Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Favorite Season ~ Sunday Tippets, Damsel Style

Summertime... when all the world is green.  When we fish in a stream or lazily dream on the banks as the clouds go by... Yes, those were the days.  Now we put on the sweater and head out to experience the fall weather and the brilliant color that accompanies it.  Don't miss your chance to see the beauty of Fall.  It's my favorite season.

I had an hour or two before the sun would go down in the canyon above my house.  So, I thought that I would take the 15 min drive and see the newly fallen snow.  To my surprise, the fall colors were still there and it was a beautiful contrast.

As the sun started to fade behind the clouds... I knew that I was limited on time.  And I'm not one that likes to drive down a dark canyon.  So,  I put my caddis back on the water for a last ditch effort.  What I got in return was amazing.  

The most beautiful little Fall brookie.  I was pleased and after releasing him back to his pool, I headed back to the car.  It was an hour and a half well spent.  I had time to unwind  after a hard work week.  I could now go home and relax.

SUNDAY TIPPET :  Never give up on the day's end.  An hour at a beautiful place to meditate and unwind might be just what the doctor ordered.
(OK.. He didn't actually order it, but should he have!)  Lol.  

Have a wonderful week!  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fly Fishing Sisters and Lil' Bro

10 women... 4 boats... 7 mi. of river...

It started out as a journey of the unknown for me...  Michelle Bryant had this fun idea to invite a group of fly fishing women from her Facebook friend list to join up for a fishing weekend.  In the beginning, I was a little bit hesitant.  I usually journey off by myself or form small groups on fishing trips.  I knew about half of the gals that signed up originally already, so I was good to go.   And I was sure that all of us would have a good time because we had something in common...  Love of fly fishing!!

Now we have incredible memories and probably lifelong friendships.

On the first day, I met up with a new fly fishing sister, Brittany.  She came from pretty far away to be with us. (Lewiston, ID)  But, her excitement about fishing new water made me smile.  I love sharing places to fish with others and share my nymphing techniques with those that pretty much dry fly fish.  And she was that.

We met up on the Madison In The Park and ended the day on the Gallatin.  

The Maddy and Me... Yes, in the fog.

My favorite picture of the trip... Bent rod on the Maddy in the Park.
Britt and I fished two different sections on the Madison in Yellowstone.  Then it was time to head out and show Britt another piece of water...

The Gallatin...
Britt and her cutthroat which took her by surprise...

Then, it was time to meet up with the others.  Sorry, but the photographer proof is all I have right now to share...

Sis's.. Heidi, Rachel, Patti, Shelly, Michelle, Aileen, Brittany, Holly, & Tara.
Idaho, Utah, and Montana represented!

We rented out a spacious cabin... Here's Rachel getting ready to head out.
My first day with the girls, drifting down the Henry's Fork.
All aboard!

And off we went for a full day float... Many screams of delight as rods bent to rainbows and browns as we floated down the river
 (after my WHOOHOO!!!! to start us off... ) 
Let's call it beginner's luck... Really.  

I was shocked.  Happy.  Ok.  Ecstactic!!

This guy's tail rocked!!  

But, you can't dwell on the past.  You have to live in the present...
So, we journeyed on.

Here's a double catch by Britt and Heidi with Shelly giving a helping hand.

And of course lunch on the run...

We soon had a great day on the water end.  It was back to TroutHunter for socializing and looking at our pictures of the day!

  (Looks like a few fly fishing sisters/bloggers to me... 
And some FB posting going on...  Ha! )

The next day brought the "Sisters" to Harriman Ranch on the Henry's Fork.  This is a very technical stretch of water that gives the dry fly fisherman an absolute challenge!  And for me?  Well, let's say that I was a good sport.  = )

A beautiful stretch of water that requires skill and patience.  

From Harriman Ranch, we would caravan up to the Box Canyon above the Henry's Fork of the Snake River.   Some of us would float and others wade.
I caught a few smaller rainbows, although there are some very nice size fish in this stretch of water.


It is not uncommon to see an eagle or an occasional osprey.  And then there's wildlife throughout the Island Park area...

Marley Moose was hanging around our cabin too.  = )

Another fun day on the water with my fly fishing "sisters".

I had two more days to fish after we said our goodbyes.  And with so many options in such a beautiful place, it was hard to choose.  How about back to the Yellowstone National Park...

The Madison

Soda Butte

The Yellowstone

Yes, I had plenty of fishing, enough catching, and great "sisters" to hang out with.

Now, you must be wondering who is the Lil' Bro in the title???...
After four years or so in blogging, my dream came true!  I met an elusive fly fishing blogger that has gone to Yellowstone every year but at different times... On the second morning, one of my "sisters" came up to me outside of TroutHunter and had me follow her inside.  I had heard that this Lil' Bro was in the area, but didn't know if we would meet up.  There he was, standing at the cash register.  I came up behind him and gave him one of those big ol' bearhugs that I am famous for when meeting online friends!  He turned his head a bit and exclaimed, "The River Damsel!!"  A few short stories in a five minute conversation pursued as the "Firehole Rangers" lurked looked on...

Ok... He didn't want me scrunching...  Haha.

So, what was the highlight of my trip?  Truly a toss up.  I will just say that having "sisters" for a few days, meeting someone "unaccomplished", and hooking an over 20" brownie made this trip unforgettable.

Special thanks to Michelle Bryant, Shelly Ehmer, JB McCollum, Tim and Chris. (Guys with special photography skills)  
And the girls pictures that were shared with me for this post and the yummy meals that were prepared each day!  Teamwork...  = )


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Gone Fishin'... Idaho Style

10 Fly-Sisters, 5 Adipose Boats, 5 Rowers, 1 awesome photographer, 2 days on the Idaho's Henry's Fork...  Sound amazing?

This is the big week for the TroutChicks.  10 of us are meeting up on the Henry's Fork in Island Park, ID.  Aileen Lane, Rachel Morgan, Michelle Bryant, Patti Bantam, Tara Olson, Brittany Davenport, Heidi Lewis, Holly Dixon, and ME!  Emily Blankenship aka:  The River Damsel.

Look out Island Park... We are comin' at ya!!  Full report by next Thursday!  (I'm doing a few side trips)  I got new treads and I'm heading down the road, toad.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Who Am I To Give Advice? ~ Sunday Tippets, Damsel Style

Is there really luck in fly fishing?  This is my take on the subject.  You might agree, disagree or think that it is a bunch of nonsense.  Whatever you think, here it goes...  On my journeys to the river lately, I am finding myself in situations of people asking me for advice.  I guess that you could say that I am giving "tippets" on other days of the week besides Sunday!  Now, who am I to give advice about the hatches, flies to use, the water temperature, the barometric pressure... etc.  I am no guide.  I am just the River Damsel.

Over the last four years or so, I have attended more classes than you can count fingers.  Or toes.  I'm sure that has added to whatever skills I have.  It's been a continuous learning adventure.  Then, the friends that I have fished with who have given me added bonus tips about this and that has been priceless.  But, now it surprises me when fly fishers stop me at the river and want to know what I'm doing different.  Am I in a lucky streak?    I most humbly say "no".   I used to think that it was all luck.  (Because of my catch rate)  Now, I can tell you that it is more than luck.  It's learning.

It's finding the place where the fish are feeding.   Finding the right place at the right time is not always an easy job.  

It's the mend.  Have I found that out this past year!   My friends have tried to help me learn to mend and to use it to catch fish.  The #1 way to catch a fish is a good drift.  Without it, you are working harder and longer.  I truly believe that.  And maybe for nothing.

It's fly selection.  Yes, there is a reason why we fly fishers look at the bushes, trees, and rocks while at the river or stream!  It's not just because we are snoopy and wonder what is out there.  We want that little bit of advantage in finding the food that the fish want to eat.  It's that simple.  Or is it?  Ha.

It's the cast.  Ok.  I am not one to brag about my casting abilities... I have none.  But, I do somehow get that fly where it needs to be, most of the time.  It might not be pretty.  Correction, no it isn't pretty.  Casting only helps you throw the line through the air.  But the fish don't live in the air.  They live in the water!   So, if you can get that fly in the right lane of fish traffic, you are doing well.  And all you need then, is the good drift.  Oh, and the right fly. might not be the "right" fly.  But, something close.  

So, when people stop me and want to ask a question... (like I often do to others), I am more than happy to share the little knowledge that I have acquired throughout my journey of fly fishing.  It seems funny to me that others think that I know what I am doing... haha.  But, when you have a fish in the net, you can't say that you don't know.  Right?  Because it isn't luck.  It's downright experience!  And perhaps a little bit of study, practice and patience... yes, that especially.  = )  Recently, I have had more fun observing others and seeing them catch a fish after I have given a bit of help.  Yes, fly fishing... whether it is a solo trip or a shared experience on the water with others, it is always different each time out.  

Sunday Tippet:  So, back to whether luck is involved in fly fishing.  There are many factors and yes, even a science to fly fishing.  I guess that is what makes us go back time after time to see if we can solve the equation.  It's not easy.  But, it is sure a heck of a lot of fun!  And if we can make that good presentation of a dead drift and show the fish who's boss by our fly drifting naturally... we are good as gold.  If the fly doesn't "drag" across the water, we have a pretty darn good chance of a fish making it to the net...

So, if you want to call it luck... go right ahead.  But, I don't believe it is a luck game.  Because if two fisherman have the same flies and different results... those previous factors that I have mentioned above, must have come into play.  I have been on that end of not being as productive as my neighbor on the water too.  That is why I am still practicing that mend!!!!  The journey continues...  And what fun it is.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Timing Is Everything

There’s an old saying that “timing is everything in life.” Many times our choices in life are considered either good or bad based on timing alone. From a simple joke to major life decisions, timing seems to impact our every move.  Well, timing certainly played a part in my last fishing day.  It was a cloudy Labor Day. The forecast called for 50% rain.  I fell rolled out of bed at 5 am and was out of the driveway at 5:30.  Now, I normally start work at 6 am, so I wasn't really excited about missing out on sleeping in on a holiday!  But, it was a front of a front and the barometer was telling me to go.  So, off I went.  I watched the sun rise at 6:50 am and the first cast was shortly thereafter.

I had my new camera with me and I was anxious to try it out.  I was also carrying my cell phone with me in my Simms waterproof pouch.  Now, I haven't carried it for awhile now, since I have dunked it a time or two or three.  But, there was a slight chance that my son, Ryan, might be calling me from the airport on his way to his new home away from home in Arizona on a church mission.  Ok.. So, I just said goodbye to him about 12 days ago at the training center.   But, it was another chance to hear his voice before the long wait for the Christmas phone call.  About a half hour into my casting, a barracuda brown trout went deep with my fly.  Precisely, 5 seconds later, my phone rang.  Timing.  Isn't it grand?  Here I am holding my fly rod with a pretty strong fish at one end and struggling to get my phone out of a zipper lock bag with my other... Ahhhhh!!!!  As I finally brought out my phone, the phone went silent.  (His dad would get the next call.)  All I can say is that I have a very nice voice mail that I can save for the next two years and replay when I want to hear "I love you, Mom"!!   (The good side to this story.)  Here is the culprit of the lost call...

Is he laughing?  Yeah... probably.

Then, a few more in the net... I was wondering where all my luck was coming from!  I had gone to the long run where I have the most problems.  It isn't an easy place to fish, because it gets so much traffic each day.  The fish have seen every fly and every set of feet.  So, being first on the water gave me an advantage.  And I had read a fishing report that said to throw some different bugs at these fish than the usual ones to throw them off.  Well, that report was dead on.  I didn't go with the hatches of PMD's and Caddis.  Throwing everything from Prince Nymphs to Rainbow Warriors
 to Midges.  

"Hey, would you mind taking a picture of me and my brownie?"  Yeah, the guy next to me now, looked thrilled.  (He hadn't caught anything yet and I was feeling rather badly about it)  But, he came over to help out ol' RD...  I asked him if he wanted the nymph that I was using to tag behind his dry... but, he shaked his head and said "no thanks".  
(Not a wet fly believer... Oh well!)

My smallest brown, which wasn't too shabby.  

Well, it was an incredible morning to say the least.  The rain came and drizzled off and on.  The fish weren't rising all that much, but they sure liked my menu of bugs that I bounced off the bottom of the river...  = )  I was meeting up with a couple of new fishing friends and by the time they came, I was extremely pleased with how things were going so far.  They were both pretty new to fly fishing (about a year or so) and they were interested in my bug selection and my set up of my line.  I had my fun already, so I helped them out a bit and we headed out to our war zones.  Fish on!  Incoming!  OH MY...

I didn't want to get too excited in front of them, but I finally got the fish that I have been looking for in this hole now for a couple of months!   Heehee.   So, there was kind of a victory dance lady like scream.  They were stoked too and loved this brownie.  It was cute how they were so excited for me.  Thanks, guys!

Back to our places. 

Ok.  That's what I'm talking about!  Getting it done on the Middle
Provo and catching the front of a front!

Nice work, now time for a group photo...

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines timing as “the ability to select the precise moment for doing something for optimum effect.”

Catching the storm at the right moment was exactly that.

The phone call... not so much.