Friday, June 28, 2013

Trout Lake Report: Sometimes Slow Is Good

I went out with Jeremiah again the other night. He had summer basketball practice first, so we didn't get to the lake until almost 7:00. We weren't feeling too rushed, but we knew our time was limited.


Jeremiah had gotten a visit from the brown truck the night before, and was eager to try out the new spinning rod and reel he had ordered from L.L. Bean.

I had gone through some of the old lures I still had, took the trebles off and put on single hooks, a requirement at Trout Lake, and set him up with a little box of lures.


These are the two he used this trip. I've had that little flatfish for years and years, and I bought a handful of Colorado spinners long, long ago when I was in, appropriately, Colorado. I just tied a red saddle hackle collar on the hook to dress it up a little.


Jeremiah started with the flatfish, and we worked a shoreline that usually produces well. It was slow this time, though. Jeremiah pronounced pretty quick that this would be the night we get skunked. He switched to the red spinner halfway down the shoreline.


He got a couple of hits, so that kept him going, but he was getting frustrated.


We got to the end of the willows and I had a hit on my muddler but missed it. Jeremiah worked that spot over real well with his spinner.


I started across drifting the muddler, and he followed after awhile trolling the little red spinner.


I was almost across when he hooked up with a very nice fish. I watched as he played it and netted it. Looked heavy from where I was. I told him to keep it in the net and started to kick over for a photo, but the fish got away before I could get there.


So Jeremiah was happy now. He changed his prediction: "Now you're the one who's going to get skunked."

I almost did. The fishing stayed slow, and when I did get a rare take I missed it somehow. I had worked almost to the end of the prime stretch of shoreline on that side before I finally hooked up.


In the meantime dusk had settled in and Jeremiah had headed off on his own following some small fish that had started rising back over toward the channel. I enjoyed watching him out there watching the lake and the fish and trying this and that and learning and enjoying himself. I worked around and joined him.


He decided he wanted to try the fly rod again, so we traded. He worked the muddler while I hoped he might find a big brown out for a night prowl, and I got to try out his little spinning rod.


It was fun. Like old times on the Pigeon River in Northern Indiana with roostertails. This time I tied on the flatfish and trolled it around in a circle and caught one more fish.


So nobody got skunked, and we had a good, relaxing time. Sometimes slow is good.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Up-Hill" by Christina Rossetti

"Dusk" oil on canvas by Liam Aaron

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
     Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
     From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
     A roof for when the slow, dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
     You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
     Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
     They will not keep you waiting at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
     Of labor you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
     Yea, beds for all who come.

"Up-Hill" by Christina Rossetti, from Poems© Everyman's Library, 1993.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Take a Quick Trip to Patagonia

I found a blog a few weeks ago, and it gave me something to think about. While we were enjoying Spring after a long Winter, this blog was celebrating Fall and getting ready for Winter.


It's Just Another Day In Patagonia. There are fish, of course, like this otherworldly Brown.


But this excellent blog is about much more. You might want to check out his latest post, a celebration of community set in a traditional Quechua ceremony on a cliff overlooking Lake Titicaca in Peru marking the winter solstice. Just think about that for a minute. This is good stuff.


Just to make sure we're straight, that would be the Patagonian winter solstice, which was just last week, on June 21, our summer solstice. So remember, if it gets too hot this summer, just take a quick trip to Patagonia. It's winter there.

Special Weather Statement


It has been chilly around here for awhile. Too long. Jackets, even long underwear, have been de rigueur when out on the water for a long evening. That's a heck of a way to run a summer, and it's unusual for this semi-arid desert region. This is supposed to be the HOT side of the Cascades, the northernmost extension of the Sonoran Desert climate zone.

Word is it may be getting back to normal soon.

Special Weather Statement
...HOT WEATHER LATE THIS WEEK THROUGH EARLY NEXT WEEK... CONFIDENCE IS GROWING THAT THE INLAND NORTHWEST WILL ENTER A PERIOD OF ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES STARTING THIS FRIDAY...RISING TO WELL ABOVE NORMAL OR NEAR RECORD TEMPERATURES THROUGH THE WEEKEND INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK.  AFTERNOON TEMPERATURES ARE FORECAST TO RISE INTO THE UPPER 80S AND LOWER 90S BY FRIDAY...CLIMBING INTO MIDDLE AND UPPER 90S THIS WEEKEND...AND POSSIBLY INTO THE 100 TO 110 DEGREE RANGE TOWARD MONDAY AND TUESDAY. THIS WILL BE THE RESULT HIGH PRESSURE BUILDING INTO THE REGION FROM THE DESERT SOUTHWEST AND GREAT BASIN. PROLONGED HOT WEATHER CAN INCREASE THE RISK OF HEAT RELATED ILLNESSES.  CONSIDERATIONS SHOULD BE MADE FOR THESE CONDITIONS...ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE WITH WORK OR OTHER ACTIVITIES OUTDOORS GOING INTO THIS WEEKEND AND EARLY NEXT WEEK.


I for one say Hoo. Ray. Maybe now I can finally take some of the blankets off the bed.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

National Lightning Safety Awareness Week: Golfers Versus Fishermen

It's awesome in its beauty and its power.


There's a lot of it.


And it will kill you. According to the National Weather Service there were 238 lightning deaths in the US between 2006 and 2012, and 82% percent of them were of males. Of the total number of victims, 152 were taking part in "leisure activities."

Guess which leisure activity topped the list? Here's a clue.



Yes, 26 fishermen died, followed by campers with 15, boaters with 14, soccer players with 12, and golfers with 8.

I'm afraid the inescapable conclusion is that golfers are smarter than fishermen.

If that bothers you as much as it does me, then let's be more careful out there!

Trout Lake Report: Lighting Up the Evening

It's been raining off and on all day when you get to the lake.


It will rain off and on the whole time you're there.


You go back to the upper south end. You haven't been here since the drakes started hatching.


This shoreline is one of your favorites, and it's fresh and beautiful and full of birds: kingbirds, redwinged blackbirds, yellow warblers, catbirds, cedar waxwings.


You see very few rises all evening, but you get a fairly steady response to the muddler: follows, swirls, misses. The fishing is absorbing, and the few fish you manage to catch are small, but beautiful in the gunmetal light.


You cover a lot of shoreline, then troll the muddler across to the other side.


On the way across you hook up and the tippet snaps off. You retie, and this little fish knocks the new muddler into the air, turns and whacks it again.


You work the other shoreline, hitting all the known lies, remembering other days and other fish.


The new muddler is actually new. This is the first you've fished it. It's getting some attention, and you wonder if the palmered body has anything to do with it. Whether it does or not, you like it.


Halfway along the shoreline you hook up with a good fish. It took like a brown, it's acting like a brown. It comes undone. Not the fly's fault. You were looking somewhere else when it took the fly, and your set was late. You wonder if that was your one shot for a good fish.

You work all the way around and start over where you began. It's getting dusky and you hope that means more fishy.


A little brown right off the bat seems to be a good omen.


But you can't pull anything out of the willows. When you finally come to the end of them you keep going. You missed a take here earlier on your first pass.


You cast and strip and the evening lights up. It's a brown and a jumper. He jumps at the beginning when he feels the hook, and he jumps at the end when he sees the net. It takes awhile between jumps: he's 18 inches of solid muscle.


You would have felt good about the trip even without him. But you sure feel good with him. You turn and troll the muddler back to the truck. The guys up at the campground have their fire cranked up, and you're pretty sure you can smell their supper on the wind.


It smells good. You're hungry. Time to go home.