Sunday, March 31, 2013

"Easter Morning" by Jim Harrison

                                                    On Easter morning all over America
                                                    the peasants are frying potatoes in bacon grease.

                                                    We're not supposed to have "peasants"
                                                    but there are tens of millions of them
                                                    frying potatoes on Easter morning,
                                                    cheap and delicious with catsup.

                                                    If Jesus were here this morning he might
                                                    be eating fried potatoes with my friend
                                                    who has a '51 Dodge and a '72 Pontiac.

                                                    When his kids ask why they don't have
                                                    a new car he says, "these cars were new once
                                                    and now they are experienced."

                                                    He can fix anything and when rich folks
                                                    call to get a toilet repaired he pauses
                                                    extra hours so that they can further
                                                    learn what we're made of.

                                                    I told him that in Mexico the poor say
                                                    that when there's lightning the rich
                                                    think that God is taking their picture.
                                                    He laughed.

                                                    Like peasants everywhere in the history
                                                    of the world ours can't figure out why
                                                    they're getting poorer. Their sons join
                                                    the army to get work being shot at.

                                                    Your ideals are invisible clouds
                                                    so try not to suffocate the poor,
                                                    the peasants, with your sympathies.

             "Easter Morning" by Jim Harrison, from Saving Daylight© Copper Canyon Press, 2007.

Dude, Check This Out: "Easter" by Patti Smith

Patti Smith, the "Godmother of Punk." Poet, visual artist, singer-songwriter. Her music a fusion of rock and poetry. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. "Easter" released in 1978. The most commercially successful of her albums, includes "Because the Night," co-written by Bruce Springsteen.

"Spring" by Jim Harrison

"Rain Clouds at Sunrise" by Tina Bluefield

Something new in the air today, perhaps the struggle of the bud
to become a leaf. Nearly two weeks late it invaded the air but
then what is two weeks to life herself? On a cool night there is
a break from the struggle of becoming. I suppose that's why we
sleep. In a childhood story they spoke of the "land of enchant-
ment." We crawl to it, we short-lived mammals, not realizing that
we are already there. To the gods the moon is the entire moon
but to us it changes second by second because we are always fish
in the belly of the whale of earth. We are encased and can't stray
from the house of our bodies. I could say that we are released,
but I don't know, in our private night when our souls explode
into a billion fragments then calmly regather in a black pool in
the forest, far from the cage of flesh, the unremitting "I." This was
a dream and in dreams we are forever alone walking the ghost
road beyond our lives. Of late I see waking as another chance at

"Spring" by Jim Harrison, from Songs of Unreason© Copper Canyon Press, 2011.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Kayaking the Great Bear, a Search for Wilderness

They find it...for now.

Photo by Ian McAllister

Three friends kayak into the Great Bear rainforest in northern British Columbia--the largest temperate rainforest in the world. They know that the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline will be routed through the Great Bear's heart, carrying bitumen from Alberta's tar sands, and they want to see for themselves what is at risk.

Now see for yourself.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Way to Keep Going, Bro

Still at it. Elk Creek, in Pennsylvania. This posted by iPhone by Guide Michael from the river as it happened just a few short hours ago.

Now I'm a little jealous.

Way to Go, Bro

Perusing Facebook today, and, oh my....

It's my brother John! Hey, John. So what's up?

RedSpotFly - Columbus, OH

If you have noticed a recent lack of posts from RedSpotFly, it is because we are in the thick of the spring steelhead season with Steelhead Alley Outfitters. Taking an off day today to swing flies with John Albright from HMH Vise...with success.

How about that. Nice one, John. I'm not jealous. Nope, not at all.

He and I, and brother Pete, are talking a fall steelhead trip this year--western U.S., or maybe western Canada. I'll have him take a shot like this of me. Can't wait to post it.

And I think again I just might tie up some of those beautiful flies before then. Here's just one sample photo from the Red Spot Fly page. OK, two sample photos.

Gorgeous. They really dress up those grip and grin shots.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"Moose in the Morning" by May Sarton

Painting by Marion Rose

Oh wild and gentle beast,
Immense antlered shape,
This morning in the meadow!
Like something ancient, lost
And found now, promise kept,
Emerging from the shadow,
Emerging while I slept--
Wilderness and escape!
You set me free to shirk
The day's demanding work
And cast my guilt away.
You make a truant of me
This moose-enchanted day
When all I can is see,
When all I am is this
Astonishment and bliss.

"Moose in the Morning" by May Sarton,
from Collected Poems© Norton, 1993.

Youth Sports Post: Baseball Weather

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rocky Ford Creek Report: Warm and Dry

It was chilly and overcast at home, but a hundred miles south it was sunny and warm. I tossed my jacket onto the cattails and fished the whole time--for the first time this year--in shirtsleeves.

Later, back at the truck, I would hear a phone message from my daughter in Indianapolis. They had been getting 8 more inches of snow during our lovely spring day. I extend my sympathies to her and all of you still stuck in winter.

Indy, March 25, 1013

I staked out my favorite spot, but ranged up and down the bank. This is a no-wading fishery, but walking the narrow muddy paths between the creek and the cattail slough sometimes feels like wading--or maybe like walking on water. I have slipped into a pothole twice this spring. Once it was just one leg, once it was full in up to my waist. You just can't tell by looking how deep these holes might be, and you get the feeling one of them could have your name on it.

The pelicans were basking and the swallows were flashing in the sun. Fish were coming up randomly and at long intervals, as they do. I worked a couple streamers and some bead head buggers and nymphs. It felt good to be stretching out those long casts without the constraints of a jacket and with the sun hot on my shoulders.

And it really felt good when the fly stopped, I raised up, and felt a fish on the end of the line.

It wasn't big, but it was beautiful, and it was the first trout of Spring.

I fished my way back to my favorite spot, unfolded my funky lawn chair, and basked in the sun like a big old pelican. It was peaceful and calm. I watched the swallows and listened to the ducks and meadowlarks, and then I heard it. Frogs--spring peepers--just beginning to croak along the water's edges.

I also saw more and more midges swarming in the sun, and I thought I was seeing more fish coming up and sipping them off the surface. I decided to go dry. Or die.

I clipped the bead head off the 4X, and thought about tying on some 5X and going small. But I had been seeing individual Callibaetis all day, big, beautiful, and perfect, rising into the sun. So I tied on a big, bushy Callibaetis pattern. I figured it was worth a try if the fish were now looking up.

But I wasn't ready when, on the first cast, a fish immediately turned and came for it. I don't mean it "rose" to it. No, too tame. This fish came for it, a big bulge in the water pushing a wave ahead of it heading straight for the fly. You know, just like the Nautilus getting up to ramming speed in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

It goes without saying I panicked and set way too hard and way too early, and the fly ended up tangled in the cattails 30 feet behind me. I was able to retrieve it, and cast it out again. The fish were definitely on top now, and I got hits and swirls on a dead drift, and missed them all. At some point in my frenzy to get the fly back out there I whipped it off the tippet.

I tied on another Callibaetis pattern, and soon got another Nautilus take. It was so beautiful. This time the leader was straight and I was ready, and I came up on a very nice trout.

Very nice indeed, pushing 20 inches, I'd guess. More than that, it was the first trout caught on a dry this year.

This was more like it. This was fly fishing. I settled into the enjoyment of the hunt.

Just when things seemed to be slowing down another fish came up under the fly and took it, oh so delicately, like just a taste of dessert. But it was not a delicate fish. No, this was a big-shouldered brawler. Once I got him in I measured him with my hand span, and he went over 20 inches. I didn't know which of these two photos I liked best, so I'm using them both.

The sun was low on the horizon, I was at peace, and it seemed like a good place to put a bookmark in. So I packed up and hit the road with some daylight left.

At 8 o'clock there was still a rosy glow behind the Cascades way to the west as I made my run north. Thinking about the glorious afternoon, I knew all about rosy glows.

It's Hardly Ever Like That

But it was this time, long enough to catch some excellent footage and beautiful trout. I could taste those long summer evenings. From our friends at Jazz & Fly Fishing. I've also added a permanent link to the J&FF blog in the blog list on the right margin.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Found Beauty: Venus' South Pole Vortex

From Earthsky.

Dude, Check This Out: A Close Encounter of the UFO Kind

This album, and especially Michael Schenker's lead guitar, has helped me blow off steam at certain times in my life--like tonight. The band formed in 1969. Schenker came on in 1973, from the Scorpions, at 18 years of age. Strangers in the Night was recorded during a U.S. tour in 1978 and released in January 1979.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Fishing in the Keep of Silence" by Linda Gregg

There is a hush now while the hills rise up
and God is going to sleep. He trusts the ship
of Heaven to take over and proceed beautifully
as he lies dreaming in the lap of the world.
He knows the owls will guard the sweetness
of the soul in their massive keep of silence,
looking out with eyes open or closed over
the length of Tomales Bay that the egrets
conform to, whitely broad in flight, white
and slim in standing. God, who thinks about
poetry all the time, breathes happily as He
repeats to Himself: there are fish in the net,
lots of fish this time in the net of the heart.

"Fishing in the Keep of Silence" by Linda Gregg,
from All of It Singing© Graywolf Press, 2008.

Saturday, March 23, 2013



Another fly fishing ezine in the mix. Lots of good stuff, including April Vokey and Steelhead.

It seems like there are two kinds of people: those who are tired of April Vokey, and those who aren't. If you're in that second group, like me, you'll find nothing new here, but you'll still enjoy it. I'm no expert, but what's not to enjoy?

You can check it all out right HERE.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Reflections On the End of Winter

So on my latest road trip I had plans to pack up the float tube and float Lenore Lake, which I pass on my way to Rocky Ford Creek, and which opened for business on March 1. It's a Cutthroat lake, and we do like our Cutthroat lakes.

But then I couldn't find the pump for the flaccid tube, which I completely emptied of air last fall. I've got the pump location narrowed down to somewhere under a large stack of items in the garage, piled there in the waning days of November as we slowly emptied the shed at our old place and completed the move.

On the morning of the trip I almost tackled the job of moving all that stuff--move it where?--but the road beckoned, and I decided to forget it for now and just head on to Rocky Ford.

But on the way I stopped off at Lenore Lake for a look. Looked pretty good.

Except for these signs. That got me wondering--for about 30 seconds before I hopped up behind the wheel again and tooled on down the road for the creek feeling glad that I hadn't wasted valuable time on the tube that morning.

Once I was home I researched it, and discovered something I had overlooked in my first perusal of the state fishing regs (emphasis mine):

LENORE LAKE (Grant Co.) CLOSED WATERS - area within a 200-yard radius of trash rack leading to the irrigation pumping station (south end of lake), and area approximately 100 yards beyond the mouth of inlet stream to State hwy.17.

Oh. It turns out the place I figured would be my put in was right in the middle of that approximate 100 yards. So now I know.

But it's a fairly good-sized lake. I think I'll be able to find plenty of open water on my next trip.

So I'll need to be tackling that garage soon to find that air pump, and you know how, as long as you keep a pile like that a "pile" in its own place, it's kind of "put away." But once you begin to move it it's just a big pile of stuff that needs to all be put away somewhere else. Well, for three months I've said I'd get to it "in the Spring." So...

Speaking of Spring, there was another sign of Spring on the last trip besides pelicans and violet-green swallows. Yes, construction season has begun.

One more note. Someone asked if I had a name for this streamer.

I had gotten two hookups on a little bead head woolly bugger in the first hour I was at the creek, but things had slowed way down after that. As always, I enjoyed the challenge of trying different flies and tactics, and the learning curve is always highest when you're experimenting like that. But it was nice, in the last hour I was there, to finally try a streamer and get two fish almost back to back.

I tied this streamer a long time ago, and may have used it once or twice, but I don't remember catching anything with it. It's sparse, as you can see. The body is light olive antron yarn with a round silver tinsel rib. It might have a flat silver tinsel tag. The wing, I think, is white calf tail, then pearl krystal flash, then black calf tail.

I have to say, it worked beautifully on that last day of winter. I guess maybe a good name would be the "Winter's End."

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Here in the Time Between" by Jack Ridl

Here in the time between snow
and the bud of the rhododendron,
we watch the robins, look into

the gray, and narrow our view
to the patches of wild grasses
coming green. The pile of ashes

in the fireplace, haphazard sticks
on the paths and gardens, leaves
tangled in the ivy and periwinkle

lie in wait against our sill. This
drawing near of renewal, of stems
and blossoms, the hesitant return

of the anarchy of mud and seed
says not yet to the blood's crawl.
When the deer along the stream

look back at us, we know again
we have left them. We pull
a blanket over us when we sleep.

As if living in a prayer, we say
amen to the late arrival of red,
the stun of green, the muted yellow

at the end of every twig. We will
lift up our eyes unto the trees hoping
to discover a gnarled nest within

the branches' negative space. And
we will watch for a fox sparrow
rustling in the dead leaves underneath.

"Here in the Time Between" by Jack Ridl, from Practicing to Walk Like a Heron.
© Wayne State University Press, 2013.

Postscript: As I took these photos I saw a fox sparrow rustling in the dead leaves under these branches. Happy Spring.