Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Zumbrota Minnesota
Poet & Artist Collaboration, April 19th

From Crossings website: In its 12th year, Crossings’ annual Poet-Artist Collaboration celebrates National Poetry Month in April by bringing the written word and visual arts together. The exhibit of poems and the art they inspired is on display from April 1 to 26. A free public reception and reading takes place at Crossings and the State Theatre on Fri., April 19, at 6:30 p.m.

Some 150 poets and artists participated in this year’s event by entering up to three poems each, or submitting artistic work samples. Jurors winnowed nearly 300 poems down to just 26. Other jurors halved the artistic pool to match the number of poems. For this exhibit, each selected artist chooses one selected poem from which to create an artwork. Poems and the work they inspired are displayed together.

Point #1: this is a unique and stunning event.  Examining artists' interpretations of poetry.  I think everyone in the theater would have stayed for two more rounds, into the night.

Point #2: two days left...   if you can manage to get there, do it.  Seeing this art in person; especially that depicted below...   is highly memorable.  Further: just a really cool place.

Li Bai at the South Fork

A bright glass late summer moon
Rocks push the water up toward the light
The dragon-jawed spotted trout lays silent
In the sliding sheet below the riffle

I hold a length of cane over the water
Trailing a silk line and a feathered fly
It spreads a small v-wake in the current
Offering a connection between our worlds

In a sudden fury, the fish explodes at me
Hanging a deep bass note in the falling dark
As fireflies begin to rise at streamside
Like lanterns above villages of grass

Point #3: this guy nailed it.  Mike Schad is a local fisherman and artist.  He read this poem perfectly and translated it to the pastel pictured above.  I thank him and I thank Crossings for making this work.  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Catch and Keep Opener 2013

[in captions]
Day one: we were afforded exactly 90 minutes of free time between appointments on Saturday (opening day).  We were in the vicinity, so we stopped in on a popular river reach.  Kid wanted to press for a creel of ten; we had to stop at seven to meet our next obligation. 

Every kept trout showed a stomach near-bursting with a notable mix of bugs.

My field eye was a bit rusty and I underestimated the length of every trout we kept.  The offset was approximately 1.5 inches.  I think this fish was 13 or maybe 14.5 inches.  Biggest BNT I've ever kept.

This cat already has the one handed pose; it came naturally to him.

Still can't hook fish on his own; main lesson on this day was pinching the line with one hand, stripping it in with the other.  The casual stance in this photo; I like it.

The receding water is often great to fish, in my opinion.  It's clear or clearing, and the extra volume provides more camouflage for both audio/visual facets.  We beat up this riffle in every way.  We worked the tail: first three drifts produced fish.  Then the far side; beauties there.  Then the main riffle and the head.  More fish.  Look at it.  Tandem nymph rigs.  Big black leading and a scud trailing.  Knocked all over the water.

First creel of 2013.  Smallest fish is 11 inches.  Feels good to keep fish.  To eat them.

Day two was a steady rain all day; should have fished it but couldn't.  Day three was a  bust as a result of day two: we looked at all the small streams within 35 minute radius; every one was less than three inches clarity.  We didn't fish; called it and went home.  Did something else.  So we've logged 90 minutes thus far in keep season.  April continues to drain away...    Man, could use a good week without hard precip and then a solid day of nymphing.  I think it might be coming soon.

Friday, April 12, 2013

April is Slipping Away

...and we've been moderately robbed thus far

Probably the last instance of April 1 meaning much to trout fishermen in SE MN.  Next year, things should be somewhat less detailed in the way of seasons.  As it stands though, that date marks the open of catch and release trout fishing for nearly every stream in our corner of the state (I believe that Dakota County is not included and there is a segment or two of trout water in that polygon).  This year, flexibility was a required attribute for anyone who ventured out.  Streams were charged with meltwater, meaning temperatures dropped and water clarity decreased.  And not like rain events, which can generally be fished with decent success as the hydrograph recedes…     snowmelt is a little different, in my opinion, because nearly all or all of the “extra” or “event” water that reaches the channel gets there running over the ground.  Meaning if I drive up the road to the stream 35 hours after a rain event and the water is receding, I expect it to be very clear if not dead clear, and I expect it to fish really well.  But it is not a given that you’ll find those conditions as snowmelt-driven peaks recede.  More variable.  I looked at many streams that had come down 3-4 feet by Monday and they were nearly all less than six inches clarity.  Tied up some slightly bigger, somewhat flashier nymphs; some black streamers too, for good contrast.  I found one stone clear BKT stream and caught a few pretty fish.  Best part about this reach though was stumbling onto a totem that marked someone's extensive sugar bush.  But that was early on and I believed I’d find better water.  Turns out I should have stayed.  I fished turbid water for a while and caught a couple BNT, one fairly nice one, on streamers.  But I got to the point of asking myself: why do I want to stick around here and fish either (a) turbid water of the size I like, or (b) really small streams – the few that are clear right now?  I like to nymph.  That’s a fact.  I’m out there to beat up on seams and nymph.  That and catch some fish to eat (in season).  My conclusion was that I’d do neither of those things on this day.  And I don’t have to fish; no one making me do it.  I like it and I like tradition of April 1.  But hell, when things ain’t right, you don’t have to stick with it all the time.  Fold up and head home.  Maybe I’m getting old.  But more likely cranky: more and more I like to fish what I like to fish; not just fish to be doing it.  The fish are there; I'm here; God willing that will always be the case. So let it be now and then.  And yes - you can almost always find water; some water, to fish.  We love you and everything else but that is not a revelation of any sort.  That is a known fact.  But again, ratio of work to time to enjoyment to enthusiasm is in play.  Hell with it.  Drove away around 3 PM and abandoned the 2 inch clarity, have-to-hit-a-fish-with-streamer-bit and went home.  Other days are down the road.  As a consolation, I stumbled on about 6-7 old jellybeans in the crotch of my chestpack.

Day before opener we climbed around the park and fished some of the winter streams.  Should say the kids attempted the winter streams; I didn’t string up a rod.  I knew it was a 10% chance for them, but I gave them bright jigs and spinners and just let them cast for half an hour or so.  Zero hits.  But new line helped JD out quite a bit. And DM really has the casting down now.  Couple notes on this outing:
(1)    When Dad says do not step on the ice, there is moving water there over that hole; and then brother says do not step on that ice…    it’s good to not step there.  But lessons are learned in various manners.  DM fell through to approx. thigh depth early on in the trek.  To his credit, after emptying his shoes and brushing him off a bit…   he carried on, for 2-3 more hours…    without a single word of complaint.  If it’d been cold, I would have called it.  But no chance of any damage, so we went ahead.
(2)    We picked up a Primus backpack stove on sale for $19.  You see how small it is there…    and the two mugs and the fuel fit into the kettle.  So this is something that even a small daypack can carry with ease.  It boiled ~1/3 of that volume in 3-4 minutes.  Ice pellets hit us while the little stove was ripping away.  May sound silly to have tea out there on the sidehill, but it was a highlight.  Kids dig the idea of going out and setting up some such thing in the woods.  In the way of gear review, I’d say plus on this…  but only used it once thus far.  Coolness factor pretty high.