I look into... my fly box and think about all the elements I should consider in choosing the perfect fly: water temperature, what stage of development the bugs are in, what the fish are eating right now. Then I remember what a guide told me:
Ninety percent of what a trout eats is brown and about five-eighths of an inch long.
I made it out twice this week for some Smallmouth fishing. Sorry, no pictures. I have been kind of rough on my small digital cameras. My first went into the water. The latest one quit focusing. I am looking for yet another one. In the interim you will just have to believe me when I discuss my exploits. And hey, I'm a fisherman! I would never stretch the truth...
Wednesday after work I went out to the Elkhorn River. We had quite a bit of rain and I was concerned the river may be blown out. When we arrived the water looked high. We found a place we could test out the water and stepped in. As luck would have it, the river was actually not very high. Just very muddy from the rain, making wading difficult. Tripping, however, was rather easy.
With the murky water I should have sunk a fly beneath the surface. But I had a couple taps on the surface, and kept with it. There was not much catching. I did get one Smallmouth to hand, but that was it.
On Thursday we took off of work early to hit Silver Creek. The plethora of fish made up for the limited catching on the Elkhorn. We caught enough Smallmouth, Rock Bass, and Longear that we lost count.
For most the afternoon we stuck with surface flies. Dahlberg Divers, Poppers, and Hopper patterns were producing well. We fished through two sections of river, the second one chest deep. The fish were holed up in the deep water. While the majority of takes occurred when casting towards the rocks on shore or the grass, we had takes from about anywhere we could put a fly. The Smallmouth were particularly acrobatic, jumping and twisting in the air when hooked. Definitely a lot of fun.
As we were getting ready to head back the bite slowed down. We put droppers under the surface flies and everything picked up again. Using a Crackleback below the surface I caught another bunch of fish as I worked my way back to the truck.
As I removed my waders I made a discovery - apparently my waders have a leak. And not just anywhere - from the water on my jeans it appeared I had, well, wet myself. I know I get pretty distracted when fishing, but I was pretty sure that was not the case here. The leak is right in the crotch of the waders. I will need to get those patched up before going again, at least before going somewhere with a lot of onlookers.
Behold the awesomeness that is the Sunsphere... Author Unknown
In March, 1996, I sat down to watch The Simpsons. Little did I know how that episode, entitled Bart on the Road, would change my life.This particular episode featured Bart obtaining a fake drivers license. Like all young men in this predicament, he rents a car and travels to Knoxville Tennessee to see the Sunsphere. Hilarity ensues.
Did you know:
The Sunsphere served as the symbol of the 1982 World's Fair
Recently we traveled to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The trip was intended as a birthday get-away for Kristin. To get to Pigeon Forge from Lexington we had to travel through Knoxville. This gave us a chance for a little side trip - a chance to see the Sunsphere.After all, if it was good enough for Bart, Milhouse, Martin, and Nelson it must be a truly spectacular site.
Did you know:
The Sunsphere weight 600 tons and features six double steel truss columns to support the seven-story sphere
We approached the exit, the Sunsphere gleaming in the distance. What an awe-inspiring sight, the golden globe gleaming in the mid-day sun. Our dreams nay, life ambitions were about to come true. We were to experience the grandeur of the orb. So excited were we, that we drove right past the exit. Luckily the gleaming aura of the sphere led us back to our destination
Did you know:
The tower has a volume on 203,689 cubic feet, and a surface area of 16,742 square feet
We parked the car and made our way to the towering sphere. We took in its' beauty, as its' nobleness overcame us. The impact it made upon us was felt by all about, evident by Knoxville Channel 8 News interviewing Kristin for the evening newscast.
We experienced the Sunsphere up close marveling at the masterpiece of engineering that stood before us. Taking the elevator to the observation deck we were amazed with the structure, the view, and the noticeable absence of bird guano on the structure. We also recognized the deficiency of restrooms in and around the superstructure.
Did you know:
The tower's window glass panels are layered in 24-karat gold dust and cut to 7 different shapes
As we departed the Sunsphere we did so aware that our lives were better off than they were prior to the encounter. What a life altering event, to experience the structure I had first heard of on that evening in March, 1996. With sadness we left the facility to head into the Smoky Mountains and nearby factory stores.
Did you know:
As a result of European Starlings depositing too much guano on the tower's frame, in 2003 the Knoxville Public Buildings Authority purchased a device that emits various noises to scare the birds away from the tower
As I close this entry, allow me to leave you with this quote from The Simpsons:
Bart: We got no car! Martin: We got no money! Milhouse: And no one knows we're here! Everyone: We're stranded! Nelson: But on the plus side, I knocked over the Sunsphere. HA-ha.
We spent a few days visiting my parents in Idaho. It was a great trip - some eating, some fishing, some driving, and a whole lot of relaxing.
We flew into Salt Lake City, where my parents picked us up. They drove us up to their place outside of Idaho Falls. It did not take long before Rachael was having fun with Grandma and Grandpa. She had talked about riding the 4-wheelers with Grandma for several weeks. They did ride the 4-wheelers, but I think she liked the RTV best.
Grandpa took us to the South Fork of the Snake River to do some fishing. Grandpa tried to buy some worms for Rachael to use, but she informed him: Grandpa, I only fish with Flies! That is my girl. We took the Jet Boat out and anchored near the dam.
Rachael grabbed her pole and started fishing. She was disappointed when she did not catch a fish on the first cast - the Bluegill in Kentucky are spoiling her. It was not long before grandpa had a fish on though, and Rachael reeled it in. We did not tell her there was a worm on the hook.
Afterward Grandpa took us for a short ride in the jet boat. We then dropped the jet boat off and put the drift boat in. Me and Dad spent the afternoon fishing the South Fork. We saw a lot of fish coming up and hitting the fly. I did get this nice cutthroat to the boat.
The next days were spent playing and fishing. Dad, Uncle Roger, and I floated Box Canyon in the drift boat. We caught a lot of fish, all Rainbows. Nothing too big, but the number more than made up for that. I do not have any pictures from that day. It was a beautiful float, one I definitely will put on the list for next time.
Sunday was raining so after church we spent the day at the house. My sister Lorie and her boys were also there so we just relaxed while the cousins played.
All in all a nice, relaxing get away for me. Kristin has some more details and photos on the family blog.
Whether on TV, radio, or in print, everyone has those ads that annoy them. For example, ads that use an alarm clock. What advertising agency in their right mind wants to associate a product with a sound that is almost universally despised? And do you really want to buy a product from a company smart enough to hire this ad firm?
To this day I will have nothing to do with Snuggle brand fabric softener. That bear they used on the ads, with its' little giggle, perturbed me one too many times. You know the ads I am referring to. But the ads did make an impression.
This morning as I was driving in I heard a promotion on the radio for a motorcycle. The announcer told me that the feeling I would get when riding this particular bike could not be explained in words. The announcer then went on to explain, in words, that feeling.
No, I will not be going to the dealership to ride the bike. Unless they will let me take an alarm clock and the Snuggle bear to run over...
It has been a while since I have updated the blog. I am going through some information overload - between the blog, Facebook, and Twitter sometimes you just wonder how much people really need to know. Is it necessary to know every time I step out for a restroom break?
However, for posterity's sake, I will update the blog. Hey, it is the closest thing I have to a journal. Here are some of the recent happenings.
Kristin and I celebrated our 15th anniversary. It has been 15 years since I married the love of my life, and every day I fall more in love with her. Thanks for everything Babe!
We celebrated by flying Kristin's mother to Kentucky to watch Rachael. We went to the Bahamas for five days. It was great! Nothing but sitting on the beach. I could really get used to that - anyone have a house they want to sell on the islands? I did get a slight red tan. Did you know you can get Aloe lotion with Lidocaine? Great stuff, great stuff.
Yes, I have been fly fishing. Not as much as last year due to the rain. The rivers have been blown out much of the time this summer. The three of us have made it over to the lake for Bluegill quite a bit. So far only one Smallmouth Bass trip though. I hope I can get a couple more in this season.
Excuse me while I take a restroom break. I will update Facebook and Twitter when I return.
I did manage to hook a duck the other night. I cast the small (size 16) dry fly out behind the duck. He turned and grabbed the fly. I did not fight him too hard before letting him break off. Of course, had there not been so many folks at the lake, I may have tried to get him airborne. It would have made a much better story.
They put me in one of those leadership positions I had hoped to never have. I hope someone knows what they are doing. Previously, when there was talk of putting me in these positions, I moved the family from Colorado to Kentucky. I am not sure where to move them to now. Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi maybe?
Anyone that knows me probably knows that I am a fan of burgers. If you doubt me, look at my gut. The burger that tops them all is In-N-Out. Hey, after spending two years in Southern California, I am a big fan. Well, I do not think we are going to get an In-N-Out any time soon in Kentucky. However, they did recently open a 5 Guys Burgers. It is not quite In-N-Out, but it is pretty close. The closest thing to it I can get in this part of the country.
That is it for now. I will try leave a little less time between my blog entries. And more time between breaks.
As we were driving home Saturday we witnessed two classic Redneck auto improvement examples. As I did not have a camera with at the time, you will have to imagine the sights.
Pulling up next to an early 1980s vintage GMC Sierra the luxurious interior was visible. The dash had a beautiful wood facade. 1/4 inch Red Oak plywood from the looks of it. With cut-outs for all the vents and gauges. And for that little extra touch of class, black wood screws through the top of the panels to attach them to the pickup's dash.
A few hundred yards from the previous sighting we passed a small Ford Escort. It was a warm, humid day and the compact apparently did not have factory installed air conditioning, but not to worry. The driver had the windows down. And attached to the roof of the car was a 12v fan hanging between the passenger and drivers seat. With the fan blowing on high it was the envy of all driving by with their windows rolled up.
Anyone who reads this blog realizes that I am an avid fly fisherman. And anyone who has followed the blog for very long probably remembers the rod build I documented last year. For those that do not, the links are on the front page of the blog.
The rod was a Sage Z-Axis, 8 weight, 4 piece. I built it after returning from a Redfish trip in Savannah, Georgia. I realized that for Saltwater fishing I needed a faster rod to cast greater distances in the wind. The Z-Axis was just the rod. And the build turned out great. It quickly became my favorite fly rod.
While I have not had a chance to try it out in Saltwater, it has been with me on many Bass outings over the last year. I have caught a lot of fish on that rod.
This morning I was fishing on the pond. Shortly after getting the pontoon in the water this Bluegill was on. Little did I know it would be the last fish for the Z-Axis.
A few casts later I was lifting the line off the water. The fly caught in some weeds. Normally this would not be a problem. Normally. This time I heard the snap. The snap that all fly fishermen dread. The last time I heard that sound was on the South Fork of the Snake River when Dad's rod broke.
I looked down and the rod had snapped. About 11 inches of the tip section was lying in the water. With a sinking feeling in my gut I headed in to get my other 8 weight to finish out the day.
For a while I have been wanting to float the Cumberland River. I have fished it a few times wading. However, it is a tail water fishery. That means limited wading access. And the river runs high and fast when they are running generators, which is most the time. Floating is the best, and most fun, way to fish a tail water.
We made our way to the river, and parked a vehicle at the take-out point. We then drove back, about a mile on the road, to the put-in point. We unloaded the pontoons, setup the gear, and made our way to the water. It was much higher than the previous trips I have made to the Cumberland. The put-in was about 50 yards closer than when we were at this hole (Creelsboro Natural Bridge) last November. The water covered most the rocks that were visible in this photo from that trip.
Here is a photo of the put-in today. With all the mud, it was obvious the water had been even higher than this recently.
Once situated I rowed out to the current and away I went. The river was running fairly fast, but it was no problem on the pontoon. I packed away the oars and used the fins for most the float.
It was not long before I started getting hits. I tried a lot of different setups, but a size 14-16 nymph seemed to be the key. It did not seem to matter if it was a Prince Nymph, Copper John, or the pink nymphs I tie for Rachael (that is my story, and I am sticking to it). After several hits I got my first fish of the day to the net, the Brown Trout below.
I released the fish and drifted further down the river. The hits kept coming. Along one stretch I hooked the Rainbow below. He did not want to come to the net - he was a fighter!
A few casts later I had another fish on. He was running differently than trout usually do, and I was not sure what I had. I was surprised when a White Bass came to the net.
Those were the only three fish I got to the net. I had another half dozen on, and I lost count of how many hits. It was a great trip.
On the road the put-in and take-out are about 1 mile away. But the river wanders. About 5 1/2 hours after we put in, we reached the take-out point. I was not ready to stop, but it is not good to float past your vehicle when you are on a non-motorized craft. So in we went.
We strapped the pontoons to the truck and headed back up the road to get my vehicle at the put-in.
What a great day fishing. There is something so relaxing about sitting out on the water, fly rod in hand, the current taking you where it will. I am already looking forward to my next trip.
I have made it out fishing a couple times this month, but have not got around to posting anything. And I do not have any photos. I would like to say it is because the fish I have been catching are so massive that it is a physical impossibility to manage both the fish and the camera at the same time. I would like to say that. But the reality is that I have either been skunked, caught small fish that managed to break free before I could take a photo, or I have forgotten the camera at home. As it is close to the end of the month I am getting a little concerned about the Fish-a-Month challenge. I need to get a picture soon!
Last week Kristin, Rachael, and I went over to the lake to fish from the shore. Both Kristin and Rachael out-fished me, catching several Bluegill. The last fish of the evening was taken by Rachael all by herself. It is wonderful to see your 4 year old daughter shouting It's bumpy as she excitedly reels in her fish. She is getting the catching figured out. We are still working on the releasing. Often in an attempt to put the fish back in the water it ends up on the ground at her feet. It is a good thing Bluegill are so resilient.
Yesterday we went over to the lake again. This time the fish cooperated a little better. I caught several Bluegill and a couple Crappie on a small beaded nymph I quickly tied up. Kristin caught the largest fish of the evening, and all of us had a good time. The camera sat at home.
I still have a few more days in the month. Next week I hope to get out on a float trip for some Brown Trout. Hopefully I will have some pictures to post soon.
The temperature is increasing, and the leaves are starting to appear on the trees. I have already mowed the lawn for the first time this year. Spring is here. With spring comes the birds. It is the time of year I have both the fishing gear and the camera gear close at hand.
Here are a few of the recent visitors to the yard.
The Cardinals are always my favorites. Here is the female:
And here is the male:
This is a Red-Bellied Woodpecker that has been visiting the deck:
And this little guy is a Tufted Titmouse:
Here he is breaking open the seed with his beak:
There will be plenty more visitors to the yard over the next few months. The variety is one of the great things about living in Kentucky.
After waking up early, I headed out into a cold, rainy day. After meeting up, we went to a new area - War Fork. As we got closer to the destination snow was still on the ground. We finally arrived and suited up in the rain. We walked through the nearby campground, and looked over the river. It is definitely a place I would like to go camping in another month or two.
We setup the fly rods and quickly started fishing. It was not long before the hits began. Small, stocked rainbows were hitting the flies. Most were in the 6 to 8 inch size.
The fish were holding in deep pools, where there was very little current. A nymph floated into these pools seemed to produce results. The rain did not seem to bother the fish in the least.
As I worked further down the stream I hit a narrow section with a deep channel. I floated a nymph through the channel and had a take. This 11 inch Rainbow put up quite a fight, jumping several times. This fish did not want to come to the net. I coaxed her in, took some photos, and then released her back into the stream.
A while later I had another 11 inch Rainbow take the fly. This one did not put up quite the fight the previous one did, but was fun nonetheless. And the coloring was beautiful.
After a few hours we worked our way back to the truck and drove about an hour to the Red River Gorge. There were a couple streams there we wanted to try. The first was at the bottom of the Gorge. We hiked down Rough Trail to the bottom. It was a fitting trail name, as the debris from the recent ice storm had not been cleared, requiring a lot of log jumping to get to the bottom. And the rain was still coming down.
Upon reaching the bottom, we found there was not enough water in the stream for fishing. So back up we went.
We found another location to fish, but the water was running high and fast with the rain. No more fish were to be found.
A new place to fish, and some hiking in a beautiful area. It was a good day.
I am sure everyone has been waiting with baited breath (get it - baited?) for a current fishing report. I have been out several times, but have been too lazy to post any updates on the blog.
I am participating in a fish a month challenge. The way it works is every month you catch at least one fish on a fly. A photo of that fish must be posted to the web site for it to count. Totals are kept, and the winner gets the satisfaction of catching fish every month. The losers get the satisfaction of fishing every month. Either way works.
In January I went to the Cumberland River. A Brown Trout was posted for my monthly fish.
February was tough. I went out in the middle of the month and was skunked. Finally, with one day left in the month, I caught a small Shad. It was not pretty, but it was a fish on the fly in February. and the rules do not require a pretty (or large) fish.
On to March. I went out to some trout water I had never been to before. After a slow start, the fish started hitting. I caught half a dozen, and was able to post a photo of a Rainbow Trout.
The tough months are done - I'll post updates as the year progresses.
Here are my Valentines. Rachael was born 2 days after Valentines day in 2005. She brightens our lives every day, even when she is stubborn. She is a bright young girl, who even tolerates fishing with her father.
Kristin and I went on our first unofficial date on Valentines day in 1994. It was a group outing, yet she still managed to get flowers from me. She was kind enough to share with the others. Four days later was our first official date, and a month later we were engaged. We will have been married 15 years in July, and it just keeps getting better.
Rachael got a hold of a sheet I brought home from the fly fishing show last weekend. The sheet listed the 2009/2010 fishing destination trips planned by Mad River Outfitters. I can only presume she was anxious to help in the vacation planning, as she circled the trips she was interested in.
Wanting to keep peace in the family, I am willing to acquiesce to Rachael's desires. It appears our 2009 vacation schedule will look something like this: