Monday, May 28, 2012

My Backyard Is "America The Beautiful"

Some people say that my "backyard" is a thing of beauty.  It looks like paradise...Well, I guess that it does in some way.  For those that aren't familiar with the West...It is a land of mountains and deserts.  And even though the Salt Lake Valley is a desert, I happen to live in the most beautiful place one could the base of the Cottonwood Canyons along the Wasatch Front.  In honor of Memorial Day, I would like to share some photos of my "backyard" and recite the words to "America The Beautiful", written by Katherine Lee Bates and melody by Samuel Ward. (You might want to turn on the music at the end while viewing)

The front yard view

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!

A one mile hike from the trailhead 5 blocks up from us...Ryan and friends...

America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!


15 min up the canyon from my house

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!

My neighbor's pond, stocked with rainbows and tiger trout

America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

A Beautiful lake at the top of the canyon road...maybe 20 min

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!

My view up the street

America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

So surprised to find brook trout so close to home last summer!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!

Overooking the Salt Lake Valley and my digs below

America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

The one mile hike is totally worth it in the fall.  And nice cutthroats!


Yes, I live in a beautiful place... But, let's remember why we enjoy our freedoms of the outdoors.  Thanks to all of those that have fought for our country and may we remember their sacrifice for each one of us on this Memorial Day.   


   From my backyard to yours...Have a wonderful and safe holiday.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Passion Within The Greenbacks

The Greenbacks are a passionate group of Colorado Trout Unlimited members and flyfishing conservationalists.  They were founded in 2010 and have promoted the native Colorado fish and their habitat.  I was curious to know more about what The Greenbacks were involved in...and so, I went to the source!  Thanks to Kyle Perkins, (CompleatThought.Com) for sharing his passion of The Greenbacks and their work with us today.  I met Kyle last year at the Rocky Mountain Frenzy in the Denver area.  He is a true conservationalist and an all around great guy.  Now, on with the interview...

What is the GB chapter all about? What is unique about it and what's in store for 2012?

We formed The Greenbacks as a part of Trout Unlimited to engage the next generation of Trout Unlimited members. In other words, we found ways to get our generation interested in conservation through new and innovative ideas. For example, our Surface Film events have been largely successful. In our first year, we displayed some of the best fly-fishing photography in an event hosted by Anthology Fine Art in Denver, CO. In the second installment, we teamed with our national Trout Unlimited partners to award Trout Magazine and National Trout Unlimited Photograph of the Year Awards. It's been a great success, and we're looking to expand this idea further.  In 2012, we're looking to give more back to the community. There are plans in the works to donate some time to kid's fishing camps and volunteer on the Roan Plateau project here in Colorado. We are looking to give more back to the community as we grow as a group and gain more members. We'll also hold our annual film event in the fall with a premier film showing, but we also have other ideas in the works for future events this year and next. Stay tuned!

Why should people consider supporting the GBs if they already have their own local group/chapter?

I have my own chapter that I support within Colorado, but The Greenbacks are more of an ideology than a chapter. We're seeking to find new ways to engage youth or those that have been stagnant with Trout Unlimited as a whole. Trout Unlimited holds core values we should all appreciate, but we hear you, and that's why we're looking to create more of a movement than a group or chapter. We want people to engage and retain more people in the movement, and that means changing the approach to normal chapter meetings and events.

How does the success story and challenges with the GB cutt speak to conservation and habitat protection efforts with other species, both warm and cold water?

Greenback Cutthroat trout are native to Colorado, and therefore, that's a main reason we chose the name in the beginning. However, as an overall model, I could envision groups in Texas creating a 'Guadalupe' group, or people in California creating the 'Lohontan' group. I don't know where this idea will emerge in the future, but we're happy to help and encourage people to take the lead in conservation engagement.

What are a few simple, cheap ways people can get involved with the GB efforts and suggestions for getting involved in their own locale?

While we're a young group (only two years old), we appreciate every donation and volunteers we can get. When we've been asked how others can create this type of group elsewhere, we've struggled in creating a model. All it takes are sincere, energetic conservationists that believe there are different ways to engage the next generations of Trout Unlimited members. It's not an easy task, but it's rewarding when you see a packed theater or art exhibit and knowing that your reaching people through non-traditional ways. With more ideas being presented, this thing will only grow larger and benefit Trout Unlimited as a whole.

Special Note: The Greenbacks are promoting the following Special Presentation 
Tuesday, June 12th at 7pm. Director in-person! 

  • Denver FilmCenter/Colfax - 2510 East Colfax, Denver, CO  80206

  • Director Hunter Weeks (10 MPH, Ride the Divide) presents a thoughtful exploration of life on America’s great, undammed river, the Yellowstone. With Montana’s captivating scenery at the forefront, Where the Yellowstone Goes takes a closer look at the impact people have on each other and on our environment.

    If you are in the Denver area and want to purchase tickets...Right HERE!
    Or check Google to see if it is in your area...

     A special thanks to Tim Romano for the GB photos
    And Wikipedia for the Greenback Cutthroat photo
    And look for the hats on Kyle's blog...they should be up soon!!!

    Monday, May 21, 2012

    Mission: Keeping Yellowstone Pristine

    My fly fishing journey started only four years ago.  I guess that you could say that I was a late bloomer.  When I hit my mid-life crisis…I hit it smack on like a freight train.  Nothing was going to be taken for granted any longer.  I had a thirst for learning.  A craving for adventure.  I wanted to spend more time outdoors with nature.  What was the answer?  Fly fishing.  I remember my grandfather taking us on camping trips to Yellowstone National Park and stressing the importance of keeping the fish and wildlife populations intact and healthy for future generations to enjoy. It was meant to be a land of enchantment, abundant wildlife and life long memories.

    So, it wasn’t too surprising that years later, I would have the yearning to see Yellowstone on my own time and explore the beautiful rivers and creeks up close and personal.  In June 2009, my fly fishing journey began.  The beginner fly fishing class that I took, carpooled up to the Firehole River in Yellowstone.  Standing beside the Firehole is an amazing experience in itself!  It's a world of bright colors and steaming pools...what a sight!  The YNP is famous for its stunning geothermal features such as geysers, steam vents and thermal pools.  And where else can you find one of the most exotic, free-flowing rivers in the country?

    The excitement builds as you rig up your four weight and head down the path to an unbelievable site.  It's one of the most surreal experiences one can have in fly fishing.  The early morning pillars of steam give you a peaceful, calm feeling.  And you might find yourself fishing alongside a bison or an elk! Because of thermal activity, the river water temp was a lovely 70 degrees.  I found out very soon that there is nothing nicer than a "warm" dunk over a "cold" dunk in the river!  But, something extroardinary happened on this trip.  I became aware of how important it was that we keep these waters clean and pure.  And how to release fish carefully and take pride in being a responsible fly fisherman.

    I went home wanting to give more than to receive from my new found passion.  There was a burning desire inside of me to reach out and help out with the conservation efforts at home.  I met up with a fly fishing group that wanted to keep the rivers clean also!  The spirit of Yellowstone was still in my heart and I appreciated the management of keeping the land and water as natural as possible.  They definitely work hard to preserve and restore native fishes and their habitats.  We, as anglers, are fortunate to have the opportunity to cast for wild fish in a natural setting such as Yellowstone National Park.

    In July, 2010...I only had three days to see as much as I could of Eastern Idaho and the Yellowstone area.  It was a whirlwind trip to say the least!  Eight rivers in three days.  So, if you ever want to fish with me, you had better be ready to move!   The thirst to discover more about the Yellowstone National Park and why it is so magical, drove me there once again.  I found myself on the beautiful, emerald waters of the Lamar River.  And this is where I caught and released my first cutthroat in Yellowstone!

    Ahhh...The Yellowstone cutthroat.  A beautiful, native species of trout in the YNP.  Back in 1994, the National Park Service discovered the presence of lake trout in Yellowstone Lake.  An illegally introduced species of fish, these non-native lake trout are annoying predators that dwell in the deepest parts of the lake.  They have taken over Yellowstone Lake and have devoured many of the native cutthroat trout.  Yellowstone has worked hard in killing these lake trout by snaring them in gill nets every spring through fall.  All because of illegal stocking years ago.  

    The gloves have come off to fight and save the Yellowstone cutthroat and the ecosystem.  Millions of dollars have been poured into the fight for the remaining 25% of the cutthroat population that used to inhabit the lake of approximately 136 sq mi.  Hopefully, in a few more years, the cutthroats in Yellowstone Lake will start to show their prominence once again.  This is important for the other estimated 42 species of wildlife that have come to depend on the cutthroat as a major food source.  The grizzlies, otters, and ospreys to name a few.  So, the uphill battle continues to save what was once the greatest cutthroat lake to fish in the world. 

    It is this kind of effort from dedicated biologists, the National Park Service, Trout Unlimited and others that stirs my soul.  We need to support their efforts by word, donation, or even by catching a few lake trout at Yellowstone Lake and harvesting them!  This can most definitely be a success story.  It makes me want to retire early and get up there and help out!  But, my time will come. You see, I have told my family that I plan on being a YNP Volunteer one day!  I was excited to hear about a program that uses fly fishing volunteers and catch-and-release as a capture technique for gathering information on fish populations in the park.  In my mind, there isn't a place that I would rather live, fish and give back to a passion that I love so dearly.  Then, my "mission" will be accomplished.  In the meantime, let's see that the cutthroats of Yellowstone Lake fulfill theirs...

    RD's Tippet of the Day 
    So, how can we help protect our homeland waters and our national
    parks like the Yellowstone National Park when visiting them?  The "Leave No Trace" program outlines seven principles for outdoor enthusiasts to help the environment.  If we can remember these helpful rules, we could make the world a better enjoy outdoors anyway!  In short, they are:  Plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of other visitors.

    A special thanks to the organizations above that have brought this essay contest to the OBN outdoor bloggers.  It has been an amazing opportunity to learn more about the challenges of the lake trout epidemic of Yellowstone Lake and the solutions that will bring the Yellowstone Cutthroat back into the fold and keep Yellowstone National Park in it's most pristine condition.

    Friday, May 18, 2012


    Oh, wait a minute!  That's not the Yellowstone trip that I am dreaming about...        (June 7, 2009)
    That's more like it... = )

    I will tell you why I am dreaming of my favorite place on Earth...
    Coming this next week...Stay tuned!

    Sunday, May 13, 2012

    Celebrating Mother's Day

    Up the canyon I went...breathing in the fresh mountain air...Oh, what a glorious Sunday it was.  I never can get enough of God's creations.  Mother's Day...Now, how else would you think that the River Damsel would celebrate this day?   I figured that it was a time to unwind and relax a little before the big crowd came over in the afternoon.  A big dinner planned requested (not by me) from my mother...well, that's all she wanted, so I was happy to oblige.  And I always can count on my kids for clean-up duties.  So, all good. 
    Dang, these twigs!
    I decided to get out the Eagle Claw fiberglass rod that has been standing in the corner of my room.  I figured that the 7.5 ft would be a lot easier on these hard to reach streams of the Big Cottonwood Canyon.  My 9 ft last year, just was too much of a rod for this mountain stream.  I really wish that I could figure out how to stay out of the sticker bushes and branches (in the ground and above ground, and under water)!!!  Oh, and the wind didn't help...I just like this little peninsula of branches that overlooks ten fish huddled in a deep pool.  It definitely is a different feel of fly fishing than the big water that I usually visit.  But, I like these small browns and brookies...and I can't beat it as it is only 15 min from my house. = )   

    After re-rigging three times with new flies that got lost to underwater debris...I finally got my dry fly dropper  to bring in a fish.

    A beautiful, little brookie came to hand.  Exactly what I had hoped for!

    So, back down the canyon I went.  I had to stop at a couple of areas to do a little photo taking!  It is so beautiful this time of year.

    The run-off from the mountains above.

    Back home with the family...a nice lasagna dinner and a game of golf. (Skipbo card game)
    (My children...Ryan on the left, Tammy in the red, Daniel the tall one with the big smile, Diane in the black)

    Thanks, kids!!
    A fine day for this Mother.

    Happy Mother's Day to all and if you are able, give your mom a hug!!  = )

    Sunday, May 6, 2012

    Rocky Mountain Frenzy II ~ Sunday Tippets, Damsel Style

    Cache La Poudre
    The Rocky Mountain Frenzy II date has been set!  So come one, come all!!!  It will be July 20-23,  I figured that I would stick in a Friday and Monday for those who can join me as I will be fishing those days also besides the weekend.  So, put it on your calendars and let's fish!!  It was a great time of comradery last year as fly fishing bloggers got to meet up and fish some awesome water.  All of you in the state of Colorado and outside...are invited to join us as we head to the RMNP for some great summer fishing!  We will also pick a couple of other rivers close to the Denver area as we exchange ideas through group email.  Be sure to email me (the link is in the right hand corner above) if you want to be added to the list of attendees.

    Big T
     Last year we fly fished the Big Thompson, Poudre, Boulder Creek, and several other RMNP creeks.  I'm sure that there will be some new ones added to the mix this year!  It should be a great time. 

    We will meet for breakfast one morning before heading out.  And like last year, we will have a group dinner to start everything out on Thursday or Friday night.  Only 3 months away my friends!  Whoohoo...

    And there is always a good time at a local fly shop that has an extra special place in my heart!  Rocky Mountain Anglers ~ Thanks again to Jay Zimmerman, the best fly removal from fingers in the West!  Lol.  It will not be repeated this year, btw.

    And of course, we will snap a few group photos as well.  And we plan on Howard being there instead of the hospital this year!  Yes, for sure!!

    Every once in awhile, I get the urge to do a video on the river.  So, I had an incredible fish come out of the group I caught Saturday and wanted to share my excitement!  But, with one hand holding the fish and the other holding the phone cam...well, let's just say that it is far from Ivan's, Yukon Goes Fishing great videos!! 

    Howard at Windknots and Tangled Lines was supposed to "critique" it for me as a last minute hope that it wasn't too stupid and I could post it.  Well, the next thing that I knew, his "critiquing" meant his "posting" it as "Romancing The Bow" on FB!! Ahhhhh... How I set myself up for that one.   I might as well put it out there for all of you to have a good laugh.  What the heck.  I think that we will just chalk up this poor effort to "RD's Silliest Fish Vids" and call it good.  Now, just remember that I do know how to speak English.  Somehow,  I got in a goofy mood and I sound like I am from Sweden or something!  Lol.  Enjoy laughing at my expense.  It's only 30 no real damage will be done.  = )

    Sunday Tippet:  Stick to still photo shoots if you are winging it alone on your fishing trip.  It's much easier than trying to balance a fish, your vid cam, and talking all at the same time!! 
    (Well, maybe some of you can do that without a problem...I don't know)  And don't ask anyone to "critique" your work if you aren't too fond of it.  Lol. 

    A nice 20" rainbow for RD!!
    Back you go...

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

    HOLY C%#P, BATMAN!!!

    Judging by the amount of press that fly fishing for carp is now getting in magazines, many fly fishers are finally starting to see the merits of pursuing Cyprinus carpio. While many among the angling masses still look down on the noble carp as being a "garbage fish," there are others who have seen the light. No, not "that" light, the one containing neither Elvis, nor the light from the mothership during alien abductions, but the path to angling nirvana. Honestly, it's hard to beat a fight with a carp on a fly rod!  And how do I know???  It was another "Adventure In Every Riffle" today...And I took great pride in it.  So no one laugh at me... = )
     Editors Note:  It has now been determined that this is a UTAH SUCKER...but, I will let this story ride...  distant cousin?

    Trying to repeat my epic day on Saturday...I went back to the same stretch of water on "Fish Tuesday".   I first landed a brown trout, then a white fish, and then...HOLY C%#P, BATMAN!!!  What was on the end of my line?  A huge tug, then a pull...then whatever it was started running upstream like a turbo jet!  As my heart pumped thinking that this was it...the mega million dollar brown line was reeling faster out than I could handle.  Oh no, you don't!  No way was this prize going to get away... I eventually got my rod to turn across stream to get a better angle and to lure him back into the fold.  This was palming the reel at it's best.  What seemed like an eternity was actually probably 15 min.   And there he beautiful...brown...errr...wait!  I see a pink stripe on the side.  Could it be the biggest rainbow that I have ever caught?  I'm seeing scales here.  What the heck.  It's not a white fish.  Nooooo....
    A CARP?????   Editor's note: (Or could it be a SUCKER????? )

    Why was I just a little excited about the weirdness of catching my first carp?  Partly because carp are harder to catch than other freshwater species, from what I have been reading. (with the exception of redhorse or gar pike)  And carp are supposed to be picky, finicky, spooky and far more selective than any trout you may encounter.  So, I am not ashamed...not a bit.  It was cool.  Yes, it would have been nice to see a monster rainbow or brown down there...but, I had a lesson in bringing in a tough fish and that was worth it.

    When hooked, even a 8 lb carp (I'm guessing here...probably 25 in) can get you into your backing in a matter of seconds.  I was really shocked to see my line go freaking wild before I started getting it under control.  I can't say that a brown trout has taken me to the backing that fast... This hooked carp went bulldog on me and engaged in hand-to-fin combat and left me muttering, "Uh-oh," as I tried to remember where I put the warranty card for my fly rod. = )

    Just another "Fish Tuesday"!

    Editor's Note:
    Chris Cutler (Many A Fish)
    One of his buddies with a REAL CARP...