Monday, May 27, 2013


Most of us live very soft lives. That's not to say that this life is easy, it's not. Every day we deal with the challenges of earning a living, raising a family, growing relationships, and fighting through the things that make us weak to find the things that make us strong. But we do so in a society and culture that allows us the privilege to do so in relative peace.

There are many reasons that the men and women who serve in our armed forces do so. Regardless of their motivations they provide for us a shield against those who mean us harm. They answer the call and go to places that few of us can imagine and they serve in ways that challenge the human spirit.

And some never come home.

This Memorial Day I pause to honor the sacrifice of all our fallen soldier, sailors, marines and airmen. In particular:

LT Robert R. Duncan, USN, MIA August 29, 1968; KIA North Vietnam October 22, 1975
Johnny Michael Spann, CIA, KIA Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan, November 21, 2001
CDR Keith E. Taylor, USN, KIA Baghdad, Iraq, January 29, 2005

May god bless them all and the families and friends that they have left behind.

Monday, May 20, 2013



That taste, that feeling, lingers in my mouth and on my lips from the day's fishing and the smoke swirling slowly around my head in the dense, dripping, post-thunderstorm air stings my eye's memories. 47 ring size. Dominican Perfecto. Bought at the deli who's selection is infinitely better and fresher than the cigar store the next town over.

Those things may kill me. Or not. We roll the dice each time we exit the door and wading deep, rough water or driving on I-84 is more likely to kill me than hand-rolled, Cameroon-encased joy. Rationalization, I suppose.

I only smoke on the water which may be my one concession to managing my addiction, even though I occasionally have one at home. And, rarely, other places.

I like them with scotch. Or beer. Crisp, fresh water is good on the stream on an unseasonably hot April day. So is a cigar.

Three in a cigar case. Two for me, one to offer a friend just in case he's wanting. Lacking a friend the third is in reserve though the reserve rarely lasts the day, though it did today. When the fishing is good, regardless of the catching, even desire can be dampened.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Writing for the Tongass

Last summer I was lucky enough to make a trip to Yellowstone National Park to participate in the 2012 Blogger Tour sponsored by TU, Simms, Yellowstone Park Foundation and the Outdoor Blogger Network. If I were to say that this event changed my life, I would be greatly exaggerating. However, it did open some very interesting doors that have changed my writing. It also gave me an opportunity to experience and write about the critical conservation work going on at Yellowstone National Park.

Perhaps most importantly, I met some extraordinary people and made lasting friendships. In fact, as I write this I'm sitting in the Charlotte International Airport waiting for a flight home after spending a weekend fishing with Marc Payne and Mike Sepelak, two previous Blogger Tour winners. Perhaps this fall I'll wander off to Idaho to fish with Chris, Rebecca and Bruce.

This year the Blogger Tour is going to the Tongass in Alaska. It is an extraordinary landscape of sea, mountains and rivers that is, among other things, the source of epic Salmon runs. This important resource is currently unprotected and TU is working with partners to gain watershed-level protection for the Tongass. Winners of this year's tour will get to fish epoc salmon runs get a chance to see first-hand the resource and the work TU is doing.

Entries for the contest are due by May 22nd. If you have a blog, have a passion and talent for writing about conservation, and can get yourself to Juneau, Alaska by July 15th, I encourage you to enter.

This is not my entry for the Blogger Tour. But if I could enter, I would.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Kids & Trout & Clean Water

The kids in the Candlewood Valley TU chapter's Trout in the Classroom classes have cooked up some public services posters for keeping our streams healthy. Head over to CVTU's Facebook page and take a look (and vote with a "Like").

Thursday, May 9, 2013

You need to keep Saving Bristol Bay

I read the new EPA Executive Summary on Pebble Mine. You should too. This peer reviewed piece of work, which is in its second draft, continues to indicate that Pebble Mine would, with certainty, harm the fisheries in Bristol Bay. It's only a matter of time.

The video below is simple and powerful. It shows very directly the people, places, and fisheries that are at risk.

It's easy to voice your support for these people, places, and wildlife. It takes about two minutes to fill out the form. I once heard from a politician who said that if he heard from five people on a subject he paid attention. Let's make it more than five. Every voice is important.

Please, fill out the form.

sea-swallow'd from ryan peterson on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Das Boots

I long ago made the switch to rubber soled boots. I buy the anti-invasives pitch, especially that cleaning a felt sole is a whole lot harder than cleaning a rubber sole. I still own a pair of Orvis Henry's Fork boots with a felt sole. When my go-to boots are drying (after being cleaned) I'll use the old Henry's Forks for a fishing trip so as not to risk invasive transport. Of course, I'm doubly careful about when and where I wear the Henry's Forks. Usually only to streams that are known believed to be scourge free.

The other night I wore them when I caught The Nose. Every time I put on the rubber soled boots I feel like Herman Munster. Wearing the felt soled Henry's I feel like a ballerina. I think the real joy of felt, aside from the light weight, is how the feel of the bottom is easily communicated through the sole. Rubber boots by comparison are dead.

I bought a new pair of back-up boots this evening. Big, rubber soled monstrosities. I considered some of the "lightweight" models but I killed my last pair of lightweights pretty quickly. I'm not easy on gear and I need something robust. I'm gonna miss these lightweight boots when they finally kick.

Maybe there's hope. I've gotta find my tube of Aquaseal.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Scar and The Nose

I fished for stocked trout one night last week. I did pretty well as one with a modicum of skill is wont to do when uninformed, hungry trout mill about in a small steam. It was a stretch of water downtown where the state dumps a couple hundred trout before opening day. There are two good pools where the Opening Day crowd can retrieve those trout and they do so with a vengeance.

I stopped by the deli in town a week or so ago for a sandwich. It was one of those days when working from home became too claustrophobic and I had to get out. I ate my sandwich on a bank overlooking the stocked pool.

Freshly stocked fish have about as much sense as school children dropped unprepared in the middle of the African subcontinent. They do pretty much everything that a trout interested in long term survival should not do. There's far too much racing about, holding over a bottom that perfectly silhouettes[1] a trout shaped form, or trying to hold in a spot that requires far too much energy to stay in place.[2]

A couple of days later I returned for lunch and additional trout ogling. I noticed that the trout seemed to be congregated/racing in much the same place. I also noted that the number of fish had not diminished. none had yet landed on the dinner table. Anglers are drawn to the pool above this one and it seems the trout are drawn here.

There were a couple of trout the caught my eye. There was a crop of wild trout, notable for their diminutive size, that held tight to the bank in the shadows and did not try to eat flowers. In the heavier current at the tail of the pool a larger Brown with a scabbed hatchery-tank nose held in water that seemed to require more effort than he likely received in food. I don't think The Nose is long for this world.

Further up the pool was a Brown with a scar below his dorsal fin. Scar sat in front of a large boulder and flicked his tail just enough to stay in its soft cushion. Scar seemed to have a good feel for what was edible and what was not. If I didn't know better, and I didn't, I would think he was a wild fish. Scar got chased out of his prime lie every ten minutes or so by a larger fish but that fish didnt know that he had just boggarted a great thing and moved on. Scar sidled back a minute or so later.

Tonight I went out again to the pool I watched at lunch. Scar and The Nose where right where I had left them. I caught The Nose pretty quickly on an Adams Sparkle Dun. Upstream I marked the rock that Scar had been holding against. I made a couple of casts but Scar was having none of it. I caught a dozen other fish, but not Scar. That's one wily trout, wild or not.

Scar has a pretty sweet lie
Scar. Chilin'
Scar gettin' the brush off. He'll be back soon.
The Nose
The Nose showing off his moves.

1 - I spelled silhouettes without using spell check. Impressive.
2 - So as not to embarrass anyone I will not mention by name how many times I saw one particular trout sample forsythia flowers.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

On Writing

"The night's dampness clings to the hillside in long gray smudges." 


The nightstand beer clock into the hillside long gray smudge


"The night's dampness clings to the hillside in long gray smudges."


The night damp a.m. Klaum to the hillside in Long Gray smudges

Fuck it. I type it myself.

Siri can't take dictation worth shit.