Saturday, December 24, 2011


The sweet lap of luxury in first class is quite nice. And I get to look back at all you peons behind me and scoff.

This is what all that travel pays me. Little perks.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Today was my first experience being nĂºmero uno on southwest. It's sort of like getting first chair at the ski resort. You have to pay extra (paid in lack of sleep for skiing) and be vigilant on checking in 24hrs ahead exactly. And it really doesn't make a difference other than giving you that warm fuzzy.

Now I just have to give the evil eye to people with small children so they avoid sitting beside me.

And now for another day spent in the air. Only one more to go this week!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why am I here?

I randomly find myself in lovely Detroit this week. I don't have family here and only one friend (that I know of). I'm not here for the holidays. And in full disclosure, I'm not really in Detroit. It just sounds better and fits the melancholy mood I was going for. I'm actually in Ann Arbor.

So again, why?

That's easy, work has taken me on the road right before I go on the road for the holidays! I will be spending way too much time on aeroplanes and in airports this week.

And I'm already annoyed with screaming babies. Families with small children should all be forced to take the same flight, although I would then feel a little sorry for the flight attendants. Better them than me though!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gotta love winter

Winter came a few weeks ago. First in the form of nonstop rain, and more recently in the form of frosty coldness in the morning. And I'm not talking about frosty cold beer. That would be much more welcome, even though it may mean I need an intervention.

More recently that other winter commonality visited me. That's right, sickness. In the form of nasopharyngitis (thanks wikipedia), or the common cold. And these days colds hit me hard and fast. I got this sucker Monday evening. I dosed up with all the proper meds but still struggled to sleep. This is what my nightstand looked like in the morning.  

Looking at the picture no I realize it worse in person, probably because that nightstand is kinda big.  It was a lot of tissues, I promise.  Enough that I had to stop and buy the ones infused with lotion on my way to work in the morning.  And yes, I went to work to spread the virus.

Fortunately for me, though, colds leave as fast as they come. It's two days later now and although I'm still draining a little, I'm no longer sneezing nonstop and wiping a sore nose dry.

Now I just hope I manage to keep the streak alive and avoid the flu this season.

Stay healthy.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

OR or CO?

I've been  thinking about this post for a long time.  About 2 years in fact.  (I've been in Oregon for about 2 years now)    The fundamental question I am about to answer for you is: is Oregon or Colorado the better place to live.  That's right, a final and definitive answer to the question I'm sure you have all been asking yourselves.  And I will start with some history.

When I first moved to Colorado, I thought it was the coolest place in the world.  The sun was always out, the hiking and camping were excellent, and for me being addicted to running at the time, it was Mecca!  I would say "then I started fishing," but that would not only sound cliche, but would be untrue to boot.  It was all about the running for me for quite some time.

Colorado has a lot going for it.  Perpetual sunshine is a massive plus in my book.  Rocky mountains, hiking trails, 14ers, climbing routes, excellent hunting, tons of rivers/lakes/ponds to fish, great places to cycle and run, not to mention the general outdoorsy active culture where you're the weird one if you're not out on 63rd, 75th, 36, or in the mountains on your bike on Saturday morning.  Then winter rolls around and the ski season starts up and again you're the oddball if you don't get excited when snow is in the forecast!  In fact it's commonplace and widely acceptable to call in "sick" on a powder day in Colorado,  unless your boss is a jerk.

For all those reasons I loved living in Colorado and did my best to make the most of my time there.  I got in my fair share of hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, and more than my fair share of running while living there.

Then I moved to Oregon.  It was bittersweet for me, but largely bitter.  The sweet part was I was fed up with school and needed to get getting a 300% pay raise helped, I admit.  But the bitter was obviously leaving everyone I knew behind to move to a new place where I  knew no one and was working in an office of 4 people, all in the middle of the rainy and overcast season.  It was moving away from a place where I knew a ton of rivers and how to fish them to a place that has a bunch of fish I know nothing about, not to mention all new rivers and mountains.  Both literally and figuratively.

But since my move, Oregon has slowly been growing on me and the idea of this post has become a little bittersweet itself.  For so long I thought it was the easiest decision to make.  Colorado is obviously better! The fishing is more reliable and constant, sunshine, real mountains, and the active/outdoorsy culture. Then I started getting a little more into the fishing culture out here.  I always suspected the fishing in Oregon was better and that I just didn't know what I was doing.  That idea has only been reinforced the more experience I get fishing here. The fishing is undeniably superior with so many other fish than just your staple rainbow and brown trout that make up 90% of the fish in Colorado.  And so many bigger fish like salmon, steelhead, and bull trout.

There is decent hiking in Oregon, but I like to summit big peaks so it's not quite as cool as Colorado.  If you like the color green you would be in heaven here, but I'm not all that into lush green.  There is good running and cycling here along with a culture, but it's nothing compared to that of Colorado.  I have not yet experienced it, but I hear the big game hunting in Oregon is excellent, possibly better than Colorado.

In summary, I've compiled a list of some of the main features of each state and they are as follows.

  • Superior outdoor culture
  • Real mountains
  • Better skiing
  • Year-round cycling
  • Running trails (Boulder specifically)
  • Great beer

  • Steelhead
  • Salmon
  • Sea-run Cutts
  • Bull trout
  • An Ocean
  • More rivers and lakes, many within a short drive
  • Waterfalls
  • Great beer

In the end, of course, it depends on who you are. But for me, I enjoy the sun a whole lot. Cycling and running are best done on sunny days, although you could make a case to me for running in the rain. If Oregon didn't have a rain problem it would win hands down, unanimous, not even close. But boy does it ever have a rain problem!

Colorado is the overall victor from my perspective, but barely. If you live sleep eat and breathe fishing Oregon wins by 93 million miles.

Feel free to suggest additions to my lists!

And I'll write posts on MT and AK after I live there too.  :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Most Challenging Fishing Ever

Last week while I was in Colorado I convinced my buddies John and Brady to spend a day fishing.  Brady suggested hitting up the Dream Stream because it was cold enough and close enough to a holiday to keep the crowds down.  Sounded like a good enough idea to me, mainly because I had already gotten out to actually catch a few the day before and could risk a day doing some tougher fishing.  I've been there once before and though it was some fun but challenging fishing.  Big fish, but very very smart fish.

We got up moderately early (6am) to try and get to the river before too late.  As we drove into the mountains and were getting closer and closer to the river, it was hard to not watch the thermometer readout in the car tick off the few remaining degrees of warmth outside.  18 became 15 became 10 and finally stopped at 8 degrees, which is pretty damn cold.  We've all dealt with cold before so it wasn't the end of the world, but it does tend to make you feel just a little tinge of dread when the car comes to a stop and it's time to get out.

What was much worse than the cold, though, was the 20mph winds howling through the valley.  On the drive up snow was blowing across the road and the car was getting tossed around but we had been hopeful it wouldn't be as bad at the river.  We were wrong.  It was just as windy at the river.  The tumbleweeds rolling across the tundra told us so.

I made the mistake of choosing my first spot to fish facing pretty much directly into the wind.  Cast number one landed in a pile a few feet away from me on some ice at the edge of the river.  "That's ok" I told myself, "just recalibrate."  Cast number two landed in the grass on shore upstream of me.  "Ok, one more try."  Cast three was still ugly but actually landed in the water.  Eventually I figured out that if I threw enough power into the cast to toss 70 feet of line, I would get out a solid 15 feet.  Just enough to get to the spot I wanted to hit.  I also realized how cold it really was when ice was flaking off my fly line as it entered the guides.  It's fairly common to get ice in the eyelets because of wet line, but I have actually never experienced such extreme windy cold that the water on the line freezes before it even gets to the eyelet!  At least we didn't have to periodically pick our eyelets clean.

The cold didn't bother me too much, but it didn't take too long for me to get frustrated trying to beat the wind, so I moved upstream. I hit a number of decent looking holes, but being a new river it was a bit of a crap shoot.  Within the first hour I did get one bite, but the fish was on for less than a second.  I got a glimpse of him and it was enough to know he was of good size. 

I did find one hole where a few nice fish were visible sitting on the bottom behind a big boulder.  Unfortunately they were in one of those spots you can't really effectively fish because of the currents and rocks surrounding them.  Of course we all gave it a try anyways.  You can't pass up at least trying to fish to fish you can see!  No one snagged those, but Brady and I both hooked and lost a couple out past the hole we could see into.  Neither battle was all that long.

Not a whole lot else happened.  A lot of time was spent just walking around checking out the water.  I tend to do a lot of that when I'm at a new place that I really can't tell exactly how to fish effectively.  And I didn't figure this one out.  I don't have much experience fishing really grassy/weedy rivers, and this is one of those.  I need pocket water, and there was very little of that.

Eventually we all lost hope got hungry and sat down on the shore to cook up some soup and coffee.  It took quite a long time in the windy cold, but eventually we got some water to boil and split it between coffee and soup.  Both were good, but neither stayed warm for very long.

Looking back on this day, I think it is the toughest day fishing I have ever had.  Going 0 for 7 hookups between three people is only part of that too.  I've been to tough rivers with smart fish before.  I've been skunked before.  I've fought the wind before.  I've shivered in the cold before.  And I've driven hours to have a bad or mediocre day fishing before.  Never have I had all of these combine in a single day...until this outing.  It goes down in infamy as less of a dream and more of a nightmare.  Brady doesn't get to pick rivers anymore!

But hey, at least I wasn't at work!

A momentus day

The recent cold weather and rains have given me an itch that can only be scratched when sitting down at the vise.  And consequently I have been turning out some flies over the past couple weeks.  Nothing cool or important.  Mainly I pop open my fly boxes when I sit down, survey the damage the season has done to my small stockpile, and begin tying accordingly.

I am by no means a commercial tier, and I never will be.  It would be nice to learn some tricks to make my tying quicker, but in all honesty I enjoy just sitting down at the vise with the boob tube or music on in the background, and tying a couple flies.  I have never in my long tying career (about 2 whole years now!) sat down and churned out many dozens of flies.  Instead, once I reach a dozen or at most 20 I'm bored and on to other things.  Some Adderall might help with that, but as I said I don't tie commercially.  It remains something I simply enjoy doing in stints.

But I recently reached a milestone!  I finished off my first pheasant tail feather!  When I bought this thing, I was wondering if it made sense to buy the whole bird tail, or the small package of feathers.  I distinctively remembering the guy at the fly shop telling me that one feather will probably tie around 100 P-tails.  I didn't believe him because I know how people like to exaggerate, but I figured one feather would last a long time so I opted for the small package and saved a few bones.  Now I'm glad I did.  That guy wasn't kidding.

The P-tail is my go-to nymph pattern almost everywhere almost all the time, so I go through quite a few of them.  I didn't keep track of how many I tied off this feather but I'm sure it was a lot.  Still maybe not 100, but a lot.

Here are a few of the culprits that finished that feather off.

Disclaimer:  this post may be totally bogus.  It's possible I have finished off other feather(s) previously and forgot, but I KNOW I've been working with this one feather since moving to Oregon two years ago, and I didn't start tying much earlier than that so I'm sticking with my story.

PS - why is it that sometimes Blogger likes to reorient my pictures vertical when they are horizontal???  It's quite annoying.