Tuesday, May 20, 2014

NY Travels

Work took me to NY last week. If you remember I was in Denver last weekend, which was my stopover on the way out east. When I left Portland on Friday just over a week ago, we were coming off a week-long rainfest. Or maybe I should say a 7-month long rainfest that is called winter here. But Friday was supposed to be nice, and all through the weekend and into the week was sunshiny and warm. Just in time for me to leave town. Denver was nice until saturday afternoon. Then it was rainy, and a cold front swooped in changing rain to snow. Nonetheless I got in some fishing and had a good time despite the somewhat atypical Denver weather.

On Monday it was off to upstate New York. And what was it like when I arrived? Well, it was of course cloudy, dreary, overcast, gloomy; what other lovely adjectives could I come up with to describe it? At least this time I wasn't planning on doing too much out of doors. It was a sales related visit with a couple drives from one locale to another, not leaving me a ton of time to play. And who really cares if it's raining while you're driving? I did see a couple people standing in a river on one of my drives, and that made me feel a twinge of regret for not bringing any gear.

Then again a day later, this is what one of the rivers near where I was looked like. Not a great opportunity to catch some east coast fish. Maybe on my next visit.

Oh, and while I was away from Portland it was super sunny, nice and warm, and all around lovely. I returned on Thursday around midnight. When did the rains start back up? Saturday. At least I got to enjoy looking out the window at work on friday. Actually that's sort of a lie.  Most of Saturday was pretty nice too. But that's an inopportune fact for the theme of this post, so ignore it. Sunday was rain, rain, and more rain. With more rain in the forecast for today.

Monday, May 12, 2014

What Happened to Denver?

I weekended in Denver this last weekend before a work trip out to New York this week. And what else is there to do in Denver than fish? Well, certainly lots of stuff but fish are on my brain lately, probably because of the looming summertime that keeps faltering in Portlandia. With fish on the brain I had to think of places to go chase fish around, and those places are aplenty. 

The plan was to hit up some northern pike at the Arsenal Saturday morning, then go in search of some carp in the chemical-smelling Denver South Platte in the afternoon. Sunday was going to be something in and around Boulder, quite possibly my old home waters. Then I looked at the weather. Snow, and possibly quite a lot of it. Excuse me Denver, don't you know that it's May now? And not even early May. It should be 65 degrees, sunny, and just generally awesome. I should want to get out on my bike, not hunkered down in front of a heating vent.

Well, Saturday worked out all right, to start at least. We headed out to the Arsenal at O-dark hundred, paid our $3 and went to find a spot to try and toss flies into the lake over or through the cattails since there is no wading there until the end of the month. The fishing was a little slow, but only because I'm comparing to when you can wade and fish huge portions of the lake in an hour rather than fishing one little narrow section for 45 minutes straight before giving up and moving on. Either that or combat fish from the damn and I have no interest in combat fishing.

I managed to nearly catch one early, but in a spot where there was virtually no chance of bringing the fish in through 20 feet of cattails and other weeds. Why fish there? Cause it looked like a fishy spot, regardless of the impossibility of landing a fish. A little while later I did manage a fairly tiny pike to at least wipe the skunk off for the day.

And that pretty much ended the decent weather for the trip. The rains rolled in and ruined our chances for catching carp out of the South Platte, although we still tried. The next day was snowy and cold. And mother's day. Nonetheless a few hours out at the Arsenal and a few more fish occurred to finish off what could have been a bust of a fishing weekend. Instead it ended up being pretty fun since there aren't many fish more enjoyable to fish for and to catch than pike. I don't know what it is about them, but they are a blast. A mix of aggression and elusivity I suppose, along with the intrigue of newness since I have never really fished for them until recently.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Fishing Trips

Have you been on a fishing trip? Most of you have, but not all, plus I would like to think I have some wisdom to impart to all of you. The ideal fishing trip has a handful of ingredients. These ingredients comprise of beer and whisky first and foremost. Secondly, a good river that has some interesting aspect. This aspect can be a multi day float, huge pigs lurking in the depths, amazing scenery, or zillions of fish. It can be a lot of things as long as those things are important to you.

A third ingredient is people, and this one is probably the most important. It cannot simply be any people. A mix of abilities is important. Fishing trips just aren't the same if you don't have a couple guys who are new. These are the guys who you get to laugh at as they sit on the bank untangling their line half the day. These are also the guys who, after you've laughed at and subsequently feel bad for doing so, you can go help out. You can show them how to untangle or just clip and retie everything back on. It gets that person back in the water to catch fish and makes you feel like a better human after being a jerk earlier. And finally, these are the guys who feel real joy when catching a fish, and that real joy is contagious. You will smile bigger when these guys catch a fish than when you catch your tenth of the day.

A fourth ingredient will be a point of contention for a lot of people, but for me a trip just isn't the same without it. It is a good campfire dinner of fresh fish and potatoes cooked up just right. The fresh fish part can be difficult because at a lot of locations you can't keep or shouldn't keep fish. But there are a good handful of rivers where a few fish a year can be kept without worrying about the fishery. If you have to go in search of fish on the river, that would be a bad place to keep fish. If there are zillions of fish and not much pressure, by all means keep one to eat. Again, forego this in most instances, but if you can partake on occasion, do so without feeling bad about it. I always feel bad for people who claim to never ever keep a fish. Moderation is key to all things in life.

A fifth and by no means final ingredient is half-drunken story-telling at night, preferably around a campfire of course. Stories of people falling in the river, stories of the one that got away, stories of people knocking fish off someone else's line with a net, stories of trips of the past, and stories made out of whole cloth. It's an enjoyable and essential way to pass the evening, and if at all possible, get them on tape because they can be very funny to listen to later on.

My list is not law. It is not limiting. It is simply my playbook for fishing trips. Feel free to follow it or write your own. But be sure to take a fishing trip!

Take some time and watch a movie of a past instance of my pending fishing trip. It's Monday and no one really does any work on Mondays...

Friday, May 2, 2014


Sometimes work looks like this and humors me.

No I'm not a nerd. Well, maybe I am, but I'm not a computer nerd.  And when work looks like this it's usually a bad thing and means I'm ready for the weekend. That is the case right now.  Too much fighting with buggy software and too many mundane menial tasks this week. On the plus side I'm bailing early today to go play some golf on what appears to be the last day of nice weather for a while. Don't tell the boss! And despite the crappy weather pending for tomorrow I intend to go scare some carp. We'll see if I can manage anything other than scaring them.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sum Sum Summertime

Well, summer is officially here in Oregon.  Except it really isn't. It's really just poking its head through the door to see what's going on and to give us a little relief from the winter rains. This week has been all sunshine and warmer and warmer temps. Here is what my car said on my way out of work yesterday:

In case you can't read it, that says 84deg. Today is supposed to be even higher, approaching 90! That's a bit much for me, but low 80's was awesome.

And I'm really hoping to get out on some water this Saturday. Yesterday rains were forecast for Sunday and today they've pushed up to Saturday.  Grrrrr. Please baby, please baby, please, hold off until Sunday.