Wednesday, July 30, 2008

NOW We're Making Some Progress...

I've learned that my 10 weeks in Idaho is equivalent to 18 months of "Kari time" (though it's gone from 386 days a few weeks ago to 18 months, so I'm sure I can extrapolate what it'll be by the time I leave with some fancy equations).

In exchange for those 18 months "Kari time" she'd like a small puppy and a kitten. My friend Ryan has cats, and of course they're precious... but outside of field goal practice and bait (great top water action when you get them in the water) I'm not really sure what the purpose of cats are. But in the end, I'm allergic to cats, and I think we've since discovered that Kari's would likely be allergic to litter boxes, so I've countered with a medium sized puppy.

Kari's come back with a medium sized puppy and 1/2 a kitten.

At least we're negotiating now.

Worked out yesterday morning and then fished with Craig and Rob in a stretch of water we hadn't fished before. Great fishing. Large, fat, healthy fish. And the grasshoppers are now out in full force, so those big fish really love the large grasshopper patterns.

Craig had a run in with a barbed wire fence, and fortunately only his pants were left worse for wear, but the barbed wire fence won this round. Since we're trying to keep this a G rated blog, this is all I can show you...

Cooked out on the upper landing around the fire pit last night....steaks, asparagus, baked potatoes, smoked sausage, fresh salad and of course an adult beverage or two. When it got dark enough Craig had a telescope and you could see Jupiter along with 4 of it's 5 moons. Pretty cool. Incredibly peaceful spot.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

If You Can't Work with Them...

...Do it when they're not looking.

With the satellite connection problems we've experienced, the Internet seems to work best at early and odd hours of the morning, probably when anyone else who's on our same satellite is sleeping.

It seems my buddy Craig was taking advantage of that this morning, and really got his blog going in full force. Lots of photos, snippets, and stories.

Craig is witty, travels extensively, an artist, and an excellent photographer. He'll have a lot of neat stuff on his blog, so check it out at

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hooked a Beast....

Our friend Rob arrived this afternoon and we whisked him off to one of our favorite creeks as quickly as he could grab his gear out of his car.

A pair of pants torn on the way over a barbed wire fence....a waist deep bog....nothing was going to stop us from getting to our destination. Even when I realized that I'd left my lanyard with all of my flies and tippet and other tools in the car....nothing was going to slow us down.

I came up along side Sid as he found a pool with a huge fish in it, though it had refused his offerings a couple of times. I had a different fly rigged, so he had me go ahead and give it a whirl. I cast once or twice and was met with a great strike. I took a couple of steps away from the bank to get my line tight on the fish as Sid shouted, "Wow, have you seen the size of this fish?"

I indeed did, as it turns out it was chasing the brook trout that had eaten my fly. I got the brook trout to shore and safety before the very large cutthroat trout had a chance to take a bite. The cutthroat was definitely large enough to eat the brook trout, and yes, fish do eat other fish. Sid snapped a shot of me and the fish before I walked him to another stretch of the stream for a successful release.

I caught this beauty a bit later on as well. You can see all of the magnificent yellow, red and blue spots indicative of the brook trout.

But little did I know that I'd hook my largest beast of the day right before we were going to leave......


Normally, we fish hooks with the barbs mashed down so that it's easier to release the fish. In fact, on this stretch of water, it's actually a regulation, but as I mentioned, I'd left all of my tools in the car, and while I'd borrowed a couple of flies from Sid, I didn't think about mashing the barbs down, or didn't realize until others were far away from me.

Of course, that's karma that I'd stick myself like that today. I tried to remove it myself unsuccessfully, so Craig came over and used the method of wrapping some monofilament around the hook, and then applying pressure parallel with the shank to pull the hook from my finger.

I didn't keep my finger straight enough on the first yank, but fortunately, the second effort removed the hook from my finger. Later, as we were walking back to the truck, Craig retorted, "Well, I'm sure I loosened it up real good on that first pull."

But despite impaling myself with the fly, and the fishing not turning out quite up to the level we'd hoped, it's really too much like our own little, well, actually, pretty darn expansive "Field of Dreams" to let any of that put a damper on our day.

from left to right: Rob, Craig, and I

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Back on the Water

Sid and I got the 1:30 am call yesterday that they'd need us back at the field at 5 am, but they'd have replacements for us after that. When we arrived, we found we were playing an oil drilling family from Wyoming.

If you'd told me that the tournament director had gone down to the local truck stop, asked 11 guys if they'd wanted to play ball in a tournament, and put together a team I'd have believed you. All were wearing jeans or Dickies type work pants, t-shirt or button down work shirt and trucker cap. Not typical ball field attire, though I guess I've never been on a ball field at 5 am.

Turns out we probably could have won with only 8 players, as we won 31-10 on mercy rule after the 4th inning. Hopefully the first and last time I watch the sun come up over the mountains during a softball game.

But, when you realize that a 5 am softball game on 2 hours sleep is the worst part of the day, you realize that life is awfully nice.

While Sid took some first time fly-fishing guests out to the stream, Craig and I went to one of our favorite spots. Wendy and Sherri came along as well, and hiked with us for a bit, and then we left them to meander while we wet our flies.

It took me a little time to wake up, though, once we hit the stream. I cast once and a small fish came up and hit the fly. I didn't react at all. Craig said, "Wasn't that a hit?" I responded, "Probably, but I just figured it was a riffle." Either way, I just didn't move.

A few casts later, I hear Craig shout, "Oh, jeez, Jeffrey, Isn...Wha...Hey..."

I finally lift my rod and end up with a very nice fish on the end. Fortunately, Craig was there as a seeing-eye-dog since I apparently was standing there and not seeing much of anything. Fortunately, after I got my feet into the water to release the fish, I finally started feeling a little more refreshed.

We caught a few nice fish as we made our way towards a hole where Craig has some history with a very large fish that has tormented him and he's yet to bring to hand. On the way to the hole, Craig looked around, didn't see anyone and commented that the girls must have walked back to the car.

I actually stepped up and fished the back of the pool first, and caught a good little fish, and then Craig took his turn at the front of the pool. His first few casts yielded a rise from a monster fish, but Craig just missed setting the hook. The fishing wasn't coming back for a second try on the same fly, though, so Craig switched to a different fly.

Craig tied on a new special fly for the occasion as I moved to the other side of the bank to try to capture some video. As Craig is working the pool, I look over and spot Wendy walking our direction. When Craig's fly finished it's drift, I told Craig, "I see your bride coming over the hill."

Craig turns to look over his shoulder, says "Where at?" when an enormous "WHOOOOOSH" erupted behind us. It was so loud it was as if someone had dunked a pail into the stream to fetch water.

We both just looked at each other and couldn't help but have a laugh for a good minute as we knew that fish would have to remain a quest for another day.

We continued up stream and hit a nice stretch of water that produced five or six fish, including a couple of nice "Cutbows" which are a cross between a cutthroat and a rainbow trout.

In the picture, you can see the distinctive orange cut below the mouth of the trout, which is the defining mark of a cutthroat, but you can also see the deep vertical lines on the fish, which aren't typically on a cutthroat, and are more indicative of a rainbow. Those lines appear almost as if you dipped your finger in ink, and lightly drew them down the side of the fish.

As we hit our last stretch, I caught my largest of the day, and Craig captured this great photo of the fish in the water just after I released it.

A nice cookout to end our long weary day, and the to bed to rest up for the next outing.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bad Case of the Dumb Ass

For those that aren't aware, a "Bad Case of the Dumbass" is an acute disease that often strikes at inopportune or obscure times. It occurs in varied degrees, with a range of symptoms from minor emotional distress, to cuts and bruises, to extremely fatal.

I've fortunately avoided the latter, but I've had two cases in the past two days, and Dr. Craig has quickly diagnosed both occurrences. One with hopefully only slightly minimal emotional consequence which will hopefully subside and pass (no, not you, Kari), thought it's a pretty funny story that I'll share in a week or so, so as not to further aggravate any anxiety.

The second was tonight. It manifested itself in the form of this pretty little number on my shin...

This case of the dumbass was caused by lackadaisically rounding second base on a ball to left field, watching the throw coming perfectly to the cutoff while I was still standing between second and third base. I found myself in a rundown, and then, in an effort to try to redeem myself with hustle, slid into third while wearing shorts on a field made of crushed pumice. I don't think I've slid on a ball field in 12 years. It was just flat muscle memory in the competitive moment. Oh, yeah, I was out.

Oh well. Blood on your uni makes you look tough, right?


Does it at least maybe mitigate the stupidity some?


Well, at least hopefully the cool water of a trout stream will sooth it tomorrow.

This is actually a post game update, as we're back from our first two games of the softball tournament, as Sid needed to greet some guests who arrived while we were gone. We're now on call and expect to have to be back at the field between 2 am and 4 am for the double elimination portion of the "All Night" softball tournament we got wrangled into playing.

We won our first seeding game handily, and then got annihilated in our second game. That leaves us in the precarious position of either being a bottom seed in the top tier of the tourney, which means we'll probably go lose two games and be back in time for 8am breakfast and then taking clients fishing, or we'll be a top seed in the bottom tier, have a chance to win that tier, and totally screws up our Saturday. They're hopefully finding replacements for us though. The softball is fun, but I think we'd both rather be back and fishing tomorrow.

I'll update the outcome tomorrow.

Last night we had a small "Anniversary Cookout" around the fire pit for Craig and Wendy. Salad with fresh lettuce grown in a friend of Sid and Sherri's garden in town, chicken, smoked sausage, some cake, and the most breathtaking sky you could imagine. The stars here are incredible. You don't see skies like this unless you're somewhere with basically zero ambient light, which we're fortunate to be able to enjoy here.

I know Craig and Wendy wished their girls could have been there, and I know there's some people that I'd have enjoyed sharing it with as well, but I think we were all grateful to have been able to share it with the people that were here.

This morning was down to the gym, and then back to the lodge to work on the yard, deck, and digging up a pipe to flush out to keep the fresh spring water flowing properly. We didn't get to fish in the evening like we'd hoped because they couldn't find softball replacements, but hopefully that will be rectified in short order.

Gonna get ready to head back out to the fields. We'll see if I'm smart enough to either put on some long pants, or just not slide.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Went out fishing with Craig and Sid for a couple of hours today. We each caugt a few fish on a beautiful stretch of water. Some areas were still a bit high and moving pretty swiftly, but it's encouraging that there's some great water as is right now, and then also as things continue to dry out, we know where there will be some absolutely excellent spots.

Here's Sid with a nice Yellowstone Cutthroat:

And Craig's nicest of the day...

...coming to hand...

And when my nicest one gets 6 feet from my feet, and all of the sudden the hook pops....yeah, there might be a twinge of frustration.

But then you lift your head and instead of office or cubicle walls you see this....

....and somehow all seems right with the world.

Breakfast is for the Birds...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The 2008 Cuttthroat Honey Hole....

...I believe was officially discovered today. I only made it out for a couple of hours, but caught 8, and well, I probably saw 20 fish larger than the outstanding little 3 pounder that I did manage to bring to hand, which was my largest today. He was a strong fighter, and the take was probably the best I've had since I arrived. I'm pretty sure he must have hurdled the other fish in the pool to get to my flying ant pattern, as he shot nearly completely out of the water to suck down the fly.

Unfortunately I had a bad camera day, as I was on my own again, but all the fun I had is certainly ingrained in my head, so that's what's important. The only half decent shot of one of my other nice catch is below.

The fishing was squeezed in after the morning workout, and then more rocking picking. Why more rocking picking you ask? No, not another fire pit, but a rock garden, obviously. And then the firewood was cut, gathered and stacked for future use in the fire pit.

Then I had to get back from fishing for the Soda Springs Co-ed Softball League games that we had tonight. Turned out to be a double header, so basically, I'm tuckered out.

Got to get up for the workout in the morning, and then there's more wood to be cut, and I think a couple of Men's League Softball games tomorrow night, but not sure. Hopefully squeeze a bit more fishing in as well, and hopefully get the camera skills back on track.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I Need Some New Superlatives...

I feel like I'm writing "Spectacular" or "Gorgeous" or "Beautiful" so often that those words will lose their luster. It's hard to do this place justice, though, as every turn seems to bring something different and more aesthetically pleasing than the last....even when you pass it every day.

Yesterday we went up the hill and picked some rocks. Yes, we went rock picking. What for might you ask? To make the fire pit, or course. And obviously, Sid was very relieved when it was finished.

Later that afternoon, we headed out to "The Reef." It was an area that I'd passed nearly every time I'd even gone out fishing while I've been here, but have never stopped and hiked into. It was incredible. It was a phenomenal afternoon, and the lush green meadows against the volcanic rock lined ridges left only the slightest hint of despair after not catching a fish for the first time since I've been out here.

Craig and Sid each caught a couple, but the fishing was very slow as the water levels in this area were still pretty high, and we didn't see a lot of surface activity. Fishing on this stretch should be great in the next week to ten days, though, so I'm eagerly looking forward to heading back there.

I did get a pretty neat video of Craig catching a great fish which I think I'll try to get up on YouTube at some point. We've also discussed getting the Video Camera out with us a bit more and hopefully putting a DVD together at the end of the summer.

Here was the scenery of the day:

This morning I worked out and then did a few minor things around the cabin before I headed out fishing. Sid was off to Pocatello and Craig to Jackson Hole to meet Wendy to celebrate their anniversary tomorrow (Happy Anniversary), so I headed off on my own.

I was going to one of my favorite areas where I had a fair amount of luck last week, and on the hike out planned on stopping at a hole where I knew there was a large fish that I'd spooked each of the other times I'd been out this year. Sid and I had discussed my previous attempts at this fish and decided on a different plan of attack.

It was a bit more overcast and cool today than it has been previously, so everyone anticipated that the fish would be eating all day as opposed to early and late as typical on a warm summer day. I entered the stream and started making my way towards that hole, using a yellow grasshopper pattern. But as I cast and cast to start the day without seeing any hint of life, I was getting nervous that it would be a long day lonely day until the fish started eating. I cast and re-cast about 12 times and nothing was really happening.

I remembered that the day earlier Craig had caught a nice fish not to far from where I was with an orange attractor, so I decided to tie one of those to the end of my leader, and began again casting the beautiful 4 wt Sage rod that my friend Joe had given me before I left North Carolina. The first time I'd used it was yesterday and ended the day fishless, so I was eager to "get the skunk off" the rod.

The water and wind were calm, and I was getting a nice smooth drift. I couldn't believe that I wasn't getting a hint of action, when no sooner did a hole in the water engulf my fly. I came tight on the fish and felt the strength of a fish unlike any trout that I'd felt before.
I kept the line tight to make sure the barbless hook was well set. As I saw the fish begin to fight and come to the surface, I knew it was the largest trout that I'd ever had on the line.

I was surprised by it's strength, and wanted to be careful to get it to a location where I could photograph it, but not be so lackadaisical that I would risk losing the fish. As I stripped it in, it would continue to fight and try to get into the current and swim downstream.

After a few exchanges of taking line, giving some back, and then taking in some more, I'd successfully gotten the fish to the bank. I wasn't in a great spot, as the bank was soft and muddy, so I grabbed my point and shoot camera to snap a couple of photos. Luckily, I had it in a waterproof case as I dropped the camera in the stream in the process. With all the mud that kicked up as I landed the fish, I was nervous as I couldn't find the camera for a few moments. Fortunately it appeared after a few tense moments as I waited for the water to clear and was able to snap a few photos. A 24" fat, healthy, beautiful cutthroat trout.

I caught a couple of other nice fish in the next couple of hours. The fishing was a bit slow, but the ones that ate were voracious. Since I'm not big on walking around in water slinging a lightning rod, I decided to head in as I saw lightning approaching.

Unfortunately, my friends weren't there to share the moment of the catch with me, but the "Holy Cow" e-mail response to the photo, and the "You got a 24-incher today?" response upon return to the lodge was still a fun way to relive the moment.

What a day. Be well, all.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Craig, Sid and I hit an Estate Auction for a bit this morning. The whole thing seemed a bit eerie to me, since the person's belongings that they were selling is still walking amongst us. The gentleman was actually down at the local airstrip so anyone who wanted to go down and see his kit plane could go take a look before it went up for auction with his other belongings.

There was everything from tools, an 1851 US Issue Musket, textbooks from 1942, to 10 model airplanes made from Mountain Dew and Pepsi Cans.

We stuck around to watch for a bit. The guys doing the auctioning amazed and befuddled me all at the same time. It obviously took a good amount of skill and experience to keep an auction of this size moving with all of the different lots being sold, by pricing each item relatively correctly to start, as well as knowing when to push harder and when to pull back when necessary to maximize the bidding.

That said, does talking that fast really spark bidding? I understand that there's tradition and all involved, and maybe it's their way of marking their control of the event, "HeyI'mtheonetalkingandI'mincontrolsodon'tthinkabouttalkingbecause

But outside of a potentially good way to burn calories while standing still, I just don't get the phenomenon.

Anyhow, there wasn't anything that wowed any of us so we left after a short time and prepared to go fishing in the afternoon.

It was a gorgeous afternoon, and we hit another part of Tin Cup today. I caught 8 fish, had two strikes from a couple of bruisers that I missed, and countless other misses of small fish. The fish I did manage to bring to hand ranged from literally the size of my thumb (oh man I was looking forward to the picture when I dropped that fish) to one of the nicer fish that I've caught since I've been here, which is pictured below.

I hooked one little guy, and the take was so cool when he ate that I thought the fish was much bigger than it was. I lifted my rod to pull tight and I actually yanked the fish out of the water, lassoed him over my head, nearly hit Sid in the head in the process, and then the fish flew about 15 yards down stream.

Clearly, it was funnier if you were standing there. Here's a picture of the nicest fish I caught today, as well as one each of Sid and I fishing at different points in the afternoon.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Brook Trout on 8 Mile

Worked out yesterday morning and then hit the grocery store so I could prepare my soup for Sherri's Bunko game. It turned out pretty well if I do say so myself.

Got out fishing this morning with Criag who arrived late Tuesday night. Hit a spot called 8 mile which was very tight fishing, with small but feisty Brook Trout.

Some very pretty wild flowers as well.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Idaho Week One in the Books

Had a great weekend to end the first week out in Idaho. Saturday, we hiked up into a canyon, pictured below, and then fished for a bit and hiked back out. Was a good time. The fishing back there should be great when we get to spend more time up there. There weren't a ton of fish, but the ones that were there were big ones. I caught a very nice fish that I tried to get a picture of, but lost when I grabbed the leader to try to get it to hand. I probably could have netted it if I had a net, but when I once asked a friend who guides in Montana why people used nets on fish like trout, she responded "Nets are for sissies." So I haven't ever carried a net.

Sunday, I went out for a time by myself and spent a very peaceful day on the water. Caught a few fish midday when I arrived, but fishing was slow. It picked up later in the afternoon, and when all was said and done, I'd probably had 10-12 to hand. Here are a couple that I was able to get photos of. Still getting the hang of trying to catch and photo all in one motion.

Monday morning, after I woke up, I took a look off the deck onto the front road, and a friendly sheep was just taking a stroll. Not something you see every morning in Chicago.

Monday afternoon Sherri had reserved an area known as "The Dam" (it's next to the dam) here on the local lake. Her friends brought a boat, and everyone took turns water skiing and tubing. It was a lot of fun. Beautiful day. I took a bunch of photos of most everyone water skiing and tubing. I tubed, got flipped a few times. I tried to water ski for the first time since I was eight. I tried twice. I still haven't water skiied since I was eight. My teeth feel remarkably clean, though.

Oh, and who would have guessed there'd be crawfish in a lake in Idaho?

Hope everyone's doing well.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Read a book...

....yesterday. Black Widow, by Randy Wayne White. Good read.

Worked out in the morning and fished in the evening yesterday as well. Caught some nice fish. Saw a couple of very nice fish that decided not to play with me yesterday, but hopefully we'll get to play a bit down the line.

Caught a pretty nice Cutthroat with a rod that had been repaired by my friend Mike O'Connor. I had a pretty sweet little three weight Winston that had been bestowed to me by Craig when I moved to North Carolina, and last year, out here, it snapped in the butt section of the rod. I was about to toss it when Mike did a beautiful job bringing the rod back to life. Seamless. You'd have to study it to know it was repaired.

Sucker really inhaled that tan grasshopper pattern.....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Keeping Busy

Sid's wife Sherri is a personal trainer, so I've spent the last two mornings working out. My body isn't used to this. Hopefully I'll keep it up, though, as I feel pretty good.

Helped Sid a bit with the roof deck yesterday. Should get to continue on that in the next few days, but construction here is similar to what I've seen in Mexico and the DR in the past. The materials get here when they get here, since the nearest Home Depot is 60 miles away.

It was great working outside though. I felt like Andy Dufrane. Standing on the roof, doing manual labor. It was a new kind of freedom. All I needed was some suds.

The country out here is absolutely spectacular. Even more beautiful than when I was here last year. Soda Springs got nearly 120 inches of snow this past year, so when spring arrived, everything came up twice as tall and twice as green.

There's a lot of water in the river here, so the fishing has been a bit tough so far, but it's incredibly peaceful, and as the water levels get a little lower, it'll be easier to identify where the fish should be holding. There also hasn't been a lot of insect activity on the water yet, but when I was fishing further south, they said with the late spring, all of the hatches are late, so it's likely that we're behind here as well.

Basically, we're optimistic if this great weather holds that fishing should really go gang busters in the next few weeks. I think we're going to wait until a little later this evening for things to cool down to test the waters today.

Pics to come soon.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Made it to Idaho

Internet's been out at the lodge. A satellite isn't working somewhere and tech support to recalibrate the dish here is about 150 miles away, so waiting on an appointment.

I'll be back soon with stories and pics.

Hope all is well with everyone.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Denver to Heber City, UT

Made it to Heber City, Utah tonight, which is about 45 minutes southwest of Salt Lake City. Picked up Route 40 a bit west of Denver and stuck with it the entire way. Passed through Winter Park and Steamboat Springs, Colorado and Vernal, Utah along the way.

The bulk of the drive was very picturesque. The mountains from Denver to Steamboat Springs were incredible, and everything was very lush and green. The water level in the streams looked great, and there's not telling how long you could fish from Winter Park to Steamboat Springs without ever hitting the same piece of water a second time. Would be a really great place to get back to at some point.

Eastern Utah was much prettier than I expected as well.

I'm not really happy with the way the pictures are uploading, but hopefully I'll get it corrected for tomorrow.

Hopefully get some fishing in tomorrow morning, and then head towards Idaho tomorrow afternoon.

P.S. Thanks for taking such good care of me while I was in Denver, Janis.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Let the Fishing Commence!!!

I headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park today on the advice of some guys at Rocky Mountain Anglers in Boulder. I stopped into Kirk's Fly Shop in Estes Park on my way into RMNP, and a local guide named Bryce suggested a few spots in the park for me, as well as gave me a few places in Utah I may check on tomorrow.

I found the parking location he suggested just west of the Alluvial Fan, and had my choice of going up towards the Roaring River, or west down the Fall River.

I first chose to try to navigate the rocks up around these falls and try to get up to the Greenback Cutthroats on the Roaring River.

As I got a good ways up the rocky trail, however, I continued to run into obstacle after obstacle, and spots where I didn't really feel like there was a true trail, and felt that it probably wasn't the best idea to try to continue on into this type of terrain in an unfamiliar area on my own.

I turned back, and headed down towards the Fall River. Only this time, I kept running into a fence denoting a Wildlife Area. Every now and again I'd come to a gate with a sign posted "Please Keep Gate Closed." I kept walking and came up to a few people inside fishing, and then walked a little further hoping to find an opening. I then came up to a couple of guys leaving out of the river on my side of the fence.

"Did you catch them all already?" I asked.

The responded that they saw a bunch of fish, but none were eating what they were offering. I asked how to get in and they said, that they typically just roll under the fence, but you can get in through the gates. Unbeknown to me, the "Please Keep Gate Closed" meant after you passed through.

Oh well. I found my way to the stream, and the water was flowing pretty swiftly. I don't know that I'd ever been on a stream moving this quickly, and I felt like I was having a hard time finding the right pockets of slower moving water to fish where the fish would be holding.

Though I'd only been on the water for a relatively short time, after my wandering to start the day, I was starting to get a bit discouraged. I started to think that this was going to turn into an observation walk and though I might spook some fish in the process, I'd try to get up on them and get a better idea of where they were holding.

So I took a deep breath to settle myself, snapped this photo, and continued upstream.

I was walking the right bank, and when I got even with the patch of grass in the middle of the photo, I noticed a pool on the left side of the stream that was holding fish. I stepped into the stream to try to get back down stream a bit and get a better angle to cast, and I spooked a fish out of the hole as I entered. Nevertheless, I threw my ant pattern across the stream, and a hole in the water engulfed my fly, and the first fish of 2008 was on. It also happened to be the first Brown Trout I've ever caught.

Now, some of you might think, "Really? That's it?" No, it's not the biggest fish ever caught by man, but to feel it hit the fly, after stalking and exploring new territory..... it was a pretty rewarding catch and a boost to my confidence. I was ready to continue upstream with a new spring in my step.

About 20 yards ahead, I came to a small piece of water that jutted off to the left of the main river. It probably wasn't more than four feet wide at it's widest point, but as I looked down, I saw a couple of nice fish holding in the middle.

I back tracked about 15 yards to get away from the stream and hopefully out of sight of the fish. I walked up a ways and then moved back closer to the stream behind them to approach the fish. I cast upstream and no sooner did the fly hit the water and slowly start to drift that I felt a strike at the end of my line. I came tight and the fish jumped. It was even nicer than I'd thought when I'd seen it initially.

Better than a 12" Brown Trout, which from what I've read is a very nice fish for this part of the park. I made a few more casts at some of his buddies, but no luck, so I decided that I'd head out on a high and the confidence of that second fish.

What a great way to start the fishing portion of this adventure!!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Red Rocks...

Janis drove me up to a fly shop in Boulder this morning so I could get some suggestions where I might try to get into some fish tomorrow. I think I'll head up towards Rocky Mountain National Park and see if I can't wet a line.

Then we headed down to walk around Red Rocks Park for a bit. Here's a view to the west of Colorado Route 93 from Boulder to Red Rocks.

Inside Red Rocks Park at the entrance to the amphitheatre:

Front part of the park with the Denver skyline off to the east in the background:

As close as we could get to the amphitheatre as there was a sound check taking place for what we later found out online to be Blues Traveler and Live:

And just some local wild flora and life:

Taking it easy tonight before I head out fishing tomorrow, and then hopefully towards Idaho Sunday.

Hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th.