February 27, 2015

Pez Stream On The Boulders

We took a trip with Bishop Jan to Pez Stream on the Boulders last fall. We borrowed a couple ATVs and set up camp a couple miles down the mountain from our fishing destination. The boys love camping, fishing, and anything "outdoors". It's exciting to share these experiences with the generation before and after me. 
I told Connor a few years ago that when he was a little older, I'd buy him a spinning rod to take fishing on the Boulders. I finally made good on my promise and ended up buying one for his little brother too. It seems the boys had just as much fun slinging bobbers across the grass in front of the tent as they did casting in the lake. 
The mountain was bursting with color which made the drive up to the lake that much more enjoyable; I love the Boulders in the fall. There were a couple water crossings along the way and the road was steep and rough. I thought about bringing my DRZ 400, but I don't think that would have been a good idea. 
We got to the lake a couple hours before dark and spent much of that time trying to maneuver over boulder fields as I dragged Caleb behind me. The first night was unproductive in catching and more of a recon trip. 
The next morning we were one of the first groups on the lake and set up near the dam where it was easy for the boys to walk to. There was  a pod of fish that hung out in the area most of the day, but due to high pressure and low skills on my part, we didn't touch many of them today. After a few fly changes, I was able to coax a couple to the net. This was the maiden voyage for my newly purchased Redington CT 9' 4wt. I really like this rod!

We spent most of the day at this spot; to Bishop Jan's chagrin. BJ isn't very dedicated to fishing and I'm sure he wanted to spend more time exploring the trails with the ATVs. But he was a good sport and didn't press much to move on to another activity. 
Bishop Jan found a pod of Brookies below the outlet of the lake. It was tight casting, but he and I were both able to connect to a few "chicken pharmed" Brookies. 
I seldom keep my catch but I enjoy eating an occasional fish flesh sacrament when camping. We had a nice Brookie and Tiger dinner that night. 
Bishop Jan is a big advocate of keeping any and every fish, yet he doesn't volunteer to clean them...
It was an incredible trip, but far too short. I hope to repeat this again this summer. 

February 13, 2015

Raspberries Growing Below Willows

Last August I got out for a solo day of wet wading the various creeks around Willow Creek. I seldom wet wade. I don't like the feeling of soggy feet ground up by sand and pebbles. But the day was just too nice to wear waders. I started low in the canyon and catching success increased the higher I fished up. After lunch I decided to venture into a deep canyon as storm clouds started rolling in. I didn't plan to go very far in as it was getting cold and I suspected my chicken legs would need the comfort of waders soon.
The water was quite skinny and the fish spooked easy. But that only made the reward that much sweeter when fishy lips met feathers. The pursuit of fish and subsequent adrenaline lulled my body into a dream state. Before I knew it, I was about a mile deeper into the crevasse. The thought of hiking out made me delay my retreat, so I just continued deeper in.

Willow Creek proper has a mix of Browns and Bows. But there are a few tucked away spots on this mountain that an occasional Cutt and Brookie can be found; today I landed all four.

~~~Just a week prior, I took the boys on an exploratory drive past the Brook Meadow. The road became very rough the further we drove. At the summit, along the edge of the cliff, wild raspberries littered the hillside. I grew up picking wild Huckleberries on Emily Mountain in eastern Oregon and I was excited to share the experience of picking wild berries with the boys. But unfortunately all the berries were dull green.~~~
As I tucked under some brush to avoid the rain, I noticed red against green and was happy to discover RIPE! wild raspberries. I picked a few and was taken back to my childhood when I would compete with my sister for the domestic raspberries in our back yard. I put my rod down, drank the last of my Gatorade, and began filling the empty container with raspberries. After that patch was picked clean, I took a step back and looked for my next fix. The steep hillside was littered with red polka dotted green clusters. The problem was I was in Teva sandals and the fresh rain only complicated matters. 
I spent the next couple hours filling up the rest of my container and hiked out of the canyon. I love how the world melts away when I'm fishing and much the same happens when berry picking. I packed the berries away in my cooler and fished a little more before heading home. As I drove down the canyon, I kept an eye out for more berry patches. I didn't find any, but I did find a cool looking barn...
I got home and shared my berry stash with the family. We put them in pancakes that night and made homemade ice cream the next night. I bought The Rocky Mountain Berry Book and began studying to find what else I could pick in my area. This was the start of a month-long obsession with wild edibles in Utah. I found raspberries, sour cherries, gooseberries, thimbleberries, Oregon grape, serviceberries, rose hips, and picked some apples after the first freeze. One of our favorite treats the past few months (now running scarcely low) has been RaspberryGooseberryStrawberry jam. I now know next August will be set aside for accumulating A LOT more berries!

February 6, 2015

Clint Creek Revisited

 Like heroin addicts, we've been fishing Clint Creek for last couple years chasing the high we felt the first year we added it to our list of "favorite waters". Two years ago, Clint Creek was just a diversion from having to step back into reality after a fishing trip on the Boulder Mountains. Now it's a common destination, close to home, that generally gives up at least ONE 16"+ Cutt each trip. The fish above came from a money hole that seldom disappoints. It's been fun watching this fish grow up the past few years, I just hope it's there next year waiting for another lip piercing.

One of my favorite days on this stream was a double date with Sam and our lovely brides. My mother-in-law was nice enough to provide free baby-sitting so we could pull this trip off. I was ecstatic to watch Katy stick big fish after big fish, even though sometimes it felt like the fish gave her more 2nd & 3rd chances to catch them than I've personally had.

Natalie caught the biggest rainbow I've seen from this stream on the same day. It was a good trip for the ladies of our party.

Last year it seemed every trip here, we were ran off the stream within an hour by lightening storms. We tried our best to push through the elements, but the weather would eventually drive us back home.