Tuesday, May 31, 2011

They Call Him...MR. Whitefish!

Have you ever had one of those days that no matter what you did, the trout ignored you???  Was it one of those days that you were glad for the persistant nymph boggler, The Rocky Mountain Whitefish???  Even though it is not as highly regarded as many other Salmonid species, it has saved the day for many anglers too proud to admit it!  Well, I am here to admit that I had one of those days...When I look back at the "early" days of my fly fishing adventure...I have to remember one of my first catches at "The Box" Canyon, Island Park, ID.  

What a beautiful place.  If you have never been there...write it down on your list.  I was with a class from Salt Lake and we caravanned up to fish the weekend.  I believe it was the first of November as it was getting pretty cold up there.  As I was experiencing a little difficulty bringing in my first fish of the day, one of my classmates summoned me down to a sweet bend in the river where there was a lot of activity.  I repeated my straight line indicator nymphing with a large bead headed nymph.  (Rubber legs also work very well here.)  I put my line in and it wasn't even five minutes later..."Incoming"!!!  I was so excited that it didn't matter what size or type...it was a fish!!!  And I loved him...that "Whitie"!  Who couldn't love those fish lips!! 

The guys were excited for me too...then one classmate said, "Oh, a nice whitefish!!!"  (sarcasticly) Yes, I thought it was!  And proud of it...until...I learned later that it wasn't as desirable as the mighty BROWN trout or the beautiful RAINBOW.  I had a picture with him anyway...it was a great fight, plenty of pulling and diving!  And then a rainbow was caught, and very submissively.  The rainbow wasn't as much fun as Mr. Whitefish in the fight to the net...and I always catch and release...so, why wouldn't I want the better fighter??? 

Oh, I see...He wasn't pretty enough.  A lesser species of the underground world...A "trash fish" ...Poor Mr. Whitefish.  Underclass citizen...He might not have that pretty pink stripe on his side or those big brown and red spots...but, he only wants to please those on the other end of the line with a fight to the end!  As evidenced by their specialized subterminal mouth, whitefish feed primarily on immature forms of bottom dwelling aquatic insects.  So, I guess that you could call them "bottom dwellers" and probably the reason why I hooked into a couple of them on that outing!  I had a lot of weight on my line to get it down in a deep pool.  And that is where they hang out in the winter...So, I started to look around on the web a bit and found an interesting video on this native fish of Idaho...check it out!  There are those who have reason to applaud Mr. Whitefish...and give him the credibility that he deserves. 

Ok...there you have it...it's not a disgrace to catch a Whitefish...Now, about "The Box" Canyon...there is much more to this amazing fishery than finding a Whitefish!  Haha.   Below Island Park Reservoir the Henry's Fork flows into the famed "Box Canyon". This short 3 1/2 -4 mile stretch of river produces some of the best fishing you will find anywhere on the river.  You will find trophy size rainbows and brown trout.  This fast flowing section is primarily nymphing water due to an abundant food supply consisting primarily of stonefly nymphs. Oh, you know that is my favorite type of fly fishing!  Then, there is the beauty of the Targhee National Forest and the many lodgepole pine and Douglas-fir.  This is not the typical waters of the Henry's Fork of the Snake...You will see rapids, pocket water, swift, rocky flats and fast, boulder-filled runs. If you want the famous dry fly fishing...that will be a few miles down river.

The canyon rim is heavily wooded and harbors many osprey, marmot, occasional bald eagles and moose. Oh, and you might see this guy there too... 

The sun had moved behind the trees and I began to realize how remote this place was. My only companions were a couple Bald Eagles nesting in a broken pine across the river.  I had a good day.  The scenery is absolutely breathtaking!  And peaceful.  For sure, this is one place that should be put on your fishing bucket list.  And if you see Mr. Whitefish up there, tell him "Hi" from RD...until I get up there again...which will be the fourth time?  Oh, who's counting anyway... : )  Ahhh...looking forward to catching a pig (oink oink) on 4x tippet and feeling that rod almost being pulled from my hand!

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Chilly Memorial Day!

Ok...I'm going to attempt to send this post via my smartphone...which is probably smarter than me because look at what I came out to do today!!!  Brrrr....37 degrees!

Early morning...see the snow on my pontoon???

A froggy rainbow in the first hour...making the trip out worth it!

Walking out the front door this morning...

And tomorrow will bring sunny skies with a 75 degree temp...go figure!  Maybe Harold Camping ordered up for this lovely weather today...lol.  Have a nice Memorial Day everyone!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Tippets, Late Edition

As I have been thinking about all the brave men and women that have fought for the freedoms that we enjoy, I share with you a great video and song to bring out the meaning of Memorial Day.  Let's salute our troops as they have sacrificed greatly so that we may have our freedoms.  And remember all of our troops over seas right now and pray that they come home safely.  

Friday, May 27, 2011

A "Berry" Good Time...

When the wind started blowing and it wasn't getting any warmer, it was time to move to a new location...and fortunately, two great reservoirs are relatively close to each other.  And saying that, it is funny how different they are.  A 15 degree difference today.  Strawberry was a balmy 44 degrees and Starvation was a much warmer 59 degrees!  haha.  A couple fish...your normal 16" rainbow and cutthroat...The Berry can deliver up to 26-28" fish on occasion.
At a 5,710-foot elevation, Starvation Reservoir has a surface of about 3,300 acres when full.  Fish species include walleye, smallmouth bass, and brown trout. 

Strawberry Reservoir is at 7,600 feet with a 17,200-acre surface area.  Ice fishing is very popular during the winter months. (And there was still scattered snow pack on the hills surrounding the lake)  Fish species include rainbow trout and cutthroat trout and Kokanee salmon.

In between the two reservoirs, is the Strawberry River.  And it surely has the snowpack run off going on!  You can see the nice "chocolate" color today...Yep, this river won't be ready to fish until July.  Quite a bit of flooding in the surrounding areas too.

A nicer, more friendly Strawberry River in the Fall...A very peaceful place!  The water flowing from Soldier Creek Dam into the wild Strawberry River is clear and cold, even during the heat of the summer. One reason I love it...cools you off!!  It supports a good population of large browns and cutthroats. If managed properly, this stream could become a "little Green River," offering excellent fishing for trophy-sized trout. 

So, Day 1 of my 4 day weekend has started with a couple fish and some clouds rolling in...again!!  Now, it would be just my dumb luck to have rain the next three days...  Oh, wait!!  Check that.  The weather report said that only Sat. and Sun. will get rain... And guess what we get for Monday, Memorial Day??  A "Frozen Mix" on the Provo River and 39 degrees!!!  Would June come already???!!!  : )  I'm ready to go to Sea World where they are training their whales to do some new tricks!
Footnote:  Not worried about the "Frozen Mix"...It could actually be a very good fishing day!  Now, where are my thermals???


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Miracle Whip Blogger Challenge...You Decide!


                                               Miracle Whip Commercial Review: I Love It!

Leave a comment below and give us your vote!  I'm thinking that I have to throw my vote to the MAYO side...there you go...now you choose.  Oh, and you have to have a reason too.  Mine is simple...who wants a sour tasting sandwich???? Hmmmm....I like the taste of my pastrami, salami, swiss cheese on sourdough or rye with a smooooth taste.  And Hellmann's (Best Foods) get my vote.  And to liven it up just a bit, a little deli mustard and don't forget that kosher dill on the side!...There you go.

OR     ????

And we are adding this option...NEITHER! (Looks like this option is getting more popular)

The tally will end on Sat. May 28th!  (Well, you know...we have to make room for "Tippets" on Sunday!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly...Tippets to Remember

What a weekend!!  There was much anticipation for my Czech Nymphing class on Saturday.  And what I had hoped for...the "Tippets", came to fruition!  Of course, I am a diehard.  I never give up.  I took my first class last year in this very effective type of nymphing.  I like thinking "outside of the box"...and also to fish without an indicator!  I usually will take one or two classes each year from my favorite fly shop, Western Rivers, here in Salt Lake City.  It just helps me to be an overall better skilled fly fisher.  This class on Saturday was taught by Nick Teynor

Trying Eric's Tenkara rod...
I met Nick a couple years ago.  He is the most courteous guy first of all...and really wants to see his students succeed.  He has a very positive attitude...I never feel like I am defeated!  I know if I will listen, watch, and practice...it will all come around for me.  I thank Nick for sharing his talents and skills!  : )  And the seine samples were sure money!  He calls me Miss Emily (didn't know I was The River Damsel until this outing!)  and believes that fly fishing should be fun!! 

Oh, that was kind of funny...alas, another perfect stranger has read my blog.  Someone in the parking lot that I was talking to was surprised to see my RD hat!  He had many questions about the Smoky Mountains and what I thought...(Don't worry Owl, I only said good things!)  He agreed that the Southern food is something not found everywhere.  Boy, am I missing fried pies!!! : )  But, Saturday was a day for fish...and I found a few...in those fast, deep pockets! 

And a few more...in the more fast, shallow pockets...Yes, I think that this Czech nymphing is coming along quite nicely!!  Thanks, Nick!!  And with all of the high waters and more rain and more snow melt...I'm thinking that fishing is going to be good for me when others might not like the high water.  Ka-ching!   Life is good.  And so, another chapter of RD's Continuing Education of Fly Fishing 101.   

Next Chapter...

Now, there was "Good, Bad, and Ugly"...as I stated in my title of this blog.  And so it goes...a day on the river isn't always perfect.  The "Good", of course, was the class and all the brown trouts that I caught. (Why is it that I am only finding 10 in fish ever since I got back from my Smoky Mtn. trip???) hmmm...Southern Karma???  I don't know.  But, I have never caught so many little guys...

The "Bad" ...I was so excited that I caught #1, that I let go of my fishing net and it roared down the river with the current.  On the bright side...I was ready for a new net anyway.  Just kind of sped things up.

The "Ugly" ...And this is reeeeel UGLY!!!  As I searched for my favorite C&F fly box yesterday, it had disappeared.   It kind of shook me up a bit in class, but I was hopeful that it just fell out in the car.  After hours of searching...home, car, packs...it is officially MIA.  (Sniffle, sniffle!!!)  Now I know how others have felt...HORRIBLE!!  I had collected flies over three years into this box and 300 plus flies and most of these were bought.  My go-to flies...So, I will pull on Owlee here...if any of you wonderful fly tiers want to donate to a good cause...just a few flies here and there, this starting over might not be so painful!  I still have my Czech box, but I am missing all of my other nymphs and dries. Ugh.

Tippet of the Day:  Don't put all of your eggs in the same basket!!  You know that I will now select a dozen of my favorites and only take that box with me to the river.  No more carrying everything I own.  Another "Tippet" today would be to search out that flyfishing class that will put you to the next level...If you haven't tried one technique, but are curious...for sure...learn it!!  It just adds to the fun!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Paradise Island...Take Me Away!!! Again...

When you are stuck in winter for longer than four months (snow yesterday), strange ideas start popping in your head.  Like, maybe it's time to go to the Bahamas!!!  Ok...Las Vegas is closer, but really...So, I look back at my vacations and start day dreaming about the ones that had nice beaches and warm weather.  And a slight breeze to relax you and fan off the bright sun glistening over your tan body.  Sound good???  Oh yeah.  Believe me...it is!


I want to go back...to ATLANTIS...On Paradise Island!!!  Where the beaches are filled with white sand and the ocean is a beautiful turquoise blue.  Where you can eat the most delicious meals and be pampered by day spas. Ok...I don't know about that...but, it would be nice to enjoy a one hour massage. When we went to Atlantis, it was on an all expense paid company trip.  Dave had earned the trip by being at the top of the sales team for the insurance company he worked for.  So, we just enjoyed...
The only part that didn't go over too well with me was the "small" plane that went from Orlando to Nassau.  I wouldn't call it a crop duster, but it sounded like one!  A very loud engine.  Ugh...yeah, well once there, it was all forgotten.  And I swear that the other plane coming back was bigger!!  When I saw the ocean below from the plane...and the beach, it was breathtaking!  And when I landed my feet on the tarmac...I was definitely ready to get on with the fun ahead!

You will never find me...way out there!!

 The hotels that are part of the Atlantis Resort are remarkable.  They are well taken care of and the amenities are amazing.  You can pretty much get your fill of fun.  From waterslides that go through shark tanks to jet skiing in the ocean to chartering a boat to scuba or snorkel or fish!!  It's all there.  If I had only been interested in bonefishing at the time...darn it!  Another reason to return someday.  Adventure to the max at this resort!  Golf anyone??  A beautiful course.

And if you are not as adventurous and want a lower keyed vacation...they have marvelous entertainment and casinos.  Karaoke anyone?  Dancing?  And you can go over on a boat to Nassau and visit the straw market.  But, beware...it's not the same as Mexico.  They do have higher prices for the Americans and you have to really work at the bartering to get a good deal!!  I did pick up some purses for my girls that were a deal. 

There are many restaurants and choices for meals while you are there.  From expensive to moderately priced to snacky type stuff.  It's all there.  But, if by an ocean, why not try the seafood...right?  Our meals were mostly catered for the company meetings.  But, we did get to try some of the food in the restaurant and it had a great presentation and tasted wonderful.  And bring on the drinks and snacks while laying out in the sun or under your covered/ cabana like lounger. Ahh...a perfect way to relax!

Inside the hotels, they have fish aquariums everywhere...you feel like you are walking through the ocean!  All the walls are glass with all types of fish and ocean fauna.  It is breathtaking!  Tropical paradise inside as well as outside.

And so many pools for you to enjoy and even pools for a few stingray!!   I enjoyed this guy feeding the rays..."Here kitty kitty!!! They were amazing to watch.  

The highlight of the trip had to be the waterslides...They are the most amazing slides I have been  on...The  Aztec style slides allow you to race against another person (clock included).  There are also other slides that you just go down by yourself, or you have the option to slide down and under the water through a plexiglass tunnel that goes through a shark tank and back outside into the wading pool!! 

I got sprayed!!!
The opposite glass is where you slide through the tank underwater!

And everyone loves a dip in the hot tub...at the end of the day!
(Or anytime!!!)

Well, I'm feeling much better now that I have refreshed my memory with what warm weather is like...I was starting to forget!!  So, if you think that this looks like fun...I highly recommend going someday!  You won't be sorry you did...And bring a little extra change for that bone fishing lesson!!!  Next time, I am!!!... ; )  Sorry to run a travel log here, but, I figured if I threw in a few fishy photos, you wouldn't mind...

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Southern Soaked" To "Southern Fried"! Finale


Our Signature Hats!
Continuing on with final chapter of being "Southerned Soaked"...Yes, Friday gave us our best fishing day on "Blogger Weekend" until it started raining in the late afternoon.  And then the rain continued until mid-morning on Sat.  But, no worries!  There still was much fun to be had.  I mean, you have three crazy bloggers who love the adventure of fly fishing as much as actually fishing!  (Well, at least I do)  And so, the next morning we headed out to see how much havoc the rains caused the night before.  Yep, pretty much 2 ft higher and blown out.  We had our fried pies and cinnamon rolls for breakfast and we were off again!  

Water seeping from rock walls along the Smoky Mtn. loop...

In search of higher elevation water that might bring some clarity and fishable waters...we journeyed on.
Saturday's road trip brought me to many beautiful areas of the famous Blue Ridge...The Smoky Mountains are amazing!  Everything was so green.  The guys were feeling bad for me traveling out so far to not get ample time on the waters.  But, they really didn't get it.  I came out to meet them!  And to see some beautiful country that I haven't seen before.  Owl was great to drive all over creation! 

In front of the Blue Ridge

We took many pictures and videos...oh yes, Owl's favorite thing to do.  Watch out if you ever go visit  Owl...heehee.  But, seriously, I thank him for doing that, because I never get pictures or vid of me on the river.  : )  So, the search for streams up high in the Smokies of NC and TN continued...All around the Blue Ridge Parkway we went...I brought my music, but we always ended up talking instead!!  Bloggers...

Nature Walk

We stopped at a visitor landmark and now I can say that I walked on the Appalachian Trail...And so can cardboard Rebecca and Howard!!  We had made it to Tennessee...and it was beautiful also.  Just to find a few brookies!  Ha.  After finding out that another river wasn't going to flip the bill, we headed towards a campground that was one of my favorite parts of the trip.  
A fun picnic w/ some gourmet hot dogs!! 

Owl loves to cook...and he treated us to  "gourmet" hot dogs and more of that awesome Stewart's Key Lime soda...yummy!!  And of course, more boiled peanuts.  And something that I passed on, but the guys like pork rines...ugh.  Pass the BQ chips, please!  There were also some nice bear claw marks on the dusty trash cans...

The campground was like the prettiest thing that I have ever seen...thick with foilage and green, green, green!!  And so many little waterfalls trickling through...awesome!   The river was well...High and Fast!

A "Time Out" as the waters are up 2 ft the next morning!


 After visiting Mark's favorite little "secret river", (where I learned to do a bow and arrow cast for the first time), we headed back to camp for dinner.  The skit for Owl's "Saturday Night Live" video took place around a campfire.  A little fire turned into kind of a raging inferno!  Owl put just a little too much timber in the pit and we soon had a bonfire!  Nothing like grabbing bottles of water to tame it down with...haha.  The meal was delicious as promised.  We had big, juicy ribeye steaks with taters, squash, and peppers...grilled perfectly.  And a few s'mores too...My compliments to the chef!!

                              Owl letting Rebecca fish..
The next morning, (Sunday) after a comfortable night on the air mattress in the SUV... (no  mice), and I'm not too sure if the guys in the tents were as comfortable btw...I thanked Owl for making the reservations of this fine campground as it had hot water/showers and a heater in the bathroom!  No roughing it this time...!!!  We said our goodbyes to Mark as he headed back to South Carolina (and caught some rainbows on the way).  Owl drove me over to Bradley's Fork and although still high from the storm, we were able to get out and wade it for a few hours.   It reminded me of the Amazons or something!  It was like fishing in a jungle...I want to go back there someday for sure! 

 All in all, it was a trip where a few outdoor bloggers met for the first time "offline" and enjoyed their time together, telling stories and joking around.  The "Southern Hospitality" and a warm welcome made this trip one to remember.  A few new friendships, a few fish, a few days being a roadie and finding beautiful, scenic terrain in three different states, NC., TN., and GA. ...what more could I ask for?   And to cap it off, when we got back, Mr. and Mrs. Owl brought me to the BEST BBQ that I have had in some time!!

Does this look good???  Burnt Ends, Fried Green Beans&Okra.

 So, I could say that I started as "Southern Soaked", but in the end... it was the "Southern Fried" that reminded me that this was what it was all about...a cross country trip for a "Western Yankee" to meet some "online" friends from the South that quickly turned into "offline" friends.

I think that Owl likes his hat!!! (A little thank-you)