Monthly Archives: August 2008
Final blog post before Chris and I head to Colorado in the wee hours of the night. In preparation, let’s watch some of my photos from last year’s Montana trip again. By the way, I produced a 40 minute DVD in sort of a diary format of fishing in Montana. It is for sale at a ridiculous price of $10. I’ve sold enough copies to almost buy a cup of coffee at McDonalds. Don’t let the fact that it didn’t make the New York Times Bestseller list stop you from ordering a copy. It isn’t bad. I intend to do a lot of video on this trip as well. Only this time, I think I am going to morph this video in with eastern brook trout fishing for a feature DVD with a conservation of native species theme…something like “Eco Fishing: The Importance of Native Species”. What do you think? We’ll see how it goes. I’ve got a lot of technical garbage to do on my computer to get it video editing ready again.
I’m seriously pumped and incredibly distracted. Today is Wednesday and on Friday, sometime around an unmentionable hour of the morning, an epic crusade will begin. I will roll out of Charleston metro towards Parkersburg for a rendezvous with my ecoangling wingman NA then on to our final ground destination of Akron, OH-10. From there, our journey will seek the friendly skies as we zip into Denver, Colorado. By early morning we will be in our rental car with NA’s next of kin (brother) heading towards Rocky Mountain trout water. You effin right.
This trip is about the natives. Chris (NA) and I are native freaks. We will be targeting the Greenback Cutthroat, the Rio Grande Cutthroat (may be listed as engangered species by the end of the month) and the Colorado River Cutthroat. We will also spend some time on brookies, river strain greyling, kokanee salmon and some of the big trout that will be trailing the kokes scavenging eggs.
Prep – The Good
I normally carry 6 to 10 fly boxes on my big vest. When brookie fishing I normally carry one box. Seeing that I am mostly targeting voracious feeding cutts, but with a smattering of other things, and not wanting to be out there without 13 different varieties of #14 hare’s ear nymphs (sarcasm) I made up a resonable consolidation. I switched vests for this trip to a Fishpond backpack/chestpack style vest for the convenience of having a nice backpack for all the hiking we’re going to do (also plan to summit the highest peak in Colorado, Mt. Elbert). So I’m taking only three fly boxes. Two of them will be in the backpack for specialization, but the main box for the front chestpack is as follows…
A – Feng Shui, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, #62 white chernobyl ants and my Chi with some room left over.
B – #16 Tan Elk Hair Caddis (EHC)
C – #14 Adams Wulff Parachutes
D – #18 Adams Wulff Parachutes
E,F – #8 Conehead Olive Woolly Buggers
G – #12 Tan EHC and CDC/Elk
H – #8 BH Squirrel Tail Nymphs and a couple of #8 Black Buggers
I – Assorted Big Honkin Stimulators
J – Assorted Big Honkin Hopper Patterns
K – #14 Hot Hayne AuSable Parachutes (HHAP)
L – #12 Tan EHC, Bleached Wing
M – #12 Olive EHC, Natural Wing
N – #14 Royal Trude
O – Assorted #14 stimulators
P – Assorted #16-#18 stimulators
Prep – The Bad
I can’t find my ipod fm tuner/charger or my polarized prescription sunglasses anywhere. Kind of pissed about that.
Prep – The Ugly
Leaving a day before my daughter’s 3rd birthday and not coming back for 9 days. I’m in some serious dog-housage over it. Yard passes will be hard to come by in September.
This is wrong on so many levels, but you will laugh. I know you will
Yesterday wasn’t such a good day. I thought it would be though. I had work to do in Princeton so I printed off a few geocaches to log in between some travel time while working in the area. If you aren’t into geocaching it is a pretty cool game where you find hidden containers by GPS coordinates. For me, it is similar to why I love brook trout fishing, it is about the different places you get to see that you otherwise wouldn’t. I also like the personal competition of racking up numbers of caches found. A small sideshow of geocaching is to be the first to find (FTF). When someone places a new cache there is an all out free for all to be the FTF. Living in Charleston being a FTF is about like winning the powerball. Once the thing is published someone will find it within an hour or two. So I discovered a new cache near Bluewell and thought I’d be the first to get it. I visited it around 10:00 am and spent entirely too long climbing through poison ivy and slick stream boulders looking for the stupid thing before giving up, but this was just the first bad event.
Then I went for another nearby cache and couldn’t find it either. I finished up some more work in the area then went for the queen mother cache. In Pinnacle Rock State Park there is a huge rock by the road that thousands of people visit yearly. However, there is another big rock on top of the ridge that has no trails to it and you can’t see from the road. There is a cache on TOP of this big rock and I knew I could get some killer photographs from up there so I was full on gameface. (See the cache description by clicking here). I had on shorts and a pair of crocs. Not really best attire. Bushwacking up through some serious rattlesnake habitat I was already on edge. Then I discovered what seemed to be the route to get up to the top of the rock. A crack between the two Seneca-Rocks-esque monoliths that was approximately 60 yards long and at about a 40 degree angle. Smaller boulders filled the crack making travel pretty difficult. I shimmied up about 25 yards into the crack when suddenly, from about 10 yards in front of me I saw the face of a GIANT BOBCAT and it let out a HIISSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!! The adrenelin rush at that moment is undescribable. I yelled, turned and bounced down that crack faster than a shot deer. Actually, for the first time in my life I knew what it felt like to be the prey. I don’t think it followed me, at least for the first 100 yards I didn’t even bother looking over my shoulder. Running down the hill I took every cuss word I knew plus a few new ones and put them all together in one single word which I repeated over and over like a mantra, hoping the cuss word gods would fend off the impending death.
I felt like I’d made it over into West Germany when I got back to the car. Like I was Simon Kenton and had just fooled an entire party of Shawnee warriors by getting away.
I decided to just take the rest of the day off at that point and go fishing. I drove down to Calcutta, I mean Elkhorn, and fished for a couple of hours before I had to retreat home. Thinking the worst was behind me I proceeded to fish a nice tributary. About a mile up I was fishing through a high banked section when I came upon a culvert near the stream of about 24″ in diameter. I noticed some food related garbage at the base of the culvert but that is nothing out of the ordinary for this filthy stream. When I got within 10 feet of the culvert I heard something inside. Thinking it was a coon I walked to within 5 feet and peered inside. I thought I heard a growl, but couldn’t see anything. Then imagine the biggest, meanest sounding doberman mixed with rottweiler snarling bark and that was the next sound to eminate from the cylinder. I about crapped my pants. I ascended the high bank rather quickly and retreated to the car. I was through with mean animals. Through I tell you.
On the way home a filthy flatbed tractor trailer threw a rock into my windshield and put a giant crack in it, then my car about blew up and I had to drive the burm of the interstate the last mile to the exit near my home to limp to a garage.
I’m staying put today so nothing can bother me.
Rock snot is spreading in WV and that sucks bad. It puts a hurtin on trout populations and that tees me off. Of course, it will be a great opportunity for the overzealous C&R missionaries to blame population downturn on fishing pressure. Rock snot is bad stuff. When I was fishing in Maryland a month ago I noticed that the state had installed wader wash stations along accesses. I’ve suggested this to the state TU council and not much has been said. I’ll probably bring it up again at the Fall meeting. Press releases from Mike Shingleton are not going to do much if anything. The vast majority of anglers won’t read ’em, let alone follow the guidelines. As for me, despite having bought a new pair of wading boots just last Fall I will be retiring the felt soles soon for a more rock snot unfriendly pair of boots. Looks like I’ll be picking up a pair of Patagucci sticky rubber boots from Craig at Serenity Now Outfitters. I am particularly culpable for this debate since I fish so many different waters throughout the state. Even if you don’t fish as big a range as I do, I would highly encourage you to either ditch the felt for a while or at a minimum follow the cleaning guidelines.