May 5, 2017

Late Night Construction Project

Journey On from Tight Loops on Vimeo.

I was still in a fog when I arrived to work this morning and watching "Journey On" while I took care of some medial tasks helped me break into my day. It inspires me to plan more trips exploring nature; summer is upon us and I an so amped to get outdoors!

I stayed up until close to 1:30 am last night constructing the frame for my raft. The design for this rig is inspired by Flycraft rafts; someday I hope to own the real thing. I started with a 9.5' raft I bought from Amazon and constructed the frame from 1" schedule 80 PVC conduit pipe & PVC fittings; the seats and rack are reinforced with metal tubing that fits snugly inside the 1" pipe. It can be broken down into 5 sections; seats (rowing & front), oar stands, front casting brace, and back rack/kid's seat). But I still need to complete a few more items--mainly paint the frame, thread the anchor system, and weave the seats & rack (out of 1" webbing)--but I plan to have this rig in the water by next week...
I have the hope (and plan) of floating a few of the larger--yet still very small--streams (and of coarse alpine lakes) in southern Utah; particularly a few private sections of river that to my understanding can still be accessed if floated from/to a public roadway...we'll see how that goes.

April 18, 2017

RR on Willow Creek- circa 2009

While looking over old posts on this blog (instead of working like I should be) I started looking back on my first blog "Pickle's Place" and really enjoyed reenacting this trip in my mind. It was a stressful time in life (one on many to come!) and was a great reprieve from working, going to school, and trying to fix a broken-down truck in my spare time...

Craig and I met at the Shell station and headed up the canyon. We've made this journey many times in the past three years and never once have we been disappointed. After a sour month of missed fishing opportunities, I was in dire need of respite. As we pulled up to the small, willow choked stream, we could see the flow had receded a substantial amount from just one month ago. It was second nature as we geared up and walked down to the first of many honey-holes. I tied on a Royle Wulff and immediately began catching fish.

After losing my fly to a small brown with a deep throat, I fumbled through a few patterns before I regained my momentum. I tied on a modified Boots Allen Emerger with a PT tail and body and the catch rate maintained from then on with about 90% Browns and 10% bows/cutbows.

Craig and I both had great success. I love catching fish on flies I tied and a rod that I assembled. Where these fish lack in size, they make up for in therapeutic value. With my batteries recharged, I'm ready for another week.

March 31, 2017

Boy's Trip March 2017: Camping, Fishing, & Hiking

I promised the boys a camping trip once I completed my Bachelor's in Nursing. It's been a long 18 months but I'm finally over that hurdle! My plan is to continue on to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner; but I'm looking forward to a summer without school to recharge my life. We had a haphazard plan to head due-south and end up camping somewhere near Lake Powell; I hoped to take the boys camping AND get some fishing in as a reward to myself. But I wasn't sure if we would actually make it to Lake Powell and even if we did Oakley (9 year old Golden Retriever) may keep us from fishing off the dock again.

So we stopped midway at one of our favorite camping/picnic sites and the boys swung on the tree swing while I flung some streamers in hopes of an eat. The water was perfect flow/clarity, I had some nice follows, and I connected on a scrappy brown.  
 I cast the fly across current, stripped twice, and let it soak. The brown slammed the streamer and the rest is history. I love the visual aspect of streamer fishing!

We hurried south after this intermission and ended up between Kanab and Lake Powell just as the sun was setting. Connor searched the area on Google-Earth and directed us to a great overlook and flat camping spot. The following morning we hiked down the hill from our camp and explored the wash, rocks, vegetation, and wildlife. We tried some prickly-pear innards and I ended up with prickly-lips (luckily the boys avoided this torture).

On the way home we witnessed a deer kamikaze into oncoming traffic. It was an unfortunate event for the deer and the girl driving her friend's parent's Mercedes-benz! Ouch! We stopped to help but I thought photo evidence would have been distasteful; in her defence, that phucking deer had a death wish...   

Bonus graduation trip...

I took off from work a little early this week and hit a local lake that just lost its ice. I spent more time driving then fishing but was rewarded with a nice chuncky Rainbow to knock the new off my graduation present to myself; a Loop Evotec X-grip 6 wt! The pictures are lacking but here's my best effort :)

March 17, 2017

Smallie from the OC

I took a much needed break last week to wet a line. The past month has been a grind trying to finish the last two class assignments before I am finally done with my degree. I frequented this lake last spring and found good success with a crawfish imitation. The pattern is quite simple to tie--a 90* hook with some rubber-legs out the back, a ball of dubbing, and a cut-out of a craw-body using material that came from an old microfiber couch--but it's a dead ringer in looks and action of the real thing. 
The water was a bit turbid with floating algae accumulating on the surface. I used an intermediate line and stripped my fly back in short jerks. Last year I fished from the dam, but that was before I read the sign prohibiting it. I now stand upon a step-stool; making waist deep water only come up to shin-level.
When I felt my fly stop, I anticipated a healthy, chunky rainbow on the end of my line; that's what I have always caught here. A few strong runs and some bull-dogging ensued until the fish finally gave it's first clear view. I at first thought I had caught a carp but was astonished to find a smallie that seemed to be trying it's best to impersonate a football. 

That was the only catching for the day, but I'd take this fish over multiple smaller ones. I'd never caught a smallie in this body of water but I was happy to make its acquaintance. 

March 2, 2017

Chocolate Candy Milkshakes and Cutts in the Crystal Clear

    The majority of my past weekends have been devoted to writing the last couple papers to finish school (for now). I decided to reward myself with an afternoon of fishing to revamp the sparkle in my soul. It's tough--with such little time--to know where to invest my hall pass this time of year. The past couple fishing trips had a sparse amount of actual catching involved in them. With the warmer weather last week I knew Candy Canyon would have open water and according to the flow charts, it appeared to be at a good flow. The only problem was that this stretch of the Sevier River adds an extra 30-45 min each way to my drive; but I decided to pull the trigger and left Cedar a little past noon.
   After downing a 44oz soda in the space of a half hour I had to take a pit stop in Beaver. When I returned to the van (that's right VAN, mini-van that is!) I found myself locked out with the keys uselessly lying on the floor inside. I thought I would be saving some money on gas and a few miles on the Jeep GC if I drove the van. But after spending $40 for the kid in the tire shop to pop the door open (in a matter of seconds) I was rethinking my decision.
   When I arrived at Candy Canyon, I was sad to see a rush of chocolate milk greeting me. I geared up and decided to try my best at the conditions dealt to me. After about 45 min I decided it wasn't worth my trouble and reassessed my plan. Snake Creek was nearby and I hadn't fished it for a number of years. The DWR recently restored it after ash from a fire washed through about 5 years ago and killed all the fish. I wasn't sure what to expect, but when I arrived I was happy to see its true namesake rang true as it was crystal clear and flowing at a perfect rate.
 I almost left the #3 Blue Halo at home but luckily threw it in last minute. I've never fished the section of stream I decided to try. In the past I always went to the same spot and usually did well. But I spotted this section en route and it was too tasty to pass up. Although the fish were small, they were plentiful and many of them ate on the surface. I got what I came for.

February 15, 2017

Montana Wild getting Wild 8hrs South of Montana

This video really gets me stoked to get out and wet a line! This water looks a lot like many of the streams I frequent; I'm going to for sure tie up some small yellow mouse patterns!
I'm hoping tI'm hoping to have my life back next month (i.e. finally finish my Bachelors in Nursing). And then I can plan a multitude o

I'm hoping to have my life back next month (i.e. finally finish my Bachelors in Nursing). And then I can plan a multitude of well-deserved and definitely justified camping/fishing/hiking trips...But maybe concentrate on my studies instead of roaming the fishernet for distractions.

Stripas On The Fly!

We "adopted" (i.e. started feeding) two stray kittens last summer. We finally got around to getting them fixed. The prices at local vets were outrageous so we were lucky enough get set up with Best Friend's outside of Kanab, UT and paid a fraction of the price! We stayed in Kanab Friday night and took the boys to Lake Powell while the cats had their procedure.
There's a fishing dock at Wahweap marina so we tried our luck at catching something. I went here years ago with Matt and Kyle after an excursion to the walk-in at Lee's Ferry. I was unsuccessful then to catch anything, but we saw a few very large carp (and a few even gave me a nice bump but came unbuttoned).
Today I saw a school of fish about 15 feet down and I watched as my small Clouser slowly sank towards the bottom. I gave the fly a few jigging twitches with the tip of my rod and watched as a fish slowly swam up and inhaled my offering. I was elated to find a striper--my first ever--on the end of my line! I handed the rod to Caleb (6 yrs old) and let him reel it in. Once the grip 'n grins were taken I let the fish go back in with the line still attached in hopes of rigging another rod and catching one of the other support-stripers that followed mine to the surface. Cooper (2 yrs old) insisted on holding the rod but within the first minute I knew the plan was futile if I wanted to keep my rod from being donated to the bottom of Lake Powell.
Katy took the youngest back to the car (he was a little too reckless to have on a boat dock any longer) and Connor (9 yrs old) took over the Clouser rod. I hurried to rig another but before I could even get the line thread through the guides Connor hooked another--and even larger--striper and was grinning from ear to ear as the rod bent nearly in half. We landed it but unfortunately the camera went back to the car with mom and baby boy. We tried to keep the fish encased in the net while Connor ran up to get the camera and mom, but it found it's way free before that could happen.
I've wanted to catch a striper--especially on the fly--for years. I grew up catching White Bass in Utah Lake and the Provo River in my youth and have always had a place in my heart for white/striped/wipers type bass. We never seemed to catch the initial momentum, but my boys--and I--can't wait to return and catch more stripers.

January 21, 2017

Katy's Writtings

Katy's Writings is a collection of links to articles my lovely, talented wife has had published by various companies. She shares her thoughts about parenting, depression, finding balance in life, and navigating this crazy time in our lives. Please feel free to share these writings with those you love. Thanks, Mike