Friday, December 19, 2014

"Love for Other Things" by Tom Hennen

It’s easy to love a deer
But try to care about bugs and scrawny trees
Love the puddle of lukewarm water
From last week’s rain.
Leave the mountains alone for now.
Also the clear lakes surrounded by pines.
People are lined up to admire them.
Get close to the things that slide away in the dark.
Be grateful even for the boredom
That sometimes seems to involve the whole world.
Think of the frost
That will crack our bones eventually.

"Love for Other Things" by Tom Hennen, from Darkness Sticks to Everything. © Copper Canyon Press, 2013. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rocky Ford Creek Report: A New Man

It was time to take matters into my own hands. It had been too long since I had held a fish in those hands. I knew where a river ran ice-free and steady all winter long, so I packed up and drove to Rocky Ford Creek.

The Rocky Ford Rainbows were out in force, jumping and rising and leaving big wakes as they moved up and down the waterway.

I started sub-surface with a pretty little bead head Woolly Bugger I'd tied up the night before. It was soon plain that the fish weren't interested in that. So I went to my default mode and tied on a big dry that I had on my vest patch.

It floated high and slow and right away got some bumps and nudges. I stayed with it, and after a long drift a fish came up and mouthed it. I raised the rod and missed. I was able to flick the fly right back to the ripples of that first rise, and the fish came back and took it with authority. Pop went the sound of its mouth closing.

This time I got the hookup.

What a beauty, big and heavy and a challenge to bring in. This fish singleheandedly made up for the last month and a half of fishless days.

Here's the fly that did the trick, a little the worse for wear.

I air-dried it and worked it some more, then decided to try out the "Grizzly Adams" I posted awhile ago. There was a series of rises and swirls out in front of me, so I set the fly down in the middle of them, and a fish instantly came half out of the water and took it.

This one was not as big, but just as beautiful, just as spirited. And just as willing to take a dry fly in December.

The clouds had closed in, the wind had picked up, I was getting cold, and I wanted to get a good start for home before dark. So I reeled in and headed for the truck--a new man.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

River Report: Tomorrow's Another Day

I got to the river on Friday just one day too late. According to the USGS gauge, the river rose two and a half feet between Thursday and Friday. Just enough to upset my plans.

The weather was good: overcast and temps in the 40s. But there were still random ice floes cracking against the bridge pylon now and then.

I left my waders in the truck, but before heading back home I climbed down the rocks and found a foothold as close to the water as I could. I wanted to see if I could pull something out of the hole behind the pylon.

I've found some nice trout and a few smallmouths tucked in here on other days.

But not this time.

It looked on Saturday like the river had topped out. It should be dropping soon, but it has also turned cold again. Maybe there will be a window between when the river is low enough to wade and it ices up again.

Just remember: tomorrow's another day....

Friday, December 12, 2014

"I Looked Up" by Mary Oliver

"Frost" Shiro Kasamatsu

I looked up and there it was
among the green branches of the pitch pines—

thick bird,
a ruffle of fire trailing over the shoulders and down the back—

color of copper, iron, bronze—
lighting up the dark branches of the pine.

What misery to be afraid of death.
What wretchedness, to believe only in what can be proven.

When I made a little sound
it looked at me, then it looked past me.

Then it rose, the wings enormous and opulent,
and, as I said, wreathed in fire.

"I Looked Up" by Mary Oliver, from Owls and Other Fantasies. © Beacon Press, 2003. 


I got a picture and a short video of the river today. Still flowing free. Maybe a little high because of the rain we're still getting.


But nothing at all compared to the Elwha River over on the coast.

The Elwha was freed from its dam recently and is running at flood stage for the first time in a century.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Late Season Walk In

Fly Tying: And So It Goes...

The ice left sometime Tuesday night. I went out in the wee hours to check and heard geese down on the river again. I hadn't heard or seen any since the freeze up. In the morning I looked out and saw the river flowing free again.

Just some motion in the scenery again was a relief.

Unfortunately, my best window for fishing was Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday had obligations. I didn't even take a picture of the river. Thursday will have obligations as well.

So Friday is my next target. It looks like the weather will cooperate. Maybe the fish will, too.

And who knows what the window will be for an ice-free river?

Meanwhile, I continue to sit down at the vise while I'm waiting for my laptop to load, or while I'm uploading or downloading. I've got a nice pocketful of flies to play with when I'm finally on the water.

I've got a good handful of this bead head rabbit strip number, with different colored tails. I like the look of it....

Hook: Gamakatsu T10-6H #6
Thread: Black
Head: Tungsten Bead
Tail: Marabou, a few strips of flash
Body: Black Crosscut Rabbit Strip, wrapped
Throat: Black wool
Flash: Flashabou

These other two? Just playing. But I do like Matukas. I had some good days with them on the Pere Marquette way back when. This one was to review the pattern. Now I'm going to tie up a few industrial strength versions with lots of bling. You know, a steelhead edition.

And so it goes....

Monday, December 8, 2014

J&FF Walk Off With Golden Hook

Our friends at Jazz and Fly Fishing have won the Golden Hook award for their video "The Curse." For those of us who have come to enjoy their slightly off-kilter view of Scandanavian fly fishing it is an award well-deserved.

And, for good measure, they posted this link to a story on Le Mouching about the awards ceremony in Oslo. Sounds like a good time was had by all.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

"At the Beginning of Winter" by Tom Hennen

"Ice Dawn" Linocut by William Hayes

In the shallows of the river
After one o' clock in the afternoon
Ice still
An eighth of an inch thick.
Night never disappears completely
But moves among the shadows
On the bank
Like a glimpse of fur.
Flies and spiderwebs
Appear alone in the flat air.
The naked aspens stand like children
Waiting to be baptized
And the goldenrod too is stripped down
To its bare stalk
In the cold
Even my thoughts
Have lost their foliage.

"At the Beginning of Winter" by Tom Hennen, from Looking Into The Weather. © Westerheim Press, 1983.