Tuesday, April 29, 2014

No Skeleton Crew?

My kids rounded up a canoe from a friend. We're thinking of taking Iris out for her first canoe ride this afternoon. Probably take the rod along.

The problem is the thunderstorms. It's beautiful this morning, but storms rolled through last night, and more are predicted this afternoon just when everybody gets off work. Laura is nervous enough about having her little girl in a canoe without adding the threat of wind shear and lightning. So we may not get to be the skeleton crew after all.

No worries, though. We have a backup plan for my last evening here: a trip to a warm, dry, safe children's museum.

So tomorrow I hit the friendly skies. It's been cold back home, but the weather service is calling for a spike into the 80's on Thursday and Friday. Look for me on the water. Next post should be the first Trout Lake Report of the year.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"Searchers" by Jim Harrison

Image by The Fickle Sparrow Photography

At dawn Warren is on my bed,
a ragged lump of fur listening
to the birds as if deciding whether or not
to catch one. He has an old man's
mimsy delusion. A rabbit runs across
the yard and he walks after it
thinking he might close the widening distance
just as when I followed a lovely woman
on boulevard Montparnasse but couldn't equal
her rapid pace, the click-click of her shoes
moving into the distance, turning the final
corner, but when I turned the corner
she had disappeared and I looked up
into the trees thinking she might have climbed one.
When I was young a country girl would climb
a tree and throw apples down at my upturned face.
Warren and I are both searchers. He's looking
for his dead sister Shirley, and I'm wondering
about my brother John who left the earth
on this voyage all living creatures take.
Both cat and man are bathed in pleasant
insignificance, their eyes fixed on birds and stars.

"Searchers" by Jim Harrison from Saving Daylight. © Copper Canyon Press, 2006. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Montana Fly Fishing Magazine, Spring, 2014

Just click HERE.

Lake Lemon Report: Tops

I'm going to miss the lake opener at home tomorrow, but I went fishing today.

I'm in Indiana visiting my daughters and grandkids. Iris just turned two, so she, her mother Laura, and I went to the store today so she could pick out one of her presents from Grandpa--a fishing rig. I had been thinking of it, but wondered if Laura would think she was too young. So I was glad when Laura herself brought it up. Laura and I had some good fishing trips together when she was a girl.

Iris ignored the pink princess poles and went straight to a red and yellow Cars rig. Good choice.

After lunch we went outside and dug some worms. We were ready for Iris's very first fishing trip.

This is Lake Lemon. Laura called it a little lake but it's pretty good-sized. There were guys out in boats looking serious about their early season tactics.

We rigged up and cast out. I baited the hook and did the casting and Iris held the rod and learned how to reel in the bobber. She liked that part.

She knew from what we had told her that the bobber would move when a fish ate the worm so she kept a sharp eye on that bobber. But it didn't move.

Iris got a little bored after awhile, so Laura picked up the rod and cast out..and down goes the bobber. Laura hasn't lost her touch.

A largemouth bass, or what Laura once called a "loudmouth bass" when she was little. Iris was very impressed and excited, agreed that the fish was very pretty, but did not want to touch it. We put it back into the lake and watched it swim away.

We decided to take a walk along the lake shore, but before we left the bank I tried a few more casts. Nope. Laura outfished me again.

We wandered down to an overlook and Laura and Iris spent some time throwing rocks into the water.

Iris got crazy with the multiple launch.

But it was finally time to walk up that beautiful green hill and head for home.

I'll have some great fishing trips this season, but I'm sure I don't need to tell you that none of them will top this one.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Family Post: Easter Surprise

My granddaughter Iris just turned two. The first present she opened was this T shirt.

I couldn't think of a nicer surprise.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Early Lake Report: On A Mission

When you get up it looks like it might clear off. You throw the tube in the pickup, work until Noon, and head for Early Lake.

The wind is blowing hard from the Northeast, with a cold edge to it. You shoulder into it and go to work.

You strip a shiny, green-bodied muddler through the chop and soon pick up the first fish.

You slide him onto the stringer.

You're on a mission. An elderly couple with a taste for trout has asked if you would bring them some, now, in the spring, when they're cold and firm and tasty. They feel bad asking; they know you're catch and release. But you feel good saying yes.

The muddler is getting the job done. The trout are indeed cold and firm--and pan-sized.

A pair of Red-Necked Grebes has been making big, noisy circles around you. Every Spring one shows up all alone and wails piteously waiting for its mate. When the mate finally arrives they both wail joyfully at being together.

You finally catch their raucous calls on video. You're amused to read in Peterson's Field Guide to Western Birds that when not on their nesting grounds they are "usually silent."

The wind isn't slowing down. It's turning out to be one of those March days you get in April.

The swallows appear to be enjoying the wind, and you enjoy watching them master it.

You pick up the fourth fish.

As you net the little Rainbow and get it onto the stringer the wind blows the tube over the fly line and it snags on something under the seat. You don't really need a break, but you need to get the line loose. So you take a break.

You look for Bighorn Sheep; some years they have come down to the water's edge here.

Back at the tube the midges are swarming. You're amazed to think that the swallows can track these diminutive insects in a stiff wind.

You saddle up and kick back out. One more fish to go.

You decide to try a little bead head woolly bugger. You troll it and strip it. It gets some bumps and follows, but no hookups.

So you tie on another muddler. A couple of casts and you've got your fish, and your limit.

You seek out a sheltered spot under the willows and clean the trout while sitting in the tube.

You kick out, pack up, and hand the trout to your friends at their kitchen door.

They're happy. You're happy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hats Off To You, Mr. Robinson

Hats off to Jackie Robinson who, on April 15, 1947, broke the baseball color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base.

Robinson said, "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." Each time I see my sons on the athletic field I am grateful for his courage, and for the impact he is having on their lives 67 years after he walked out onto Ebbets Field. And I hope his example will shape their lives well beyond the athletic field.

Leo Durocher, the Brooklyn manager in 1947, said of Robinson that he was "a Durocher with talent." He greatly admired Robinson, and made it clear to the other players on the Dodgers that he would trade them before tolerating any opposition to Robinson's joining the team. 

Robinson also said, "I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me...all I ask is that you respect me as a human being." Durocher told us more about what Robinson meant by respect when he said of him, "Ya want a guy that comes to play. This guy didn't just come to play. He come to beat ya. He come to stuff the goddamn bat right up your ass."

I hope my sons will learn from that example as well.

Hats off to you, Mr. Robinson.

1955 Topps Baseball Card