Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Quick Sip

Been insanely busy at work due to that vacation I took last week. Hopefully I will return to a normal level of rambling thoughts in the next day or so.

I found out this evening that the residential fee for a California Sport Fishing License is $43.46.  Two-Day Non-resident: $21.86. Second Rod License (whatever the hell that is): $13.53.

Who came up with these numbers? Haven't they heard of rounding in California? There must be some crazy voter proposition (probably Proposition 3.14159265) that prohibits the state from rounding up when preforming any calculations related to fees.

A quick survey of other state's resident fees where rounding is allowed:

Connecticut: $28.00
Taxachusetts: $27.50 (which is $0.50 lower than CT just to try and dispel the rumor that they tax and fee the hell out of you up there)
Arkansas: $10.50
Colorado: $26.00
Arizona: $23.50

See, a zero is supposed to be the last digit in any fee. Putting a six or a three in there is just plain insane!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On the Blue Ridge

Freestone Blue Ridge stream
For years we've been talking about poking around the environs of Asheville, NC. It's one of those places that's on our list of retirement locales. So, we had to check it out.

Part of the research, of course, is in the fishing. For that, we enlisted local expert and Orvis Endorsed Guide Brown Hobson. Brown guided out of Jackson Hole for a bit and now resides outside of Asheville. On Tuesday, he brought us to a fishery that's south of town (you know, between Asheville and Tennessee. That one.). In short, a good day of fishing.

Brown Hobson and the boys
scout the tail of the pool
The stream we were on was one of those beautiful freestone streams that originates somewhere where wood sprites and pixies live and gathers steam and fortitude as it slices through beautiful forests and fields. By the time it got to where we were fishing it was a couple of yards wide and had lovely pocket water followed by deep runs. And in those runs lived Brookies, Browns and Rainbows.

This stream was amazing. Two days after a dumping rain turned other rivers brown but this one was running very clear. When the sun got on the water we could sight cast to fish holding in the deeper runs. This water was testament to how important good land use practices are to keeping the streams in good shape. Of course, a couple of miles downstream is a paper mill that pretty much ruins the water (keep yer yaps shut if this clue helped you figure out the river), but up here it was clear and cold.

As one son said, "Dad, I don't think
that's going to fit in the net." That's
what you want to hear.
We fished two locations that were popular spots given the number of footprints in the sand and gravel as well as the well worn paths through the woods. The nice thing was that we had the water to ourselves so it was truly a family affair. My oldest seemed to be the fish magnet as he was on fish first and consistently. My youngest took a bit to find fishy water by with Brown's encouragement and his dogged persistence he got his Rainbow too.

Most of the fish were taken on nymphs though late in the day I had a fish come up and take a swirl at my strike indicator. Knowing that at least one fish was looking up, I swapped out the nymph rig for a #14 Rabbits Foot Emerger. It took me a few tries to get the drift correct, but eventually the fly got in the lane and a Rainbow surged from the gravel bottom and slammed the fly. Very satisfying.

The only Brown of the day. A
wild eight inch trophy.
I'm so pleased to see my children on the water. If for no other reason than they're not staring at some electronics screen. My youngest is a madman with a fly rod in his hand. He's the one that's been bugging me to fish the local pond and he was very pleased to catch his first trout on the rod he won at the TU auction a few weeks ago. He casts well, has intense focus and as Brown said, once he grows another foot he'll have even better skills. I look forward to his growth as an angler.

At one point, my oldest tired for fishing (yeah, I'm not sure I know what that means either) so I pointed out a big boulder in the middle of a long riffle and told him that would be a good place to go sit and listen to the river. I'll be damned if he didn't spend a good thirty minutes doing just that. Perhaps there's hope for the younger generation yet.

Pretty mountain stream
On Sunday, we took a hike out by a place called Graveyard Fields. It's now a high altitude meadow environment (thanks to logging and forest fires) but it did have a very pretty trout stream rolling through it. Since it was a camera day (as opposed to a fishing day) I didn't have a rod with me but I'm told there are Brook Trout in that thar stream.  We hiked along if for a good hour or so and it was perfect riffle, run, pool structure. Definitely on my list of streams to come back to.

I also got to play with the new camera. The Optio W90 I picked up a few months ago has sat in my vest waiting for fair weather (and warmer water) so that I could play with its underwater capabilities. While I won't be winning an Oscar anytime soon, here's the first Rainbow I caught. All of eight inches. Nailed a soft hackle Lightning Bug on the swing.



Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chillin' at LGA

Playing with a 100mm Macro lens.
Check out that bokeh!
LaGuardia, Sweet, LaGuardia.

Okay, not really. She's a fickle lass who is prone to tears and tantrums of delays. But she takes me places. Today to the small streams and rolling hills of the Blue Ridges of North Carolina. Asheville, NC.

The whole clan will be fishing on Tuesday, so look for a detailed report from that day.

Otherwise, I'll be wetting a line here and there as the opportunity presents itself. I'm sure there will be plenty of small streams against whose banks I'll be tempted to flick a bushy dry in the hopes of suicidal Brookie lurking beneath.

More than anything, I'm looking forward to very little work.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Set Phasers to Stun

That is if you want to catch and release.

High modulus graphite is so 21st century. And don't even get me started on Bamboo or Fiberglass. I'm upgrading to the latest technology.

See you in hell.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quick Sips

More teasing signs of
Spring along the flood
blasted banks of the
 Pootatuck.
  • So much for "Take only pictures, Leave only footprints", three lovely stories of idiots in the woods: man signs petroglyphs, frat boys make road, man makes road to archeological site. I'd like to think beer was involved in at least two of the three and it wasn't just general stupidity. Odds are, I'm wrong.
  • All together now (in the voice of Carly Simon, with visions of ketchup in our heads --- the younger crowd and those from Scotland may not get this) "An-ti-ci-pation, An-ti-ci-pa-a-tion, it's making me wait....". Where the hell is Spring?! Forsythia are barely beginning to show their color. The Bluegills aren't in the shallows. Stripers are few and far between. The Maple trees have had that red anticipatory "glow" for weeks now but are in some sort of stasis. I even made the call when I saw the Crocus' last weekend. Crap! I need Spring to get on with it. Of course, we're decamping to North Carolina next week. Perhaps we can find Spring along the Blue Ridge. Or at least a few Brook Trout.
  • Going down to Florida for funeral this evening. My grandfather died last weekend at the age of 85. He lived a good life and worked and golfed right up until the end. Let's all hope we have as much healthful longevity and die doing what we love.

There must be some trout in here somewhere!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Quick Sips: Eagles & Adopting Land


  • I've had a love/hate relationship with the Nature Conservancy. I love what they do, but they did tick me off a couple of years ago when it was discovered that they were selling less desirable land to fund purchases of more desirable land. Logically that sounds like the right thing to do, it just doesn't feel right

    Anyhow, they have this Adopt an acre  program going on to help preserve the Northern Rockies. Sounds like a great way to protect land that contains some great fisheries. If only they were buying up the minteral rights to prevent it from being mined and otherwise abused. Do you suppose they could buy Huey Lewis' ranch?
  • I hate poetry. Okay, not true. I find it a bit tedious. Mostly. Soul of Streams wrote a nice one called Codgers For anyone who's every walked into a fly shop, especially one like Fran Betters', this one should speak to you.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Scared Straight

The Farmington River is a beautiful stream.World class. Blue Ribbon. Competes annually with the Housatonic as the prettiest gal at the Connecticut Trout Stream Pageant (Large River Category).

The Farmington?
(I'm sure I've violated someone's
copyright by posting this. Apologies.)
And now she has a big honking zit on the tip of her nose. And it ain't going away. Could this beauty turn into a witch? (Not Glinda, the other one)

I'm talking, of course, about the Didymo infection in the Farmington.

How did Didymo come to the Farmington? Well, look in the mirror. It most likely was one of us. Sure it could have been a kayaker. Or one of those dudes/dudettes on a tube. Or Al Qaeda. But I doubt terrorists are tubing the Esopus in the morning and then turning around and tubing the Farmington that afternoon or the next day. Or any day.

My bet is it was a fisherman, perhaps even a fly fisherman, who came from another state or returned home from another water with the alga on their boots or reel and, voila, the Farmington has a special gift.

Worst case scenario from
from New Zealand
(photo from Biosecurity New Zealand)


I gave up felt last year so the concern about drying the felt is off my plate. But I am researching all the "Check. Clean. Dry." methods out there. I'm most likely going with a spray bottle with 5% Dishwasher solution to use streamside and then the hot water/5% solution soak at home followed by the intensive drying in the garage. It gets terribly hot in there during the spring and summer so it's my own alga killing kiln.

I'm also going to dig out the "old" waders and they're going to be my small stream waders so that I don't inadvertently infect some small jewel that I fish occasionally.

But is that really a safe strategy? If I start in a stream I think is clean and am wearing waders that only fish in that stream can I safely assume that those waders can go to some other small stream jewel without being cleaned? Do I really know they're not infected with some awful alga or snail or whatever?

To be safe, the assumption really has to be that all streams are infected and that every trip is an opportunity to infect another stream. Paranoia is the only acceptable state when it comes to combating the spread of these invasives.

I recall one day when I fished the Willowemoc River (an allegedly safe river and my visit probably predated the Didymo problem in that region. Yes, that's guilt speaking.) in the morning and the Housatonic River in the afternoon. I have no doubt that I'm not the first person to do that. But could I be one of those vectors of infection? You bet.

So, I'm going to start spending time cleaning gear when I've fished. Fortunately, I fish somewhat rarely so my gear tends to dry fully between outings. But fully drying may not always be possible. Especially when a buddy calls on short notice about a great hatch. So, cleaning will be a key part of my fishing habits.

Check. Clean. Dry.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Boing! Spring has sprung!

Peepers.

Crocus.

Jon is doing Striper Recon.

By God, I think Spring is finally here.

Here fishy, fishy, fishy.

Some folks are haunted by waters. Others taunted by waters. I am taunted by guides.

Dan Harrison in particular. He sends me gratuitous phishing photos whilst I am stuck working for the man. In particular, he has sent me photos during the last week of this new water they've been fishing that seems like hog heaven.

Late Friday Dan's brother Tom called me and mentioned a cancellation for the following morning. With some delicate negotiation with the Lovely I was winging my way North (I was actually driving) Saturday morning for a up close and personal look at this water.

Personal look accomplished. Now if it would only warm up a bit.

I don't know why we struck the pose that makes this
 fish look bigger than it was. At 21 or 22 inches
 it didn't need any inflation.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Quick Sips


  • First, I've got to say that I don't understand the need for GPS units while fishing. To me, part of the appeal of our sport is getting out and exploring a bit, discovering and rediscovering places I like to fish. That said, there's a great article over on Fishing for Words regarding using a GPS while fishing with a guide. I don't use a GPS when I fish whether it's alone or with a guide. I was surprised at the guides' opinions. When I fish with a guide it's generally not to find the good spots to fish. I certainly want to see and fish good water but I also want a ton of other things. I want to get insight on equipment, rigging, etc. I want advice and tips on technique. And, perhaps most importantly, I also want to fish with someone who is a pleasure to spend a day with and enjoys the sport as much as I do. Nothing ruins a day of fishing like a guide who is a jerk (and I suppose they feel the same way about us).
Quigley Cripple
From JP Newbury Fly Tying
  • I'm a big fan of emerger style flies. I tie all manner of these things though most of you know it's adaptations of the Rosenbauer Emerger and Quigley Cripples that I tie and fish most often. A good friend, Doug shared a page with a whole bunch of emerger patterns most of which feature biot abdomens. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy tying with biots. Note to self: Get out some biots and start tying.
  • I don't know what to make of the survey results posted by Southwick Associates. Apparently sales of fly fishing gear grew 4.1 percent in 2010. I'm not sure if that's because you and I started buying stuff again or there are more folks buying stuff. TFO was the most purchased fly rod, Orvis the most purchased reel and over two-thirds of fly fishing transactions are, not surprisingly, for flies.