I couldn't say no. Both fish swam off puzzled but okay. Kid was fascinated.

The guy is an impermeable warrior when it comes to water, mud, temperatures, discomfort, etc. He walks in over his boot tops without pause or complaint. Within half an hour he was covered in mud and pretty much soaked. My honest assessment is that his attention is on exploration, goofing around, singing/chanting, asking questions, etc. enough so that he glosses over discomfort. I did what I could to keep him in good shape, and he did more than his part with respect to keeping on. This outing served as a prompt though to get my kids waders. They won't need them but for certain situations; would be good for days like this one.

Yellow Sally aka Golden Stone

So this guy logged a winter trout fishing outing before his fourth birthday. One of my favorite days for sure.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March 19 Recon Day

Spent the day marauding around Whitewater State Park, looking over the land and water. The flood bullet has been dodged, due to iterative melting pattern and lack of significant precip over the past couple weeks. The bigger water is still turbid, but not really that high even (save the very high order big river reaches). All of the gauges show hydrographs peaking yesterday. There should be plenty of water ready to fish at this moment and going forward. I've come across multiple reports of BWO action.

Started the day following the park naturalists in some distillation of maple syrup. Kids skip several steps, as is often the case.

Then up the trail to Chimney Rock.

Q: Why do you think the snow is still on one side of the ridge trail but not the other?
A: Because the sun doesn't get to it. - James Watkins

Middle Branch WW, just upstream of confluence with swimming impoundment outflow (which was clearer), 15:25 CDT. Still pretty turbid. I saw a couple guys fishing. Fishable, but I wouldn't want to be on it today. Better water out there.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

March 11, 2011 Report

En route to a non-fishing engagement, I came upon a trout stream around 1030 AM on Friday. A stream that maybe 5-6 years ago I fished with some regularity. Now, given new homebase, I do not drive to this stream because it's the wrong locale. That is, I like other water better. Further south and east I mean.

Immediately saw fish rising and midges in the snow. I showed the risers some dry flies and emergers but couldn't get them to take. Crutched out and went to nymphs and logged maybe 10-12 fish over the first hour or so. Then with some fish to hand I went back to the midge dries with a little more determination. I sat on some fish and got the presentation down and caught them. The first was a bit of joy for sure. The fourth or fifth one was a great take by a fish that bumped into the low teens.

From that point on, I kept a dry fly out there and put it on every piece of decent looking water. Crappy casts and presentations due to numerous variables (primarily strong wind and lack of sufficient skill) were the norm, but when it came together fish were caught. Maybe a dozen on #18 dry flies. The most intriguing take was by a fish that had not been rising, holding near an old bridge piling. Looked like a beauty. Connection failed though, and he was not to be fooled again.

Noted the black stones in the snow too. Fish very definitely stopped rising at 2 PM.

This fish was caught nymphing, but I had to snap some photos because I was enchanted by those prominent spots. What a beauty.

First fish that ate the midge dry:

Best fish that ate the midge dry:

I'd be happy rising fish like this all day...

Productive water - both cushions on the sides of the rifle, and the tailout:

Any #18 traditional hackled fly was playable, if presented decently:

Could be that I'm not recalling the past ~10 winters correctly; could be that over the course of them I didn't fish dries in the winter enough (likely)... but it seems to me that winter 2011 has shown a pretty impressive willingness to give up good hatches and thus plenty of trout to dry flies.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

You Stay at Home

So long to the waiting month: February. We love you and everything else, but we sure don't fret your passing. March, and sun will be upon us soon.

Following are misc shots from a good and diverse weekend at home. I consider all settings in the photographs to be representative of my home.

And perhaps most importantly: the Bigfoot Ale can be purchased at Silver Lake Liquor: $9.99 for a sixer. Do the math, and factor in the alcohol content. It'll lay you low. Introduced to me by Roughfisher, one year ago.