Monday, July 25, 2016

Grand Teton 8K

One of my favorite places, but I've never seen it like this. Another wowza.


GRAND TETON 8K from More Than Just Parks on Vimeo.
GRAND TETON 8K is the culmination of nearly a month spent filming in the spectacular Jackson Hole Valley and the foothills of the Teton Mountain Range. Encompassing nearly 500 square miles, Grand Teton National Park boasts an awe-inspiring array of pristine wilderness, glacial lakes, winding rivers, diverse wildlife, and the magnificent Teton Range. Journey with More Than Just Parks as we explore a land dominated by towering peaks, apex predators, and majestic beauty. This is Grand Teton. Filmed primarily in 8K.
To see more National Park films or learn more about More Than Just Parks, visit our website: morethanjustparks.com/
Music: Ryan Taubert "Becoming Human"

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Trout Lake Report: Things That Go Bump In the Night

The very next day you find yourself at the path leading down to the north end access.


You plan to pick up where you left off the night before. When you check the caddis you had been fishing you find it somewhat sprung. You remember that hard, sharp pull in the dark. It makes you think of things that go bump in the night.


You bend the caddis back into shape and fish it around. Fish are rising. They seem to be working something. You get a nice hit and hook up out in open water, but after that they want nothing to do with the caddis.


Then you see what the fish are probably taking: there has been a fall of cinnamon ants. They aren't thick like you've seen them on the Henry's Fork, but you get excited anyway.


You have a couple of cinnamon ants and you tie one on. You fish it all over, chasing rises and drifting it behind you, but you can't get any action. This fly worked on the Henry's Fork, but apparently the trout here require something special made just for them.  


You're close to the inlet, so you kick over, switch to the quasi-hopper, and pick up a few little guys. You cover the whole inlet area carefully, though, muttering under your breath, "Tiger, tiger, burning bright...."


There are clouds building up in the south. Will this be deja vu all over again? You put your rain jacket on.


You get another grab by a little guy, but are happy to see it's a Brown. It's been awhile. Now go get your big brother.


You've been listening for thunder, but haven't heard any, and watching for rain, but haven't seen any. So you aren't quite ready when a wall of wind hits you from behind. You just manage to catch your hat before it's whipped into oblivion.


This isn't really a wind; it's a roaring gale.


Later you'll read in the paper about a "localized windstorm" that brought down several trees in a nearby town, including one that did a number on a house.

Photo: Al Camp

Now you kick into the inlet for whatever shelter it can provide, and, funny thing, you're thinking about trees coming down. You hope you're far enough away from the tree behind you that it won't land on top of you if it topples.


You bob away in your rolling retreat, hanging on to some willow stems for an anchor. You wait for the rain and thunder, but they never come.


Far overhead an eagle is soaring joyously on the rushing updrafts, riding the storm.


The wind slowly abates but never really quits. The lake remains restless.


You fish the hopper here and there, and drift it behind you as you kick back to the take out, but maybe the fish are still in shock, or nauseous from the tossing waves. You hang around for awhile to see if you might get a chance to throw a little caddis out onto a calm lake in the dark. But the fishing is over.


The things that go bump in the night will have to wait.

Tom McGuane: MSU Library Trout and Salmonid Lecture

Some night when you get sick of TV, take an hour and watch something real, something edifying, and maybe even educational. The stories alone are worth the time.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Trout Lake Report: Buck Tiger

Circumstances allow you to get to the lake much earlier than usual. It will be a full 8 hours on the water. You haven't done that for awhile. You think you can handle it.

You launch at the north end. You like it here.


You've tied up a quasi-hopper especially for the day.


You work the shoreline through the wind and waves.


The hopper claims its first victim.


Storm clouds are building in the west.


You think the storm will slip off to the north and miss you.


Over by the inlet you find lots of eager fish. They're small, but they nail that hopper.


Where you usually kick across the lake to the other side, you keep on going. You plan to explore the entire west bank.


That first storm may be slipping off to the north, but it looks like another one may be hard on its heels.


You decide to put your jacket on, just in case.


Five minutes later you hear the rumble of thunder and the first raindrops begin to fall.


You've been drifting a muddler behind you, and a nice Rainbow tries to make off with it. It's a treat to net a fish like this.


The rain is coming down harder, and the thunder is getting closer--which means the lightning is, too.


You come up on a little shooting stand. You've passed this thing by for years. Today you decide to shelter in it while the lightning passes over.


It's a perfect retreat. You break out the thermos, pour yourself a cup of hot coffee, and kick back.


The sun breaks through the clouds briefly. The rain slows. The thunder grumbles into the distance. Time to go.


You launch and start down the shoreline again.


Two minutes later another storm rolls over the ridge and begins to dump its rain on you.


A new round of lightning and thunder begins. You pull over and wait it out. When the lightning has moved on you do the same.


You fish all the way down to the Drake tree, then turn and begin to work your way back.


The wind backs off and the lake begins to settle down. Scattered rises begin to bloom out in open water.


There are lots of bugs.


You kick out into open water and drift the muddler through the riffles. You get a bump, a swirl, and then a hook up.


You make your way back toward the inlet. It looks like the storms are over.


As has become your habit, you first explore the willows on either side of the inlet before casting into the inlet channel. On the second cast something jumps the muddler as soon as it lands. You raise up, expecting another fingerling, and feel weight, blessed weight. Then a wonderful, jerky pull. It's a good fish at last. No, not a Brown. A Tiger. Beauty.


The primal order is restored. The cosmos is once more aligned.


You wonder what other surprises might be in store for you. You find two more beautiful little Rainbows.


In the twilight, you kick slowly across open water toward the take out area.


The wind finally backs off for good, and the water calms. You see fish rising just off the take out. You tie on some 5X and begin casting a little caddis. It's just you and the bats.


And a photobombing fish.


When it's too dark to see the fly, you make one more cast and begin stripping in. You get a grab. You think it's a little fish, but it suddenly pulls hard--real hard--and is gone. Just like that. That's one for another day.


On the drive home you round a bend, and there's the full moon right in front of you. When you get home you get the good camera and the tripod and get a shot.


The July full moon is the Buck Moon. Most people who know that are probably thinking about buck deer. You're thinking about that big, beautiful buck Tiger.