The blog has been quiet for a while now mostly because weather, life, and an overabundance of water has conspired to keep me from fishing this year. I was able to take one trip in February to the Stanislaus river, our usual winter fishing location. I have written about the river quite a bit elsewhere, so I won't belabor it's charms, but we had a good half-day of fishing, and landed a few rainbows under the bridge. I also got a chance to play my new bag-pipes during lunch.
The Little Sur is my favorite local coastal stream. It's just a little stream, with tiny trout that requires a long hike to get to, but that all adds to the charm. Earlier this season, I wrote about how excited I was that the Little Sur seemed to be "bouncing back" after the 2008 wildfire season. The trout were more numerous, and bigger than the previous year. So I was really saddened about a month ago, when I heard from my local fly shop owner that the river had been occupied by some people growing Marijuana in the national forest around Little Sur Camp.
Now, while I don't begrudge people the right to do what they want in the privacy of their own homes, but Marijuana cultivation in National forests can be big trouble for fly fisherman. Firstly, they can threaten or chase away people who want to use the land, they can damage river banks, use pesticides thats kill fish and as the case is here poach out the existing fish population. Apparently when the ranger's went down to the river to clear out the growers, they found the river "fished out", and when one local angler had gone down and fished it, there were no sign of the usually eager little coastal rainbows.
So, when I set out with my wife to check out the Little Sur this weekend for the last day weekend of trout season, I wasn't expecting much. We had a lovely hike, a delicious picnic, and although I was only able to fish for about half an hour I had several trout rise to my parachute adams and landed a nice little rainbow. It seems that rumors of this river's demise have been somewhat premature.
I don't have an iPhone, but I do have an iPod touch, which I sometimes use as an on-the-fly camera. I have played around with a few iOS camera programs, but never really did much with them, as my better photographs were not usually on my iPod. That all changed last week when I updated my iPod's OS, and found that with the new iCloud service, photo's moved seamlessly between my iPod and Aperture (Apple's pro version of iPhoto). When I set up iCloud, I thought it would be a nice way to cary around my pics, I never thought that I would integrate the iPod into my photo-editing process.
That changed this morning when I came upon this guest post by photographer Robert Yaskovic on the excellent Fiberglass Manifesto blog. In the post, Robert outlined several iOS apps that he uses to process fishing pics he takes with his iPhone. While I don't take my iPod fishing, I was inspired to use some of his processes on my favorite fishing pics that I took with my waterproof digital camera.
Here are some of the pics I posted last friday, edited with Camera+, using Robert's tips.
Check out Robert Yaskovic's photography at Yaskovic Wedding + Portrait.
--Posted by Eben
Things have been pretty quiet here on the T&S blog. While I haven't had much time to post, I did have a few fishing adventures. One of my favorite was a trip back East to see my folks. Hurricane Irene stole what were going to be the bulk of my fishing days, but my Dad and I did manage to pack in a trip to the Sugar river, panfish fishing on Little Lake Sunapee, and some tenkara fishing in a little brook trout stream into just a couple of days. I can't wait to get back there and fish the area properly, but this was a good time.
I don't know much about blogging, but I do know that this collection of projects, fishing reports, and photos is better because of the good folks at the Outdoor Blogger Network. A few months back I rehabbed the whole look of this blog because of advice I got over there, and several of my favorite posts were inspired by OBN prompts.
This week is the one year anniversary of the network, and they are having a big celebration. If you are a member check it out, and if you have an outdoor blog and aren't a member, sign up,
Having been born and raised in New England, I am generally skeptical of autumn on the West Coast. I have been up and down the coast, and rarely have known the foliage to be as beautiful as back home. That was until I saw the yellow aspens of the Sierra's last weekend as we drove into Markleeville. They lacked the smoldering reds and fiery oranges of back home, but there unique take on autumn was breathtaking to say the least.
This has been a hard season for the Trouts and Stouts fishing club. Busy schedules and high flows on most of our normal rivers meant we only took a few trips this summer, and those that we did take were somewhat lackluster. That was why we needed this trip to the East Carson river so badly. Friday night the three of us pulled into what may be the perfect campsite, mere feet from one of the most productive holes on the trophy trout section of the river. Camp was set up quickly and David landed the first trout on a crystal stimulator as the sun set.
Saturday on the river was perfectly balanced. We spent the morning above hangman's bridge, fishing for the large stocked rainbows on wooly-buggers and large nymphs. In the afternoon, after lunch and a pitcher of beer in town, we fished below the bridge for wild rainbow and brown trout in the special regulations section. It was without a doubt, our best day of the season.
Here are just a few of the bright moments, click on any photo to enlarge.
Water, water everywhere and not a place to fish....
That is been the deal here in California. The greater than average snowpack has put off the season,with most of the Sierra and central California rivers totally blown out. I have been fishing my beloved coastal streams a lot, but I have been hankering for something more. This weekend, we are heading up to the North Fork of the Stanislaus River for what we are calling a "camping trip". If there is fishing, well, that will be great too.
If not, it will be back to the Little Sur for me. I am not complaining, I mean, it is probably one of my favorite places in the world, but I am looking forward to a little variety.
In the meantime, here are some pictures of my most recent trip, joined by T&S co-founder David, and my lovely wife, known on the internets as burymewithmyneedles.
There are many things I am good at. I can cast a heavy streamer into the wind, I've built a couple decent looking fly rods, and both my wife and my mother think I am a damn handsome fellow. One thing I have yet to master is tying a decent fly. I tie flies in fits and starts, devoting hours a day for a week or so, and then putting away my vise for months at a time. As with anything, I know it takes practice, and I just can't seem to devote the time.
Tomorrow I am heading back to the Little Sur with my tenkara rod, so I thought I would dust off my vise, dig out my feathers and try my hand at a few sakasa kerabri reverse hackle tenkara flies. I have a handful of black and gray sakasa's in my box, and while they caught a fair number of fish, they weren't greeted with the kind of enthusiasm I am used to on that river.
I am hoping that by tying similar profiles on a slightly larger (14 instead of 16) and by using some brighter colors, they might get more action. I'll report my findings when I get back.
--Posted by Eben
One of the first posts on this blog was about our deep lust for the products of Joe Goertzen of Goertzen Adventure Equipment. A few months after I wrote that, I ordered the fly box style landyard, thinking that it would help me pair down from my beloved, but terminally overstuffed, Orvis vest.
Upon receiving the lanyard, I was immediately impressed. The two main innovations over other lanyards I have seen were the large fly box pouch on the front, and the "belly strap" that anchors the whole apparatus to your body and keeps it from dangling when you lean forward to land a fish.
The idea was to use the lanyard for small streams, and other situations where a full complement of gear was not required, but after a few uses I found that I preferred to take this rig even on complex tail-waters, which I previously assumed required a vest. Using a high capacity fly box, like this one from Irideus, I can carry more flies than are good for me, and anything else I might need can clip onto the lanyard or go into a shirt pocket.
One of the best things about Joe's products is that they are each hand made and completely unique. He takes special requests and has adapted the design to include licence/tippet holders, and digital camera pouches. When I wrote him to thank him for my lanyard, I mentioned that I thought future lanyards might benefit from a "D" ring on the back of the neck strap to hold a net. A few weeks later I received a new neck strap in the mail, complete with "D" ring.
Any product that contributes to a simplified style of fishing would be welcome, but when it is designed and made this well, it is so much better. Beyond the lanyard, Goerzen offers a variety of leather and canvas products. T&S Co-founder David is the proud owner of a Goertzen AE leather messenger bag, which helps him look especially stylish in grad school, and for those of you with rug-rats, you can preserve your manly image with a leather and canvas diaper-bag.
--Posted by Eben
I have fished for trout and bass in a lot of rivers and lakes on both coasts. I have caught a lot of fish, big and small, but my favorite fishing memory is of catching tiny brook trout in muddy beaver ponds by the side of the road in New Hampshire.
Sawyer Brook flows past the Eastman Community in Grantham, NH, winding its way through white pine forest and down granite ledges before joining with the Sugar River, where I first cut my teeth on fly fishing in moving water. My father and I found our way there because it was marked in our NH Gazetteer with the icon of a leaping fish, and the key in the back of the battered red and white covered book suggested that it was home to brook trout.
Up until just before this period, I couldn't have told you what a brook trout looked like. I had assumed that "brookie" was a term for small trout the way "schoolie" referred to small striped bass. It took me by surprise to learn that these little trout (char actually, although I didn't know what that meant) were the only trout native to New England, and that the ancestors of the feisty rainbows and browns we caught in the Sugar had traveled to New Hampshire, like most of it's inhabitants, from other parts of the world.
Arriving at Sawyer brook for the first time, we pulled on our newish waders and rigged up our brand new 7.5 foot 3wt rods, which were so much lighter and more delicate than the rods we were used to. A few minutes of walking in muddy marsh grass led us to the brook itself, which had been dammed in two places by an enterprising family of beavers, who, later in the afternoon, came out and slapped the water with there broad tails, warning us away from their lodge.
The water was slow and torpid, and the mud concealed whatever swam deeper than a couple of inches below the surface. My friend at the fly shop in Boston, a New Hampshire native himself, had sold me a handful of small yellow, black and white streamers call "black ghosts" that he assured me had been catching brook trout for generations. I stripped my black ghost skeptically through the water, thinking all the while that I would probably be better off with an olive wooly bugger (which was the only fly I really trusted in the first year or two of fishing). Just as I was about to reel in to change the fly, a seemingly massive shape emerged from the muck to grab the fly and dive back into the protection of the dark water.
After a brief fight on the light tackle, I was surprised to find that the ferocious predator that had hit my fly as hard as any bass was only six inches long. But what a six inches. Compared to the green and white small mouth bass, and pale stocked rainbow trout I was used to, it was a riot of color. Dark sides doted with yellow, and red spots impossibly ringed with blue. Most striking were the bright red fins, with their distinctive black and white bars.
In the handful of years since I held this beautiful little fish in my hands, I have come to appreciate the unique beauty of a native trout in it's habitat. I don't think I am the first to note how native trout and other fish just seem to "fit" in their environment. At the time, I don't know if I understood this, I just knew that I was happier after catching this little trout than after catching any other, larger fish.
Driving by on the road, you wouldn't look twice at Sawyer Brook, but it was on it's muddy banks I caught my first native trout. It is only by chance that residential development in this part of the country is so thin, and that the large vacation community of Eastman hadn't expanded in a way that spoiled it as a habitat. Small rivers and creeks like Sawyer Brook need to be protected so that the generations that come after us can have moments like mine, where they are struck dumb by the beauty that occurs when natives swim in the same rivers they have inhabited for thousands of years.
--Posted by Eben