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.