December 17, 2009

Holiday Cheer!

Check out LLBean's sale pages for some interesting discounts. I noticed previously that the Orion series of rods and reels weren't to be found on the website and that the reels were not available in-store; looks like they were discontinued?(I'm very late on this I guess) No idea of the details (some rumblings of bad blood between Bean and Loomis, their supplier), but you can reap the benefits with half-price Orion rods online (5 wt and 8 wt only available for $130 and $150, respectively, or half-price) or check a retail store if theres one near you. Bean's "top of the line" rod with their legendary guarantee for that price...think about it.

December 11, 2009

Epilogue: One More Cast

You know how sometimes (most times for me at least) you find it just a bit too difficult to leave the water? I mean, it's time to go, you know it, I know it...there's someone waiting, it's getting late, or dark, or light, or cold or hot, rainy or sunny, crowded or deserted, you're famished or thirsty, loops are getting ugly...t is for time to leave. But you can't. You're just not finished yet.

Don't quit...don't even quit.

Gotta finish out the run, or put that last decent cast/drift/swing together. Gotta get that one last rising fish in the corner to commit...or at least show him one last variation. Just one more...

Gotta end on a good note.

Never mind that your buddies are staring daggers into the back of your head from the running car or the lady is wiping your number from her phone.

Sometimes you just need one more cast.

"The Trip" still consumes me. Can't help it. Probably won't be able to do much about it until next fall. There were plenty of "one more" moments over the 9 days.

Like me hoping for a second chance while we were all hungry, tired, cold and parched after over 11 hours on the Oak. In one spot.

Or Brian fishing over the visible pod on the Catt for 8 straight hours.

Or the 3 of us doing the same on 18.

Overall, the "never-say-die" attitude we were barely able to hang onto throughout the trip.

Or that last Genny, shared by 4.

Brian's refusal to leave the fish that were "randomly" taking eggs from the 2 anglers above, but snubbing him, until 15 minutes after Joe and I reached the car.

Sometimes it's not an end-of-the-day thing, like that 2nd fish I picked up in Paradise that day...as I was getting ready to reel-in and cross.

Then there was that legitimate, mind-altering experience. The battle by which all future battles are to be measured. The catch that exemplifies the journey-over-destination mentality. My own little Brad-Pitt-in-ARRTI moment.

Nearing the end (well...after 2:30 anyway) of our big day in the Upper Fly Zone, I was exhausted and satisfied. The other two stayed up top while I began my long journey down the North bank to cross the easy water. After picking up a couple browns with them, I still had my nymphing "leader" rigged, terminating in (slightly nicked) 6lb fluoro and shot above the ESL. Figured I might as well plunk through any open water on my way down with what I had. I contemplated what had happened in April and decided I was just too tired and satisfied to worry about it. Besides, I wasn't really fishing, I was walking with a line out.

I worked my way down to the middle rapids, where a guy was drifting the first "plunge pool". I gave him a wide berth and worked my way out onto the ledges above the 2nd big drop...maybe halfway through the 100 yard plus long rapids. It's big-boulder land. The type of place you always suspect to be holding good fish, but near impossible to fish in higher water. I've put my time in here before but never so much as a tug. Starting from the rod tip, I worked out line slowly, drifting and swinging from the drop-in through the holes and channels between the rocks. A few "casts" in, at the start of the swing, with the fly no more than 15' from the tip, my rod suddenly arced directly into the water.

It was what you might call an "OH SHIT!" moment.

The studs of my boots were the only part of me under water, but one step forward and I'd likely be over my head. These huge boulders that give respite to fish are a bitch to navigate on foot and grab line never to let go at the first opportunity. Not to mention my poor worn leader or the steep banks and complete lack of soft, landing water.

What the hell was I thinking? I need a plan. Maybe I can keep her in this pool, she's frantically circling but doesn't seem too eager to run me...if I just keep the pressure d-OH HERE WE GO...

Suddenly a docile, controllable fish circling at my feet transforms into a blazing hot pissed-off she-bitch cartwheeling down the chutes 100 feet from me. I'm doing the awkward run-jump-and-stumble over and through rock and pool with my rod held comically high for fear of entanglement. She abruptly turns around and jumps back up one pool, natch, but now I'm warmed up, reactions all catlike and shit, and take the line she gives me, no prob.

We play some more give-and-take, all the while leading her downstream and to the bank as my feet slowly catch up. By the time she's ready to come in, we're just above the head of Paradise, and I've got her corralled in a tiny side-pool. Well, until she jumps over the lip and into a downed tree. Now we have a problem.

I'm lifting and jabbing my rod, trying to keep some tension on my poor leader, which is partially wrapped around a limb, while reaching for the tail and trying to hold my balance, leaning in over/under the tree, one foot on the bottom, one knee on a rock.

One headshake and she'd have been gone, but I think she pitied me at that point. I took her tail, dropped the rod, popped the hook and cradled her body for a look. She had a little bit of length and some decent heft, not too much of either, but she was my silver bullet. We were both too tired for me to dig out the camera, which would have just cheapened it anyway. Throughout the ritual glove-and-fly-rinse, I couldn't stop laughing, my knees were shaking. I was done fishing a half hour earlier. Good thing I made that one more cast.

My birthday was a week ago (Miss Hannah has always claimed I'm an old man, but apparently now it's official). After quite the birthday dinner I was laying in bed and decided to set the alarm for 3 am. If I feel like going when it goes off, I'll go. I was strung up and waiting for light by 6:30. By 8:15 I had landed a gorgeous hen. By noon I was driving back home, elated.

It's "The Holidays" now, followed by hardwater season. It's been a good year, and it seems I've finally taken my last cast for some time. Certainly the last for '09.

...well...maybe one more?

December 2, 2009

The Beast

I called out for a killer
I looked for a knife
I drank from this river
It ruined my life
I saw him comin' at me
Empty and so cold
I never knew emotion
Till he caught me in his fold

Part III; Last Days

It doesn't take much to change the entire mood, outlook, perception of a trip. We've all been on either side of the tracks at one time or another, the beneficiary or victim to a minor shift in events that starts gaining momentum, for better or worse. Averaging less than one fish per four angler-days, our once bright armor was starting to show the wear and tear of frustration. Sure, we were having fun. To this point, it was a very successful vacation. It's hard to complain whenever you can do what you love for an extended period. In terms of an overall angling experience however, we were rapidly approaching failure mode. Hitting morning thruway-rush-hour at Rochester, approaching Syracuse, and then turning north, I wondered how much gas I had left.

By the time the first Exit 36 sign came into view, the play clock had reset to zero. Warm-ups are over, we're in Pulaski now. We met B-mar at the shop halfway through Day 6 and I couldn't help but absorb that new-familiar vibe. I wasted no time, donning my waders while the others farted around inside.

Ain't nothin' over...and even if it is...I prefer denial.

The weather was a bit too nice, but at least there were promising reports and open waters.

"Got a couple...buggers...drifting and swinging...."

"Landed a nice brown, she just lost a big steelie...yup, eggs...nope, go ahead...."

Here we were again. Same old river; new, colder water. White flags of past-due kings waved in the currents while trout and no-longer-silvers porpoised the pools every so often. I fitted and strung the switch rod for the first time after single-handing it for the past 3 days. Screwed around with some buggers and speys until Joe showed up.

"The trout will sit in the faster water on this side behind the boulders and on the back-side of that bar where the bottom drops off and the current heads under the tree. You hit those areas and I'll swing down through the run...if you want to follow me through, just wait until there's room then hop in above."

Joe didn't exactly take my advice. Fair enough. I was trying to figure out how to get him to step downstream a couple yards when the rod tried to jump from my hands. This was a legit hit and run, not the soft, deceptive takes the Catt fish gave me. Couple headshakes and it was gone. Such is the life swinging a tight line. Drop the loop next time moron...been reading and repeating that phrase for months and still can't get it right.

"Just got a grab. A GRAB! Just got a hit! You know, fish...those things that swim up here from the lake and supposedly try to eat flies?"

Yup. We were back where we belong. Mojo risin' and whatnot. Turned a corner. Specifically...down Cemetery Road. I took two and lost two Thursday afternoon. All on hot-orange/olive ESL. Can't say I remember anyone else's stats, but there had to be some hookups at least. Thursday night was a celebration. After dropping our gear at Patrick's we hit wing night where "...there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet," adding on a couple steak sandwiches for good measure.

Cranking out ESLs back at the lodge, re-grouping for the next day. The late-night tying session is all part of the journey. As much as anything, this is why we make these trips. Just bein dudes, jokin, sippin, hangin out...holding onto immaturity. Real life is gonna suck come Monday morning. Gotta make tomorrow count.

Landing Zone
Stumbled in the darkness...

Hard to beat an empty pool at dawn. Couldn't wait for everyone else to gear up and was just working line out when I looked up to see Joe finally loping down the trail. A heavy tug brought my attention back to the river. We had a good morning up high, but knew the crowds would be pulling in shortly. Avoid the crowds...always.


Downstream
B-mar...chasing Joe...chasing a nice fish through the pool.

Look more closlier...
Even the big man landed a fish Friday. Now finally convinced that 1) fly-fishing is an enjoyable endeavor and 2) fish can be caught this way, he would return to his mammal-quest.

We eventually left to scout downstream beats, new and old, but found only only whipping winds. Once again we faced the perennial dilemma; crowds and fish or the the open unknown?

Softly
As if you didn't already know, we chose the crowds.

Saturday's final count, if I have it right, was 5 quality steelhead and rainbows (I can rarely tell the difference), 7 decent (or better) browns, several small atlantics, 3 baby 'bows, a coho and a small spikehorn. Legendary? Maybe not. But a helluva good day in my book.
This is the fish
Finally...at dawn...day 8 of 9...the fish I'd been looking for.
Ahem...
A short rest and 5 casts later. It wasn't crowded yet, but it would be soon.
TribsNov2009 040a
Brown buggers today. Nearly all my fish came on this fly.
Ummm...
To catch the fish, you must "think" like a fish...watch out for the barbs tho.

Closer
Brown on brown. Hit the side channel while nobody was looking, played with this guy and some babies.

Up top
Looks like we interrupted big mama. Wasn't the biggest brown we saw landed, but it was the biggest hen.

My brown
One of the more typical "smaller" browns we landed.

Last Cast
"That's no salmon..."

Dawn 'til dusk. Brian called this one while it was 20' from the bank and barely visible in the fading light. I didn't believe him. Still not sure I believe it. My 4th species for the day...nice way to wrap up.

Casualties
Sacrificed for a worthy cause. Shaq can keep his "micro-brews."

The epic was coming to a close. Back at the ranch we took stock of our experiences while packing, hoovering pizza bites, dealing cards and polishing off our remaining soldiers in the most appropriate, tried and true fashion we could muster...beer-pass. Tomorrow we would return to civilization. What would become of us? Would we be able to rehabilitate and assimilate back into society? It mattered not, we had a half day left of fishing (and hunting) ahead of us.

Sunday was a typical Sunday; river-bullies and over-pressured fish. There were some nice fish landed throughout the zone, but overall it was much slower and much more crowded than the same time the day before. We were winding down, and so was the fishing.

Trying
Most room they had all day, and it didn't last long.

I had my frustrations with a particular spey angler early in the day. Suffice it to say, in stark contrast to nearly every single other angler I met or ran into the entire trip, he was a bit less than courteous in choosing his spot. By the time I circled through all the available water on the north side, closed up shop for the morning and joined Joe and Brian up top, there were 3 other anglers crowding them out as well. Such is life.

A nearly-dismayed Brian offered me his rod and the top slot when I got there. I don't think he was enthralled with the fact that in doing so, he gave me the last fish of the trip. I guess I couldn't help myself. Nobody wanted to leave. Nobody can wait to go back. With all the ups and downs, if any of us weren't bitten before, we certainly were by then.

The end.
I love the beast ya'll

November 30, 2009

Leaving Fish

As much as I hate to admit it, there are times when scouting is simply a foolish proposition. Aside from the standard tenets of locating fishy water and, in turn, fish, I subscribe to the beliefs that 1) the most enjoyable fishing is away from the crowds and 2) you should never leave fish to find fish. Naturally, these two beliefs are often at odds with each other, as crowded areas are usually so for a reason. How you resolve the situation in unknown territory under less than ideal conditions can make or break a trip.

This is the story of how we (almost) broke it.

"CAMERA! CAMERAAAAAA!"

Day 1 of 9. I had just landed Fish 1 of the trip. I was beginning to ponder the potentially bad omen when I heard someone screaming a measurable distance downstream.

"EDDIE! CAMERAAAAAH!"

Sounded like some jackass asshat had hooked a fish and lost all common sense and courtesy. Took me a minute to remember my own name and realize Brian was into something decent and quite enthused about it. Natch. I wasn't about to sprint the quarter-mile down to him. Eff-'im. It's day 1, hour 1...there will be more...or so I thought at the time.

Turns out the fish was never landed anyway...something about letting the bigguns keep the flies they munch. Anyway, woulda been a waste of time to haul-ass down there. A couple more hours fishing and nary a tug, so we decided to continue the day's scouting effort elsewhere. The thought was, if everybody is fishing here...maybe there will be unmolested, willing fish elsewhere. Everybody knows elsewhere; it's that mythical place that might take a bit of a hike and may even have a lower concentration of fish, but it's deserted of fisherman and every fish that resides there is a taker, having enjoyed a respite from or not yet having encountered the hail of lead and wire.

In this case, elsewhere proved quite difficult to obtain.

I can't recall how many "Road Closed" dead ends we retreated from, or how many miles we had to cover, before we settled on a particular, deserted dead end a short (looking) walk down the valley.


First and Last Day

The road was completely washed out beyond this point, with a few downed trees to add insult to injury. No cars, but some bootprints...to me, that's a promising sign. We fueled and hit the scoured roadbed.

Prep

Camo-Santa would come to regret joining us for the hike.

Turns out, the gently sloping (~10%) grade quickly steepened (~20%+?) before ending atop a bluff, 20-30' above the water.

Now what?

Good looking water down there...can't reach it from here.


After some slight back-tracking we made our way down to the bank. This so-called valley is gorge-ous. I took a walk downstream, hoping to find something a little more conducive to swinging. The water was good, if a little low, but it didn't look like much was going on. Inevitably, my heart began to sink as I started running into people further downstream. My suspicion that much easier access availed itself had been confirmed. But hey, at least it wasn't crowded...and they even reported picking up some fish!

....

Aside from just looking cool, this will give you an idea of the elevation we had to re-gain when we wanted to leave. Yes, that's the fellas on the left bank.


TribsNov2009 008a

Seriously...these faces lined the river. The 1:100,000 map of Zoar "Valley" did us no favors.


TribsNov2009 009a

Finally, a mile and a half from the car, I found the Catt's main branch again. See that dot to the left of the main current, downstream? That's a spey-angler.

The water here was very different than that above. There were the occasional gravel bars but for the most part it was shale/slate/sandstone bedrock, low water, and classic runs and pools were few and far between. By the time I reached the junction, I was pooped and chose to spend much of my remaining time sitting on the rocks, enjoying the sights with some bourbon. From the looks of the few anglers around, that seemed a more reasonable choice than fishing these few pools hard. No hookups (mine or otherwise) in the 90 minutes or so I hung around there, but there was 1 leaper.

TribsNov2009 014a
I sat here, staring at the walls, cursing the walk that lay behind, and now again ahead of me.

Day 1's failure to provide a reliable, uncongested option for Day 2 was mitigated by knowing that we had a reliable, if a bit congested, area to game-plan for. We returned to the G.'s for some pizza, chili and apple pie. Day 2 would come early...complete with ham (or was it bacon?) egg and cheese bagels and hash-browns. That's it, we're not gonna survive once Granny's not around to feed us.

Day 2 consisted of mild frustrations all around. Sunday meant the fish had been beaten down and were a bit tougher to entice. But...everyone hooked fish. I managed to go 1/2 while everyone else went 0/x. Perhaps more disappointing was the bait crew filling their stringers. The steelhead out there are plentiful, and possibly stunted, so logically you could argue there should be a healthy cull in the interest of promoting catch quality over quantity. Still turns my stomach.

Catt Steel #2

Pretty baby. 2 days, 2 tugs, 2 landed steelies. I'd kill for an average like that back east. Here...well...who am I kidding, it's still fantastic.


TribsNov2009 016a
If you sight-fish to a confined pod long enough, you'll hook a few. Landing them...that's where it gets interesting. Brian had a frustrating day.

The end of Day 2 brought us by the dam for another peak en route to spaghetti and meatballs. After 2 days we were already getting restless. B-mar had headed back east in search of deer. In 7.5 angler-days we had landed 2 fish. Monday morning we would brave the crowds at the dam before moving on to another system. After gathering our breakfast of course.

TribsNov2009 018a
Brian had a shot at some fish before things got a little too crowded for our taste...


TribsNov2009 019a
Not much of a landing zone. We wouldn't be putting any fish on the bank here either.

Suffice it to say, the dam did not give us all we asked of it. Brian's 0% landing percentage held up while Joe and I never connected at all. So long Catt, rest assured I'll be back...


TribsNov2009 020a
Eighteen Mile Creek (not Eighteenmile...Erie, not Ontario). The only picture I got of the river. Another stunningly beautiful place.

Monday afternoon would bring us to our knees in frustration. We moved a half hour north to another major NY/Erie trib and immediately things started looking up. The neighborhoods were a little more upscale. We would be fishing special regs sections again. There was only 1 car at the access. The hike in was beautiful, not at all difficult, and brought us quickly to visible fish. That's when things started to deteriorate.

The low, clear water that allowed us to spot the fish also afflicted them with a hefty case of lockjaw. We saw dozens of fish throughout the section. Some bright silver, others fully colored, most in-between. They all preferred dodging my fly to grabbing it. How frustrating it is to watch these fish casually avoid whatever offering I made. I couldn't even scare them with giant leeches, and they scoffed at the most minuscule of nymphs. Joe and Brian both briefly hooked up on eggs, but the only take I got for the day was a small 'bow on a muddler which launched himself onto the bank before spitting the hook and flipping me the fin. Eventually we gave in, leaving the Lake Erie tribs altogether this time, driving on to Albion in the dark. With no Mrs. G. around, Tim Horton would fill the role for tonight's dinner. Tomorrow would mean more of this scouting game.

Day 5
Scouting is for jerks!

Day 4. The day we hooked no fish. That's right...zero for zero. OK, Joe landed a fingerling brown, or so he claims (the pic above is Day 5...gotchya). One look at the Oak parking lots and it was off to find less-mowed pastures. We drove around all day, fishing 3 creeks and scoffing at several others. What we saw was virtually no water, some dead and dying salmon, and 1 obstinate trout tucked up in a bedrock seem, pretending he didn't see us or our flies. Dick.

Chubby
0.2 fish/day average! What a chunker too (...now...who am I talking about?)

"Eff this finding open water B.S. We'll fight the crowds tomorrow then we're the hell outta here!"

I got lucky on Days 1 and 2, and I've been knowingly fishing a low-percentage game...but I can imagine how frustrating 4 fishless days would have been for these two. Halfway through the trip, they both finally landed their first decent fish. I dropped my shot early in the morning but was more than happy enough to just be there for theirs.

And again
If he loses this fish...I'm going to cry

Between (and through) the periodic bouts of excitement as pods of fish moved up through the gauntlet, the infamous O.B. regaled us with tales of personal biology, civil war politics, angling experiences, and more personal biology. It was quite a day.

Colors...
A fish worthy of a big smile.

Packing up Wednesday night and Thursday morning in the rain was quite troublesome. The rain really wasn't a problem when it came to packing. It was a problem when it came to convincing myself that giving up on these western fish, sleeping in, skipping a half-day on the river, and hauling everything directly to Altmar was the right choice. Sure, fishing out west had sucked...yeah, fishing is always good, and we caught some fish, but it just wasn't shaping up to what it should be this time of year...but it's almost entirely attributable to a need for rain...and finally it's raining.... No gamble thus far has paid off. Yes, there has been value in every one, but not as far as catching fish. Is the bigger gamble to stay or go? Dozens of possibilities just opened here...we won't see that kind of alternative back east for at least a couple days. The salmon will be crowded...but a Thursday should be better than the weekend. If we go we miss out on what could be here...if we don't we might not get open water to play with back there...agony agony agony....

TribsNov2009 027a
Salmon River Vindication

In the end...we took the right gamble.




TBC...again....

November 25, 2009

'Do we have to get up extra early to milk the cows...?'

'B-mar gets to milk the bull.'

It's approaching 11 PM on a Friday night and we have been on the road for over 5 hours so far. We got off the highway 40 minutes ago and seem to be doing circles through hill and field as the glow of Buffalo repeatedly brightens and wanes in the distance. Texts between driving parties are getting progressively antagonistic.

'I think the GPS is lost'

'It's 55 here...not 25...'
'These dairy farms all look the same...'

'Wait...these dairy farms are all the same...'

'Nah...we good.'
And then I get the call...

"Yo...yeah, we're almost there...we're still about 15 minutes out...we're crossing the river just down the road, thought you might want to take a look...yeah, we're still above the dam, but only a couple miles...alright, see you in a few."

200' below it's pitch black, but a glistening surface tells me it has started. To the right, at the bridge rail, is a sign. I saw it, and it opened up my eyes.

CATTARAUGUS CREEK

Exactly 6 months. That's when it became official. On May 14, 2009, I obligated myself and 3 others for this trip. There would be no "I'll let you know if I can make it." It was more, "Clear your schedules, I'm doing this and you're coming with me whether you like it or not!"

The plan was to play loose and fast with the cards we were dealt. We would start on the Erie tribs and work our way back to Altmar. We would be prepared for any scenario and hit whichever water struck us as particularly inviting on any given day. Hundreds of eggs in various styles and dozens of swinging things were stashed in the back, along with 2 tying kits "just in case". Miles of tippet waited to be tied. My versileaders were all cut back to a more appropriate length. Backup rods were on standby. A small forest had been donated to provide us with topos and PFR maps. Keystone, Genny and Knobb Creek were there to supplement our caloric intake. 9 nights of lodging had been arranged.

There was only one problem.

As Brian's Grandma G. chatted us up and made sure our midnight stomachs had no room to spare, it began to set in...how truly unprepared we were. I had never even seen a Lake Erie tributary. What was I thinking? We're going to come out here and do what exactly? I know the water is low...but what does that leave for best-bets? I know I want to avoid the crowds (always...always...), but where the hell am I going to find uncrowded water...with fish in it? Months of planning and still not a clue where to begin.

We "slept in" Saturday; no use fumbling around unexplored areas in the dark on 4 hours of sleep. Blueberry pancakes and sausages with a healthy side of coffee were waiting for us at 6:15. Can we kidnap Granny when we pull out Monday morning? After fueling and dressing we transferred enough gear to fit us all in the XTerra and solidified our "plan."

Construction, reconstruction, and lack thereof, confounded us throughout the day. After a couple wrong turns and dead ends, it took us 30 minutes to complete the 15 minute drive to the dam. The number of cars told us immediately we wouldn't be fishing here today, but it was worth a stroll to at least check things out before moving on. Some more closed roads and another 30 minutes later we were finally gearing up at a slightly less-crowded spot number two.

"So how the shit do I cast this thing?"

B-mar has never held a strung fly rod. B-mar does not enjoy fishing. B-mar is only here because the front end of his hunting portion of our trip fell apart. I get him adequately roll-casting an egg at the head of a small run before completely abandoning him. He's smart...he'll figure it out or quit early...gotta get my swing on and the 4 Toronto-ans are vacating the pool above. Friendly and free with info, they leave me cautiously hopeful. Hopeful because they got into unheard of (by me) numbers up by the dam yesterday, and have already hit a few today. Cautious because they are not swinging, I have never caught steel on the swing, and I have absolutely no confidence in my rudimentary attempts at spey-like flies.
2.6 ips 10' leader. 8 lb maxima ultragreen...3 feet. Hmmm...how about purple and brown schlappen over a brown body.... How do I get that snap-T working for me again?

Two spinner-bobber fellas move into the tailout and hook a fish.

They're here. Don't get jealous, just step and swing. Step and swing. Boy...even 2.6 might be too much...better watch those boulders. Shit, hung up - NO, SET!

The battle doesn't last long. No blazing runs. No tailwalking. Once she came up over the lip into the shallows, the toughest part was chasing her through the rocks to get a grip on her. Joe came running up the shore to assist and man the camera, but she was on her way back to the hole before he was within 50'. In hindsight, I might have waited a couple seconds to get a better photo-op, but I hate causing undue stress to these jewels.


A perfect little specimen in the 20" class. Afterwards I could barely control the emotion. To be honest, much of it was relief. This is what we're after boys. Six months. 330 miles. Tens of hours on the 'net and ten times that behind the vise. Don't get me wrong, I was more than pumped. First swung steelhead...on my tie...in a new place...on a perfect day. But more than anything, I was grateful.

All this planning. All this prep. All this speculation. All this money. All this beard-trimming. All this denial of Miss Hannah's wishes. Finally...to reap the rewards...

"Joe...I think I need a hug."


TBC...with more pics next time

November 23, 2009

A Taste...

...of what I see when I sleep...





November 13-22, 2009...a week that will live in infamy. More to come....

October 21, 2009

SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY

The river is going down, down, down. Release is slated to be 335 cfs through the weekend. Me no likey. Bring on the rain!


October 12, 2009

Getting It

I'm woefully underprepared for November. 10 days, 2 lakes, +/-7 counties and as many rivers. Haven't had a chance to quite "dial-in" the switch rod. Dozens of flies still to tie. And at least 1 trip between then and now just to make sure things are working.

Statewide trout season closes Thursday at midnight. That leaves 3 days to get back to Default. Weather looks OK other than tomorrow. Wonder how many trips I can squeeze in before zero-hour.

Very much enjoyed the past 2 weekends on the Salmon. Miss Hannah got to see what it's all about this weekend. We saw it all. Fishermen, hooligans, vistas, shops, lakeside sunsets, campfire rain. Everywhere was crowded, though not as bad as I expected, and nothing compared to the number of fish at the hatchery. Didn't fish, but watched and discussed anglers vs liners vs snaggers; casting vs chuck 'n' duck; fighting a fish vs standing in the water like an asshat, rod bent, line stretched 150 yards downstream, trying to pull the fish back up to you while preventing everyone else from fishing; lifecycles, strains and species of salmon vs trout.

At one point, we watched a colored-up (and visibly exhausted/spent?) male coho holding a foot off the bank, facing ("downstream") into an eddy-current for a good 10 minutes. A couple guys with rods (anglers, liners, snaggers?) must have taken note, as once we started to move on, they started to move in. The fish didn't move even as they approached within feet (as in, 2). I observed as the lure(?) was dangled at rod-tip on the fish's nose. Nothing happened that required my intervention beyond a mere chuckle. Especially when m'lady questioned how one could be proud of a fish snagged at rod-tip.

It remains to be seen, but I think she's starting to "get it."

October 7, 2009

Marginalized

This Just In: We Don't Count

Forgotten or ignored? Hey, prob shouldn't piss off one of the largest groups of could-be supporters of this initiative by not including them. Alright...e'r-body back tuh the pile...errrr...drawing board.


rabble rabble rabble

October 5, 2009

Because I don't have enough to do already...

...I'm going to try to make it to Manchester in two weekends.

On a related note, got an abbreviated spey lesson from Walt Geryk on the Salmon this weekend. First time meeting, and from what I can tell, helluva guy. The success story of the weekend was all the knowledge I gained from him, Keith Collins, Chris Stiles and on my own trying out new things, all for the price of gas and a campsite. Even ran into Geoff throwing some nice loops from across the river Saturday night. Would have been nice to at least hook a salmon (or trout...), but a single good tug, a landed fallfish, and a lot of learning were more than enough to make it worthwhile. Now...need to shell out for a little more gear, get the tying on, and head back out! Oh yeah...and my shoulders are burning...need to work on that form.

September 29, 2009

I'm only happy when it rains...

...hopefully it keeps the crowds down a bit. Won't make for ideal camping, but that's nothing new.

"You know things are backwards when our fish migrate in trucks and our grain is shipped via broken rivers."

And it's not getting any better.

Obama Endorses Salmon Extinction via No Action Plan

via Moldy Chum

September 25, 2009

What's Wrong With Me!?

I've been anticipating these trib trips for the past 6 months. I have yet to make the first 2009 run. I have hundreds of eggs and dozens of comets, leeches and streamers tied. I've got a new sweet little two-hander that needs breaking-in. I'm dying to land a 20+ lb'er. And, just now, I found myself daydreaming of single digit temps, frozen fingertips, sipping bourbon, pulling half-pound perch after perch through a 6" hole.

What's wrong with me?

September 12, 2009

yet to be realized

my hand spasms, 'neath my head, from hours at the vise...or is it from another sweet tasting vice? thoughts of the day's thoughts. never time to tie. never time to write. never time to fish. no casting practice. no working on drifts. so much for tomorrow. so much yet to learn.

i drift in and out of conversations had. runs fished. runs to be fished. acorns. mudders. aquifers. karst. estaz or spawn. leech or spey. comet or intruder. conversations to be had. campfires and beers and tales of the days hardships. everything degenerates to internet message boards. and the pull.

the air is cool. she left the window open. not near cool as those october fogs. 'nor november rains. december lake effect. janebruary winds. march thaws...if we're lucky. thigh deep. still, i shiver. not in cold.

in anticipation.

the salmon stage. some have run. the trout bide time. I long.

inspiration comes at the strangest of times.

August 27, 2009

Happiness and Hangups

Got nothin to lose but darkness and shadows...

Thank You Tropical Storm Danny

Looking for a little Lt. Dan action on the beach this weekend. Isn't camping great?

August 5, 2009

Got Beetle?

Ahhh yes, the never ending fight against invasive insects. The Asian long-horned beetle is making it's way to our area. It can take a heavy toll on hardwoods, affecting forestry and other natural resource industries, and, of course, recreation, not to mention the ecological toll. If you're interested in learning about the insect and how to keep an eye out for it on your property or strolls through the woods, LGA and CCE are teaming up to give presentations next week;

Emily DeBolt from the Lake George Association and Laurel Gailor from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County will explain how to survey your land for forest pests, how to identify various forest insects, and what to do if you think you have found an Asian long-horned beetle.

They will be presenting a program in Lake George at the LGA office on Tuesday Aug. 11 at 7 pm and in Ticonderoga at the Town Hall on Wednesday Aug. 12 at 7 pm.


Laurel being a friend-of-the-family and one of the people who helped encourage me in pursuing the environmental field, it's always good to see her name pop up for things like this.

August 4, 2009

Like to fish?

Bkill recounts a couple examples of fishing taking precedent over personal health and/or safety.

Not too long ago, I was recounting these stories to a colleague. Her response?
"So. You must really like to fish."
Yeah. You could say that.

You could also say hardcore, foolish, reckless, addicted, afflicted...

We've all done stupid/reckless/dangerous things and put off other obligations to go fishing.

We've all wasted vast sums of money (relative to income) and time chasing tail(fins).

I got up at 2 yesterday morning in order to get a couple hours in on the Salmon River (nothing worth mentioning caught), in what you might call less than prime season, "on the way to work".

Why?

Why not?

I think this falls into "shit other people won't ever fully grasp about fly fishing" category. We just belong out there.

July 21, 2009

From the "Who Gives A F*ck" Files

Seriously? Is this worth all the hubbub? OK, we get it, lots of things are catchable, "on the fly." Cool, guy caught another shark. So?

Don't get me wrong, it's cool that he fly fishes for sharks. It's cool that he caught the most feared predator of the sea. But the story barely arouses a passing interest with me, except the annoyance at seeing it around every internet corner.

What do these stories actually offer? What about this story is applicable to the people reading and spreading it? To me, its no more pertinant than celebrity gossip in the tabloids.

Maybe I'm just cranky because this meeting keeps getting called in then re-delayed. Or maybe I'm tired from catching 150 lbs of salmon this weekend. Suck it.

July 15, 2009

Need to eat some salmonid!

Was counting on bringing home some kings from Lake Ontario last weekend...but it was not to be. At least we didn't sink like this guy. (Discussion at LOU forum)

Now FOTL has to post his mushroom-stuffed brookie recipe.

Saturday we will be back at the Pro-Am, hopefully with better results, and something to bring home (rather than give away) this time. Lets hope the weather holds out.

July 6, 2009

Running Away

April Vokey's blog on Hatches struck a note. I feel guilty even mentioning it...if too many people read it, it might incite a mass runaway.

"Whoever said that “running away from a problem is not the solution”, obviously never ran far enough away. Either that, or he was the asshole that was being run from."

Especially when it's to legendary rivers.

June 11, 2009

Drums Along the Mohawk: Redux

Still haven't seen the movie.

When the water is down, there's a lot of territory to explore on the delta. Not enough to truly get lost, being situated at the nexus of 3 cities, 2 major river systems, a state park, railroad, multiple automobile bridges and a DPW center, but impressively, more than enough to lose yourself and experience what nature has been able to seek the delta's refuge.

This year every visit to the islands (but 1) has resulted in at least hearing a deer. Yesterday I saw the same doe twice on opposite sides of a side channel within an hour. I've jumped rabbits, been rushed by geese, stepped on catfish, and been a homing beacon for caddis. There are secluded places, believe it or not, where you almost feel in the wilderness. All you can hear is the rushing water and wind, and if you don't strain too hard, you can't even see the buildings in the distance. Surrounded by river, shale, forest...and these;


Do you see? Do You See!?


Oh, I'm sorry, forgot the polarized lens;

For those of you who always ask how much of a difference polarized sunglasses make, how's this? Just held my sunglasses in front of the lens. While you can see the fish a little better, the big deal is turning those obscure shadows and reflections into well resolved bottom detail.

I threw everything I had at them. OK, I threw a conehead bugger and zero stealth at them. Somehow, they managed to decline. Managed plenty of smallies though, from 6 inches on up to 16. Also landed a 10" herring (well, plucked it out of a pool and tossed it on a rock...), which almost prompted me to tie one on and go hunting for bruiser bronzebacks. But, it was really just a one-fly kind of a day.

In addition to all the carp, there were nomadic pods of what first appeared to be massive bass. When I got close enough to see a little better, well, the drum were in. Everywhere. Cruising deep, holding shallow, plucking crustaceans off banks and ledges. None would take the bugger. Or even look at it.

Until I saw a tail in a shallow riffle. Had to be a smallie. Turned out to be a hungry 18" drum. Not massive by any means. Especially considering they don't put up much of a fight. But plenty to put a healthy bend in the 8 wt.

New species on the fly! Check out those colors. Talk about wild, pretty fish...who needs trout?

I've caught freshwater drum before, as a kid, but never on the fly. Interesting that they (this and the other, 14 incher I caught) didn't really fight particularly hard; they had plenty of power in reserve which they demonstrated while I was trying to unhook and release them. Guess they were just playing me.

Knock another one off the list. Now...for them pesky carps....

June 10, 2009

So, are you in...or are you in?

10 day reminder. Spey Nation. June 20. 2009. Salivating.

June 1, 2009

May 18, 2009

Hat Trick ≠ Grand Slam

Yup, I'm lazy. And busy. And would rather fish than type. But...I'm also annoyed.

When I see a report entitled "_____ River Grand Slam," be it on a fourm or blog, I get excited. I can't wait to see what species constitute the Slam. I mean, it's usually pretty easy to guess, if you know the river (even by name), but it's just cool to see.

Inevitably, though, I tend to be quite disappointed.

"Some NYC watershed grand slam today...landed a bunch of rainbows...one big brown...just as I was leaving got this brookie. The end."

WTF. Can't you count? You got the wrong sport, Sport. What you just landed was a hat-trick. And my ire.

Hat tricks are great. Good on ya. But it ain't a slam. Is it nit-picky? Am I just being a doucher? Probably. But I'm OK with that.

April 30, 2009

Anadromous:

: ascending rivers from the sea for breeding

Stripers are in.

"Steelhead" are on their way out.

Foolishly planned a brookie pond weekend.

Changes?



We'll see. Right now I'm watching the ripples change their size.

April 3, 2009

Behind

Eventually, I'll catch up. In the meantime...

Opening day +1

March 30, 2009

Opening Niiiiight....

The trout season pseudo-opener is Wednesday. Luckily, the weather doesn't look especially promising, which will make sitting at my desk all that much more bearable.

Took a scouting run to Default this Saturday. I was impressed, encouraged and disturbed all at once. I didn't see any fish activity, but the water looked very fishable and the meltwater flows have rearranged the pool slightly to make it more interesting (read: easier to nymph). I'm a bit afraid though, that the relatively moderate and crystal flows I saw on Saturday might mean virtually no water by June. Aside from that, Default is probably well on it's way to losing fishability for a Wednesday afternoon trip.

Not that it could stop me.

Default in Fall

March 25, 2009

Lower Schoharie Creek

Might end up being a trout fishery. Eventually.

March 24, 2009

Failure and Success


Facebook let me know the score. It was put-up or shut-up time.


"'one with the long socks' (a name improvised for me by one of "her" kids) you better catch a fishy using my wonderful fly or else you're fired =)"



The plan was to swing with her pink-and-purple bunny leech through the Salmon , without losing it, until it brought in a fish...or longer.



I thought I could at least pull a brown at the typical spot. I was wrong. And it got crowded fast.



The water was high, the sun was bright, I was discouraged. Headed north to visit a friend and ended up spending all sunday up there as well. We made a half-hearted (me being the half) run at a knee-high brook that had been producingthe day before. I saw a few, but hooked only branches.



Stopped off at another creek on the way back home. Ended up spending the entire afternoon there. Unfortunately, the size, layout, and snags made me give up on getting her fly to the fish. Fortunately, I had plenty of yellow and orange sucker spawn to offer up to the snag-lords and still entice a fish.






we'll see if she stays true to her word. all in all...if it means fish like that...i don't mind being out on the street again.



Besides...it was her fly that couldnt catch. Too bad I don't have the heart to fire her. I mean...how could i...?


March 20, 2009

I'd come a runnin

If you'd call me now baby...

The river she calls.

To-Do Before I Meet Her:

-Tie
-Clean Lens
-Pack
-Laundry? (probably not)
-Eat
-Nap
-Wake
-Drive

-To Be There

I'm gon' brawl.

Back monday, hopefully with sore arms.

March 18, 2009

Tweeted Out

This one's for you Pat.

"It’s tempting to dismiss Twitter fever as a passing fad, the Pokémon of the blogosphere. But it’s beginning to look more like yet another gateway drug to full-blown media narcissism.

It’s not just television, of course. Ordinary people, bloggers and even columnists and book authors, who all already have platforms for their views, feel compelled to share their split-second aperçus, no matter how mundane."

Sure, there's legit value in it as well, and maybe, some day, I'll see the light. But for now...I'll pass on this whole twitter mania thing. What...I don't have enough going on already?

March 17, 2009

What do my shoes have in common with my dentist and physician?

They're both a pair of docs.

Sort of like the Salmon River flow projections this week.

The projections are made at the Lighthouse Hill Dam in Altmar, +/-5 miles (and several small tributaries) upstream of the USGS gaguing station in Pineville.

Yet...1,500 CFS > 1,800 CFS...?

Lets hope USGS is right, h2oline is wrong, and I can get out there for a day and some retreating steelies...if they're done having their fun yet. Any takers?

March 12, 2009

I guess...I'll see you all in hell...

Capt Gordon's post about checking himself out on wikipedia inspired me to do the same. I wish I hadn't.

Turns out I was a pretty notorious cyber-criminal turned real-life criminal. Ouch. And if that wasn't bad enough...


FBI-mug shot from the Wikipedia article...the spitting image of the real Me...after a rough weekend (or as I sit here typing this, unshaven, in a dirty tshirt)

So, of course, a little disheartened but my curiosity piqued, I figured Google had to have something a little more uplifting. Perhaps something spotlighting FH, or my illustrious football career...or just some stupid story leaked by foolish college buddies.

Instead...it just told me I'm going to Hell...and 248 of 250 people poled agreed.

Damn.

Oh, and while we're at it...Backpacker brings great news from the Capitol. You gotta be fistf&^%&% me!

March 10, 2009

Mohawk Watershed Sypmosium Update

Two days left to register if you want to attend. I suggest you do, providing that's what you are into.

http://minerva.union.edu/garverj/mohawk/symposium/2009_Mohawk_symposium.html

Registration fee is $35 for non-students and includes a banquet reception. I have been informed that, for those that prefer to forego the banquet, registration to observe the presentations is $10; unfortunately the website does not reflect this, but I will just enclose a note with my check and hopefully that will suffice.

The presentations range from very technical to slightly technical, skip the ones you're not interested in.

APA, DEC, TU and The Nature Conservancy are among registered attendees. Makes getting Work to pay me to go feel a lot less like a scam.

I think we're there.

I know it's always risky to think of spring in March...in the Northeast...but I think we're there. Why?

Well, Saturday FT, Brian, Joe and I hit the delta looking for...well...anything. Generally, I'll fish it anywhere between 600 cfs (the bottom, and yes, it gets that low) and 2,500 cfs. Saturday was around 5k, but clear(ish) and very fishable...other than probably being somewhere between 32 and a balmy 32.9 degrees.

Didn't catch anything, but felt a couple tugs between us (that sounds dirty). It was good to get out, and cool to see the river where it was. Even though the water was a bit high, we were able to cross the lower riffles to Peebles Island, in part because the clear water helped me see where to put my feet. Anyway, the Horshoe Falls were running pretty good.

Back to how I know it's spring...
Saturday Morning - 5,000 cfs
Sunday Morning - 25,000 cfs
Monday Morning - 42,000 cfs
Monday Evening - 55,000 cfs

Has it peaked...probably not. But we're well on our way.

March 6, 2009

Y'all cain't get thar from hei-re

or, how do I get to Alaska...for free?

"Ed, I got friend from work who has access 2 a cabin in alaska, talk about a 4 day lic 4 salmon in june, u interested? I need 2 lern how 2 fish again can u help" [sic]

I had to put the phone down for a minute and close my eyes after seeing that text a few nights ago. How do you respond to something like this? My first intuition was, to quote the legendary Mr. Chappelle:

"I’m broke n*, I’m broke!!!"

I spent most of yesterday zoning out of meetings concocting schemes that would get me out there. So far, viability has been where they fall apart. But...you can help!

Alex has untold fortunes of revenue pouring in from advertisers, and he's looking for something to do with all this excess cash. Here's where you come in (Part 1); leave him a comment and vote for Option 4: Send FoulHooked to Alaska.

Once we get that taken care of, that should get us well on our way to our goal of $TBD, but you're not done yet you can still choose to help out (Part 2) individually. Once we start stealing Alex's money for personal gain our primary revenue source is in place, we will establish a donation site where you too can purchase my vacation for me help further this worthy cause.

Stay tuned for more details.

A Must Read Explanation

For everyone and anyone who fishes, has to live with someone who fishes, doesn't "get" fishing, has never fished, it is imperitive that you read Gaper's explanation of why we do it, how we justify it, and how and why Fly Fishing Will Ruin Your Life.

"If you do it right, fishing will make you a lonely old misanthrope whose equity includes a beater truck, a slumping trailer near a body of water, several cases of beer, a small “garden” out back and whole rooms overflowing with rods, reels, lines, partridge skins, vices, bobbins, tweezers, nippers, silicone, prescription pills and hooks in every size shape and color imaginable. Your only friends will be your dog, the guys at the fly shop and the few friends who, like you, have managed to avoid the lull of domesticity."

February 26, 2009

Weigh in on NYS Fisheries, Regulations

Alright, so Alex already scooped me on this, but DEC is looking for public input on Lake Ontario's fisheries. There are 3 meetings next month to present the current status and future objectives of management efforts. If you've got something to say or just want to hear what's going on, check it out if you can make it, or send your comments to the Department.

Also, DEC has released a list of Possible Changes to Sportfishing Regulations for 2010. Of particular interest to me is removing an outdated provision, applicable to a significant portion of the state, allowing for a creel limit of 5 additional brook trout under 8 inches, above the 5 trout statewide limit. We all (well, most of us) realize the brookies have had a rough go at it due to our impacts, we should give them a bit of a break with this rule change. We should be trying to retain, protect and expand remaining wild and native fish stocks, not over-encouraging their harvest. Besides...I never end up catching my limit anyway....

Take a look at the rule changes. If you've got something to say about them, or something else to add, let them know.

Jealousy

With all this talk about the AMFF and Cheney (enough already, we get it, everyone is pissed off...move on or do something about it) you might need something to brighten your day. Mike's post (specifically, photo) over at Steel should do the trick (if it doesn't sink you into deep depression for not being there).

Hey, as long as they're out there, I could give a rats ass about how Cheney fits into fly fishing, and who's gonna boycott the AMFF (not me, there's too much value in having them around, even if they are selling out). Now...somebody want to fly me out west?

(Oh yeah, and if/when the girl reads this...you know I'm just kidding. Now go get some waders and learn to swing! um, er, spey!)

February 24, 2009

Our streams...

...got a little safer yesterday. The EPA administrative rule change (spurred on by the Bush administration) that would have threatened the north east with continuing (and perhaps additional) mercury pollution is dead.

Be proud, ADK'ers; and post those stickers (mine is still in a pile of mail somewhere...).

February 17, 2009

Tapped

Tom Chandler posted the Tapped trailer on Trout Underground today. Very interesting. Looks like it will be very compelling. I'll be waiting.

A Sign of Hope

After yesterday's post, I cut out of work early, raced home, rigged up a single conehead and hopped back in the truck hoping to be able to (safely) work my way down to a favorite hole.

No dice.

Maybe I'll be able to do some walking this weekend and get to some spots. But with the sun still setting early, there's no time during the week.

Soon though...soon.

February 16, 2009

I Can't Believe It's Happening To Me

I'm officially there. I promised myself it wouldn't happen. But there's nothing I can do about it.

I'm going stir crazy waiting for spring.

The plan was periodic trips to places like Pulaski and Eagleville, spaced out to carry me through winter. Instead, I shot my wad on the Salmon in autumn, and with bills piling up (including a brake overhaul over the holidays), I'm stuck in Albany County until spring.

Every day I cross over some of my summer hotspots on the way to/from work. Every day I slow down on the bridges just a little more than the day before, trying to see if access is even remotely reasonable yet. Every day I check the flow and wonder...do you think the smallies are still there? Would it be worthwhile to check? Is risking life and limb to catch a warmwater fish in February really necessary?

We (Mitch, Brian, Hannah and I) took a walk down Ontario Street yesterday. It was almost more than I could handle. For some reason, the lady was less enthused than I as we (Brian and I) pointed out our typical routes, good holding areas, dangerous wades and treacherous currents. I strained to see Horseshoe Falls and longed to stand again on the precipice.

I'm thinking about August and we're not yet near April. This is a problem. Maybe moving to an island was a baaaaad idea.

February 6, 2009

The Perfect Weekend

Perfect, low-key, warming weather weekend.

Work on re-finishing some furniture.
Finish moving my stuff (I know, should already be done by now...but hey).
Watch the dog.
Entertain the girlfriend.
Hit the farmers market.
Make some soup.
Pick up some more furniture to be re-finished.

Really, should be quite relaxing, and won't require much in the way of monitary expenditures.

So, my question is, what else do I need to throw in for you so I can head to Pulaski for a couple days?

This offer is good until 11:00 PM EST, Friday, February 6, 2009.

February 5, 2009

Where will you be Saturday, March 21, 2009?

I may be in Placid...care to join?

Yeah, I'd rather be fishing (and maybe I will instead), but it's always a good day-trip up there. Besides...what's there to fish in March anyway...oh yeah...local ice-out time........

February 4, 2009

Suspicious Timing

Cause and effect or unfortunate coincidence? They are currently unable to link several methane contaminated residential water wells with natural gas production in the area, but it's hard to imagine they are not. Still, things aren't always that simple; that's why issues like this go to independent arbitration.

February 3, 2009

Thinking Of Summer...

Centered on my neighborhood...courtesy of Microsoft Live Search Maps. Fishing from work until dark and again dark until work. Spirits can flow as the sun sets; I'll simply walk home and pick up the car in the morning.

I live for the cold, but fair weather presents more opportunities...especially when your back (and front...and side and other side...) yard is a warmwater haven.

Do Yourself A Favor

I'm sure you've heard by now (if you haven't, you were probably too caught up in Super Bowl hype), another of the best of American authors died last week.

Why do I like Updike so much? I can't describe his writing nearly as eloquently as some, but, to me, he makes his characters and their trials infinitely relate-able; and the details of everyday life, no matter how seemingly mundane, ultimately beautiful.

I have read many Updike short stories, and I just finished Rabbit, Run and am a little into Rabbit Redux. My passion for reading Updike is following closely my deepening passion for fly-fishing. To me, if his words don't get to you on some emotional level...you should probably stick to comic books.

Do yourself a favor...if you cant get to the water, read some Updike.

February 2, 2009

Say My Name

Alex decides to add another layer to FTF's Fly Tyer of the Year Contest. Just make sure you let him know who sent you...we'll split the winnings...(I'll photocopy a few pages from my subscription for you).

January 30, 2009

More Upper Hudson River Access in the ADKs

The Daily Gazette this morning carried the AP story about some of what's happening with all those Nature Conservancy lands in the Adirondack Park that were acquired in last year's Finch Pruyn deal. Looks like we might be getting some use out of them sooner than expected.

Better than half of the original 161k acres is being sold off to a logging company...I know what you're thinking...but;

"The next company, which [TNC] declined to identify, will get the land subject to conservation easements that prevent development and require logging according to certified "green" standards. "

OK, so they're going to log it. OK, so "certified green standards" is pretty ambiguous at this point. But, the good news is, when we make our perennial jaunts to Newcomb, I have some more water to check out. And you do too.

It's a good thing. This is the way the park was envisioned when established. A balance between forever wild lands and sustainable local economies. Logging is a scary word to some, but the Adirondacks has been a sustainable and responsible practice in the Park for over 100 years now...all that changes is that everyone has a little more access to some beautiful, if privately owned, lands.

January 29, 2009

The Fight Over West Canada Creek

Flipping through the Gazette at work today and saw an interesting article; thought it might be worth a mention but the Marshall already has it under control.

Haven't had a chance to fish WC yet, but I really should. Hopefully the trout will still be there when I get around to it.

The article mentions a Mohawk Watershed Symposium, might be able to finagle my way over there to catch some speakers (even if it is put on by Union...Duck the Futchmen!).

January 28, 2009

Yum!

When I can't get out and see a bit of nature, I rely on NatureGirl to give me a glimpse of her day. Today was certainly no let down. Kinda makes me miss the days of constantly stepping in rabbit and deer droppings.

January 27, 2009

Almost Pure

February...the month of purity, mud, pearls...new beginnings as I move next door to carp and smallies, 10 minutes further from Default and her trout.



Mr. Phil will be popping out shortly to let us know how much winter is left...and I still don't have a 3 wt yet...



No worries, I'm watching ebay and have several contingency plans waiting just in case. There's still plenty of time before I'll even have a chance to use a small stream rod, but it's hard not to feel anxious knowing it isn't leaning in the corner ready to go at a moments notice.

January 22, 2009

"We Loves Steelheads"

Some day I'd like to fish some BC rivers (that is, so long as they don't end up making it unbearabley burdensome...). Of course, the big draw is pure, unadulterated steel. The Steelhead Society of British Columbia is doing their part to make sure those fish are protected, and it seems Ms. Vokey has taken the lead in a "Flies for Fins" fundraiser.

The idea is, send some flies, save some metal.

I don't know how many eggs and leeches it would take to save a whole fish...I better get tying.

If you're on StalkerBook too, you can check out the Flies for Fins group. People are posting pictures of what they're sending, and that's kinda cool, but I don't think anything I make should be forced upon human eyes. Maybe people will pay not to have to look at them.

January 16, 2009

That's the type of dedication I'm after...

...though I'm curious if human hair is the best tying material.

I recently purchased Dave Hughes' Trout Flies: The Tier's Reference from B&N (thank you for the gift card), along with a methods book (I wish I could have afforded the Benchside Reference at the time...).

I have to say, Hughes' book is quite good. I like the way it's written, and the pictures are of course excellent. Anyway, the Young Miss has had her interest in fly tying piqued, and we've flipped through a few times, noting for which I have materials (and skills) available to tie, and which patterns she has to tie (that sparkly furled-yarn damsel is a must-have in so many colors).

Of course, this new-found interest has lead to some other surprising developments. For instance, out of the blue one day, she exclaimed, "Hey! I could cut some of my hair off to tie flies!"

Now, I know we've all thought that at one time or another (...wait, you're telling me I'm the only one?), but coming from her was more than I could take. Before I could get my laughter under control, she made the obvious next step...

"Wait...you need a hair cut...."

Been down that road before. I don't care how sweet and pretty you are, only the pros get a shot at me. Now I have to replace all the scissors I expelled from the vicinity in panic.

Don't have a whole lot to do tomorrow. Other than deep-fry a turkey (what better way to celebrate absolutely nothing; gotta love roommates). Maybe it's time for a jaunt over to Manchester. Let her see how it's really done. I've taken her about as far as I can down this path. You never know, maybe I'll learn a way around my clumsy hands while there too...? At the very least, I'll bet I can trick her into buying some fancy materials that I can't afford and she thinks look pretty.

Or maybe we'll just sit around the deep-fryer, trying not to light the house on fire.

January 9, 2009

Longing by Default


That looks fishable, right?
Maybe in 4 months.
2009 Goal for Default: Head upstream and find some wild brookies. Hopefully, I'll still be living close enough to visit on a daily basis. Somehow I'm gonna have to scrape together enough scratch to replace my 3 wt by then. Those Bean gift cards might help. Unless you know of a better way.