Monday, September 24, 2012

Rio Salado Casting Club

September 29, 2012 RSCC Club Cast

When: 7:00 AM September 29 planned activities include:

                      Trout Fly
                      5wt Distance, Angler's Fly Demo

Where
: Granada Park, 6505  N 20 St. Phoenix, AZ (map)

Usual accuracy skills apply, as well as roll cast accuracy & distance. Fun game! The 5wt Combination game specs & rules can be viewed here. Specs and rules for all ACA games can be reviewed in the ACA rulebook.

You’ll want a zippy roll cast for Trout Fly.

At 7:00 AM sharp Larry Allen & Randy Mandt will explain and demo 2 key skills: distance roll casts and line management - lengthening and shortening line while false casting.

Practice is from 7:30 - 8:00. From 8 AM on, weʼre invited to play Trout Fly.

Trout Fly consists of 3 rounds to 5 targets in 6 minutes. Target order is up the ladder from near to far.

1st round (Dry Fly round) - Start fly in hand, unlimited false casts to each target. Strip line from reel while false casting.
2nd round (Wet Fly round) - Strip line in and stack. Start fly in hand, unlimited false casts to first (red) target. 1 false cast, shoot line to successive targets.
3rd round (Roll Cast round) - roll cast to each target. Caster advances to each target by successfully hitting the previous target. Final target must be “hit” within 15 tries or 6 minutes, whichever applies first.

Following practice, members are eligible to cast for score. Playing actual games are a great way to become familiar with judging and scoring and the games give one insight to developing skills. Thereʼs a measurable transition from feeling a bit fumbly initially, to feeling increasingly accomplished. A good feeling!

Getting Ready:

A good practice exercise is to make 3 roll casts, then 3 pickup and lay downs. Repeat. Note your rod stop position on each. If you’re particularly satisfied with any one of your casts, try to stop your rod in the same position for both the roll cast and the regular forward cast. Repeat. [Practice tip courtesy of Chris Korich.]

What to Bring:
  • Trout Fly: 8’6” - 9’ 5 or 6wt rod, 5 - 6 wt floating line, 7 1/2’ 0X leader, 3 or 4X tippet 20”.
  • 5wt combo: maximum 9’ 1” 5wt rod, [weight forward] 5wt floating line, 7 - 9’ 0X leader, 4X tippet 18”.
  • Bring a chair, water, snacks, sunblock, rain gear.
After a nearly 3 month summer hiatus it will be nice to see everyone and see everyone getting back in their casting groove. Cooler temps are the perfect time for RSCC members to bring their fly, casting/fishing games up a notch and have fun doing it.

The 2012 - 2013 season will be exciting. Ten RSCC members plan to travel to San Francisco in October for the GGACC Northwest Regional Casting Tournament. Intriguing things about tournaments to contemplate:

1. Participants bring back helpful casting tips learned while away.
2. RSCC looks forward to hosting a regional tournament of our own - wouldn’t that be fun!


*Accuracy plugs and flies are available for a $1.50 and $2.00 donation, respectively.
*Membership forms are available online here, click the RSCC Membership Form icon.

Home Again, home again

Here's how it looks crossing over from where we were to where we are. Different....


A friend asked me if I had a favorite photo from our trip. I have a picture in my mind of what we did, what we saw, what we loved, what we learned...that's my favorite pic.


Regrets, yes - 3:

1.) We didn't get to Whitefish to see our friend John
2.) Our little Indie girl is too frail to still travel with us.

3.) We had to come home before our 89th birthday ; )


We were on a fishing trip, but it wasn't all about fishing. What a time we had!


© Marian Tallon, September, 2012

maps.google. Accessed September 24, 2012, available online at http://goo.gl/maps/tGafj

Sometimes Plan B is Plan A

No one could've tried harder to find access to a remote creek we hoped to fish. We drove the backwoods near Bryce Canyon for hours.




The locals couldn't give us directions.

No one home to ask.


Hello Plan B

Pretty country, pretty drive, never saw another soul, never found "Creek A", but we found what we were looking for....



Winding down.... A cozy spot for some R&R with novel cell service 2 days in a row. There were teasing rainbows which we humored until our license expired.


From the deck of friends' cabin in the high country, we ease our way into the harsh reality that our trip is coming to an end. But what a trip!

© Marian Tallon, September, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Nature of Adaptation,

or adapting to nature.

Our route tracked increasingly southerly - Arizona bound. Donna wondrously navigated us away from the interminable bunker like highway construction of Salt Lake City. Good - I didn't have the stamina for 1 more billboard advertising survival food storage while stranded in traffic.

We ascended a 10k mountain range through Manti-La Sal National Forest. Descending we passed 3 reservoirs that were enticing, but elected to see what was up ahead. What we saw along the Huntington Canyon Scenic Byway was incredible.

Was. Some of the most beautiful forest plunging vertically into the canyon - burnt to a crisp. Huntington Creek, once a glistening trout stream was choked with debris from flash floods. Runoff from rain after the fire smothered the creek. Downed trees, boulders, ash and sludge gushed into the stream bed until it clogged.





These pictures do not begin to capture the post fire/flood devastation. Contemplating how on earth restoration would proceed lead me to do a little research. Here's the initial proposal & the explanation of why something called Secure Rural Schools helps forest service restoration projects: "Title II, Special Projects on national forests". If you're ever flabbergasted that your tax dollars don't always pay for the things you love, well sometimes they do.


Our camper is powered by an auxiliary battery that's revved up by a solar panel and highway miles on the truck's battery. We obviously couldn't stay at Huntington Creek, so we effectively charged our battery for another 113+ miles. We stayed on Joesph's Peak in Fishlake National Forest technically, but we affectionately called our camp "cow patty".


Cow patty had some things going for it...view of a grand cowboy sky, novel cell service, personal adaptability.


More info on bark beetles can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/18/science/18trees.html?pagewanted=all&_moc.semityn.www

© Marian Tallon, September, 2012

maps.google. Accessed 9/22/2012, available online at http://goo.gl/maps/L2Eko

When a Creek Surprises

it's a favorite, hands down.

O
rdinarily I'm well equipped, never leaving home without both mosquito repellant and bear spray. I needed neither. A refreshing reason Currant Creek would rank among my favorites, but of course that's hardly the reason. Why we weren't tormented by buzzing and biting, I don't know and I don't care. We weren't; that's good enough for me. I know there were bears there, but we didn't stumble onto one catnapping in the willows; that's also good enough for me.

Currant Creek winds through pretty country, the creek bed is as varied as it is beautiful and the fish are plenty sporting. Again we took turns dry fly fishing upstream.

I've concluded sitting tight, enjoyably waiting one's turn to fish is a more "mature" approach then I've ever been able to apply before. Previously I was so eager to fish, the notion of spelling one another seemed a certifiable practice. It's just this kind of fishing that makes fishing about more than just catching fish.

Stealth, scouting, sight fishing, gives an angler time to plan: how & where to present the fly; what cast to use, how much line; maneuver into a good position; where can the fish be netted.... It's about strategy, not just flinging fly line with high hopes. It's a learn-as-you-go thinking sport.

Maybe Currant Creek is surprisingly inspirational, or maybe I simply surprise myself. I'm learning. I bring more "eyes", experienced eyes, to the game every time I fish. That fishing can be about precision defines it as a challenge, not merely the consequence of dumb luck. Bringing skill to the challenge is the fun of it.


In some of the tight spots I was casting/fishing, Donna wondered if I wasn't a little too brave [cocky] with my cast. Not brave, confident. Confidence comes with practice. Practice when you're not fishing, so when you are, each time you're a little savvier, a little better than the time before.

Surprises, remember we're in Utah now...

Wake up.
Have your breakfast.
While you're at it, have a look at what's looking right back at cha'.

Clearly we were in the path of this fellow and his intended route to the creek.

 He politely veered.

Our third moose sighting and finally a photo. Donna's been keen to see a moose for 3 trips, 3 years. Picture perfect! But, who'd've thunk? I'd sooner expect salmon to spawn in Nevada than expect a moose in Utah. Oh wait, salmon used to spawn in Nevada.


There's tactics, then there's beaver pond tactics.

Fishing with Donna is what fishing is all about. No matter our age, it recalls the kind of youthful exhilaration that used to compel us to playfully duck out of sight, steal away on our bikes though, however faintly, we could hear our Mom calling us home...the mischievous satisfaction that comes from having gotten away with something because, independently, we were stealthy, clever and quick. Fishing with Donna is like that - "cool kid" fishing with joyful abandon. It's good enough for me.


© Marian Tallon September, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Telling Us Where to Go - In the Nicest Way

Utah Rivers
You know how it is...you have a friend, who has a friend, to whom you're introduced. Before you know it your mutual friend is telling you where to go! Spey Clave, the Fly Fishing Fair, the St. Joe, Silver Creek and a special river in Utah. Though this very special river was written up in a recent issue of a regional fly fishing magazine, reminiscent of James at the KINGFISHER, our friend asked we keep the name of this waterway to ourselves. Also reminiscent of James, we never shared a section of river with other anglers, but there was steady angling traffic, i.e. - no secret!

So we're keeping mum, but not to be smug. Whether offering flies or advice, fly fishers are typically a generous lot, however, like any other endeavor, fly fishing depends on building relationships. One can glean dream destinations from the glossy pages of magazines (writers need to make a buck too), but add a lively mix of one-on-one with the local fly shop and other anglers, and you'll bank your own relationships and not-so-secret, secret fishing holes.

No matter where we're fishing, floating or wading, Donna and I have good intentions of sticking together. Donna is the more disciplined of the 2 of us. Wading, she likes to hike downstream and fish her way up. She persuades me to come along, but when I pass a nice spot, I see no reason not to to fish it on the way down, then again on the way up. Within minutes, our good intentions are up in smoke, measurable by the minimum quarter mile distance between us.


At special river, together we resolved to fish by compromise - fish our way upstream, dry fly; combined hopscotching each other and taking turns as we moved from fishy section to fishy section. We had a blast, in turn scouting, netting fish, taking occasional photos and simultaneously fishing the same long stretch. Special river residents include wild cutties and browns - BIG browns.


You can stand or sit as still as a statue when you catch a small trout, just strip or reel it in. When you catch a bigger fish, who is looking for opportunities to slip the hook, you need to be prepared to move your feet or your watercraft. The long stretch of creek pictured shows where Ms. Brown and I became acquainted and where we finally parted company and yes, she tried every trick in the book to twist me off on stray rocks and twigs.

Donna, net in hand, moved to assist - the trout dashed between Donna's legs, putting the 3 of us in a pickle. Donna didn't know which way to dodge; I didn't know which way to parry; the trout didn't know which way to counter dart. Shame we didn't get a picture of all that.... What are the chances of this happening twice in 1 day? Let's just say, as gillie, Donna is temporarily fired : )

I'm accostomed to brown trout hunkering down like a catfish or snapping turtle, once hooked. They sometimes behave more like an anchor than a trout and need to be heaved up from the fathoms. It was my turn to fish a nice sandy bottomed clear pool, 5 - 8 feet deep. Two trout were holding there, 1 a very nice brown. My Goddard Caddis fluttered to the surface and the big brown shot up from the bottom, we hooked up for a split second at which time Mr. Brown skyrocketed out of the pool about 5 feet straight in the air. My mouth dropped as high as that fish jumped and with a definitive snap, that was the end of that.

There were more big trout caught and missed, likewise middle-size fish caught and missed. Special river was wild and beautiful, full of wild, beautiful trout - in short, very special.


On our drive out, about here we saw the bear. At first I needed to crane my neck around a bend in the road to try to make out the dark shape I caught a glimpse of. A small bear, topping out at about 300 lbs. was curiously standing on hind legs, on the driver's side of the road. In fact, I think the bear was doing the same thing I was, "What the...?". The bear, figuring well ahead of me, was on all fours, crossed the road pronto, then scampered passenger-side for a couple of hundred feet, before ditching into the brush and forging the river.

Donna asked why on earth I characterized the [black] bear as small, when it looked big enough to her. So far, we've encountered a bear twice while we were driving in the truck; so far that's my favorite way to encounter bears, motor running. We've a pal who's fished Alaska multiple times. I heard her say just the other day, " I'm used to fishing with bears." Indeed she is!
Slash & shred

Hardly comparable, but we've fished with bears on more than 1 occasion. I'm not used to the idea! I can happily report no bear has eyeball-to-eyeball scared the bejeezus outta' me - yet. Once, we even fished/camped with a bear trap prominently parked in the middle of our extended campsite and while the implication may have been lost on the (spoiled) bears, it was not lost on me! One maurader rumaged the truckbed, leaving a telltale mark on a piece of my shredded personal gear. Looked like this photo.... Somewhat disconcerting, as we slept in hammocks the night before.

Armed with my vast experience, it's my observation, regardless of size, a bear running away from me is small; a bear running towards me, regardless of size, is BIG! On second thought, Donna's right, they're all big.


© Marian Tallon, September, 2012

*geology.com, News and Information About Geology. "Utah Lakes, Rivers and Water Resources". Accesed September 21, 2012, available online at http://geology.com/lakes-rivers-water/utah.shtml

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Last Word

Leaving Idaho

Coming from Arizona, I'm a little defensive when people ask, with a mix of pity and incredulity, "Where do you fish?". It's no secret Arizona has very good year round fishing, but let's get real.... We've got a lot of desert down south and we don't enjoy the abundence of beautiful trout streams our Rocky Mountain neighbors do. Though they needn't worry, well meaning folk seem genuinely concerned for our angling well being.

While one could contentedly fish northern Arizona all summer, never leave home, never tire of quality trout fishing, we adventure fished Idaho, late July, early August. No matter where one is, fly fishing isn't a paint by number sport; by its very nature, it leaves room for chance surprise. The "adventure" character of our trip lay in the fact that everything was new: edged with uncertainly, possibility and discovery. Without exception, our experience was delightful, even more so with the satisfying realization that we aren't too stodgy to go adventuring!

So how does one get from Idaho to Arizona?

By way of Utah, of course!



© Marian Tallon, September, 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What's in a Name?

Lot's of Promise

A name can spark the imagination. We were driving up the Trail Creek Summit road, which considering the steep climb, is reduced to 1 lane more than what's comfortable when passing oncoming vehicles. When we left the Salmon River, Mary Ann, who loves fishing in the high desert, recommended our destination - Wildhorse Creek. I like the sound of that.

Traversing alpine, then sagebrush, as we neared Wildhorse, we had the best of both worlds. The creek flows into the east fork of The Big Lost River. The Big Lost vanishes in marsh, sinking underground into the Snake River Aquifer.


Everything about our time at Wildhorse Creek was as spectacular as we'd expected. The wild fish were wildly fun; the views burst with color; and the creek was every angler's "promise land"...perfect for introducing a beginning fly fisher, or trying the skill of the experienced.

© Marian Tallon, September, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rubbing Elbows with Legend & Legacy


Silver Creek

In a timeless place, there'd be water, distinct, but not separate from the land; the land, separate from the sky by color. There'd be past, present, future...in the whole, there'd be Silver Creek.

Joe Brooks

Lingering romance surrounds famed outdoor enthusiasts Joe Brooks' and Ernest Hemingway's celebrated visits to Silver Creek. I've been fly fishing almost 10 years, so plenty of skilled anglers have notched their belts before my excursion, still I marvel at trekking in legendary footsteps, and at the history of place.

Glory days of legend transitioned into legacy, thanks to Jack Hemingway, The Nature Conservancy and visionary farming and ranching landowners. Together they committed to making Silver Creek Preserve accessible to the ordinary angler, as well as the celebrated.


The picture above is a bit hazy. (Click it for larger view.) It was taken through the framed glass at the Silver Creek Visitor's Center and is included to give some perspective: Silver Creek is spring fed from an aquifer in the Big Wood River Valley. The water is crystal clear, a constant temperature year round and abounds in insects steadily feeding a extensive population of trout.


There's a pod of rainbows schooled dead center in this underwater photo taken topside. The creek is full of healthy weed beds, gravel, sand and along the grassy shoreline, occasional good wetland muck that sucks at your wading boots. These trout were taking a siesta and not regularly feeding.


On our first day, we fished for a few hours, then made camp on the creek, outside the preserve. Around dusk, a party of women set out in their canoes to fish and upon their return, hilariously set up 2 tents around 1:00 AM. Ordinarily, I'm rather cranky when unceremoniously awakened, but the women were so enjoying their creek outing, it was hard not to enjoy it with them.

Our camp was on the rod side of the fence. Note the grass is as tall as the fence.


Arizonans are used to long summer days. Idaho however, must be on the southern edge of that part of the hemisphere that experiences long summer days. Add daylight savings on top of it! It was light from around 4:00 AM to 9:00 PM. By the time the moon rose, it was pretty late, but not too late to try fishing from our backyard.

Pretty.
Pretty.
Pretty.

I was fishing a 2 fly rig, in tall grass, in the dark. I finally reeled in, skunked, turned to Donna and said, "There's 'sumthin' to being able to cast." I'm not one to confuse casting and fishing, but I will point out that good casting makes a difference. Yes, I was fishless for the evening, but I was tangle free, slept like a baby - no lagging aggravated frustration tangles can cause. I highly recommend good casting...take lessons & practice.


At the end of our second day fishing Silver Creek, it was getting late. We broke with tradition and beat it to the nearest [comfortable] cheap hotel (1+ hour drive), a [satisfactory] steakhouse before closing time (we walked in the door at 10:50 PM, closing time 11:00 PM - phew!), with a nearby early morning [decent] cup of joe. We lucked out in Twin Falls, Idaho - Snake River country.

We did our customary fishing, hardly taking any pictures. We caught fish, missed more than we caught and brought no monster to hand, though Donna had 1 hawg long distance release (LDR).

I hope our picture taking negligence encourages you to experience Silver Creek for yourself.


© Marian Tallon, September 2012