Tuesday, February 28, 2017


What we're starting to believe lies on the other side. Dare to believe.

The Lost World of Mr. Hardy

Go back to another time.

"Good Hours" by Robert Frost

Randy Van Beek

I had for my winter evening walk--
No one at all with whom to talk,
But I had the cottages in a row
Up to their shining eyes in snow.

And I thought I had the folk within:
I had the sound of a violin;
I had the glimpse through curtain laces
of youthful forms and youthful faces.

I had such company outward bound.
I went till there were no cottages found.
I turned and repented, but coming back
I saw no window but that was black.

Over the snow my creaking feet
Disturbed the slumbering village street
Like profanation, by your leave,
At ten o'clock of a winter eve.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Back In the Saddle Again

The day after I went out with Sebastian I was able to go fishing all by myself. It was another warm, beautiful day, and seemed like the right kind of day to reactivate the float tube. I dug it out of the shed where I had stored it after the move, tossed it into the pickup, gathered all my gear, and hit the road.

I ended up at Yellowwood Lake again. I did drive to another nearby lake, one I haven't fished yet, but it was chockablock with houses and had limited access. It's supposed to be a good bass lake, but I find it hard to feel relaxed in lakes with that many shoreline neighborhoods. Then there's the feeling I get when I begin to wonder where all that sewage goes.

I like to catch fish, but I prefer to catch fish in beautiful places. Yellowwood fills the bill.

It wasn't long before I was kicking out in the float tube. I was back in the saddle again for the first time since late August back in Washington State. I began by trolling the big white streamer that was already on my line, remembering those kayakers and their big white plugs the day before. The plan was to cross to the other side and work the shoreline back.

On the way over I heard Sandhills. I had heard them earlier when I stopped to check out that other lake. There were long winding skeins of them passing one after another high overhead. That wasn't the only sign of Spring I saw or heard. Peepers were trilling in the marshes; at dusk, I heard woodcocks buzzing in the underbrush, then bursting high into the air and trilling their amazing mating calls as they spiraled back to earth; and bats came out over the water just before dark.

On the other side, just below where Sebastian and I had hiked the day before, I started working the shoreline with the white streamer.

After awhile I tied on a muddler and worked it around and through the deadfalls. It felt like I was really fishing.

A boat launched and eventually came around the shoreline past me. Three guys were throwing big white spinnerbaits up against the bank and cranking them back. I remembered the kayakers and thought I could discern a pattern here.

I thought of going back to the white streamer, but decided instead to break out an old bass bug I had with me. I tied this one about twenty-five years ago when I was living in northern Indiana, and it accounted for some nice bass in its day. It was good to get it wet again. It felt like something had come full circle.

I worked it carefully, with no results this time. Meanwhile, a noisy gathering of folks up in the campground built a big fire and began cooking something that smelled very good.

I cut the corner and headed for the boat ramp, as the brilliance of Venus shone through the high overcast. I hadn't caught anything, but I had gotten ready for the catching. I feel certain that it will not be long in coming.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Season Begins

We've been enjoying a warm spell here, and what better way to enjoy it than by getting outside. Sebastian and I loaded up my new truck and headed to Yellowwood to see if we could find any hungry fish.

My new used truck. I may not have chosen red if I was ordering from the factory, but now that I have a red truck I really like it. On the morning after I brought it home Sebastian asked me "Are you going to ride in your fire truck today?" Sure am. I plan to put some miles on it this season exploring Indiana waters and revisiting some favorite Michigan streams.

Sebastian piled out of the truck and started running up the hill. I got him to come back and get some things to carry, and then he was back up the hill like a shot.

The lake was beautiful. It may be February, but this is a spring lake.

We threw out some bee moths under a bobber and watched and waited.

Sebastian had a snack to pass the time, and I fished some spinners on a little spinning rig.

Being new here, I was wondering what one could expect at this lake. Then along came two guys in kayaks. They were geared for action, and were throwing what appeared to be big white plugs up against the bank. They looked like they knew what they were doing, so apparently one can expect big bass waking up and working their way into the shallows. I made a note of that.

Meanwhile our bee moths were being shunned, and my spinners seemed embarrassingly tiny after those big plugs. We decided to declare our fishing season officially open, and go hike the trail.

Sebastian loved the time last October when we hiked this trail, and was eager to get started. I made him pose by the trail marker again so I could compare the photo with one I took then. Looks to me like he's grown some over the last 4 months.


Last October.

We had a great time just following the trail, looking around, and enjoying each other's company.

It was hard to get him to turn around and head back, even when the sun dipped behind the ridge and the temperature began to drop.

He agreed, though, when I started asking what we might have for supper. We made good time getting back to the dam. When he saw where we were he took off over the dam and down the hill.

I tried to keep up with him, but it turns out he had a plan. He was making a beeline to the creek below the spillway on the other end of the dam. He got there before me and started across.

That wasn't in my plans, and I made him come out. We both got our feet wet in the process. At the truck he was mad at me, and refused to turn around for another photo.

But, as is so great about four-year-olds, by the time we were loaded up and on the road he had forgiven me. We told stories about our hike and laughed at all the funny things that had happened. He had just been jabbering away about something when suddenly there was a profound silence from the back seat. I looked around and he was sound asleep.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Oregon on Verge of Public Land Sell-off

Elliott State Forest won't be put up for sale
A view of the Elliott State Forest. (Tony Andersen/Oregon Dept. of Foresty)

This is what it looks like when things move from "what if" to "get used to it."

From the Oregonian: Oregon Takes Big Step Toward Privatizing Elliott State Forest.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

"Love: Beginnings" by C.K. Williams

Image result for valentine heart paintings

                                  They’re at that stage where so much desire streams between them, so
                                            frank need and want,
                                   so much absorption in the other and the self and the self-admiring entity
                                             and unity they make—
                                   her mouth so full, breast so lifted, head thrown back so far in her
                                             at his laughter,
                                   he so solid, planted, oaky, firm, so resonantly factual in the headiness of
                                             being craved so,
                                   she almost wreathed upon him as they intertwine again, touch again,
                                             cheek, lip, shoulder, brow,
                                   every glance moving toward the sexual, every glance away soaring back
                                             flame into the sexual—
                                   that just to watch them is to feel again that hitching in the groin, that fill-
                                              ing of the heart,
                                   the old, sore heart, the battered, foundered, faithful heart, snorting again,
                                             stamping in its stall.

"Love: Beginnings" by C.K. Williams from Flesh and Blood© Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1998.

Monday, February 13, 2017

S. C. O. F., Winter '17


More like a hundred proof. Get it HERE.

"Common Ground," the Majesty of Winter

Yes, winter is a pain. I say that, looking forward to temps in the 60's forecast for the weekend. But I remember well the severe winters that many of you may be experiencing right now.

This video reminds us of an important winter survival skill: the ability to recognize the season as an amazing natural phenomenon, to be moved and renewed by its beauty and power, and to stand in awe before the majesty of Winter.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Twenty Seconds for the Tongass 77


Kudos to Chi Wulff for being one of the leading fly fishing blogs in the effort to spread the word about conservation and environmental issues affecting our sport and outdoor lifestyle.

Please go on over there to see how you can sign on in the fight to "support continued management of the Tongass National Forest (Alaska) as public land on a rational, multi-use basis."

Just click HERE.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Eat, Sleep, Fish, No. 62

Another refreshing reminder that fly fishing is a global movement. Read it HERE.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

"Some Days" by Philip Terman


Some days you have to turn off the news
and listen to the bird or truck
or the neighbor screaming out her life.
You have to close all the books and open
all the windows so that whatever swirls
inside can leave and whatever flutters
against the glass can enter. Some days
you have to unplug the phone and step
out to the porch and rock all afternoon
and allow the sun to tell you what to do.
The whole day has to lie ahead of you
like railroad tracks that drift off into gravel.
Some days you have to walk down the wooden
staircase through the evening fog to the river,
where the peach roses are closing,
sit on the grassy bank and wait for the two geese.

"Some Days" by Philip Terman from Our Portion. © Autumn House Press, 2015.

Put Down the Economic Report and Pick Up a Pitchfork

Seen this yet? A call to arms from the boys at Moldy Chum, for all sportsmen and sportswomen who love our land and waters, regardless of political stripe.

Get fired up HERE.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

After Byske

Rolf can get the shot. Gorgeous.

Public Lands Deserve a Public Process

Congress is preparing to vote on a bill that would have major implications for recreation on 245 million acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The vote would throw out an essential BLM planning process and prevent important modernizations in the future.
You can read more about this bill (H.J. Res. 44 in the House, and S.J. Res. 15 in the Senate) on our blog, but the short story is that over the last two years, the BLM has worked collaboratively with groups like Outdoor Alliance and local organizations to develop its Planning 2.0 initiative. Planning 2.0 better recognizes the importance of recreation on public lands and improves how the BLM handles data and public input. 
Congress is planning to completely overturn this regulation, which would roll back the public process, undercut outdoor recreation, and block needed reforms into the future. These bills are very likely to pass unless there is a lot of public outcry about them. We've made it easy to reach out.
This bill sounds wonky (and it kind of is) but we can't overemphasize how important this is. If you have 2 minutes today, please send a letter. And if you have 5 minutes, send a letter and make a call to your member of Congress.
Thanks so much for standing up for public lands,
Outdoor Alliance
P.S. Your lawmakers work for you. Make sure they hear from you.
Photo credit: Hunter Day

Monday, February 6, 2017

DUN, February - March

The woman's touch. Always good, and getting better. Get it HERE.

Not So Super Super Bowl Sunday

We had another break in the weather, and this time I was able to arrange a quick fishing trip. It was Super Bowl Sunday. I figured everyone else would stay home for the game.

I headed for the tailwater of the Brookville Dam, the only location in this part of the state that's stocked with trout. It's a hundred miles from home one way, but that's how far I drove to Rocky Ford Creek in Washington. As then, it seemed a reasonable distance to drive for a chance at winter trout.

There were lots of cars in the parking area as I geared up and started down the path to the water. I would see maybe ten other fishermen over the course of the afternoon. My guess is they were Colts fans.

The water looked good from the ridge.

Ponds I had passed on the drive were covered with a skin of ice, and here, too, the backwaters still showed evidence of our recent cold spell.

The water temperature, according to my research from the night before, was just under 40 degrees. The air temperature on this day beat that, hitting a high of 50. I waded in and began fishing the slick ahead of the riffle. Then I fished the riffle down to the next slick.

Looking back, I could see the dam and the concrete spillway and the rip rapped channel. Seems that many like to fish right up in that, but I was happy to be fishing my way downstream in a river that looked like a river.

Are there more fish up there in the industrial end? I didn't see any evidence of that; and even if there were, I would still fish downriver.

This tailwater is stocked with Browns as well as Rainbows. There are said to be holdovers, and I imagine that's what all of us were looking for. I was throwing big streamers, and there were plenty of spots that could have held a winter-hungry trout. I was also more than willing to feed a hungry smallmouth that might have slipped up into the trout zone.

It was good to stretch out my casting muscles, stiff from inactivity. My ankles also got a nice workout from the cobble bottom.

Other than that, the wading was easy, and I was able to find pathways through the current that never went over my knees. That's good, because the leak in the waders is in the crotch and never came into play.

Two fishermen were ahead of me and stayed in one spot for a long time. When they left I waded up and found the lovely little run they had been working.

I worked it over thoroughly, head to tail. It was well-oxygenated, deep along the bank, and widened out into a deep pool. I was forced to conclude that this would be the place to find fish--if there were any fish in this river. Maybe there was a big holdover Brown lurking somewhere, but if he wasn't in here I don't where he could have been.

I did get one thing out of this run: a big streamer hung up in a tree. It wasn't that hard to reach. I guess the guy that lost it had plenty more where that came from.

I worked my way back upstream drifting a nymph deep under an indicator through the whole run. It was good practice.

The sun went down behind the town just over there behind the trees. I had seen a couple of mayflies glowing in the afternoon sun earlier, and a caddis fly had fluttered by a little while ago. I stayed awhile to see if anything might pop, or half pop, with the sun off the water, but it wasn't a popping kind of day.

I finally waded out under the bridge, walked past the fire ring--there was one on the other side, too--and climbed up to the car.

The sunset on the drive home was Falcon red, but quickly faded into Patriot blue--and then blackness.