Monday, April 18, 2016

The Unexpected Gobble

Life has a way of compressing opportunities.  Between work, family, church, and other commitments, my opening weekend of turkey hunting was a scant 3 hour window.

A bevy of roost gobbles got the blood going, but on this un-scouted ground, I was unsure as to the birds patterns and likely routes.

So I dropped my pack, posted up agains a big bull pine and let the melodrama of sunrise play out.

The first hen hit the ground about 300 yards out.  Soon after 3 other ladies joined her and then, a boss of a tom.  It was going to be a tall order to get the big guy away from the hens.

Every time I hit the call, he thundered back.  The progress was slow but progress towards me non the less

At about 100 or so yards, the game was picking up.  Quite clucks and purrs were met with double responses as the big guy was getting hot and bothered.  Hell, this might actually happen

If you've ever had the next thing happen to you in the turkey woods that happened to me at this point, you'll understand how it makes every hair stands up on the back of your neck.

The gobble came from another bird no more than 50 yards behind me.  The second gobble lit up at the first cluck from my mouth call and I knew the bird was on top of me.

Crunch, crunch, crunch noises from the underbrush and the bird was less than 10 yards on my left.

Head radiating, glowing red, blues and whites.  Where was this forlorn lovestruck lady he had been hearing?  Her knight in shining armor was here to whisk her off her feet

Having a tom come in silent, only to rattle your cage at your feet has to be one of the most electric experiences I've ever had hunting.  Being so focused on another set of birds and then only having seconds to react to the interloper, I can only hope others get that same experience this turkey season

Good luck out there!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Public Lands Rally Friday in Richland

The issue of Federal Land Transfer is burning white hot across the west right now, and it's about to get scalding this Friday in Richland, Washington.

Utah representative Ken Ivory, and his lobbying group American Lands Council is bringing his snake oil pitch of federal land divestiture to a public forum at the Shilo Inn in Richland, Wa. starting at 12noon.  He will be opposed by Dave Chadwick, executive director of the Montana Wildlife Federation a stanch public land advocate.

Here it is, plain and simple.

Ivory's stance is to transfer federal lands...OUR LANDS, to state control.  Once in state control, the land will then be subject to excess land selloff and boom, into private control.

The land you've hunted and fished on for generations....gone.

It takes about 3 seconds on the American Lands Council's web site to see that the play to get the land out of federal control is a resource grab.   Timber.  Minerals.  So on and so forth.  The more you pull back the layers on the onion, the more it stinks.

All under the ruse that bringing land back to state control will help.

Oh yeah, I wonder if Ivory profits from this federal to state transfer?

It's wrong.  Its facetious.  It undercuts our legacy of public land doctrine, the bedrock of our sportsman's heritage.  Find another country with as much public land access in the world

Oh wait. You can't.

If you can, be there to support Dave Chadwick and support our outdoor heritage.

RSVP to Friday's event HERE.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Winter Steelhead In a Picture

The grip and gins are great.  Get excited about what fish has graced your presence.  Treat it well, take a picture and let it go.

On the other hand, this is the scene that I see when I close my eyes at the end of the day and think "winter steelhead"

Bare Cottonwoods.  Emerald green water.  A buddy below or above you lost in the cast swing step repeat process.

The was it a rock or was it a fish?  How long before the rain really gets bad?

Is this ever going to happen?

There's my mental picture.  What's yours?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Not Ready Yet...

Photo Credit--Brian Chou

Sometimes,  they're just not ready to come to hand when you thought they were.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Scenic Oregon Coast...

Nothing like rounding a bend in the river and seeing something akin to a bomb going off.

Sweet forestry practices there Oregon.  Way to go.

After spending 3 days on the Oregon Coast running up and down the watersheds there in search of late arriving winter steelhead, I was shocked to see in person some of the clear-cutting.  

It's soul-less.  I dont think anyone can look at the wide swaths of ground that are wiped clean and not frown and utter some choice 4 letter words

We need timber.  We need logging, but the situation is so out of balance.

I wonder what it's like for the loggers to get their instructions to clear cut.  Are any of them conflicted with the orders to destroy the ground, knowing that a great deal of the board feet are then sent overseas?

Behind the Emerald Curtain Official Trailer 2015 from North Fork Studios on Vimeo.

Again, if you havent seen "Behind The Emerald Curtain" yet,  do so.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Did I Tie Enough...

The long and short of it.  Maybe.

On the eve of my first and last winter steelhead trip of the year to a river system that I've never been to, the nagging question still remains.

The color pallet is full of choices, 4 boxes are full, sizes are varied, sink rates accounted for.

I have to force myself into the thought that if they're going to eat, they're going to eat.  Simple as that. No extra time on the vice is communicated to the fish and thus in a rush of pity, helps me out with a grab for my effort.

It's just a right time, right pool, right fish proposition.  Black and Blue vs Red and really doesnt matter

I better go tie one more fly.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The In Between...

That time of year is here.

The In Between

Any pull on the end of a fly rod is a gift to me, but there are certain ones that mean the more than others.  Fish that swim to the ocean and return mean the most and the hierarchy descends from there. Months of prep, tires chewing blacktop in search of and actual time on the river.

8 solid months of single minded devotion, at least within the fishing realm

Still there has to be a pause.  An extended breath in the intensity because without it burnout would most certainly come sooner than later.

So a smile comes across my face as I rig up the tiny bugs, get in position on my pontoon boat, set the bobber to the right depth and chuck it out onto the lake.  Let it sit for a spell and then run out another offering 10 feet to the left.  And so on and so on, on a happy autopilot setting.

The In Between is a happy, reflective place.