Archive for the 'Fly Fishing' Category

04
May
16

Pups Go West 2016 – On to Warmer Climes

A ferocious barking woke me up from a dead sleep, momentarily confused, I got my wits about me and realized it was Yukon.  Now, anyone who has dogs knows they have different barks for different reasons.  Well, this was  Yukon’s serious “I mean business!” bark, Mira joined in, though I’m pretty sure she was just barking to bark (she loves barking).  I had talked to a couple people that mentioned seeing bears around the campground so while I couldn’t see anything outside the Jeep, I’m assuming a wandering bear made its way through the campground.  There was no sleeping after that rude awakening, I tossed and turned until dawn when I decided to head down to see if fishing had improved.

Unfortunately, the slow fishing streak continued on into the morning.  Fish were still rising after some invisible bugs and I did manage a few small rainbows (one of which would become dinner) on the fly rod.  As I was cleaning the sole fish I kept, a couple drove up and started unloading some fishing gear.  They introduced themselves as Keith and Tina from Arizona.  After chatting a bit, I showed them the places I usually caught fish off the dock, and then left them to their fishing.

Small rainbowsimage

image

I’ve always driven past the turnoff for Blue Spruce Campground, a rustic campground northeast of Posey Lake a short drive off of Hell’s Backbone Road, this time I made it a point to turn in and check it out.  It’s a small but pretty campground, only a handful of campsites and butted up against Pine Creek.  I let the dogs out to play in the water and considered grabbing a fly rod.  Pine Creek supposedly has small wild trout in it, and what better scenery to catch them in.  After realizing my Jetboil stove, that’s traveled with me since my first long motorcycle trip in 2010, was missing, I got the dogs back in the car and headed back to Posey Lake.  Unfortunately, my stove was nowhere to be found so I headed into town stopped at Utah Canyon Outdoors and picked up a Jetboil Flash so I could eat warm food for the rest of the trip!

Mira enjoying Pine Creekimage

The weather was still quite cold and I was ready to wear shorts, so after a stop at Nemo’s for a burger and fries, I decided I’d head to Stanton Creek Campground on Lake Powell for the night.  Last year we had a pretty miserable, windy, stormy experience there and ended up spending the night holding our tent up with out feet against 6o mph gusts and multiple thunderstorms.  Hopefully my 2016 experience would be more pleasant.

Burger and fries at Nemo’s – Michigan, you need to get on this Fry Sauce, it’s tasty!image

The lovely red rock formations of Capitol Reef National Park, made way for the barren bentonite hills on the park’s eastern end and soon Hanksville.  Southbound on UT-95 toward the lake, the scenery changed and the temperature rose.  I soon reached the Glen Canyon NRA entrance gate and Stanton Creek campground shortly thereafter.  I drove around the lake for a bit, looking for a shallow spot to let the dogs swim (Yukon was whining since the second he set eyes on the water).  They were in heaven, chasing a tennis ball out into the crystal clear water endlessly.  Attempting to herd them back to the car was like trying to drag a 4-year old away from Chuck E. Cheese – grumbling and whining (with a couple dashes back to the water) I finally got them loaded up so we could find the perfect spot to camp.

Happy dogs at Lake Powellimage

Typical photo of my two – Mira being photogenic, Yukon barking “THROW THE BALL!!”image


I eventually found a site right on the water with some decent looking structure for fishing. If you plan on camping down near the lake, it’s mandatory to have a WAG bag or some sort of toilet system, I just keep a box of WAG bags in my Jeep.  There are out houses further up in the campground.  I staked the dogs out, got them fed, donned shorts and sandals and started working the shoreline with fly and gear.

I caught a small sunfish that looked like something had recently chomped on it.  It was fairly slow going after that, with some sort of large fish following my fly or spinner in on each cast, but never committing (I’d later find out they were Striped Bass).  Finally, something bit and while it didn’t fight too well, I was excited, it was my very first walleye (very amusing considering I grew up on Lake Huron-currently a walleye hotspot).  Lake Powell has no limits on either Walleye or Striped Bass due to their predatory effect on bait fish and their rapid proliferation, so I bonked this one on the head and proceeded to less-than-expertly fillet it.  Trout and walleye for dinner!  With the sun going down, I enjoyed a small fire, watching the stars blanketing the darkening sky and the lights in the million dollar houseboats at Bullfrog twinkling in the distance.  Lake Powell had redeemed itself.

Stanton Creek Campsiteimage

Evening’s fishing funimage

image

My first walleye – named “Dinner”image

Fresh fish on the shores of Lake Powellimage

Filthy Mira – who wants to sleep with this swamp thing?image

 

03
May
16

Pups Go West 2016 – Posey Lake or Bust

Camping is great, but a good night’s sleep in a real bed, followed by a shower is pretty OK too 🙂  I gassed up the Jeep and grabbed a breakfast sandwich before hitting the road, making my way to UT-12.  The mountains on either side of UT-20, the route that connects I-15 to US-89, were socked in with clouds, quite a surreal drive.

Head in the cloudsimage

Last October, we picked up an America the Beautiful pass prior to a trip out to Yellowstone to fish.  I’ve never stopped at Bryce with the dogs given the fact they can’t go anywhere except the paved parking lots and viewpoints.  With the pass, I didn’t feel guilty about spending the cash to make a quick drive through just to hit a couple of viewpoints.  Bypassing the busier overlooks, I stopped at a handful of the less occupied to take in the sweeping views of other worldly formations.  A light dusting of snow contrasted nicely with the deep red of the hoodoos as we moved up in elevation.

Bryce Canyon Viewpointsimage

image

Panoramasimage

image

Mira enjoyed the viewimageimage

A fellow park goer kindly offered to take a family photo – like trying to herd cats 🙂image

Exiting the park, we saw some of the park’s resident wildlife – mule deer, pronghorn antelope and prairie dogs all roaming in the meadows along either side of the park road.  Escalante is a scenic 1 hour drive east of the turn off to Bryce, the surrounding hills all had a new dusting of snow from the previous day’s flurries.  Posey Lake Road up to the campground changes drastically as you drive up in elevation.  Juniper and sage make way for tall pines and aspen as the road winds up to the lake.  The ground was covered with patchy 4-6 inches of wet snow.  The campground empty, I selected the site we stayed at the year before.  I quickly unloaded some gear and headed down to the dock to get some evening fishing in.

The past couple of springs fishing this lake had me spoiled – the fish had readily taken flies, spinners, whatever was thrown at them, the truly difficult portion of the fishing being battling the incessant wind.  The wind was still present on this visit and trout were rising after bugs left and right, but I couldn’t pay them to bite a fly.  Cast after cast, multiple fly changes and yet still nothing.  It looked as though I’d be eating a freeze dried meal for dinner this evening.

The collection of birds on this lake, ruddy ducks and coots, bring a soundtrack of mechanical clucks, whistles and whirrs.  If I closed my eyes, I could easily believe I was surrounded by their prehistoric counterparts that roamed the area in the Late Cretaceous.  A loon and its haunting, wavering call sounded out over the lake as returned to the surface after a bit of subsurface fishing (hopefully having more success than I had).  Seeing that a trout dinner wasn’t in my future, I packed my gear into the Jeep and drove back to the campsite.  The dogs happily played in the snow surrounding the site while I heated up water for my dinner.

Rewind to 3 months earlier, early February, I found myself under the knife to repair what the MRI showed as a torn rotator cuff.  I woke up in a sling and instructions for post op care for a biceps tenodesis.  What?  Apparently, once they opened me up, they found that it wasn’t a torn cuff, but rather a frayed biceps tendon and a torn rotator interval.  They clipped my tendon from its original attachment point and used a screw to reattach it to my upper humerus.  When I left for Utah, I was just beginning to work on strengthening the biceps muscle in physical therapy.  I’m sure my ortho doc would have been thrilled to see me chopping and sawing firewood with my freshly repaired arm, but what’s camping without a campfire?  I got enough wood together for the night, my arm held out,  nothing a beer and a handful of Motrin couldn’t make better!

My wood selection was damp and the resulting fire was unimpressive and very smoky.  The temperature dropped, and while it was still light out the dogs and I retired to the Jeep to warm up and read for a bit before drifting off to sleep.

Mira enjoying the campsite, and her new ballimage

Our accommodations for the trip – a bit smaller than the old Jeepimage

Mira cuddled up, watching the campsite as I readimage

21
Jan
14

The Birth of an Obsession

I’m an expert at procrastination and less than spectacular with keeping up with this blog (which is likely obvious to anyone that has visited). Just as a reinforcement, I intended to write this post on New Year’s Day. Yeah, I’m a little late. Her On Wheels originally started as a way to share my first long solo motorcycle trip (one month cross country in 2010) with friends and family and while I still ride, interests shift and life changes.

As a whole, 2013 was decent, with perhaps a bump or two along the road, but when is life without those? A new interest, OK obsession, began after receiving a fly rod and reel from a friend on my spring trip to Utah. On a 2011 motorcycle trip through Yellowstone, September 13th to be exact, I saw a fly fisherman standing in Firehole River. As I watched the beauty and serenity of the activity, I told myself that someday that’d be me – I’d stand in one of Yellowstone’s iconic rivers, fly fishing surrounded by the park’s beauty. That newly obtained rod and reel started a downward spiral – spending every available moment on the river, pouring over guides about the area’s hatching bugs, visiting fly shop after fly shop asking endless newb questions and ultimately learning how to tie my own flies.

As it turns out, I fulfilled that 2011 prophecy – September 11, 12 and 13th of 2013 were spent fishing in Yellowstone: the Firehole, the Madison, the Gallatin and my favorite, Soda Butte Creek. It was as magical as I hoped. The preceding week and a half were spent fishing Rock Creek, southeast of Missoula while sleeping in my Jeep (and avoiding showers). I learned a great deal on that trip and look forward to returning in October of this year.

Once again, the pups and I (along with some company) will be heading out at the end of April for our annual Pups Go West trip to southern Utah, northern Arizona and Colorado. Fishing some mountain lakes and small streams in addition to the traditional sight seeing and hiking will be a welcome addition. It’ll be great to have someone along to share it with (not that the dogs aren’t great company). I’ll do my best to overcome my extreme case of procrastination and post along the way (as internet access allows of course).

Birthday Float on the Pere Marquette River20130823-103923.jpg

20140121-113241.jpg

Beautiful morning at the Dalles on Rock Creek – Montana20140121-113225.jpg

Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout from Soda Butte Creek20140121-113700.jpg

A bit blurry , but I was a excited when I caught this fella20140121-113709.jpg

Winter Steelheading this past weekend

20140121-113256.jpg

First fly caught steelhead, from Saturday on the Pere Marquette

20140121-113308.jpg




Archives

Instagram Feed

Took the dogs with me to pick up take out Chinese.  When we pulled into the driveway, Mira got super excited.  I guess she thought she was getting some 😂😂😂 #australianshepherd #australianshepherdsofinstagram #rescuedog #rescuedogsofinstagram #jeep #herdingdog #bluemerle Any tips on cooking crayfish?  Heading to Utah the end of next week, some of the reservoirs we'll be fishing have decent sized crayfish.  Thought it might be a fun camp food experiment. #utah #crayfish #fishing #flyfishing #flytying #reservoir Decided to take Mira for a quick hike at the county park tonight.  When we got there we were met with 'Area Closed' signs - they're logging off the woods.  We still got a short walk along the creek, great to be out in the nice spring weather. #australianshepherd #australianshepherdsofinstagram #rescuedog #rescuedogsofinstagram #hikingwithdogs #olddogsrule #ruffwear After a couple of weeks of dealing with pneumonia and sinus infection, it sure was nice to get some sunshine on my face today!  It took a while but we found where the Crappie were hanging out.  A little Crappie Bugger I worked on this winter on my Cabela's CGR glass rod was the ticket! #flyfishing #flytying #fishing #blackcrappie #crappie #panfishonthefly #glassisnotdead #michigan #spring
Follow heronwheels on Twitter

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 249 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 11,637 hits