Sunday, November 18, 2012

2012 Species update, Season Recap, & Thank You

Two fish were added to my fish list in 2012, bringing my total up to 45 different species of fish that I have caught over the years.  The first of the two was due to a planned mission on a summer vacation to Estes Park, Colorado.  Jen and I were fortunate to catch a few gorgeous Greenback Cutthroat trout while hanging out with an awesome local guide.  The second species caught was not planned, not pretty, and not wanted.  While I was trying to make a drift to active steelhead through a technically difficult seam, I was rewarded with a big creek chub on the Wisconsin Brule River that had taken my dropper egg fly.  Good governor!  But it adds to my list, and it relieves the magnificent weight on my shoulders of being able to cross a chub off my list of things to get in my life.  Doh!!  Did I just say that? 
The rest of the fish/things caught over the season encompassed my usual fare of rainbows, browns, brookies, smallies, pike, steelhead, trees, rocks, cased caddis, myself, trees, shrubs, logs, many 1st & 2nd cousins of the Snagasaurus family, and sadly not muskies. 
While I did fish subsurface with nymphs and streamers this year for many of the above mentioned quarry, all of the trout were caught on dry flies.  The dry fly challenge this year wasn't planned initially.  It started out with great dry fly fishing this spring on the Big Horn River in Montana.  Mother Feiker and I had a lot of fun with it and even came up with ideas on that vacation for patches and stickers for us such as "HA!" (for Headhunters Anonymous-with a picture of fish skull that has one of those voodoo bones going through its' nostrils) and "HHH" (for the Happy Head Hunters).  There were other ideas we came up with too that week, but those were the ones that stuck with us through the summer.

When I returned to my home waters is when I challenged myself to continue on with the "Dry or Die"campaign.  I enjoyed it this summer, it was good timing for me and gave my ol' game of fly fishing a new twist.  Then I bought a Tenkara rod, which also encouraged me to keep fishing on the surface.  Don't worry, I am pretty sure I won't become a dry fly snob or anything like that.  I have been reading more about the Tenkara fishing, and I have learned that there are subsurface tactics that I need to try out if I am going to learn all it has to offer.  In fact I ordered a couple of things online today specifically for Tenkara fishing including some funky hooks for some Tenkara fly patterns I want to attempt to tie. So we will see how that turns out this winter.

As for you, yes you. Thank you very much.  I would like to say thanks to you and all the people that have provided me with positive and encouraging feedback on my blog over the years.  I sometimes forget that people actually read what I write and every time someone says to me "hey, I read that and..." or replies with an email response it makes me smile and brings me warm fuzzies.  Not that I write for those reasons, but it is nice to know people don't always delete my posts when they get sent out to your email inbox. To date, this will be my 147th post since February 2005.  If you are looking for those 16 posts of my first year, you may not find them as they were on my initial attempt at blogging.  You're not missing much as they were, well, kind of weak as I wasn't yet clear with what my intention(s) was going to be with writing a blog at the time.  So there was a conversion period where they were at the time and where the blog is hosted now on Blogger. 

To everyone:
Happy Thanksgiving, tight-lines, be well, namaste, live long and prosper, hug your loved ones, fire-cracker-fist-bump, and all that jazz.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Last Steelhead weekend for 2012

My first sign of good luck, the two quarters I got out of the pop machine when I but in my dollars for a soda.  They were shiny 2007 Washington state quarters that had a picture of trout on one side.  So with that, I thought two quarters with fish on them had to mean we were going to catch at least two steelhead this weekend!  Good thing I bought that soda.  I got home at a decent time from work to get ahead on the drive but then I had a 45 minute delay due to a work issue.  Dammit!  I Got the issue resolved, logged out of the laptop, and we were off and headed up to Brule.  After checking into the hotel we had a late fish fry dinner at Roundy's, where Peter met up with us for a bit.
big-ass "creek chub"
There was rain, drizzle, rain, drizzle, and then the river was starting to cloud up.  Now this is what we have been waiting for all season.  We fished the day and I hooked and lost one steelhead, after catching three little skippers and a very LARGE Creek chub. 
After changing out of the trout pants and getting some dry cloths on, we spent the evening with friends at an end-of-the-season party at the motel, where Peter fired up the barbecue and broke out various munchies, and ribs, and beer.  We had few visitors too, including Ollie, Minkster, Bucky and the Honorable Steelhead Senator Struif.  they all had other things going on, but it was nice of them to stop in and say hello and share some laughs.  Thanks again for hosting the party Peter, it was a great night!
We got out to the river and the water was stained,  the air temps were dropping through out the day, and at one point we had sleet coming down.  It was great, and both Jen and I each hooked nice steelhead out of one of Peters favorite spots.  I was able to get mine to the net, and it was a nice 25-incher with a pretty pink stripe along its' side.  Finally, I got a legitimate sized steelhead before the season closed.  I think the river knew it had to spit one up to us for all the effort we put in this season.  Thank you Brule River.  We fished for a little bit more, but then called it a season. 
Critter and Jenorator on the river bank in the sleet.

Now, time to unpack everything from the past two months and hopefully get the living room and kitchen cleared from all the camping and fishing stuff that we kept out for easy access for the weekend adventures.  That would include putting away the rods that I have laying on top of the curtain rack in the dinning room. :)  What can I say, skewed "Priorities" I guess. 

Tonight I drove the motorcycle over to be stored for the winter.  Over the next week, I will set time aside to visit the storage unit and exchange some stuff, and then do a bit of work to the house and yard for the upcoming winter.  Maybe even tackle replacing that annoying leaky toilet that has been
annoying me when we have been home between fishing trips.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Action has slowed down

It was a chilly weekend this past weekend on the Brule.  The good thing was the wind was pretty insignificant.  The river temperature was up to 39 degrees.  Thanks to MN Deer opener, there was significantly less fisherman on the water and that was kind of nice.
We had one steelhead contact on late Saturday on a bend, but it won and shook itself free in under eight seconds.  Other then that, the general steelhead action from the people we talked was not too great.  Just enough for the serious anglers to keep going, but not enough action to get you super excited. 
Jen spotted a bug in the water big enough to  make Godzilla step aside and ask "what the hell is that?!" It was about 4 inches long and and 1.5 inches wide.
What is this thing?
No seriously, what the hell is that?

We saw a LOT of deer this weekend, even had a spike buck escort us down a trail for a bit before stepping off it.  He circled back into the woods but would have been great for any bow hunter or photographer.  He just stood there about 20 yards away and looked and us for several minutes.  My attempt at getting my pocket camera out while he was close failed as I was too slow before he lost interest in us. 
Basket Spiked Buck along the Brule River.
Next weekend is the last weekend of going up as the season is coming to a close just after that.  We are crossing fingers and washing our fleece in hopes we can land something of significance.  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The search continues

Narrowly escaping a delay at work Friday, Jen and I headed up north for another weekend of steelhead fly fishing.  By chance, a couple of buddies (Mike and Phil) saw us as we passed through Superior, WI and they called my cell phone to say hi and we pulled over for a couple of minutes to say hi and take a little leg stretch.  We caravanned the rest of the way to the motel and after checking in, stood outside in the dark brisk parking lot looking up at an almost full moon taking away about who had heard what for fishing reports and what everyone's plan was for next day.

I could have stayed in bed all day Saturday instead of fishing.  But we got dressed and ran the truck for a awhile to get rid of the heavy frost on the windows and ventured out.  All the normal parking lots were pretty much full and that was causing me to get frustrated in trying to get away from the crowds.  We went back to the least full parking lot and thought we would give it a shot.  Even though there were many cars at this lot, we pretty much only saw one fisherman who had a European accent.  But, we saw him over and over and over again.  And that got on my nerves trying to get away from him.  Whatever.  Jen caught and landed a nice 18" skipjack that day so she was doing pretty good.  Myself, not so much.  I hooked and lost one fish, hooked many rocks, logs, branches, trees, and my rain jacket.  At one point I lost my composure and threw my rod on the bank in the mud.  Pure frustration coupled with annoyances of not being able to get way from euro-dude and not being familiar with the stretch of water were were on and not catching steelhead made for a short day.  We called it quits earlier than normal with the idea that I just needed to stop fighting with whatever forces were at odds with me.

The evening went much better, after we changed and grabbed a beer at the hotel room where we were found by the Bob's (who just pulled into town), Peter and his wife Kris, Crazy-Luke, along with Mike and Phil.  They had better luck than myself and a more enjoyable day when it was all said and done.  We went out to dinner together for the evening since it gets so dark so early now to catch up and make plans for the next day.  

Sunday was a better day for my disposition in spite of the thick frost on the cars on a crisp 26 degree morning, and our fishing luck improved....sorta.  Jen hooked a larger skipjack that had it not been for my slow response and her quick landing would have been a netted.  But since I was slow on the draw, fish spit the hook where she had almost beached it and it swam off.  She was kinda not happy with me, even though she tried to cover it up.  We both know, that I screwed that up as net man.  In my defense, I do think that was the quickest landing of a steelhead that she ever executed.  I hooked three that day and landed none of them.  The Green Bay Packers won. Yoda, hooked and landed a 25" up river from us; Mother Feiker lost a nice one on his last cast of the day.  Yoda was able to get a lot of the battle on his Go-Pro, but in the end the Steelie spit the hook and gave Bob the fin.  Crazy-Luke caught four on Saturday and one on Sunday. I don't remember the numbers for Mike and Phil, but I do recall they did really well, especially in one particular hole. 

Jen and I spent the night there with the Bob's instead of hurrying home since we had taken Monday off to just chill out with each other and to go to an hour long appointment I had set up after I had taken the day off.  More about that later....maybe.

Tuesday morning I had taken off to go fishing with Mike and Dad for small mouth bass in Location X.  Dad however called last week and cancelled his spot.  But since it had taken so long to work out a date and get time off, I went anyway fishing with Mike anyways.  We met at Mikes place and we kind of dragged a feet a little as it was another balmy 28 degree morning.  We got the boat launched and did some fishing.  The first half hour we kind of battled the thin layer of ice that had formed on the water trying to cast over or through it with our flies and fly line.  But the once the sun came out and waves picked up the ice broke up.  Mike ended up with two smallie's landed, and I caught two very small pike.  So my streak of small mouth fishing success continues to be not exciting.  That change, someday. 

Now I'm on the countdown again.  Only three days until we head up again for another chance at catching AND landing some good steelhead.

A new form of "Ice Fishing"- fly line on top, fly  dangling down below.

A cast where the fly didn't make it through the ice.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Steelhead weekend summed up.

This past weekend:
    some friends were seen,
          some potential new freinds were made,
               some beverages consumed,
                    some blueberry ribs were ate,
                         some rainbows, smolt, and steelhead were caught,
                              on prince nymphs and pale eggs
                                   saw two circling bald eagles, one otter with trout in it's mouth
                                        worn out, tired, very happy, 
                                             five days of work until we can do it all over again.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Weekend Summary

Jen and I drove up in snow flurries to my friends cabin in northern Wisconsin.  I Realized that I forgot to pack my fleece pants to wear under my waders at home.  We chatted and formulated a plan for the weekend over Jameson on rocks, and then headed off to bed.
Peter and I fished for Muskies on the Flambeau River in the blowing snow...I was reminded by my cold legs and numb hands that I forgot fleece pants at home.  We did not catch or land any fish, but it was good to see Wendy from the Hayward Fly Fishing company again and so many eagles flying along the river.  After the day was done, we headed even further North to thaw out with some pretty decent home made pizza at the Kro-Bar.  We bumped into my Joe form Merrill, WI and talked to him and his buddy for awhile and played a little pool.  I only see him like once, maybe twice a year, so that was a nice surprise.
We woke up to thick frost on the car at 23 degrees.  Got our stuff together for a day of fishing for Steelhead, woke up Joe and his buddy, who asked me why they decided to try to keep up in doing shots with the 23-year old's.  I just laughed, and wished them a good day on the river and thinking it was good that I didn't participate in that game with them. 
We got down into the river, and reconfirmed my irritation towards myself for forgetting my fleece pants at home and the growing list of crap that I forgot, broke, or misplaced that I have to work on before coming back up.  Peter started his steelhead season within fifteen minutes by landing a healthy skip-jack.  We fished for a few hours and then took a lunch break before driving off to another spot where I caught nine and landed five fish.  Four were future steelhead ranging from 8" to 14", and the fifth one was a legit skip-jack coming in at 17-inches.  Three took the pale yellow egg, and two took the #12 PTN.  So the search for their feisty parents continues. 
I also had a foot and a half long witness checking out my casting technique.  He swam across the river to hang out with me.  He hung out on the shore behind me for about twenty minutes after his swim, and then disappeared.  My guess is the 42 degree water might have slowed him down and needed a little sun bathing on the beach to get going again.
Common Garter Snake sticking tongue out at me.

To top off our great fall day, Jen and I headed home through Duluth, MN and stopped in for a nice anniversary dinner at Black Woods restaurant where I proposed to her.  The service and food was great, and it was nice to stroll down memory lane and reminisce about our earlier days together.
More to come later, as for now we to put a "pause" on our fishing as we have a wedding to attend next weekend someplace in Iowa called "BFE" I think.  It's between "Some-town-I-haven't-been" and "it's-that-close-to-Illinois-really???" Then after that, it's back to the north woods fishing adventures.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

And the winner is...Me!

That's right, me. 
Two weeks ago I won a random drawing for pretty nice healthy cooking cookbook.  Hey that's cool right, I haven't won any thing in a while. 
Then two days later I logged in and found an email from the National Trout Center in Preston, MN informing me that I had won Grand Prize for the 2012 Raffle!  The Grand Prize being a Headwaters Bamboo Company fly rod.  Specifically, a Peerless Santiam 7'0" 5/6 wt, Medium action with two tips and a very nice rod sock and tube.  I confirmed that they address they had was correct and they said they would send it to me via UPS.  Great!  But, it showed up the day after inland trout season closed.  So I'll have to wait a bit before slaying some trout with my newly won prize, but I think it will be worth it. 
I did take a peek at the Headwaters website and it would appear that the value of the rod is the $800 range, not bad for spending much less than that on the raffle tickets, unless you count up (and let's not do that) all the raffle tickets over the years trying to win a bamboo rod made by Dave Norling at various Trout Unlimited Raffles.  The Headwaters rod felt very nice and has great looking real seat.  I'll have to take some pictures to post of it when I have some free time later on.
This coming weekend, I'll be fishing for Muskies on Saturday with a friend on our annual trip with Wendy from the Hayward Fly Fishing Company.  As for our 12th wedding anniversary on Sunday, Jen and I will be holding on to our tradition of the past several years, which is that we will be standing in cold water fishing for steelhead in the north woods of Wisconsin taking time to stop from our busy lives to enjoy mother nature, friends, hopefully a fish or two and life in general.
Fall is here...go hunt, go fish, go ride your motorcycle, just go out and enjoy it all whatever it is that gets you going!  Winter will be here before you know it.
Our group (Star Chapt 444) that went on the Lienie's fall motorcycle ride.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

General reminder, Trucks don't Float.

So I went did a float today with a buddy for smallmouth bass.  The day was perfect as far as the weather goes. But my day started out like this.
Alarm clock goes off.  Ok, time to shower.  Oh crap I forgot to pack a lunch.  Oh crap, I have a WI, MT, and CO fishing license, but no MN license.  I go online to take care of that.  Good.  Oh crap, I need gas.  Oh crap I need cash, ok, I can get cash when I get gas.  Good.  I fill up, get cash, oh crap.  I forgot my cell phone.  Normally not a big deal, but I was going to a place I wasn't sure I could find so I go back and the cell phone.  Good.  I get half way there and realize, oh crap I skipped breakfast with all the other oh-crap distractions.  Oh well.
I find our meeting place and from there we launch the boat and we are fishing.  In general the fishing was slow bu we both had several takes.  Enough to keep us engaged, but nothing to write home about.  A couple were even landed.
We saw probably the biggest beaver that I have ever seen!  And then it must not have liked that we disturbed his nap on the bank, and slid in the water ahead of us for long time, screwing up our fishing.  We hit the other bank after getting tired of his shenanigans. 
ok, fast forward and we see a guy who launched his boat at a landing....along with his truck.  No matter what happened today, our day was far better than his was.  the truck actually floated around the dock from the high side where the landing was to the low side of the dock.  As we drifted down, eventually all the truck sunk far enough down that the water was over the hood of it.  Here are some pictures and keep this in mind next time you think you are having a bad day.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rocky Mountain Vacation Summary (Picture Heavy)

As promised to many of you, though a little late, here is a recap of our most recent vacation, we hope you enjoy.  :)
A week ago we got back from a week vacation with Jen's family.  Troy and I rode our motorcycles out to Estes Park, Colorado while the girls rode together in the Highlander.  We left on Friday with perfect weather drove through South Dakota and arrived on Sunday afternoon to our campsite at Moraine campground in a pretty heavy rain.  It cleared up in an hour or so.  In fact pretty much every day it rained from 2pm to 4pm and was partly cloudy and pretty good the rest of the time.  For temps at the 8,000' level where the campsite was, it was mid to high 40's at night and high 70's to low 80's during the day. But pretty much every day Jen and I wore our fleece jackets as we were higher up where it was chilly and very windy a lot of the time.  At one point in the week we ran into an overlook where the ground all around us was freshly covered with sleet and snow.   
Monday, Jen and I went out to explore the park and found that the air was thin up there.  We really noticed it during our hikes, which surprised us since we had changed our workouts at home thinking it would help prepare us for this.  Fact is, we live at 950' in elevation, our campsite was around 8,000', and some of the spots we ended up visiting was between 12,000' to 14,000' in elevation.  We were flatlanders in foreign territory. 
We saw elk, lots of mule deer, big horn sheep, moose, gray jay's, fuzzy cute birds called Clark's Nutcracker, smelly llamas, the puppy-like marmots, and pikas.  I have to admit I really liked the marmots and pikas and they made me smile and laugh often.
We drove up Trail Ridge road is a must for anyone that goes out there.  I really enjoyed visiting the Toll Memorial Trail that is right off of the road.  There were marmots, pikas, a neat marker at the top of a bolder pile at the top of the hill, and wide open views of many mountains in all directions surrounding us.  Further up the road was the Alpine Visitor center which had a great view and the mountain side was littered with mule deer sunning themselves.
We hiked around Bear Lake, Sprague lake (and fished this lake too), several other hikes that led to water falls.  The major trek being up the Longs Peak Trail by Peacock pool on up to the beautiful greenish-blue Chasm Lake, where Jenny dipped her feet into the 35 degree snow melt lake.  Jordon and I went a bit further and dunked our heads in, but Andrew took the prize for stripping down to his boxers and totally jumping in.....twice.  The second time was for the photo for proof of craziness. 
Wednesday, Jen and I had a day fishing with a guide.  We fished the Big Thompson river, the St. Vrain river, and the Alluvial Falls where we caught brookies, browns, and Greenback Cutthroat trout.  Our luck was on Hopper and midge patterns like the mercury midge and the RS2.  Later that day is when I landed my first fish on my Tenkara rod, a 10" brookie that took a #14 Hemingway Caddis along the trail of Sprague lake.
The evenings were filled with family gathering around the campfire at our campsite with many conversations going on at once with suppers, munchies, cocktails, cigars, and stories to share.  We had three campsites for the thirteen of us, all in a row.  In the mornings we would wake up at sunrise and watch the deer walk among the tents while grazing.  They must have been on the Parks Payroll, as they gave us plenty of photo opportunities every morning.
Thursday morning Troy and Laurie headed out to Sturgis, South Dakota on the Harley where they would spend the next week of their vacation at the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally.  The rest of us broke camp Friday morning and all made our ways back to our home states of California, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.  Our 15.5 hour drive via Nebraska with the idea of making it back over two days, turned out to be a 17 hour drive straight through with a small forced break at the Perkins in Albert Lee, MN to wait a thunderstorm out that had winds reaching 55 mph.  Not the best thing to be driving through, pulling a loaded trailer late at night and having been on the road all day.  But really there was nothing between Omaha, NE and Des Moines, IA, and when we reached Des Moines I thought we could make it home with now issues.  We finally pulled in around 3am Saturday morning and immediately found the bed.  A very welcome site for our lower backs after the putting on over 1,000 miles on the motorcycle, long hikes in the mountains, sleeping on the ground all week, and of course after sitting in the truck all day for the drive home. 

Calypso Cascades

15 minutes earlier we had clear skies

Clark's Nutcracker

Toll Memorial Boundary Marker

face on this 30' tall boulder.

a Pika



Breakfast time

Sprague Lake
Park Ranger & her 3 smelly llamas


Chasm Lake

Silly Time!

Me with first Greenback Cutthroat

Jen with first Greenback Cutthroat

Greenback Cutthroat

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado...that's where we are going for a one week vacation.  Jen and I spent the whole weekend preparing for our upcoming vacation with her immediate family (about 11 of us all together). 

Jen and I plan on the usual itinerary of some fishing, some photography, some hiking, and hopefully a lot of smiles, relaxation, deepening of my zen practice, and checking out some local watering holes.  We also hope to add the greenback cutthroat to our species list, and the potential additional twist of catching some on my 13' Tenkara Ayu rod that I have recently been fishing with that I bought from Kinni Creek Outfitters.  I don't think that will be too hard, especially since Jen and I booked a 6-hour trip with a local guide from Kirk's Fly shop that was recommended to us by my fellow Tenkara buddy, Eric.

We are adding another twist to this vacation in that Jen her younger sister will be in the Highlander with all the stuff for the vacation and the brother-in- law and I will be riding separately on our motorcycles out there.  I've got a '08 Yamaha Raider 1900, and Troy has a Harley Davidson Fat Boy (96cc I think.  I'm used to metric engine sizes and not sure how that works for a Harley.  Using the Harley engine measurements, I think mine is a 113). But I digress and it doesn't really matter cause, they are cycles and we are riding.  This trip should be a a great adventure. 

Oh and another thing, about five miles away, is a small 13-acre lake I loaded with trout that I want to visit due to it's name, Sprague Lake.  Sprague is one of the six or so spellings our family has that I found while do a lot of research on, and thought it would be neat to see and maybe take some photos while fishing.  The adventure starts this Friday!  We will be staying at Moraine campground, which from what I have read, is very very basic, which is the way we like it,  Perfect!

The proposed route is the most direct route, but should be a heck of a lot more scenic then going through Nebraska.  We'll be going west via I-90 and have several of us meet up in Sioux City, SD for the night.  Then continue on through the bad lands the next day towards Rapid City or Cheyenne for Saturday night, and finishing up the drive to arrive at the campsite Sunday morning-ish for check-in. 

Updates on Operation Schultz Family Vacation 2012 to be continued.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My last weekend with Ed.

Saturday morning:
So for our last weekend hanging out together before Ed moves to Texas for his new job, we started off early Saturday morning.  We started off with breakfast over at the San Padro cafe in Hudson.  I highly recommend it to anyone and will be back there again.  We basically found it by accident as we were fifteen minutes too early to the nice cigar shop we wanted to check out called the St. Croix Cigar Company which had a large variety of products from my current favorite cigar brand, Perdomo Cigars. We were very impressed, and the guy behind the counter seemed to be an encyclopedia of cigar knowledge.
Then we moved on to River Falls to check out both the Kinni Creek Lodge fly shop and the new Lunds Fly shop out of curiosity and to maybe get some insight on what the fish have been hitting on.  We eventually did make it to fishing.  We started out fishing Lost Creek and worked our way up on the Rush river to El Paso.  Ed borrowed one of my bamboo rods to see what fishing one was like and I strung up another for myself for the weekend.  We had some success with sulphur parachutes #18 and comparduns #18, and white parachute BWO's.  Word on the river was that others had good luck using caddis patterns, but I did not have any success using them.  The trout must not have appreciated my artistic interpretation of the caddis flies I tied.
Saturday evening:
The reason for our fishing up to El Paso, WI was that our club was celebrating its 60th anniversary and the dinner was being hosted at the El Paso Bar & Grill.  We had a great turnout with many members and their spouses and significant others.  Everyone seemed to be having a good time.  Denny even set up a banquet table with some old club memorabilia, which I thought was a very nice touch.  To save us a lot of driving a few of us spent the night at the local Super8 motel; which sadly has been the nicest motel room I've had in a long, long, long time.  But it's not my fault, it's the fishes fault for not having better places for me to stay at when I go visit them.   

Denny's Table

Amy, Angie, and Jen


social hour
Sunday morning:
Ed fishing bamboo for brookies
Sunday morning Ed and I had breakfast with Yoda and his saint of a wife, Sandy.  And we were off again fishing the Rush river.  The trout pretty much took to Sulphur parachutes and comparaduns, white post parachute BWO's.  Ed mentioned that it was kind of fitting that we fished at the Stonehammer bridge to catch his last Wisconsin trout before moving to Texas as it was the first place he caught a trout on the Rush when he moved here to Minnesota.  We had rising fish and the fishing was good until the bikini hatch broke out.  We had six girls in two piece bikinis and one guy in shorts trying to float the river on little black inner tubes.  While the scenery was appreciated as they all modeled their swim suits very well, they put the fish down dammit.  The last gal who was a little behind the rest of her group was not so impressed with the decision to float the 40 degree water and said she would rather be fishing with us then floating in the cold water.  I told her that this was the first time in the ten years of fishing this river that had seen anyone try to float it.  Too bad, I didn't have an extra set of waders for her.  Anyway, Ed and I adapted and we sat on the bank of the river and lit up a couple of cigars and waited for the fish to come back.  It didn't take too long and they were back rising. 
Sunday afternoon:
After a good morning on the river, we left for lunch at the Silver bridge in Martel.  The club was having one of our monthly fishing outings and grilled brats with sour kraut were on the menu!  I think we had around 15 people or so attend.  After lunch, one of our newer members, Eric, was showing us his new Tenkara rod he bought the day before at Kinni Creek Lodge.  While showing us how to fish it on the section that goes by the park, he hooked five fish.  They all got off before he could land them....but he's still working on figuring that part out.  :) 

And that was our weekend.  Not bad if you ask me.  I wish Good Luck to Ed and his girlfriend Angie on thier new chapter in thier life in Texas, even though I warned them numerous times that Texans live in Texas.
Doe and a fresh fawn

Monday, May 21, 2012

Moth Video (Cercopia)

Video clip of a moth (Cercopia) that was found at the Cottonwood fly shop Thursday morning.

Last Day

Saturday was our last day of fishing for Mother Feiker and myself.

The weather was great, with 70s' for the air temp, and NO RAIN.  We agian signed up for the 3-mile to Bighorn float, and probably didn't need to.  We floated down river for only five minutes when we pulled to a bank to fish at the old school house to LOTS of rising fish.  We could have walked that.  They were fun, tricky, and hungry all at once.  Some would take comparaduns, some took midges, others only took parachutes, a couple took a trico pattern I had that I snipped the tails off of.  It was a smorgesboard.  We fished that spot for way too long, but it was hard not to when they kept biting.  finally at 2pm we moved on as we still had another 9.75 miles of river to float. 
We found several more areas of rising fish, that we successfully harrassed before and after the Bay of Pigs, and we also had some luck by the Twenty Dollar hole.  There were other places that we could have fished as well, but we pretty much determined our stops by who ever needed to pee.  You may be laughing, but that what we did.  And it worked out and we caught lots of trout that way.
It was great that we could end the week on a good note....but wait.  Did someone forget to arrange a shuttle for us?  When we got to the landing, both my vehicle and Andersons' vehicle were not at the landing.  I know we asked for a shuttle as I made the arrangements and gave Thor the keys.  Great.  Effed again!  Luckily three guys that had pulled in to the landing offered me a ride back to camp so that I could try to resolve our little surprise.  I grabbed Kurt, got the keys the keys that were still in the fly shop...something of an explainaition that was offered by the camp hosts of "they had a dabacle" and missed voicemails between the shop closing in the morning and reopening in the afternoon and three vehicles were not shuttled as a result of the communication breakdown.  Well, we had two of the three vehicles.  So in effect, effed again...twice. 
Really though I had to blame the Bob's.  Both have had thier history of shuttle debacles and they happen to share this expierence with me for good sport I guess.  They've both had issues at the Bighorn a few times, then there was the time at the bass outing two years ago when everyone forgot about them, and then there was the Brule where the Canadian forgot the key in the first truck so they couldn't get in the one at the second truck.  So they are pretty much seasoned veterens in this situation. 
Anyway, everything worked out, we got the boats back to camp, had a bloody mary with our dinner - it was taco night!  And just hung out for awhile out on the patio lauging about lots stuff including the "shuttle debacle."  

Sunday we packed up, showered, paid our tabs, and were on the road by 10:30am.  I dropped off Bob at his place just after 1:00AM Monday morning, and I was home about 2:00am.  Jen woke up and we started talking about the week for a little bit and then...a big flash and the power went out at 2:30AM.  Effed again...


Big Bull passing through.
Friday we had a cold front come in and we may have reached the low 70's for air temperature.  It was a little chilly.  The hatches were not going well at all and very few trout were rising.  This was not good for the dry fly head hunters.  Mother Feiker and I are thinking that we need a patch or flag to hang on our pontoons that says something along the lines of the Happy Head Hunters or Head Hunters Anonymous and have a logo with a fish head that has a bone going through its nose.  We may have been out in the sun too long, but we think it would be fun to get something made up for our dry fly sickness we had this week.  We did the ten mile float from 3-mile to Bighorn landing and only saw two fish caught all day and both were people on guide boats fishing nymphs. 
Pretty horse and pretend horse.
On the way down we stopped at the corral, and we were pretty much kicked out as we were waiting for a hatch to start.  We had cow, a bull, and a few horses, and a pretend horse come into our area.  One of the horses even went so far as to walk directly through the spot where the fish were, thrash around and then came back to shore.  I found it comical, except for the part when the bull got too close for my comfort trying to cross behind us on a narrow path.  And turns out that any threats made to the bull about how it would taste with A1 steak sauce are pretty much ineffective in these situations.
Horse walking through our fish.
We floated almost half way down before we even wet our lines, and then I think I only fished 20 minutes before the rain put down the only pod of rising fish that we had seen all day.  We tried fishing a little longer as the rain came down, but it was "casts of hope" rather then anything else.   
Cold hamburger
In addition to the rain, we had more cows crossing the water were fishing in the flat water just above the Bighorn Rapids.  We seemed to be magnets for the farm animals.  At least I think the cold water got the best of him as he let out a pretty good beller once he got the other side.  Talk about revenge is best served "cold."  It was fun to watch the sparrows.  They were out by the hundreds swooping just above the water and circling back catching something in the air.  They were doing that all day, and it was ok until we started casting, then it felt as if you had to be careful and time the casts so as to not catch one of them as they flew by.

Fishing dries in the rain.  "Dry or Die!"

That night we got back to camp and Thor had made an awesome Pheasant dinner with wild rice.  Jim, and the normal crew as well as Kevin (one of the local guides) all feasted on this 5 star meal.  And then it turned out to be a good night for drinks, cigars, and story telling.  Not a bad way to end the day despite the fishless day.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Encore Thursday

Today was similar to yesterday.  It was hot, we were getting more dry fly action, and we had a rain storm that forced us to hang out on the banks for an hour or so due to very high winds.  But after the storm was done, unlike yesterday, the hatch continued on and we got to fish for several more hours.
Ed and I fished for trout, while the Bob's were trying for some carp that were rising.  Both hooked up twice each, but the broke the leaders on the hook sets due to the aggressive takes.
Pretty much everyone we talked to today had a great day and lots of opportunities to catch fish and ours seemed to be a bit bigger today, averaging around 20 inches.
We also fooled around with the video camera today and we might be able to figure how to get some of that posted in an abbreviated short video.  Hopefully the section were we drifted by half dozen turkey vultures on the side of a cliff turns out.  They looked kinda out of place on the bank that was almost straight up and down. 
Today's pictures:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wacky Wednesday

We did okay yesterday, but it was a hot one.  Several of us had got a bit dehydrated and sun burned floating from 3-mile to Bighorn landing.  Today got a bit more exciting on the same float.  It was supposed to be in the 90's today, so we dragged our feet and didn't get on the water till about 10:00 am. 
The dry fly action was going pretty good in few spots, mostly on BWO parachutes and cripples size 18.  We saw another bull snake swimming across the river, a couple of muskrats, and then a prairie dog.  The Prairie dog was swimming at me from the opposite bank and when I moved to grab my camera it was about 2 rod lengths away and realized he shouldn't land on me and continued on passed me to the bank. 
Sometime around 3 or 4 pm, a front moved in very fast, the temperature dropped about 20 degrees and a thunderstorm blew in.  The rain was hard and almost felt like hail.  Feiker and I scrambled toward shore and when they started to blow off we scrambled to save them.  Anderson was laughing and then he bolted off toward his drift boat as it started to sail away from the shore.  If I had to guess I think the wind was probably around 30mph or better.  Luckily, four of the five of us know Montana well enough that we had rain jackets packed.  We learned that our cigars were storm proof as they kept going all through the down poor.  So they are now a MUST for future trips. 
All the other boats on the river were paddling by, but we were not trusting that 1) our kick boats would stay upright in the storm, 2) that our rods wouldn't attract lightning, 3) our aluminum oars wouldn't attract lightning, 4) that we would have any control of steering our boats.  So what else were we to do but waited out with cigars and Leinenkugals.  Everything passed and an hour later it was done. 
After the storm cleared up, the hatch was done, so we pretty much just floated the remaining five miles of river to the landing hoping for rising fish.   We didn't see enough to make us stop at any one spot.
Then at the end as we were coming up to the Bighorn landing.  Bob threatened the other Bob that he was going to crush him, then after passing him he actually ran his boat into mine while laughing manically.  I suggested that we need to pull his captains license, but since he doesn't have one it turned out to be an empty threat.  :)
We got back to camp, had grilled steaks, hung our wet gear up and called it a day. 
up river

The Drive In

Who let the dogs out

Incoming thunder storm

During storm

Bent rods in storm

After the storm