Friday, February 25, 2011

winter hanging in

well, it's friday and snow continues to come down.looking ahead to next week,it looks like more cold and more snow for at least another week.crazy to think that spring is almost won't stop us hardcore fishermen though

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

catchy phrases

jeep commercial buttes processing into beer commercial mountains
i am the constable on patrol watching out for runaway stars,streaking out across the sky, seeing what's out there

Monday, February 21, 2011

feb 20 livin the dream

well if i am goinng to be really livin the dream, i guess i need to be fishing as much as possible,not an arm was really nice, a welcome sunny day after a couple days worth of reminder that it is indeed still was 30 ish so i got a late start xc skiing, but finally made it up to the deception trail near doesn't get enough beginner use and with the latest snowfall, the trail starts out following the signs;but then becomes the domain of explorer types who are are looking for a more off-trail made for a good long one and i found myself getting better with the help of some new boots that are more my size, and i didn't fall at all.after that i headed down to the river for a line wetting.i didn't bundle up,perhaps still hot from skiing and clouding my judgement.gloves!i didn't take them as i was just at the rodeo area and not that far from the car.but boy they got cold was nice to be in the water,to see it,but i'm good beyond that.had to pee on my hands and then stick them right on the defrost for a while after.they hurt.icy guides.that kind of day,although i think it warmed up more afterwards before it got cloudy again.i don't think it is finished snowing just yet,which is fine because we always need more water...we'll see what tomorrow holds...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

not a care in the world

   Not a care in the world; not a bird in the sky. I was just there to check the tributary for holdout cutties.I knew most of the young fish were already out,headed to the Snake for their winter lodging.I also hoped the big boys—really it’s about half and half—would be holding on to every last warm day until the snows and cold overnight temps came and ran them out too.These tributaries freeze in winter, you see, from the ground up, so nothing gets out alive. It was late in the season,as the season goes;mid to late October, some yellow color hanging in the bushes and the grasses well on their way to brown.It’s that time of year when the deer and elk types  start thinking about heading down from the high country,down to warmer and potentially greener pastures,followed by hunters.Everything is making it’s move.In rivers where there are browns, they are heading upriver to spawn,closely tailed by big rainbows eagerly and literally gobbling at their heels, slopping up the errant egg.The fish I am hunting today made a similar trek last spring,voyaging upwards of fifty to one hundred miles and more from the Snake back to the tributaries of their individual births, searching for pea sized gravel to give life to the next generation.Along the way, they may encounter predation from above in the forms of eagles and ospreys and have to negotiate dams formed both intentionally by beavers and accidentally by downed trees and limbs.But they do, make it.There they stay,taking the summer off as it should be, until at last again the moon tells them it’s time to move,again. I like to walk to a river and just sit for a while,or take a walk alongside,pausing every so often to see what doesn’t belong. I spend most of my time on rivers and streams, so much so that they are my haven and everywhere else seems somewhat chaotic,and confused.When I first started fly fishing, the scenes at each water seemed so busy, I was aware of everything and focused on nothing.Now when I come to a sitting spot, I do just that.I sit, I listen, I pet my bassett hound, Holly,my ever present fishing companion and sentinel ,second to the bloodhound on scent. I know what belongs here.The quiet gurgling sound of the water taking my mind back to a faraway place,perhaps Mother’s womb.This most peaceful sound on earth is only disrupted by the occasional splashing or flashing as hunger or curiosity or both drives fish upward.They belong in this micro world, and because they belong , they have the right to disrupt my perfect scene.Perhaps a hatch is just beginning below the surface—imagine the feeding frenzy of trout as they begin to smell the blood in the water.It is indeed a battle going on below the surface with the bugs trying en masse to make it from the bottom to the top and through the surface, like kids playing sharks and minnows in a pool, the stakes being life or death.
  I approach the scene;a still, shallow,slightly warmer  belly below a bend. The main flow was on the other side, a mere ten,twelve yards,slowly moving at a rate of maybe two hundred cubic feet per second.the moment I set foot on the shoreline, I saw what I was looking for.a rise.not just any rise, for there are different rises  for different occasions,fish merely responding to the most abundant form of a given insect.this leviathan was taking blue winged olives off the surface.sipping,lazily sipping,not a care in the world,not a bird in the sky. i was instantly taken in, enamored with it’s strength, balancing intake and expenditure;the elegant ease with which it would just appear, showing  me head to tail as it sipped.I had been here before, this, my river that I know intimately.i made my was a tricky reach cast, as he was housed in a knuckle of soft nervous water surrounded by flow which split around either side of it.the reach cast would allow my fly to reach the fish before he could see my line,but it would also create slack in the line,so my hookset needed to be one quick motion downstream,which goes against my natural casting cast, two,three.i had been here before –the moment of the is THE moment.the seconds  ooze past as I watch a fish approach,inspect,sometimes inhale my imitation of a naturally occurring insect.all sound goes out the proverbial window, a vacuum between me and this wild is the moment when buck fever might arise causing me to pull the trigger too early and miss this possibly one and only shot at an obviously wise salmonid .The take is when it all comes together; the wondering about this spot, the tying of flies thinking about this spot,my careful approach,sitting…observing, presenting .This moment before the fish is hooked is actually the moment  most people become hooked, the  fighting and landing paling in comparison to the  take. The only thing that even comes close after it is all said and done is gently holding that fish in the water and just…letting go…..

Saturday, February 19, 2011

wnter travel thoughts

    After a lazy morning walkin the dog, I rolled on down to Kathy’s koffee shop to solve some world issues or at least bring them to the was already shaping up to be a warm day and I was thinking I might explore the wind river for some big brownies, but I had a real hankering to go get in the snake.talked to some friends over there and they said it was downright warm,so I was  thinking hatch city!   Hey Charlie,hey lorna;leon here?Leon gave me all the inspiration I needed as we lightly debated the pros and cons of my way versus his way along the finer points of nymphing, his way actually the purer style.i just sat there as Obi-Wan tied flies and spun fishing yarns;A)what the world needs is more of this kind of multi-tasking,B) I’m in a good place.the Snake it is! As I roared out of town in my trusty 87 jeep 4 banger, Lil Gator, a couple things occurred to me. The first was that my buddy was right; four cylinder vehicles need em all.The second thing as I gazed longingly at the wind, looking for flat spots and slow waters next to fast waters, was how wInd-y(long I) the river is. It practically doubles back on itself in several places. The Indians called it the wind.maybe that was the trick.maybe enemies would look at it and say, “that’s clearly the wInd”!(long I) Gotcha cowpoke!arrows, on my command!   The roads were great  up to about tie hack where I dropped her into 4HI and entered the gateway to the winter wonderland of the togwotee trail.this area had looked like a black cloud soup  from back east,but up top the clouds were broken up and there was a sort of ceiling of dark clouds making it feel later than it really was. When I came to that rolling meadow spot just before togwotee that gets so red in the fall, the one where the Tetons  come into view the first time, there was big long  dark cloud just capping the mountains creating that kind of low slung horizon the sun likes to peek through after a late afternoon summer was like a sepia tone of that.when I passed by togwotee, a truck and trailer eased out  behind me and was on me in to time flat.had I given some indication when I passed going 45, that if you got on my tail, you could force me to your pace?what’s the hurry…sport? I ain’t trying to set  no kinda speed record getting down, so play on through.amazing how some folks can just pass you and a couple turns later, POOf, vanished.after four mile the road is actually in pretty fair shape; what’s that, up ahead? A belly dump goin real slow.what you got now, speedy Gonzales,what you got now?maybe Sir Speedy will  get how it works out here; maybe he won’t. Later on down the road near moran jct, I spied a momma and baby moose moving along the low area near the buffalo river.They kind of looked like a mom and baby elephant like on “Dumbo”, they were traveling so close together, having found that right rythym.i happened to think,”maybe we should spend some time following these guys around instead of their canine counterparts  ”. There used to be more moose, for some strange reason.
  It was getting pretty dark at that point so I had already bagged fishing in my mind—at least I could  look at the rivers going by. Dreaming about the fish that hid in the new lies created by winter.Spread creek’s  flowing; I wonder if browns and macks that seep through the dam spawn in those creeks around there.lotta springs.worth checking in to sometime soon.
 Dinner with friends at the Q; stay away from the brisket.sorry Q, I’m a bbq snob.Remembered there’s a meteor shower tonight and tomorrow’s way cloudy here.I guess it’s back to plan A.I got a couple days off so, whatever.Lil Gator  don’t fail me now.Coming up on antelope flats.It’s dark and snow’s a falling.Falling is not the right word;it was that kind of snow that makes you think that you might wind up in 1950 if you get to the other side, and you are driving a DeLorean.don’t look into the light! It made me think that Wyoming winter drivers probably can all look into those crazy double-image posters found in malls, and see the image right away.driving through that kind of snow is analogous, sort of.despite my trying to concentrate on looking through the snow, I did glimpse the takeoff of a big old owl,hanging out on a road marker, I guess waiting for the errant road-kill or naive mouse;massive wings that barely touched the snow as it lifted off.
Back at togwotee, I stopped to breathe and visit with friends, got stuck in the lower parking lot and had to get towed out with rig-job tow tires and four wheel drive aren’t in total agreement right now.Finally back on the road again, snow having a dumpfest, clive cussler ninth out of ten cds in the player, heat cranking,wipers on high,it’s all good.All systems---wipers creating a streak of ice through the middle of the windshield,switch to defrost full blast.that danged line of ice prevents  the top view from happening,so I get the hunched view.the wiper takes off the ice line then puts it right back on.wax off ,wax on.after a while it’s over;small victories baby.switch heat back to feet.As it turned nasty on me, I was grateful for my golfing background, since clearly I had come to the point of the togwotee “trail”, where greg norman had stepped in to the design process.i was inching along the cart path,road signs serving as scorecard and map.scoring was simple—how many “use care passing” signs would I have to go through on this voyage of  40 miles through long division.the roadsigns showed me “short dog-leg left then it’s gonna break to the water” up ahead.Where’s Dave  Ledbetter when I need him. I looked to my left  and saw what seemed to be a beautiful low hanging fog across an open field.Wait a minute, my left!?hey big mountain wall.survival thoughts filled my mind, am I the only one out here ? did I miss a flashing sign?Snow –plow coming up ahead;wipers to full .there is that few seconds of driving blind to follow which will inevitably make me think of the movie “Days of Thunder” when Robert Duvall urges Cole to drive through the smoke to the clear on the other side.hey… sheriff,Shane? guess I’m  not the only one out least I got backup.At last I am now the king of the road! New plan—make it to Lava Mountain lodge,sleep a little till it all passes;scotty’s voice echoing in my head”captain,I’m givin her all she’s got”. A four cylinder needs em all.where am I anyway?have I passed Brooks lake yet?the beauty of Wyoming travel.just keep going,you’ll get there.a little while later and WHOA!! Lava Mountain Lodge Just Ahead.well,shoot the pavement’s dry here;might as well keep on truckin.No more snow to worry about.dropped her back into two wheel drive at tie hack and got on down the last hurdle;hey little 6x6 buckaroo, you don’t wanna get out on the road.please.thanks.bye bye.
  Home again home again jiggety jig.meteor shower. I sat out on the porch and watched meteors drop by like snowflakes sliding down our domosphere’s glass.every now and then one would drop vertically reminding me of the video game centipede and the mutant ladybugs that fell down through the mushroom maze.looking at the big dipper,you gotta think they named it at some other time than this;right now,it looks like a catapult. it struck me that most of our “representatives” live in big cities where they might see one star at night.are we really seeing things the same way? one night I was hiking to huckleberry hot springs and I looked out over the ponds below me and saw the big dipper reflected on one of those ponds.i hadn’t known something like that before, yet it had probably been happening since the beginning of yellowstone.”if a tree falls…” looking at the night sky puts things into a better simplifies.”when I look at the heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place,what is man that you’re mindful of him?” Faith, the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen;it is interesting that our world  markets are driven by fear and we choose to put so much of our faith in fear.”there is nothing to fear but fear itself .”When you get away from the simple,it is easy to forget it’s even don’t realize something like that exists. So,until you walk a mile in these good shoes, in this good life, sorry fellers, you got no idea what I “need” .I’m fishin tomorrow.And every day after that.Here’s a thought:look at a night sky. stand in a river,watch and learn how it all works together, how it balances. let it draw you in. AJ MacLane really nailed it for me when I finally located this mantra:”there’s something deep in the human spirit that responds to running water;the fisherman knows it well, for a living water has many voices…from the infant gurgling of a headwater brook spilling over mossy stones, to the sibilant sound of its’ youthful course as it dances on gravelled riffles, or its’ protesting roar as it rushes against towering rock walls that threaten to hold it captive…it is when fly fishing, I have learned, that you come to know a river intimately, for a few seconds, I can hold a trout gently in my hand, feeling the pulse of the river." simple, yet so poetic...