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First Post of 2013

posted by Admin on 7 January 2013
file under Travel | location Texas | comments (0)

road hard put up wetThe new year is here and I decided that I would try to be a little more active in postings. I started out thinking that the first post should be a plan for the year, but my plans aren't very mature. So I decided to review last year in the hopes that would shed some light on new goals and trips. Not much there in terms of help. Although I did learn that I drove 2,965 miles on fishing trips last year, possibly helping to explain the condition of the DeLorme Texas Atlas and Gazetteer shown here.

I bought the Atlas when I bought the Explorer, 164,000 miles ago. Fortunately the Explorer is in much better shape than the Atlas, probably because I've done some maintenance on the Explorer.

To increase postings I am also going to steal a page from MidCurrent, Moldy Chum, and others that aggregate content. If I see something of interest on the web I will post it. Let me know what you think.

Gazetteer = geographical index, according to my dictionary

Christmas Wish List Ideas

posted by Admin on 24 November 2012
file under Gear | location St Louis | comments (0)

lots of SageSt Louis happens to be the home of T Hargrove Fly Fishing located in an old house on Manchester Road. You know this is going to be an interesting place - perched on the bushes outside the front door are a 6 wt Sage One and a 5 wt Circa strung and ready to cast. Inside the small stove is stoked with a couple of guys perched nearby drinking coffee. The owner, Tom Hargrove, is discussing a client that just left by saying that the guy should be outfitted with a reversible button on his jacket, one side indicating that all is well and the other side stating that it is being worn by the evil twin of the guy on the other side. Sounds like a couple of folks that I work with.

After wandering around the store, talking with Tom, and then casting the Circa and the One, here's a good start for a small stream fly fisher's Christmas list:

Thanksgiving in St Louis

posted by Admin on 24 November 2012 2012
file under One of the three b's | location St Louis | comments (0)

Garrison's Fat Boy potThe weather in St Louis is a little too cold for fishing so we decided to tour a couple of breweries. A local magazine listed Civil Life Brewing Company in Tower Grove South. The attraction for me was a focus on English-style session beers. The day we visited British Bitter, British Best, British Mild, and ESB were all on offer along with Milk Stout, German Wheat, and a Kolsch. I was looking for something to compare with London Pride, a long term favorite, and I was not disappointed.

Garrison Brothers Distillery

posted by Admin on 10 November 2012 2012
file under Spirits | location Hye, Texas | comments (0)

Garrison's Fat Boy potA couple of years ago I had planned to visit the Garrison Brothers Distillery in Hye, Texas but there was a problem with the boiler (a small explosion) and they had suspended tours. Given the weather and my decision to leave the Llano early Saturday, I decided to stop in on the way back to Houston.

Garrison Brothers, one of the first and the oldest legal whiskey distillery in Texas, started operation in 2005 and produces bourbon. The name bourbon is reserved for spirits made in the US made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn. It must be aged in new oak barrels and should be bottled at 80 proof or more.

If you haven't driven the 2 miles south of 290 you should give it a try. Great tour and, if offered, I recommend the 2012 Fall release.

While on the tour I met two brothers out of Austin doing a Hill Country "3B's" tour - beer, bourbon, and barbecue. They had already done Independence Brewing and Franklin BBQ in Austin, followed by Blanco's Real Ale and Coopers in Llano. The brothers offered that the key to Franklin's is to hire someone through Craigs List to stand in line for you. After sampling Garrison's 2012 Fall release they were on their way to the Salt Lick in Driftwood.

I am going to poach this idea.

Fall trip to the Llano

posted by Admin on 10 November 2012
file under Fishing Trips | location Llano River, Mason and Llano Counties, Texas | comments (0)

I always try to get a fall fishing trip in to the Llano before the hunting season starts. I thought that the weather forecast was for a front to come through late Friday so I planned the trip to fish Thursday and Friday and would then see "what happens" on Saturday. Thursday was a beautiful day and the fishing was superb. Water at 36 cfs is low and the river seemed lower than when I had fished it in the past. The condition of the river was somehow not directly related to the flow. I thought the river was in great shape, clear, clean, healthy, with lots of weed bed and grasses. The banks and any midstream dry spots were well covered in vegetation. The fishing was interesting in that the fish were in familiar places but also in some new locations that gave them the required elements. I finished the day around 5.30 pm taking out at the Liefeste Camp. I knew the weather was changing earlier than my plan called for based on the gusty north winds that started as I loaded up the kayak.

Llano bassThe front came through early on Thursday evening so Friday was going to be a challenge. Air temps in the low 50s and water near 60. I chose to fish a stretch of river without a yak - didn't want to be sitting in that cold water. The change in temperature didn't seem to bother the fish, they were taking a popper as aggressively as Thursday. The big difference was that I got cold by about noon wet wading because of the North wind. I decided to go up to and fish upstream of the 87 bridge on the north channel of the river as I felt it would be sheltered from the wind. Dragged myself back to camp at about 5.30 after having a great time sight casting to decent size bass in the upper parts of that north channel.

Saturday was in the 40s so I fished for a couple of hours. The fish weren't shy. Couple of exceptional takes where the bass v-waked 10 to 15 feet to take a popper. I had planned to go home Saturday to help Janice with a market setup on Sunday so I left around 10.30 for an unhurried drive home.

Devils River Trip Summary

posted by Admin on 10 November 2012
file under Fishing Trips | location Devils River, Val Verde County, Texas | comments (0)

Summary for a three day Devils River trip: Night One Campsite

  • 29.09 miles total
  • 7.6 mph maximum
  • 1.6 mph average
  • 17 hours 38 minutes moving
  • 8 hours 5 minutes stopped
  • high of 83F, low of 55F, wind at 10 mph with gusts to 23mph
  • lots of fish
  • our gear stayed dry
  • bailed out the canoe a bunch
  • dumped Herve out of the canoe only once
  • 860 miles round trip from Houston
  • no BBQ in Sonora

Devils River trip day three

posted by Admin on 10 November 2012
file under Fishing Trips | location Devils River, Val Verde County, Texas | comments (0)

Went spent the second night at a great spot in the DRSNA after covering about eight miles during the day. High and dry, even found a few chairs to use. The plan for our last day is to get to the take-out point by 4.00 pm. This makes the days trip about 11 miles which is more than we have covered before, the need to portage Dolan Falls, and we have planned a shorter day.

Night One CampsiteSo our plan is to take turns paddling or fishing. You fish until you catch a fish and then switch. We have some great fishing during the day even though it is mostly overcast with, at times, a light drizzle.

The best opportunity for me was sight casting to a bass that was busting bait on the edge of the river. Lots of good fishing above and below Dolan Falls.

Although we had good luck through most of the rapids in that we took on water but didn't dump the canoe, we come close to meeting our match at Three Tier Rapids. Because of the water level, running most of the rapids required us to line the canoe through or we simply let the river push the canoe down the rapid bouncing off rocks all the way. Three Tier is a different story. We make the first two tiers, stopping at both to bail the canoe, but on the last one we picked up pretty good speed, came around a corner, ran the bow up on a sizable rock, and pitched Herve out like he was shot out of an ejector seat.

Catching fish cut into our progress, so to meet our 4.00 pm take-out time we spent the last two hours paddling without wetting a line. We made it at 4.06 and (you already know what's coming) "I'm just the driver" was waiting for us with a cooler of Walmart's finest cheap beer.

Devils River trip continues

posted by Admin on 10 November 2012
file under Fishing Trips | location Devils River, Val Verde County, Texas | comments (0)

A Devils River fishing trip should really be considered a paddling trip with a little fishing thrown in. Thirty miles in three days, low flows, dragging the canoe through the shallow water and some rapids, countless opportunities to take the wrong path through some of the cane islands, and a brisk headwind contribute to a lot of paddling. Day two started slow and we were on the water by 9.00 in the morning after breaking down camp. One note for our next trip - get rid of the Big Agnes Air Core sleeping pads. I bought them because they pack down much smaller than the Thermarest that we normally use and they would fit into the dry bags no problem. Space is important on a canoe trip. Big problem was that any time you turned or moved while sleeping the Big Agnes pad moving against the plastic tent bottom made a racket. Enough of a racket to compete with Herve.

Night One CampsiteThe river changed complexion completely on day two. Back to the gin clear water that I was familiar with from three prior trips. The change in water clarity led to a big increase in fish caught with both of us getting into smallmouth and largemouth bass. The smallmouth left fell for a Miss Prissy that I had managed to scrounge up from one of my fly boxes. Don't know why Accardo went out of business.

Gin clear water means you can see the fish come up from a ledge to take the fly. It also means that you have to be careful when you are wading as it is difficult to judge the depth of the water where your next step is to land. After a couple of near disasters you learn to keep your weight on the stationary foot until your moving foot has found solid purchase.

"Don't become someone else's problem!"

posted by Admin on 10 November 2012
file under Fishing Trips | location Devils River, Val Verde County, Texas | comments (0)

"Don't become someone else's problem!" That is how the Texas Parks and Wildlife website introduces the reader to an article on preparing for a trip on the Devils River. Here are a few more of their observations:

  • A trip on the Devils River is suitable only for experienced paddlers who are prepared to spend at least three days on the river.
  • Beginning and intermediate paddlers are encouraged to try one of the other 38 Texas Paddling Trails, which offer easier-to-navigate adventures on Texas waterways.
  • Do not attempt to paddle the Devils River if you are not at least an intermediate-level, experienced paddler in good physical condition, are well prepared, and fully understand the following river challenges, hazards, and river-use etiquette.
  • Strong headwinds are extremely common and can be challenging even to the fit and experienced paddler.
  • The Devils River can flash-flood from rains that fall from over 50 miles away or on tributaries.
  • Cell phones don't work in most of the Devils River corridor. For safety, carry satellite communications.
  • Bring a bail bucket and sponge as you will get a lot of water in your craft (we made one from a plastic drink container and used it a lot).

All I can say is that all of the admonitions are correct. Now for some general background on the river and the region.

Night One CampsiteRising in northwest Sutton County, the Devils River is a remote, natural, scenic white water river that is recommended only for experienced paddlers who are properly equipped for wilderness paddling. It flows about 100 miles in a generally southerly direction through Sutton and Val Verde Counties to the confluence of the Rio Grande near Del Rio. Above Baker's Crossing the river is extremely seasonal, and actually flows underground for several miles, making trips on the upper section difficult at best to impossible at worst. All property adjacent to the river is privately owned, so stay in the river channel and do not trespass on private land. On this river it is highly recommended that you obtain permission before taking out or camping on private land.

Devils RIverThe Devil's River is one of the most beautiful, unspoiled rivers in Texas. It is spring fed and flows over solid limestone, so flows and depth increase as it moves downstream. Water quality is among the very best in the State of Texas. It truly is an oasis in the desert. The river offers a good mix of slow, deep pools separated by brief rapids. The rapids generally range from Class I to II, but several larger rapids could be Class III in high water. Dolan Falls, about 16.4 miles below Baker's Crossing, is a solid class IV waterfall drop of at least ten feet with Class V consequences due to the remote nature of the river and the strong hydraulic currents below the drop. Under normal conditions the rapids are shallow with large boulders as obstacles. The rapids require technical maneuvering to avoid rocks. Low flow on the river is quoted as anything below 250 cfs with optimum flow between 400 and 900 cfs according to Southwest Paddler. Except during flooding, you won't see any significant hydraulic currents, whirlpools or standing waves. But, beware the Devils River in flood stage - it can be a killer! The river can flash flood quickly from rains that fall 50 to 100 miles away.

Night One Campsite The Devils River Basin drains parts of Crockett, Sutton, Schleicher, and Val Verde Counties in Texas. The 4,000 square mile Devils River basin ranges in elevation from 1100ft to more than 2700ft. The basin, in the Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion, is an arid upland of rough and broken limestone topography cut by narrow, steep-walled canyons. The Devils River is a south-flowing tributary of the Rio Grande and discharges into the Amistad Reservoir. Perennial stream flow occurs in the main channel of the Devils River south of Juno because of ground-water discharge from several springs in the lower part of the basin. Major floods occur periodically that transport enormous quantities of gravel and rock in the channel and strip most vegetation from the banks. The climate is classified as semiarid, continental with dry winters and hot summers. Average daily air temperatures range from 50F in January to 87F in July. The average annual rainfall is 21in, and May and September generally are the months of greatest precipitation. The average ranch size along the river is about 7,000 acres, and most of the income is generated from sheep, Angora goats, and cattle.

>The basin is underlain by marine sedimentary rocks of Cretaceous age, including the Segovia Member of the Edwards Limestone, the Devils River Limestone, and the Buda Limestone. The aerially most extensive unit is the Segovia Member, consisting of beds of cherty limestone, dolomite, and marl. The Buda Limestone is primarily mapped in the northern part of the basin and forms a resistant cap over much of the plateau surface. The Devils River Limestone crops out south of Dolan Springs and includes limestone and dolomite units. The Devils River Formation is very permeable and porous and probably is an important source of water to springs recharging the Devils River.

>More on the Devils River trip to come ........

Devils River trip continued

posted by Admin on 10 November 2012
file under Fishing Trips | location Devils River, Val Verde County, Texas | comments (0)

We completed the first day covering about eight river miles. There had been some rain in the area earlier in the week and the normally "crystal clear" river was off color. Fishing was slow the first day. We set up camp on an island in the middle of the river using GPS coordinates that I had gotten from Gerald Bailey. Local land owners are notoriously aggressive relative to their private property (Can't fault the landowners; they value their privacy and their land) so camping locations are limited. If you miss the river-mile seven spot you have to try to make do with some large rocks in the river near mile nine or paddle another eight to nine miles to reach the State Natural Area.

Night One CampsiteNot paying attention to the details of the coordinates we first set up camp on the edge of the island, really a bar of gravel and rocks in the river. That spot was damp, muddy, and not very hospitable. A little scratching around and we found the real site thirty yards from the water. Four to five feet above the current river level, dry, leveled off by previous users, fire ring, and a bit of wood to get a fire started. Set up camp, warmed up and enjoyed one of Janice's prepared meals, and watched the fire and the stars for some time.

"I'm just the driver."

posted by Admin on 10 November 2012
file under Fishing Trips | location Devils River, Val Verde County, Texas | comments (0)

Herve and I had discussed a Devils River fishing trip for some time and had finally put it in place. Arrangements complete, we left Houston on a Monday evening for the drive out to Val Verde County. We arrived at Marlene Walker's Who Cares B&B, located at the head of the Blue Sage Subdivision at about 9.30 that night. The B&B is about 70 miles South of Sonora and 50 miles north of Del Rio; the definition of remote. The plan was to be up at six, breakfast, load up the truck, depart around seven, and be driven 75 miles up to Bakers Crossing, an intersection of the Devils and Highway 163 for the start of a three day trip. Herve and I had the gear ready so after breakfast we met our driver Travis Walker and loaded our gear into the truck.

Travis had the canoe on the rack and we were off. South to Del Rio, west past Amistad, then north on 163 to the put-in-point. An hour and forty-five minutes and we learned quite a bit about Travis. Runs trail rides for an aunt in Big Bend during the spring and when it gets too hot moves with the horses to work the trails out of Taos. They in the fall back to Texas to help out at the B&B. Independent type with a set of goals that leave little chance for disappointment.

Confuluence Red and Rio Grande RiversWe arrived at Bakers Crossing at about 9.00, unloaded our gear, and took the canoe off the trailer. Surprised by the condition of the canoe - broken gunnel, back seat detached, front seat loose - we levelled a few choice words at our new friend Travis when he responded, both hands up palms toward us, with "I'm just the driver".

The alternatives were to send Travis back to see if there was another canoe in the stable that was in better shape. A four hour round trip that didn't guarantee better gear but certainly guaranteed a problem reaching the first night's camping site or to work with what we had. Duct tape, a couple of straps from the canoe trailer, a cinder block and some scrap wood that were lying around, about half an hour, and we had something serviceable. A few more choice words about our outfitter and Travis reiterated "I'm just the driver". On that note we started our 30 mile trip at about 9.30. More later.....

The Trout Also Rises

posted by Admin on 12 September 2012
file under Begging and Pleading Line | location Houston, Texas | comments (0)

The Trout Also Rises - IndieGoGo from Kokkaffe Media on Vimeo.

I saw this on MidCurrent and thought you would be interested.

"But most of all though, I long for peppery spotted brown trout at the end of my fly line." Those words start an international journey to find the author of a found fishing journal. But before we can watch the rest of the adventure, Rolf Nylinder and Peter Christensen, the "champion day-dreamers" of Kokkaffe Media, are asking for your help.

New Mexico Trip Post Ten - Entomology

posted by Admin on 3 September 2012
file under Beer | location New Mexico | comments (0)

golden stonefly

Match the hatch. So you turn over a few rocks in the stream, get out the net and check out what's drifting in the stream. Then you make a good guess at what dry the fish will react to. The golden stonefly at the left was one of a few that were hanging onto the rocks but they weren't hatching. There were more than a few cased caddis around and a few mayflies. Since this is late summer and there are plenty of terrestrials around I tied on a small foam beetle imitation. The browns agreed with the choice.

New Mexico Trip Post Nine - Embudo and beer

posted by Admin on 3 September 2012
file under Beer | location New Mexico | comments (0)

Blue Heron Brewery

On the drive up to the Red River David mentioned that he had wanted to stop in at the Blue Heron Brewery on Highway 68 outside of Embudo on previous trips, but never did for various reasons. We tried to stop but they didn't open until noon on Tuesdays. So on the way back to Pecos it was natural to check it out.

Wednesday night is open mike night at the brewery, the patio was open, the beer looked good so we decided to try the Embudo Golden Ale. I think that the patio, which seats about a dozen, is larger than the business part of the brewery. The brewery has no distribution outside of growlers and a couple of the offerings available in 22 oz bottles. Size apparently doesn't matter when it comes to beer as the Golden Ale was better than passable. Can't say the same about the music that night.

A cd on sale in the shop piqued my interest so if you like bluegrass check out Three String Bale on myspace.

New Mexico Trip Post Eight - Red River near Questas and Embudo

posted by Admin on 3 September 2012
file under Rivers | location New Mexico | comments (0)

Red River brown trout

The day was starting to heat up and the prospect of climbing out of the canyon in mid afternoon was less than appealing so we climbed out around lunchtime. After lunch we drove upstream, up out of the canyon, where the character of river the changes completely. The plunge pools are gone. We were back into a small, clear stream with riffles and runs. There were some big fish (evidenced by what others caught) but the elk hair caddis and foam beetles were bringing up small browns. Seems like a bit of a trend. The one in the photo above came out of clear riffle along the bubble line. Two or three other fish came up and refused the offering before this one decided to take the beetle.

New Mexico Trip Post Seven - Red River

posted by Admin on 3 September 2012
file under Rivers | location New Mexico | comments (0)

Red River cutbow

This was David's best fish of the trip, a beautiful cutbow. There were a few blue wing olives coming off the water so David set up with a dry dropper. The fish fell to a size 24 nymph. It was towards the end of the day and we had discussed keeping a fish for dinner but this one went back to the Red.

New Mexico Trip Post Six - "It doesn't take long"

posted by Admin on 6 September 2012
file under Varmints | location New Mexico | comments (0)

varmint trashed backpack

It doesn't take long. After hiking in and fishing all afternoon we returned to the camp site, where we had left our packs earlier in the day, to set up the tent and eat. First chore was to go get some water which required digging the filtration pump out of the pack, walking down to the river, and pumping away. Probably a one man chore, but we were both thirsty.

It took all of about ten minutes.

In that period something decided that it wanted the food in the pack that I carried down into the camp. Little varmints tore into the pack in about four places. Their take: one granola bar, one small bag of carrots, one bag of sesame sticks, and two bites from an apple. They passed on the spicy nuts and our return must have disrupted them as they didn't have time to get to our main meal for the evening: turkey and swiss on rye.

New Mexico Trip Post Five - Red River Near Questas

posted by Admin on 6 September 2012
file under Rivers | location New Mexico | comments (0)

Confuluence Red and Rio Grande Rivers

Tuesday morning we were up early for the drive up through Taos to the BLM's Wild River Management Area near Questas. The Junta Trail leads from the top of the gorge down to the confluence of the Red River and the Rio Grande. The trail drops 800 feet to the campground and the river is another 60 feet down from the campsite. The walk down wasn't too bad although I did start to wonder about the trip back up and out of the canyon with the pack.

This is a plunge pool setup with lots of boulder hopping and scrambling on the sides of the canyon. The fishing was completely different from the Pecos and San Antonio River dry fly, small stream adventures from earlier in the week. Weighted nymphs to get down quickly was the order of the day. I caught a few browns and David coaxed a decent cutbow out from one of the pools.

The center of the photo to the left is the confluence of the rivers viewed from the top of the trail.

New Mexico Trip Post Five - Pecos Upstream of Terrero

posted by Admin on 6 September 2012
file under Rivers | location New Mexico | comments (0)

the drift

Monday morning, last day of the Labor Day Weekend, and the hordes are starting to flow out of the Pecos canyon. We stuck close to Pecos after yesterday's drive up to the Valles Calderas and drove upstream to fish the Terrero Box section of the river. Pretty, small stream with good dry fly fishing opportunities.

The fishing was slow as there had been a lot of pressure from the long holiday weekend but managed to catch a few small brownies.

Up near the top end of the box we walked through an area that was once a working mine camp with over 3,000 people. Although discovered in the 1880's the Terrero Mine's most productive period was the 20's and 30's producing zinc, lead, copper, silver, and gold. All that's visible today is the remnants of the dump and apparently a reasonable concern about elevated selenium and lead levels in the Salmo trutta downstream of the site. Another viable reason for catch and release.

New Mexico Trip Post Four - More on Valles Caldera

posted by Admin on 12 September 2012
file under Rivers and Streams | location New Mexico | comments (0)

Valles Caldera

I thought a little more background on the Valles Caldera mentioned in yesterday's blog would be appropriate, both geological and historical.

The Valles Caldera is one of three active calderas in the United States. It encircles a field of volcanoes whose resurgent domes partition the 22-kilometer-wide caldera into five sections, or valles. The largest of these, Valle Grande, is almost 10 kilometers long and six kilometers wide. A magma chamber seethes five kilometers below the idyllic grasslands that shroud the surface of the Valle Grande. The eruptions formed the caldera roughly 1.2 million years ago, when the volcanic field expelled more than 750 cubic kilometers of ash and lava. Ash deposits contributed tuft to the surrounding Jemez Mountains, and the landscape sank back in on itself to form the vast bowl of the Valles Caldera.

The Valles Caldera Trust was created by the Valles Caldera Preservation Act of 2000 to preserve and protect the historic Baca Ranch of New Mexico's Jemez Mountains. The Baca Ranch was a legacy of the Spanish policy of issuing land grants to encourage settlement in the remote zones of the Spanish empire in the New World. Mexico gained independence in 1821, and continued the process. In 1823, the Mexican government granted to Luis Maria Baca a huge parcel of land near Las Vegas, N.M. The United States acquired the territory with the Mexican War of 1846. In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which settled the Mexican War in 1848, the United States promised to honor all Mexican land grants. But before the surveyors could set the Baca grant's formal boundaries, squatters and homesteaders had sprouted. Rather than go through the hassle of evicting them in 1860, Congress offered Baca's heirs a deal — they could select five 100,000-acre grants elsewhere in the public domain. The land moved through various owners from the sale to Gipin in 1862 at 30¢ per acre. In 1962 the land was acquired by Dunigan who's heirs negotiated to preserve the land for public use through the sale to the US Government for $105million i n 2000.

From a fishing perspective Valles Calderas provides access to three fishing streams: the Rio San Antonio, the East Fork of the Jemez River, and Jaramillo Creek. New for the 2009 season, trout fishing on the Rio San Antonio is by reservation and the river has been divided into four "reaches" that are about 2 miles long. Yesterday's post gave some feedback on the fishing.

New Mexico Trip Post Three- Valles Caldera

posted by Admin on 3 September 2012
file under Rivers | location New Mexico | comments (0)

Valles Calderas brown trout

Arrived in New Mexico with David on Saturday and we drove up to Valles Calderas to fish San Antonio creek on Sunday. We had Reach 2, a 5.1 mile section of the meadow stream, to ourselves most of the day but chose to fish the upstream sections. The stream at its narrowest is one foot across and the "wide" sections were about three to four feet.

This was meadow stream fishing at its best. Little wind. No one else around. Lots of hoppers moving in the grass and the fish were rising all morning. Light weight gear, light leaders, dry flies, a little stealth, and short accurate casts produced consistently. Tons of local browns like the one pictured.

New Mexico Trip Post Two - Pecos

posted by Admin on 1 September 2012
file under Rivers | location New Mexico | comments (0)

pecos brown and elk hair caddis

Arrived Albuquerque Saturday morning, stopped for provisions in Sante Fe including some flies at High Desert Angler, lunch including rhubarb pie on the way, and made it to Pecos by early afternoon.

On the Pecos by three in the afternoon for some dry fly fishing. This is a small spring fed stream running low at the end of the summer. The river is flowing at about 25 cfs, well below the mean of about 70 cfs. The water is crystal clear and you can see the small browns dart out for the size 16 elk hair caddis or the foam beetle. I have more than a few refusals as I tune up the drift and seek out the most productive parts of the stream.

New Mexico Trip - Post One

posted by Admin on 30 August 2012
file under Fishing Trips | location New Mexico | comments (0)

TP&WD

I have had a number of interesting offers from friends related to fishing: landowners granting access to the Llano through their property, invitation to fish for browns in Iceland that included lodging in various guises, a trip to a Belizean's fishing camp on Turneffe, and now a "can't refuse" offer to fish northeastern New Mexico working from a base at David's house on the Pecos River in Pecos.

The plan includes San Antonio Creek at Valles Calderas, the Terrero Box just downstream of Cowles, the Red River at the confluence of the Rio Grande in the BLM's Wild River Management Area near Questas, and some backyard fishing in Pecos. Will keep you posted.

TP&WD Hill Country Fishing Survey

posted by Admin on 24 August 2012
file under Rivers | location Houston, Texas | comments (0)

TP&WD

If you have read this blog in the past you will know that I am particularly fond of the Texas Hill Country and the warm water streams, especially the Llano River. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Inland Fisheries Division is partnering with Texas Tech University's Department of Biological Sciences and the TTU Llano River Field Station to conduct a four-month survey of anglers who fish Texas Hill Country rivers and streams. The survey will determine recreational angling effort (time spent fishing), gather information on angler attitudes and opinions, and evaluate the economic impact of angling in the region's rivers and streams.

Anglers can participate in the survey directly at Hill Country Fishing Survey.

GoPro Hero2

posted by Admin on 20 August 2012
file under Gear | location Houston, Texas | comments (0)

GoPro is on

Just acquired a new GoPro Hero2 and have started to learn how to use it in preparation for an upcoming trip to New Mexico. As you can tell from the photo at the left I need to spend a little more time with the manual. First, I thought I was in movie mode when in fact the camera was set up for time-lapse-photo-mode. Then when I had finished fishing, thought that I had turned the unit off, and was just breaking down the gear, the GoPro, still in time-lapse-photo-mode, snapped the great shot of yours truly and his truck.

Customer Comment

posted by Admin on 18 August 2012
file under Casting | location Houston, Texas | comments (0)

Alaskan salmon

Just received the following comments in an e-mail from a client that wanted to prepare for a fly fishing trip to Alaska:

"Harry,

Just wanted to give you proof that your fly fishing instructions paid off. The three hours I spent with you were well worth the time and effort to insure that I knew what I was doing when I went to Alaska. Thanks again for all your help.

Thanks, JGS"

Beginner's Tips

posted by Admin on 14 August 2012
file under Casting | location Houston, Texas | comments (0)

I contend that it is better to develop an accurate, well executed short cast than a sloppy, long cast that doesn't turn over the leader. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Think of your back cast as an "up and out cast". To achieve that "up and out cast" stop the rod abruptly either vertically or a fraction behind vertical.
  • After you make that crisp back cast stop, pause long enough for the length of line you are casting to straighten out completely behind you. Keep the rod still during the pause, don't start the forward cast until the line has straightened!
  • Smoothly accelerate the forward cast then stop your rod abruptly nice and high. This will form a tight loop of line and assist in turnover of the leader.
  • Don't try to cast too far as overpowering the rod will introduce a number of problems.
  • Think about casting with your forearm and not the wrist. As a beginner fix the wrist (we will introduce the use of the wrist in casting later). Many casting problems can be attributed to the wrist being used to move the rod.
  • Lastly, as you start to increase the length of line cast, make small changes. Add only a foot or two to your cast and then practice until your timing, casting stroke, and power application muscle memory are developed before adding another foot or two.

Dan's First Texas Bass

posted by Admin on 2 August 2012
file under Fishing Reports | location Houston, Texas |comments (0)

Dan's first bass

A colleague and keen sportsman was in town from Romania by way of Nigeria. Having never fished in the US I took him for an urban fishing expedition to a retention pond within the Beltway. The photo at left is Dan's first bass. He went on to catch more than a few bass and possibly had his first exposure to chiggers. When Dan saw the difference in hookups between his ultralight with a Mepps and a fly rod connected to a Miss Prissy, he wanted to know if I could provide a list of gear that he needs to get started fly fishing. A list of gear yes, a couple of my stashed Miss Prissys no way. Maybe another convert.

Shucks

posted by Admin on 30 June 2012
file under Fishing | location Texas |comments (0)

dragonfly before

The dragonflies are thick and the fish are looking up so a popper is working wonders on a local pond. Warmouth and largemouth are really hungry in this little pond. Most of the bass are in the eight to ten inch range and there are lots of them. I fished with a good friend Ingar many years ago who would call them the "tusenvis av brødre" - "thousands of brothers" (The small streams in the Telemark region of Norway are the home of tons of small trout - stunted by their density, sparse food, the weather, and lack of predation). With more than a few caught I have been changing the tippet on a regular basis . Although I had the pond to myself last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday it was crowded last night with two other spin fisherman.

Time to Go

posted by Admin on 6 July 2012
file under Fishing Reports | location Houston, Texas |comments (0)

Bois Brule River

Chris called Friday night to say that the trip offshore for snapper on Saturday was off. Weather forecast was for strong storms. So I decided to fish a local retention pond on Saturday instead. Heard the thunder and decided that I better check out what was going on behind me, moving in from the South. Time to go.

Damsel Nymphs

posted by Admin on 30 June 2012
file under Fishing | location Texas |comments (0)

dragonfly before

Sixteen miles from the house and inside the beltway. Mike called to let me know that Saturday he would be fishing a new retention pond that he found recently (stumbled upon is probably a better phrase) so I joined him. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that we caught more than fifty fish. Most in the eight to twelve inch range with a couple of smaller ones thrown in. A topwater was the way to go with the Little Fatty from Pultz Poppers replacing the no-longer-available Miss Prissy. There were tons of dragonflies in the air and shucks on the reeds. The shuck pictured was one and one-half inches long.

Purple Martins

posted by Admin on 30 June 2012
file under Birds | location Texas |comments (0)

One martin

A bit of a departure from the regular fishing stuff. The Purple Martin scouts were early this year arriving at the beginning of March. Here's a shot of one at the end of June just before they left. Although we only had four pair, they go through the same massing ritual every year just before they leave. This year we had thirty-eight sitting on the power lines and swarming the air in the back yard for about three days. Where the rest of them come from I don't know. It's an aerial circus with the attendant song for three days and then .. poof they are all gone.

Mark's new Ro

posted by Admin on 8 June 2012
file under Gear | location Texas |comments (0)

Mark's Ro

Part-time fishing partner, part-time minister Mark is in possession of a Ro drift boat. We took it for a spin at Damon's Seven Lakes. A Montana built river drift boat on a Texas bass lake? Maybe it is an odd combination. Got us around and we caught some fish but too much work with the trailer and locks and covers and .... Even though it has room for three with stuff and coolers, I think I'll stick to a canoe with the c-tug.

Bois Brule River

posted by Admin on 7 June 2012
file under Fishing Reports | location Wisconsin |comments (0)

Bois Brule River

Realized that my posting from yesterday didn't say much about the quality of the Bois Brule. Shown here is a picture of the bank side and a short run that gave up two small brookies to that same Elk Hair Caddis. This spot is just down the hill from the DNR offices. Not much in Texas that compares. The river is called Wiisaakode-ziibi ("A river through a half-burnt woods") in the Anishinaabe language, which was translated into the French Bois Brűlé, and incorporated into English.

Winneboujou Club

posted by Admin on 7 June 2012
file under Fishing Reports | location Wisconsin |comments (0)

Winneboujou Club

Wanted to fish the River of Presidents last year but thought it too far - this from a guy who drives five hours on a regular basis to fish for bass and pan fish. It's only an hour from Bayfield so I drove over on Thursday with the intention of stopping at a local fly shop in Brule for advice on access. The fly shop was closed although you wouldn't know that from their website. So I ended up at the local DNR for a map and advice. They suggested the Winneboujou Club. This is a group of landowners on the Bois Brule River that have banded together to manage the land that their great grandfathers acquired in the late 1800's. As stewards of the land they provide access to the river at a specific put in point on Long Lake at no cost. Wade fished the lake and a downstream run. The brookies were eager and willing to show themselves.

lat=46.70739 lon=-90.93490

posted by Admin on 4 June 2012
file under Fishing Reports | location Wisconsin |comments (0)

They are hungry

Moved over to the Sioux River near Washburn and fished upstream from Flat Rock. Upstream of Flat Rock the stream has a number of short riffles followed by long languid runs or pools. I leapfrogged the pools to concentrate on the riffles, heads, and tails. The Elk hair Caddis was working and in some of the deeper (three to four feet) pools I used a bead head nymph with success.

Brookies on Pikes Creek

posted by Admin on 4 June 2012
file under Fishing Reports | location Wisconsin, Pikes Creek |comments (0)

Brook Trout

Ok. I read a few of the Dave Hughes books with a focus on dry fly fishing in preparation for my trip to Wisconsin this year. And I stopped in at T Hargrove's in St. Louis for some additional advice. Rolled all that knowledge together, surveyed the stream for the best location given the target, tied on an elk hair caddis, set up the right drift, and pow. I would like to credit the developed skill sets from all that reading and coaching but am reminded that small stream brookies are hungry, very hungry.

Big Bay Lagoon

posted by Admin on 4 June 2012
file under Fishing Reports | location Wisconsin |comments (0)

Big bay Lagoon

Big Bay Lagoon gave up a few pan fish but no pike on this trip. The lagoon on Madeline Island is a tidal and directly connected to Superior. The best part is that one of the outfitters in the area has an honor system rental set up for canoes. Grab a canoe, paddle, and life jacket and head out. Return it to the rack at the end of use and stuff the appropriate amount in the lock box. How great is that. To balance out the universe we arrived just in time for the local tick season. The season, apparently, is short but they were everywhere including all over me.

Wisconsin

posted by Admin on 3 June 2012
file under Fishing Reports | location Wisconsin |comments (0)

Local Fee

Janice is off to Madeline Island for another quilting class with Sue Spargo at Madeline Island School of Arts. I choose to be the driver, escape the heat in Texas, and, as you can guess from the license pictured, do some fishing. Stopped in Anglers All in Ashland to get some local pointers and pick up a few flies for the small streams near Bayfield.

Rocks

posted by Admin on 26 May 2012
file under Fishing Reports | location Texas |comments (0)

Rock on the Llano

Fishing on the Llano has expanded my reading. The Roadside Geology of Texas by Darwin Spearing and the Longman Illustrated Dictionary of Geology by Alec Watt join me for the drive to Castell. The Llano cuts through the Lower Cretaceous over near Junction and pre Cambrian gneiss and granite to the East of Mason. 100 million year old rock to 1500 million year old rock. Get off the river and drive North out of Llano about 10 miles towards San Saba to see some Llanite; a striking granite which contains red-pink feldspar crystals and blue quartz grains in a fine-grained almost black background.

Where are all the Rio Grande perch?

posted by Admin on 26 May 2012
file under Fishing Reports | location Texas |comments (0)

Waterfall on the Llano

The last few trips to the Llano, under the diminished water flows, turned up few if any Rio Grandes. On the South Llano near Junction that wasn't a problem. The one pictured with a Miss Prissy hanging out of its mouth was one of more than a dozen caught on the river above the waterfalls. The paddle upstream is worth on a number of fronts.

Worth the Paddle

posted by Admin on 25 May 2012
file under Fishing Reports | location Texas |comments (0)

Waterfall on the Llano

Herve is back in the States so it must be time to fish the Llano. The river near Castell was up and unclear because of some rain so we decided to check out the Junction area. Put in near the second crossing from town and paddled upstream for while to get to the pictured waterfall. The water was clear and the fishing better than good. I saw a thread on another blog that the waterfall here was used on the old Pearl beer can.

What a Day

posted by Admin on 7 May 2012
file under Fishing Reports | location Texas |comments (0)

Too many bass

Bass acting like redfish? I was fishing on Saturday and the bass were out in the middle of Duck, the biggest lake at Damons Seven Lakes. They were in groups of four to ten, 15 to 20 inches long, working the thick weed that stops about six to eight inches below the surface in about two feet of water. Noses down, tails and backs in the air, they were parked or cruising very slowly. The dragon flies were thick and some of the fish were leaving the water to snatch them on the fly. Drop a Miss Prissy in the midst and a couple would turn and chase down the fly. This action went on for about 20 minutes. My thumb print may never be the same.

Sunfish Spectacular

posted by Admin on 28 April 2012
file under Fishing Reports | location Texas |comments (0)

another bass

I have had a few good fishing days recently including participation in the Texas FlyFishers John Scarborough Sunfish Spectacular, a friendly fishing competition amongst members. The challenge for the day was to catch the largest sunfish. There are always some arguments about bass being a member of the sunfish family, but this argument did not prevail this year and my 10 inch bluegill lost out out one measured at 10 1/4 inches. When John Scarborough was weighmaster for the event there was always the opportunity to influence the results. One story about John's tenure has it that the official wrap up for the event many years ago was set for 4.00pm. When John learned that his grandson's best sunfish was in the lead at about 3.00pm the weigh in was moved up to 3.00pm and the official winner was declared; not surprisingly a member of John's extended family.

C-TUG

posted by Admin on 10 April 2012
file under Kit | location Texas |comments (0)

C-Tug

I have been using a canoe quite a bit recently and struggle to move it around. Also always have trouble getting my yak down to the river when I go fishing on the Llano by myself. I found a solution. The C-TUG from an outfit in New Zealand is the answer to my problem. It can handle up to 300 pounds and breaks down to fit in the hatch of my Prism. Here's a quote from the website: "The C-Tug is the most durable, practical, light weight kayak cart on the market in North America. Made of non-corroding material and your choice of pneumatic tires or the NEW Kiwi "Puncture Free" wheels, this all terrain cart is anything but ordinary!"

Macauley Lord Podcast

posted by Admin on 10 April 2012
file under Instruction | location Texas |comments (0)

Macauley Lord

I look forward to Zach Mathews' Itinerant Angler fly fishing podcasts and a recent one with Macauley Lord is no exception. Macauley was the main casting instructor at the LL Bean Fly Fishing School up in Maine for many, many years, and he wrote all of the casting columns in American Angler magazine for several years as well. As a casting instructor I refer to Mac's book, L L Bean Fly-Casting Handbook, An effective guide to casting farther and more accurately, for teaching tips. In this podcast Mac discusses his preferred tactics for fly casting instruction based on lessons learned since writing the book in 1999; tactics that dispense with technical jargon. His pointers for helping students with tailing loop problems will be of interest to all casting instructors. And, if for no other reason, check out the podcasts for the music. Itinerant Angler introduced me to the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

TFF Casting Classes Continued

posted by Admin on 7 April 2012
file under Instruction | location Texas |comments (0)

First Bass on a Fly

Texas FlyFishers annual Academy covers everything that is needed to get started with fly-fishing, from entomology through casting and tactics for catching. Today was the last of four Saturday casting sessions that included some fishing. As you can see from the photo at the left, as compared to the photo below, some of the students are getting better with time; at least the fish are getting a little bigger.

TFF Casting Classes

posted by Admin on 31 March 2012
file under Instruction | location Texas |comments (0)

First Bass on a Fly

Texas FlyFishers annual Academy is in full swing with casting sessions conducted over four weekends including earlier today. we worked on shooting line and how to fight and land fish. One of the students, pictured here, caught his first bass and first fish on a fly during the latter part of the lessons.

Mark's Miss Prissy

posted by Admin on 17 February 2012
file under Trauma Averted | location Texas |comments (0)

Miss Prissy Knock-off

Wow. My fishing partner and tier Mark Marmon heard about the Miss Prissy problem and produced the version stuck in the bass to the left. Given that I was fishing last Sunday as the weather felt more like a typical February day after a cold front instead of the warm weather that we had been experiencing I'd say that Mark was onto something. The pictured fly is a little beat up as it was worked over by a number of bass and bluegill. Mark said he is cranking up production and I can't wait to try this fly in better conditions. Thanks Mark.

Fly Fish Texas

posted by Admin on 30 January 2012
file under Special Events | location Texas |comments (0)

Fly Fish Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has been sponsoring Fly Fish Texas in Athens since 1999 . Fly Fish Texas emphasizes hands-on learning and immediate application of newly acquired skills. Visitors can collect aquatic insects from the center's streams, tie a fly to imitate one of those insects under the supervision of a skilled tier, learn to cast it from a casting instructor certified by the Federation of Fly Fishers, then use it to catch a rainbow trout, catfish or sunfish from one of Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center's stocked ponds or streams. This year the event is set for Saturday the 10th of March from 9.00am through 4.00pm. In the past I have assisted with fly casting instruction at the event. This year I will be putting on two presentations; the first on Fly Line Basics that will be tailored to the experience level of the audience and also one on fly fishing my favorite water, the Llano River.

No More Miss Prissys

posted by Admin on 15 January 2012
file under Major Trauma | location Texas |comments (0)

Wisconson Brookie

I got an e-mail the other day from Don at Breambugs which said - "Accardo Tackle Company has been in business for over 60 years, unfortunately they are having problems and essentially they are out of business. We have not received any products from them since May 2011 and we have not been able to reach them by phone, fax or e-mail." I'm in a bit of a panic. The Miss Prissy CBC is my go to fly for all trips to the Llano and other Hill Country streams. Got a secret source? - let me know.

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