Saturday, February 21, 2009

A little of this and a lot of that...

Here's stupe. Stupe's smart enough to know that she doesn't know what in the hell to think about a largemouth bass laying on top of twenty-one inches of ice. Stupe is smart so she plays along.
Good dog.
A little action away from the action.
See below.
Some crappies on said twenty one inches of (didI say hand auger?) ice. Numerable and also sizeable for the piece of water I'm sitting on.
First we rollim' in eggs. Thin we rollim' in crackers....

aaand the real action ...
cute liddle toes, fusses on demand
Worth every penny.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ruffed Grouse opener

Here's stupe. She hasn't lost her enthusiasm for hunting upland birds. This is uplifting for me.

I was in such a jovial mood after such a successful first outing that I donated a bird to some kin. An email soon advised me that the bird hit the plate adjacent to such things as homegrown white carrots and gorgonzola cheese. It also suggested I keep hunting.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Crem Brulay. A Photo Essay.

Four days. One million walleyes. Ten billion sandflies. A few good fires. A few good brewskis. One hexagenia. A bit of rain. Some brave mud turtles. One massive smallie. Oh, I could go on and on...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Destination here, then there.

After sitting in the front end of a canoe for an hour Stupe was getting fidgety. Much to her delight, and my dismay, our portage was a wreck. She had a ball bouncing over and under the windfalls and I had a ball acting like a snake. This was without a canoe and pack for me. Stupe looked at me like I was a wimp. I looked at Stupe wondering if she could swim that far back to the landing.
The original deal was to make out with some walleye, if the water and the weather gave the go, then I'd give the push for some extra large brook trout. The weather gave the go. The portage didn't.
At the end of a seven mile paddle, with plan A sunk, there's nothing better to do but sprinkle your loss with sugar and hone the water at hand. A pile of smallies on black stuff under the surface and green stuff above it made me feel good right away.
On the way to the walleye grounds, I perchanced upon rising fish. These weren't any ordinary fish. These were freshwater whitefish. And they were rolling on half inch long midges. Sixteen feet of boat, with three quarters of a mile to the nearest tree. I was thinking fishcakes, dry flies. Dry flies, fish cakes. I had no trouble lining them up. A long row of midges meant a long row of fat, easy dorsal to tail rises. Seven patterns later when a breeze chopped up the lake, I looked over the gunwales of my canoe and watched the fishcakes sink. No ass hooked whitey for me.
Walleyes. The walleyed pike. The pickerel. The walleyed pickerel. They taste good.
I caught four after a squall hit the lake, making life perfectly difficult. No backing up, no turning. On big water, with nothing but a paddle, the lake will tell you what to do. Straight line, stick bait, pull the damned boat out over the point shoal. Anchor out when the fish nears you or you near the rocks.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

More green eggs and ham

The gjods smiled on me on this rainy day.
Here's a snapshot of a fiesty chrome fish that had better things to do than get foiled by some goon using bait only two hundred feet into her river. She's around five pounds and displays the nice lines delineating silver and spots on the body, nice clean gray and a faint of blush on her head. A fish you wish you could steady and examine with a magnifying glass. For a couple of hours. As it was, she got a quick beach job and the forceps. Then she tail-flapped five feet through a few inches if water and probably set the cruise on resume.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Observations of a steelhead.

The girth, lots of it. This fish has spent some time behind his fair share of baitfish. A typical steelhead from the area looks less like a fat trout and more like an arrow.
Net marks. Note the line down his side forward of the dorsal. How much time he spent cooped up with whitefish and herring that came to a quicker end is one of those questions I'll have to ask the guy that probably released him. A lamprey scar adorns his port side as well. This fella has seen as much action on the front lines and in the brothels and any fish could hope to. He also decided to climb a bit further into the river than most fish in thirty-four degree water and give a good pound to the green eggs and ham seen in his mouth.
Regardless of water type, sex, species, barometric pressure, moon phase, month of year, bait, fly, presentation, spawning phase, latitude, Dr Juice, Sure Strike, day of week, time of day and all of that excellent et cetera, steelhead here typically do not give a good pound to anything. And especially in thirty four degree water. Also note the lack of chrome. With his river being open for only two weeks and the anchor ice cleared for less than that, this is the fish I go for when it's real, real early and I know I don't have a chance.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Green, used but in good shape.

Building furniture, even small pieces, takes time, tools, patience, time and practice. If you want the piece to be perfectly square, true and most importantly, lasting, square twice mentioned attributes.
The best thing about redwood is what happens to it when it gets wet.
Having spent too many hours in a pocket filled with popple twigs and fish eggs, the camera lens needs some polishing.

Thirty five years of deck railing gets new use. Getting there the hard way, but worth it. Actually, I got pretty jealous of some of the stuff I set up for my brother, which, coincidentally was green lumber as well. This setup will be around awhile.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Devils Track Recon

An hour and a half from the door runs a steelhead river that is, without question, my favorite.
There's two reasons for this. One is the water. It's all good, clean, fast and gnarly. Two is the geography. From where the steelhead can get into it to where they can't run any further is canyon water. Also, its a shale canyon, so even if you were a billy goat, chances are you'd take a big time header trying to reach the river from the rim in ninety-five percent of it's length. When the water goes up, you just don't get to fish it. Coupled with a generous amount of spawning habitat in sanctuary water, this river gets some good steelhead runs.

Here's a tiny feeder before bailing two hundred feet into the river. This, too, takes steelhead.

Looking up the canyon.
Sanctuary starts at the river a couple of hundred feet below.

Down the canyon. At the bottom of the picture, signs of open water. At the top, the big pond is in the background.

Stupe on point. With the woodcock heading north on spring migration, she just couldn't help herself.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Weathering the last of winter...

Just before the big hookup...

Fish on in the big surf!!

Manuevering a large steelhead through early April ice...
AWWWW! Huge native buck! Cut the line at the last minute!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Green, continued.

The making of a cabinet.
Waxing eloquent about the natural beauty of wood has been accomplished by too many others. Wood speaks and this piece is already saying, "Fill me with reels, hooks, feathers and bottle openers."
Dados and rabbets cut.

I put clamps on to glue it up solidly and keep it square. Lots of clamps. Then, when the nieces and nephews come over and barrel into it with, say, a splitting maul, I'll just have to sand out some mars instead of trashing the thing and starting anew.

A sanded carcase, ready for finishing, drawers, and uploading of all kinds of wonderful fishing and hunting crap. The DA already wants it.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Part of the Green

This desk has been relocated. A sure giveaway might be the lack of feathers and thread on the floor. Another might have to do something with the fact that there's nothing on the desk. Like, say, a pile of Magic Tricks or Jungle Bunnies.
But that's all obvious banter.

The fly-tying desk needs something in the way of drawers. The man that delivered me into this great world first cut the above pictured redwood and made it into deck railing. He did a good job picking his materials. The railing lasted thirty-five years. Happenstance and wherewith dictated that contract work was to bring us together again and I tore out and rebuilt his multiple decks. I saved as much as I could.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Deep Soak

Letting the greeze and funk off:
Post two-hour deep ultra dry seep to the bones sownna fest. Tail-flop in the spindrift next to shore and realize that a pile of snow can feel real good.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

And now for a unique news flash

Well, my brothers, the local rag from the nearest biggest city has deemed our beloved Poplar River front page newsworthy. A color photograph adds touches sure to roil the hearts and minds of those who grow their own granola. A good aerial shot it is. The brown river slurry is contrasted sharply with the lake water, which looks as if it could be used by vacationing snorkelers, looking for tropical fish. In reality, as we know, those good old staples of tannin and clay will do just the same for any river in the right conditions.
At any rate, as the article states, this river has been declared Dirty Enough To Think About. Furthermore, it has also been observed that only the last two miles of this river has turbidity (shit in it, sediment only, the stuff that can't be ignored right away like fertilizer and fuel oil), and that only the last two miles have been heavily developed.
A pie graph visually depicts the culprits:
Ahhh, let's see here. Ok, we got Golf. That's one percent. No Worries.
Channel Incision, three percent. Source of incision not listed. What else.
Ok, we got the naturals, Megaslump (big dirt/clayslide) Twenty-six percent. Forest, fourteen. Gullies/Ravines, eleven. Other Landslides, ten.
Then the rest. Here's Ski (alpine resort) thirty-three percent. Seems kinda heavy. And developed, one percent.
That's a whole lotta land to river love for two miles!
This gets me thinking about solutions. I mean real solutions. Somebody has to pay for this, right? We have the feds hiring researchers already, MPCA and the rest of the state agencies, and the locals. It's just one river forthelovapete. This is getting expensive, the taxpayers really don't dig this. They can SEE it. It's in the papers. But at least they don't live in the river with the fish!!!
Alright, I'm done fuckin' around. Here's the deal. This is it:
Get the meetings at the stupid fucking town hall over with. Pull the wool, whatever.
Then put that Megaslump in shock and awe mode. It needs it. If that thing can just sit there and think it belongs there because the river made it, then we need to KICK ITS ASS. Do the same for the other gullies and ravines and landslides. It's concrete time, pour away and bring in the big ass rock.
Ok, that's it for all the big natural contributors. Except the trees. Special plan. Cut em' down. Takes care of that. Then more Ski Hill. This will call for more development but that's fine, they're only at one percent. After that, we encourage a nice, clean, non-profit organ, feed them state and fed grants, and give 'em the go to channelize the whole valley. Make sure some trout get thrown in there from time to time, and find some cheap deep root wonderbrush for the banks. The greener the better. Miniature chinese dinasaur whatevers. Nice.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Meat Post

One hundred and twelve feet of real free range venison pepper stick cradle a foot and a half of the finest venison summer sausage.
This pic was taken only minutes after leaving the walk-in of the best Yugoslavian butcher in the upper midwest. Note the fine frost, a sign of perfect short-term preservation.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A Ride

An Aretha Franklin unit that sings like Aretha Franklin. The old truck on the right, just waiting to die loaded with a ton of firewood or sheetrock. Below zero tempuratures required.

A couple of minutes from the porch.

Dwindling cliffs on one of the Twin Lakes.

Sitting on Aretha, sipping a Miller, and watching the granite and birch speak to me.
An old timer in his seventies broke camp from the first lake and rode up to check her out.
He was pretty excited to see a machine running that was built back when he was gettin' jiggy with the real Aretha. He was riding an ol' Elan and wasn't comfortable letting it idle for too long. So he split.

On the way to the lakes, this cutoff trail exists. At sixty degrees from level, it rises about two hundred feet. At the top, I once watched a bogey suspension disintigrate from underneath a bombadier my dad let me use. Then there was the Elan that the patriarch of the c-boy clan was kind enough to let me destroy. That one overheated at the pinnacle of this trail. The excess heat found its way to the gasoline tank, which was around half full and, yes, ignited. It opened up the hood of the machine and left my stunned ass thirty feet behind the machine. The eyebrows came back eventually. In summer and winter I remember this spot. Here was my very first bout with mortal luck.