Friday, June 28, 2013

Hope and Memories

I have high hopes for this weekend. And yes I said high hopes, not high hopes for high temperatures, which it looks like we will also be experiencing out here in Portlandia. My hopes are mainly concentrated on learning something about Columbia River Carps. And hopefully that "something" involves catching a few.

Since moving out here to OR I have dabbled around with fly fishing for carp, but I haven't spent any time trying for them in rivers; only in ponds/lakes. I'm fairly convinced it's a bit different but we'll see. Plus the need to locate good places to find and catch the wary creatures puts me at significant further disadvantage. Only time can fix that one.

From my bubbling cauldron of excitement and angst wafted up memories of the video below. I thought I had posted it, but I'm not so sure that I ever did. Either way it was a year ago so I'm sure you wouldn't remember anyway. Plus it's fun and funny. I don't apologize for my lack of skill, I revel in it. The water was too muddy this day to be able to see a take, so instead I was casting out past the fish, letting the fly sink, then stripping it back to where I thought the fish's mouth was, hesitating, and slowly stripping through the assumed strike zone. It's not often a good strategy out here but occasionally it works. Enjoy:

The one thing that might be looking in my favor this weekend is the river temp. Word has it that the carps like 60 degrees. Let's hope that's true and is enough to make up for my crap skills (not carp skills), complete lack of experience, poor fish handling skills, and any other excuse I can preemptively utter.

Oh, and I should try and remember to bring my net in the off chance...

Friday, June 21, 2013

To Eat or Not to Eat

I have been cursed, or blessed depending on your perspective, with a ridiculously small stomach and a high metabolism. Result? Scrawny dude who eats often but like a bird. And being a retired endurance athlete but still very active, that leaves me needing to refuel mid-exercise in the moderately rare occasion when I'm out there exercising. Since I've picked up cycling, which involves being out there on the bike for 2-5 hours, my refueling requirements are even more dire.

Thus, I always carry some sort of energy food with me when I'm on the bike. Usually it's Clif Blocks cause they taste good and can be rationed to last. But there has been a PowerGel in my cupboard for a while and my supply of Clif Blocks is running thin, so I pulled out the gel today with the intention of finally consuming it this weekend. Here's what it looked like:

Looking at the packaging I realized it seemed a bit beat up, which was odd since it's been sitting in a cupboard. And that led me to wonder exactly how old this gel was. So I flipped it over in search of an expiration data and here's what I found:

I admit that I literally LOL'ed when I saw the date. And no, that's not 7th of Jan 2011. It is in fact Jan 11, 2007. This gel is truly 6 and a half years old. How did this happen? I guess it's because I don't really like PowerGels. And fortunately now I have an excuse not to eat this one.

Except I feel I have to open it and take a taste just out of curiosity. If this is the last post I ever write, please don't ever eat expired energy foods. In fact don't even taste them!

PS - Apologies for the non-fishing related post. They occur from time to time so you'll have to live with it.

Monday, June 17, 2013


I am often guilty of living a little too much in the moment rather than planning for the future. And this often leads to an inability to fully devote myself to anything. Since moving to Oregon I have continued to fish for trout when available, I have dabbled in salmon fishing as well as steelhead hunting, and more recently I find myself targeting more and more bottom feeding trash-fish. Thus I am no master of any of these fish, just as I am not much of a master of anything but a jack of many, whatever a jack is--see, i'm no master of the english language either. And this isn't even to mention all my non-fishing hobbies that also steal time from what's truly important.

This tendency of mine to time multiplex between many activities can be described as opportunism, disloyalty, or unfaithfulness depending on the situation. But every once in a blue moon I manage a little faithfulness and sometimes it pays off. Last week one such decision point came up and my heart and brain and soul began their usual three-way wrestling match, which I wrote about. In the end I decided to be faithful to my old home waters rather than opportunistic. At least at first.

On Friday morning I headed to my favorite spot on South Boulder Creek just outside Boulder, Colorado. The water was not high, but rather HIGH, however it was not too terribly off color. As usual up here the first bit was pretty slow but after 11am things started to heat up. I caught a couple small browns at first, and missed a few others, then came a few larger browns and finally a nice chunky 13" rainbow. That is about as big as I ever expect to catch here. In the end I had a fun time fishing my old waters in new and more challenging conditions and still managed to catch a dozen or so fish in the short time I had. Given all afternoon the standard 30+ fish day may well have occurred. At least I will tell myself so.

But the story doesn't end there. I can only be faithful and loyal for a short period before breaking out in wild and uncontrollable fits. So the next day I headed into the mountains with a couple friends with the intentions of camping and fishing some high mountain lakes. The camping worked out; the fishing not so much. I've never been much of a lake fisherman and I apparently continue to not be. We suffered through a brief 2 hours of skunking that smelled quite bad and lingered around us despite the howling and chilly winds.

After enduring sufficient pain and suffering we hiked down and aimed for a very brief attempt at some badly blown out high mountain streams. Under normal conditions these streams are all of a few feet across but currently are running heavy, fast, and very stained. It wasn't easy but we managed to pull a couple tiny fish from the tea-colored and sediment filled torrents. They weren't big fish. In fact they were the variety that have serious jumping skills and as soon as you set the hook they like to go flying back into the brush behind you. Despite the day's poor showing I suppose it was nice to have a challenge. That night we enjoyed a few melancholy beers back at camp rather than celebratory whisky and began plotting the next days ventures with optimism.

Since most of the rivers were in pretty bad shape, and simply because it's a blast, we decided to go fish for some pike. It wasn't going to happen until afternoon, which may not be ideal, but pike fishing is fun enough that it was worth a try and in the end was fun enough to have been a good idea. The two of us each brought one to hand, had a couple more on that were lost, as well as a few follows. I even got to spook a bunch of carp sunning themselves by casting to one. It was hot and smelled of sulfur and methane out there, but we couldn't have cared less cause pike fishing is a ton of fun! The only bad part is the ever-present fear of lost fingers when there's a big pike in your net.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Decision time

Right at this moment I am sitting at the Portland airport on my way to Denver for the weekend. As usual I have Friday morning allocated to fish probably on my own. The question is where exactly is going to be good?  Or maybe I should rephrase that: where exactly won't be too bad. It seems the runoff monster has reared his head just in time to gobble my weekend right up. 

My normal MO is to go hit up my old haunts on SBC, but that may not be the greatest idea. That river is top notch at 50-150 cfs. It is ok up to 250cfs, but above that I've honestly never tried. Today it's 410cfs and rising. 

And that leads me to a dilemma. Do I accept the challenge from my previous home waters and risk a potential skunking from old reliable? Or should I cheat on her with another water that's likely to be no better than a two bit hooker?

Who knows. I sure don't. I'll probably make up my mind in the morn. 

If any locals have the day off and are in possession of some inside info, shoot me a PM! I'll buy the beer.

If not I'll be sure to let you all know how amazing the chocolate milk tastes.