Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Introducing: Iso Hatch Exposures

No big, meaty blog post today, just a question and an announcement for my readers.

First the question:

About a year ago, I wrote the five part Erie steelhead guide that has become, easily, the most viewed, linked to, talked about, and shared pages that I've ever produced.  It's clear that this is something that people really enjoyed, whether you (the readers) were the novice steelheaders that the articles were aimed toward, experienced steelhead anglers that were nonetheless interested, or even folks with no interest or inclination to go steelhead fishing that simply wanted to see what it was all about.

This year, I got started in my steelhead season preparation a bit later, having a trip to upstate New York to prepare for (and go on, naturally) at the beginning of August.  From the day I got back, however, to the present, it's been Operation: Steelhead at my vise.

That said, I'd like to write another piece on some aspect of the Erie steelhead experience, and I'm hoping my readers will let me know what they want.

I've been leaning toward a multi-piece article focusing on the tying aspect of things, covering everything from hooks and materials to tutorials and applications for all of the popular steelhead flies, from eggs and nymphs to buggers, hairwings, and specialty flies such as modern spey and intruders.

If this is something that my readers would be interested in, the comments section is the place to let me know.  If you have a different idea, that's the place to sound off as well.

Second, the announcement:

Over the weekend, I took advantage of some free time to finally launch a second Blogger site, focusing on my photography.  Over the past two or three years, photography, for me, has grown from taking a few pictures a month with a ten year old basic Kodak digital, to a hobby that occupies nearly as much of my time and energies as my fly fishing and tying.  While you've seen a significant portion of that work here, there's plenty of other pictures that never make it to the blog, simply because there's no reason for these photos to show up in a blog about fly fishing and tying.  Additionally, I tend to feel bad, like I've somehow 'cheaped out' if I post pictures with little or no text.  This sometimes keeps me from posting when I otherwise might.

I wanted to share these photos and avoid that stigma by starting a dedicated photoblog where I could post photos of anything and everything, without much text at all to distract from the images.

This desire helped bring about my new photoblog, and although it's in its very early stages and still undergoing many tweaks and adjustments, I'm eager to share it with my readers here.

Please take a look at it and let me know what you think, as well as any suggestions either here OR there...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Good Day

I had a good day on the water.  Seems like the first in a long, long time.

Granted, I haven't been making it easy on myself, using most of my fishing time to scout streams that may or may not hold wild trout, and once I find them, finding access, parking, and a lack of "No Trespassing" signs.  It's a thankless endavour, but finding just one or two streams on your own in a season is extremely rewarding.  This year, so far, I've found one, which I wrote about in a previous entry, but since then, I've encountered nothing but dried up streambeds, slow streams of water over 3 feet of mud, frogwater that conatined nothing but 2" bluegill, sewage drainage, and my personal favorite, the cruel tease of a beautiful little mountain stream, chock full of crawfish and huge cased caddis...but for some reason...no fish.  No trout, no minnows, no nothing.  I suspect it's because the streambed occasionally gets extremely low mid-summer, but it's a horrible thing to do to a blue-liner.

Today, I took the dSLR out to photograph a very specific location, with the intent of fishing a well-known stream after I was done.  I got some good shots (not as many as I'd have liked, but the location was secured better than I was led to believe), then headed for the stream.

As I geared up, I grabbed my photo backpack, intending to log my fishing in photos.  Usually, I take my compact, but I figured since I have my SLR with me, why not bring it.  As I assembled my rod, I wondered if taking along my camera might be bad luck...a sort of arrogant confidence in my producing something worthy of a picture...

I always used to leave the camera in the car when visiting a place for the first time, considering that first trip to be just between me and the stream...and that photographing it was sort of like kissing and telling.  After that first trip, photograph whatever you like, but leave that first one just for your memory.

Obviously from the content here, I'd gotten over that superstition some time ago, but something in the back of my mind said to stick to my hunch, and leave it in the car.  As a typical superstitious angler, I put the camera backpack back in the trunk of my car, and even removed my waterproof compact from it's pocket in my fishing pack.

As I walked to the water, I briefly considered going back for it, but I never did.  Instead, I tied on a streamer and headed for a promising riffle.

Three casts into things, I landed a fat wild brown trout...about 14" long, on my 000wt.

Three casts after that, I landed a wild rainbow of similar proportions.

And this is why anglers remain a superstitious lot.

Over the remainder of the afternoon, I only took one more trout, another rainbow, but this one slightly larger and up top on a stimulator.  I missed two more in that manner, but it was my fault for allowing too much slack line.

Also, I got bombed.  No, for real.  I was fishing under a few trees and heard something crashing through the branches overhead. Moments later, just upstream there was a big splash in some shallow water.  After I calmed down, I walked out from under the trees and looked up.  High in the sky, a huge bald eagle soared overhead, circling.  A beautiful sight.  Putting two and two together, I walked back over to where the splash was and saw a big rainbow trout, very dead, with three big talon wounds in its side.

Well, dead was dead, I decided, and there was no point in the fish going to waste, so I picked it up and placed it on the shore out in the open, where (hopefully) the eagle would see it and come retrieve his dinner. If not, at least it would be accessible for a raccoon or some other animal, rather than rotting on the stream bottom.

All in all, it was a great trip.  No photos, though. The sights I saw today were just for me.

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