Friday, December 10, 2010

Tiger Wrestling

Tyler Jason Isaacson is the 3rd generation Tiger Wrestler. My dad wrestled for La Grande, graduating in 1969. His brother Sig also wrestled for La Grande and graduated (I think) in 1971. My brothers and I, and my cousin Tyko all wrestled for Verl Miller in La Grande. I graduated in 1990 winning the district championship that year, my brother Adam graduated in 1993, my cousin Tyko (Sig's son and a 3-time district champ, one time state champ) graduated in 1996, and my brother Seth graduated in 1998 (he also won the district championship that year). Tyler will graduate in the year 2014.

He is currently 103 pounds, on the money, before practice, and around 101 afterwards. Sleeping he looses 2.5 pounds a night, and after the 100 updowns they did in practice the other day, he lost almost 4. The fitness world doesn't make a "workout" that anyone would actually do, day in and day out, that compares to a wrestling practice. There are some that are similar in nature, but never as intense, as physically demanding, as brutal.

You're never pitted against another person of varying size, weight, or strength. You don't have to physically fight them off, lift them, throw them, restrain them, repeatedly break them down as they resist everything you attempt to accomplish. Mental and emotional exhaustion are rarely achieved while working out. Rarely are you beaten into submission by an opponent. Rarely do you question whether you want to continue on; or even if you can. Rarely are you brought to your breaking point where you must look inward and find the strength, the guts, the heart to get up one more time. In wrestling you must face your worst enemy, yourself, every minute of every practice, of every match, of every workout. You are your greatest weakness.

No one in there right mind would pay to have this done to them. There must be a payoff. The price paid must be justifiable, and the outcome must be worth the price paid. Rarely in wrestling is this ever true! There isn't fame, fortune, or popularity associated with the sport. The accomplishments are personal, private even. To be acknowledged by few. It's a badge of honor that no one sees, that no one understands, unless they too have paid the price.

Wrestling is a tradition passed from father to son. It's a right of passage, a brotherhood, a title that is earned, not given. Towns, states, even countries are "known" for their traditionally tough programs, and for the high quality athletes, and hopefully citizens, they produce. Amazingly ESPN and the millions who watch it couldn't tell you who they are. They are The Silent Gladiators that Nicholas A. Hopping explains so well (get the book, read it, think about it, then read it again!) and I am happy, even proud, to say that my sons will be part of the Tiger Tradition that my family has been a part of for the last 41 years.

As the year progresses I will continue to add, when possible, the matches we have that Tyler has wrestled. I'll try and include the scores and where he places in the tournaments.

Estacada Varsity Tournament Tyler was 1-1, placing 3rd overall
Match 1
TOO LONG TO UPLOAD. The kid is from Culver, OR, and was last years Oregon Jr. High State Champ. Tyler lost 2-6. I'll try facebook and see if I can upload it there.

Match 2, Round 1

Match 2, Round 2

Nyssa Oregon Varsity Dual Tyler won 9-2
Round 1

Round 2

Round 3-Watch Tyler rip the kid's head off at the 48th second! Nice pancake!

La Grande Tournament 10 Dec 2010
Quarterfinals Tyler pins in the 1st round
Round 1

Semifinals Tyler pins in the 2nd round
Round 1

Round 2


Round 1 Tyler is down 2-5

Round 2 Tyler is down 3-7

Round 3 Tyler loses 3-12

Award Stand

Best of the West

Match 2

Regional Wrestling, Ontario, OR

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cole's First Grouse

Notice the size of the 12 gauge compared to Cole in this picture!

Cole is suffering! He is 8 and just big enough to not be able to do anything his older brothers get to; specifically hunt. When we moved here to Oregon, he became eligible for the mentor program. This means with a hunter's safety he can shoot my deer, elk, turkey, bear, cougar, etc. It's a good program allowing kids to become more involved at an earlier age.

Unfortunately he is still too small to hold a gun by himself. He has shot the single shot 20 gauge quite a few times and is better, but it is still too long. He has wanted to shoot a grouse for a very long time and we just haven't been able to get him on one. He missed some ducks the other day, shooting over their heads as they sat on the water. He was really excited to try and I really wished he would have killed one, but that's hunting!

Last weekend grandpa Isaacson and uncle Seth took Tyler, Corey, and Cole down to Troy, Oregon, to fish for the fall run steelhead. Tyler finally hooked a 26 incher losing it right at the bank. On the way home some grouse were in the middle of the road, so they scared them up into the surrounding trees and grandpa held the gun and took the kick of Seth's BPS with goose loads. The ruffed grouse didn't stand a chance! Cole thought they'd missed because all he saw fall was the branch! Grandpa told him to go pick up his grouse and Cole couldn't believe it! Seth said he had the most pleased, satisfied-with-himself look of any little kid he as ever seen! Cole is an official hunter now and can't wait to be big enough to shoot properly! I think we might have another addict in the family!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wyoming Deer Season 2010

This is Corey's first year of hunting, and with us moving to Oregon at the end of the summer, we had to travel back to Wyoming so he wouldn't miss his chance to hunt deer at the age of 12. For me, hunting season was the long awaited "coming of age" thing I waited for. Driving was exciting, being 21 really didn't hold anything special for me since I don't drink, and so my whole life has been focused on the number 12! Anyway, it wasn't an easy trip to plan, but with the help of Grandpa Isaacson, we made it work.
We left La Grande around 4 AM with a goal of making Kemmerer, Wyoming, before evening. Our plan was to hunt Tyler's antelope that afternoon, and then meet my brother Adam, who did all our scouting for us this year, as well as packed a ton of meat, let others shoot before him, and basically acted as guide to his older brother and nephews, this weekend.

Antelope doe tags haven't ever been too difficult to fill. But this year all the does were on the wrong side of the road, or all the antelope we saw were bucks! The country around Kemmerer rolls, it doesn't break. And the sage brush is tall, so it makes for difficult stalking and shooting, especially from the prone position. We had wind gusts of 40 miles an hour that day, with a constant wind speed of over 10 miles an hour. There were thunderstorms moving through and this made for difficult hunting.

Tyler's first attempt was spoiled by sagebrush deflecting his bullet. It was an easy 300 yard shot, but the bullet struck way low. We moved on and finally found this doe with a smallish buck and her fawn. Tyler hit sage brush again, but recovered with a good shot behind the shoulder when she stopped at 200 yards. We hunting until almost dark without getting another shot. We even hunted the private property Adam shot three antelope in 10 minutes on 4 years ago but only saw one buck.

We needed to be to our meeting spot before dark to find Adam, set up camp, and get ready for the deer opener the following day. So we drove off with one antelope tag unfilled.

We got up at 2:45 AM the next morning and drove to the trail head (we camped about 8 miles down the road in grandpa's 12 x 14 wall tent) and raced some other hunters on horses up the trail. We won the race, topping out before they did, and thankfully they headed off to other country. We climbed to the top of the 10,000 foot peak and waited for daylight. The wind was really cold and it seemed like the darkness would never give way to the morning...........but finally it was light enough to see. Adam spotted three bucks right away; one I could tell was a shooter. We worked our way quickly across the ridge back, covering the .5 mile in a short time. I spotted 5 more deer on a distant peak on our ridge, but we never did get a good enough look at them to see anything about them. Adam saw a group of 5 bucks a few weeks before in that area and we kind of figured it could have been them.

We peaked over the ridge top right above the three bucks. The front one was the biggest, but the back buck was good too, so we followed Adam advice and Tyler and Corey got set up to shoot one each. Corey shot first and hit low, Tyler shot his first shot, but a little far back, Corey shot again and hit his buck. WWIII, minus the nukes, opened up after that as we tried anchoring the wounded deer.
Tyler and Corey's bucks died within 150 yards of each other. Tyler had shot the bigger buck in the lead, and Corey's was a year younger, but almost the same size as Tyler's; he had shot the back buck.
We took pictures, gutted, skinned, caped, and packed Corey's buck back to the truck (a 3 mile one way pack). Grandpa was really excited to see us! We decided he would take Tyler, Corey, and Jantzen antelope hunting so Tyler could fill his last tag, while Adam and I went back to get Tyler's deer. We covered the 6 miles in under 2 hours.
I was pretty dead that night having only slept 12 hours in 3 days, and packed out the two deer with Adam. So I slept through the next morning hunt. We broke camp and met Adam at his house around supper time.
He and I got up at 2:45 AM again, Friday morning, and headed for one of my favorite places. Two hunters beat us up the trail, we were a half an hour behind them, and they ended up shooting a nice 4 point that morning. Adam spotted 3 bucks feeding a mile and a half across some huge country. We spent the rest of the day getting to the bucks, which were actually closer to the truck. At dusk we snuck across a huge open hillside across ravines, washes, and scree slopes, all the while staying quiet on the best game trail I've ever walked. We snuck right in on the bucks and jumped them.
When they came out at 200 yards I shot mine. He rolled back down the hill and out of sight. Adam decided to pass on the smaller buck. As I was shouldering my pack, Adam looked up to see a monster buck headed over the ridge top at 350 yards. Because he was holding both rifles he didn't get a shot. He did, however, climb the rest of the way up the basin and try to see if the buck had maybe slowed down on the other side, but it hadn't.

We took care of the buck, each took half, and I got the head, and we headed for the truck, 3 miles distant. The night was moonless, at least at that point, so we had a hard time cutting across country and finding the game trail we used to get in there. We were able to work together, remembering land marks, bushes, rocks/rims, to finally find it. Once on the trail we cruised on out of there. I lost the pack trail a few times on the way down, but we finally made the main trail around 10:30 pm. We were to the truck by 11:30 and home, to Adam's house just after midnight. We took care of the deer and made it to bed just after 1 AM.

It was a LONG day; in both miles and hours. We walked around 15 miles in rough, broken, rimmy country with heavy packs and sore feet. We had few trails to follow, cutting across country most of the day. Amazingly we made really good time coming out. It could have been the pain that drove us along, but I think it was more just good company! I love to hunt with my little brother! The GPS said we were moving at around 3 miles an hour on our way out, once we hit the main trail for the last 1.5 miles to the truck. The next day we cut a cord of wood for Adam and his family and enjoyed good food (Jared says aunt Emily is the best cook EVER), a movie, and had a nice visit with Adam's family. We got up fairly early the next day and made it home in time for me to make my graveyard shift.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Opening Day of Grouse Season 2010

Today was the long awaited day when the bird seasons of 2010 began. I got up at 4 PM yesterday, after my graveyard shift and didn't sleep until noon today. I had to pull over and sleep while the kids explored an old homestead and orchard with Jesse, our Shorthair pup. Since we moved back to Oregon we have been looking forward to hunting grouse, huns, quail, pheasants, chuckars, and the waterfowl.

Today we took our new pup, Jesse, a German Shorthair Pointer, out for his first taste of hunting. Since he doesn't even know his name yet, we just got him 5 days ago, this was just a "get your feet wet" type of a day.

We picked huckleberries on Monday night and I took the .22 and 20 gauge shotgun to see how he would do around gun shots. Needless to say he was in good shape.

The area we headed to is an old logging road in the bottom of a very thick, brushy draw, with a stream in the middle of it all. Lots of grouse like to live and die there . Unfortunately someone was hunting it when we got there, so we headed high, looking for Blues. Instead we found some Ruffed Grouse.

It rained all day and so it was pretty wet out there. All the boys wanted to go, so we headed out this morning with a gun for everyone but me--I was supervisor/safety dude. We hiked a mile or two and had just looked over a small part of the earth that didn't fall when Adam partook of the fruit, and were headed back. We'd eaten fresh huckleberries and enjoyed the walk through the trees and meadows, but hadn't seen any grouse yet. Just off the summit of the ridge, I spotted an adult grouse walk across the trail in front of Corey and Jesse. Corey and Tyler put shells in and snuck up to where the grouse had disappeared into the thick trees. Corey spotted his immediately and shot through an alder branch to get his. Tyler crawled back into the thick trees and brush and spotted the other, taking off its head with my old 870 Wingmaster with the 30", full choked barrel. Unfortunately we didn't see anymore, but Cole and Jared and I are headed out again soon so they can get some too.

I'll post this now, but I'll edit it after getting some sleep. I'm going on 31 hours right now without sleep, so I'm a little off on my thought processes.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Salmon Fishing the Imnaha River

Seth's 34 inch, 15-20 pound, chinook, hen salmon

Seth got home from work around midnight. I was up waiting for him. We got our gear together and left town by 2 a.m. We got to the river around 4:30, fishing below the town of Imnaha for starters. We caught NOTHING, NADA, ZILCH, ZERO, well that isn't completely true. Seth landed a 10 inch smolt. So, around noon we headed up river, looking for good spots above town. We finally found some good water that was free and started fishing. I took off up river, exploring, leaving Seth to fish the whole he had spotted a salmon in. About an hour later he came to find me, packing a 34 inch hen. She was HUGE. Her own body weight pulled her gills away from her body, detaching her lower jaw from her body.

We headed back down to the gravel bar he had caught her on and I hooked up after 10 minutes of fishing. It was a good fish, not huge, but strong. I got it to the bank, almost to where we could get to it when two of my hooks straightened; I lost it!

Next cast I hooked a really big fish. I fought it hard below me, but wasn't gaining much. The hook pulled free as it tore line downriver. It had straightened all three of my hooks! Seth hooked one more before we left. It was a beautiful day! Lots of fun, with 4 fish hooked, one landed. I would have liked to have landed at least one of mine, but I guess I will just have to live with the rejection!

Losing my first salmon!

Losing my Second Salmon

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Yellowstone with Family

We headed to Yellowstone this weekend with my in-laws (mom, dad, and brother Kyle and his family). The weather wasn't great, but we had a nice time. We left Afton around 5:30 am arriving at Jackson Lake (our first stop) to fish around 7:30 am. The water was calm and the fish a little sluggish, but we did okay despite the cold water temperatures.

I took the 4 boys to the lake fishing on Friday morning to "try it out" and we did well. But the fish were really sluggish, hitting only the slowest moving spoons and lures. We ended up getting two big suckers, so took them home, filleted them out and made some cut bait out of them for fishing with the in-laws.

Jared caught the first fish, a nice 18 inch mack, on a red and white kamlooper. Bruce, my father-in-law, thought he had a snag; macks don't go too crazy when hooked. Jared landed it triumphantly, yelling across the lake how he had landed his first mack ever and it was HUGE!

Cole was the hero of the day, hooking the most but not personally landing any of them. He let his brothers, sister, and cousin reel in all his fish. He was using sucker meat on the bottom and almost lost his steelhead rod to a 19 inch mack. He caught the end of rod as it headed out to sea. Corey landed that one; his first mack ever.

Abbie was the next recipient of kindness from him, landing another mack of around 20 inches. It snagged her up on the bottom and I had to pull it loose; thank goodness we had 12 pound test on! When it came loose Abbie fought it in the rest of the way. This was her first mack ever also.

The last mack of the day Tyler got to reel in. Cole was slowly reeling in his bait when the 23 inch mack hit hard. He handed Tyler the rod and let him land it. What a great kid! I hooked a few fish that others landed as well (a cutthroat, brown, and a mack that got away). It was a good start to a great day.

While we were fishing a pair of Canadian geese came into the bay and landed across from us. They were up on the bank for a 15-20 minutes when they noisily flew a short distance back into the water. A red fox came out of the trees and reduced their little of family by a few heads. We watched him kill and eat all the goslings. It was pretty cool. I liked what my father-in-law said, "if I had a .22 I'd save the rest of them." But in a National Park that would be slightly frowned upon.

We left the lake around 10:30 am. After getting into the Rockafeller Parkway I spotted a grizzly just off and above the road. It was digging up the mountainside less than one hundred yards off the road. A lady from Teton County pulled up in her van, along with a 1,000 other park visitors, and got out her 500 mm lens. I commented to her she didn't need to show up my wimpy 17-85 mm lens like that, and she offered me to use her lens! So, I hooked my cannon body to her enormous lens and took some SWEET pictures of the bear.

We hit West Thumb geyser basin next and had a freezing cold walk near the lake (still iced over by the way).

My father and Mother-in-law enjoying the spring weather on Yellowstone Lake near Big Cone geyser, just up the lake from Fishing Cone geyser.
Kyle and Amy's Family freezing together on Yellowstone Lake. Clay, the baby, was a lot of fun. He is quite the character. He and I get along quite well!
My family with some of Kyle and Amy's kids mixed in at Yellowstone Lake.

A geyser in West Thumb Basin. It took this picture because of the flat, smooth stones in the pool in front of the geyser's vent.

Lyndie practicing her alphabet on one of the signs. She actually knew which were "O's". Jared has been working on his alphabet a lot lately and Lyndie's favorite song to sing is the alphabet song; her version can be quite entertaining! So it was cool to see her recognize some of the letters she has been learning with her older brother.
After West Thumb we headed off to Whiskey flat picnic area along the Firehole River for lunch. It sits just north of the lower geyser basin. We had hotdogs and brauts with potato salad, potato chips, cold fried chicken, smoked pork ribs, a lots of junk food. We needed 1,000 gallons of hot chocolate, but we were out of mix, so we suffered in the cold. After lunch we made out way up river to Black Sand Basin and then on to the upper geyser basin to see Old Faithful erupt.

It was a great day/time to be in the upper geyser basin as Old Faithful, Grand, Riverside, and Castle geysers all erupted within a few hours of each other. I saw all but Grand (The one I've most wanted to see) enjoying the rainbow at Riverside geyser when ever the sun came out, and the enormous amount of water spilling over the huge geyserite cone of Castle.

We saw lots of elk, antelope, deer, a few buffalo and lots of people. The weather wasn't great, but I love the unpredictable spring of the Rocky Mountains. We ate a cold dinner of fried chicken, rolls, chocolate, potato chips, and smoked pork ribs in the Old Faithful parking lot before heading home. We got back to Afton around 1:30 am and slept quite soundly, actually. I can't imagine why!

Riverside Geyser, with the rainbow it is so well known for, erupting.

Morning Glory Pool, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

Lower End of Upper Geyser Basin at Dusk, just above Morning Glory Pool. This picture was taken off the bridge that crosses the Firehole River just below Riverside Geyser.

Castle Geyser in the Upper Geyser Basin

Lyndie noticed she had a shadow while we were walking back up to Old Faithful Inn that evening. The sun was at a really low angle in the sky, so her shadow was 15 or 20 feet long. She commented to Kim how big she was. It took us a minute to figure out what she was saying and then realized it was her shadow she had noticed. I took this video of her just after that, playing with her shadow.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Today I raked our yard, front and back, with my brothers WAY cool Husqvarna tractor and "attachable farm implements". The spring tooth pulls the dead duff from the lawn, and the "sweeper" picks it up. I did my yard, the front and back yard of one neighbor, and the front yard of another in the time it would have taken me to do just my front yard.

My three youngest boys went out and helped to bag the grass we collected. They play/work hard, and have fun doing it. I sure enjoyed watching them and helping out.

Yes mom, they are in their socks! We know how to get things get done around here!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fly Fishing The South Fork

Tyler, Corey and I went on a fly fishing trip this last Saturday to the south fork Snake River, below Palisades Dam. We started fishing at 9 am and got back to the Explorer at 9:30 pm. It was a LONG day, but fun.

Corey just started fly fishing this last year. He got a rod, reel, etc., for his birthday this last February. I wanted to get him out to fish with it and christen the rod properly, with lots of action. He used it a month ago and hooked a few nice trout, but never did land them. So I hoped the fabled south fork would be just the ticket.

The south fork can be an amazing river to fish. I have stood in one place for over an hour, landing white fish on every cast. I could literally see over a hundred fish feeding in the riffle at my feet. I've had other amazing days on the river catching trout by the arm loads, and I have friends that have experienced days that put mine to shame. I wanted my kids to experience that kind of success with their fly rods, and so we planned the trip.

The day was beautiful, sunny and then overcast, calm, then a light wind that built to a gusty breeze, some snow fell, then a little rain. The river was low and clear, perfect water conditions for fly fishing. You just couldn't ask for a more beautiful spring day to fish. It's just too bad the fish didn't realize it was supposed to be a magical day! We did okay, catching quite a few fish, but it wasn't a numbers day, it WAS a white fish day, to say the least. We found some trout, but everyone we talked to (drifting by in boats) had a slow day as well. Lots of white fish, but the trout weren't to be found!

Corey hooked quite a few fish nymphing with his new rod, but never did land one. It is an eagle claw, $20 Wal-mart rod. Not your best equipment for sure. I figured it would be a good starter rod, but it's action is slow and the rod is fairly unforgiving for a young angler; it actually fished pretty good for me. I traded rods with him in the afternoon and he immediately cast better and hooked two fish, landing both. One was a cutthroat trout of around 14-15 inches, the other a nice white fish. The higher end rods are much more forgiving for young fly fisherman that don't have a great casting stroke yet.

Corey's 1st Nymphed Trout

Around 7 pm we started back for the car, hoping to hit the better holes on the way back and maybe pick up a few more fish. I cut across the dry beds of the river checking out the side channels that will be full in a few weeks when they start to release water for irrigation in the Idaho potato fields. I was just wanting to see what was in them, and I found a small gold mine; spawning fish.

We worked them for an hour, hooking 3 or so and then putting them "down". The red they made was over 8 feet long and a few of the fish were quite respectable. It was a blast watching my kids sneak in on them, cast a small glo-bug into the mass of bodies and hook up!

We never did land one, and when the action died we followed the channel out to the main fork, finding other pods of fish. Tyler worked an egg expertly, especially for a 13 year old kid, with a hand twist retrieve, while I watched from the cut bank above, calling out fish locations to him and his brother. Tyler hooked two bruisers that pulled free after a short fight. The commotion spooked the small pod of fish pretty good, so we moved on down the channel where I found a large pod of trout and white fish. They were hanging out in deeper part of the channel, 100 yards from the main flow of the Snake. The kids pestered them until almost dark with out hooking up. I finally joined the circus, hooking 4 fish in around 15 minutes, from that pod. They took the egg so gently, you really had to be on your toes and watch the line to "see" the take.

Corey landed the first fish for me, a 15 inch cutthroat. Then Tyler did battle with a 20 inch brown that I hooked. It took him a few minutes to land it; lots of big runs and some good head shaking. I hooked two more cutts (one might have been a hybrid cutbow) that Corey landed. We got home at around 11 pm and pigged out on hamburgers with lots of jalapenos and fried onions, and then potato and pasta salads on the side. We went straight to bed after our midnight snack! It was a great day!

This is Corey's attempt at the spawners.

After losing his fly, Corey watched while Tyler gave it a go. No one landed one, but it was fun to watch them sneak in, cast, blunder, cast again, hook-up, lose the fish and then look at me like I was supposed to fix things!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Salt River "Steelhead"

So a friend asked me to go fishing today. He came and picked me up and we worked on getting a leaking fitting off my water heater for about an hour. Then we went fishing. I took my spinning rod, since that is what he would be fishing with, and I grabbed some small slip bobbers, some beads and bobber stops and my flies, along with some lures. We went to a place I never have fished. Highway bridges at boat launches just don't seem like the place to hang out and fish. But with a foot of snow still on the valley floor, and the parking area cleared, I found it a wonderful place to fish.

The bridge is in Grover, Wyoming, and everyone loves to jump off of it into the water below, which seems to be around 10 feet deep. Some kids, a few years ago, set up a trampoline on the highway bridge and were doing some aerial stunts into the water, off the bridge, until the county sheriff pulled up. Even though they had signs and were directing traffic, they were asked to remove the trampoline. I thought it was a great idea!

Anyway, it was just like steelhead fishing. I had on a slip bobber and an egg fly (which was even pink) and when the bobber dropped I set the hook on a 21 inch brown (its actually a little over 21 inches, but I don't want to sound like I am stretching the length, so I will be conservative and round DOWN. You should be proud, most fisherman would have rounded up to the nearest 10 pounds and closest foot/yard mark!) The best part was, when I got home and Tyler measured it ( I thought it was about 17, maybe 18 inches) it was well over that, as a matter of fact (that was for you KIM), it is a legal sized steelhead, if caught in the Wallowa/Minam/Grande Rhonde watersheds. Tyler brought up a good point, it wasn't fin clipped, so I would have killed an illegal fish, had it been a true steelhead caught from my home waters.

I guess my length/size estimater is off with all these steelhead we've been catching. I really thought it was much smaller than it was. The head is what threw me, it has a head like a big, mature fish, one over 20 inches, but I just couldn't say it was that big, it looked smaller to me. I ended up hooking 3 whitefish in the next 10 or 15 minutes, but only landed two of them. My friend didn't get anything, but he did learn to fish with a slip bobber and a fly.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring Break Steelhead

Cole hooked and landed this one on his own! His first steelhead, 25 inches of fish!

Okay, the fishing is too hot to not go back, so we did. This time I hooked up my 7 year old son, Cole, to fish with us. Last year he stood on the bank for 10 hours while we fished, I figured if he could do that without complaint, he could try fishing. He casts okay, but not well. But he tried and tried and by the end of the trip was casting like a pro, and catching steelhead like one too. He did so well I gave him my rod for keeps; he earned it and I figured he deserved it more than me. Besides, now he has his own rod for next year so we can go again, again, and again.

We fished Wednesday night for a few hours. We headed over to see how the river was holding up since we had some storms moving through. The water was up a little from our trip in mid March, but still green and beautiful! I started us off with a 28 inch native hen, that my son Jared ended up landing. It was fun to help him fight in the fish and sad to have to throw it back; he really wanted a keeper.

Jared landing his steelhead

Corey hooked another right away and lost it at the bank. Tyler went fishless and wasn't too happy about it. But Cole surprised me the most that night. I cast one out for him and told him what to do. I turned around to do something, I think rerig a rod for Corey, and when I turned around Cole had a fish on. He landed it (see the video below) by himself. I knew he was in for a great weekend after that!

This is Cole landing his first steelhead. He shows about as much emotion as my Grandpa did, but just so you know, he is JUST AS EXCITED AS TYLER IS in this video!

Another great picture of a great kid with a nice fish! He is standing above the run where he caught it.
Thursday dawned bright and beautiful. We started the 2 mile walk down river, a half hour before daylight. I was carrying three sets of wader, boots, coats, food, water, all the gear for fishing, and Cole's and my rods. We fished Polecat all morning and hooked a few fish, but never landed any (dull hooks or dull fisherman are to blame). Cole hooked 2 and so did I. Tyler landed a nice keeper (buck of 26 inches) and Corey and Grandpa went without. My dad did hook a fish in Red Rock, but lost it. Cole was asked if he wanted to land a fish with a kids fly rod, so he did and tagged it. So we had a few fish to show for our efforts, but not much. Especially for how many fish were being caught around us.

That afternoon we headed down river past Red Rock to the Big Eddy hole and beyond. We fished a nice run without a bite and we were pretty frustrated. The kids started throwing rocks and we just laid on them eating sardines and sandwiches. Two kids came along and asked if they could fish the run; we didn't care, nothing was in there. But they hooked two right away on troutbeads. We were a little dismayed. So we set out down river to find a new area and redeem ourselves.

We found a nice run, with lots of boulders, submerged and sticking out of the flow, and Cole hooked a nice fish right off. Probably his first cast. It was a bruiser and I wasn't sure who would win the fight. Cole is a scrappy 50 pounds, but the steelhead was all he could handle with that 8.5 foot rod! After landing the fish he hooked 3 or 4 more in succession. Tyler, Grandpa, and Corey all got into fish too. I didn't fish for a good 25 minutes because I was landing fish, helping tag fish, and getting something pink on the poles that weren't in use. It was crazy fun!

This is Cole's first fish in this run. I love watching the battle of 7-year old boy and 3 or 4 year old fish!

This is Cole's 2nd fish from this run in as many minutes. He was on fire for the first 10 casts!

My dad hooked this fish while Cole landed his second one. A really nice female.

Tyler hooked up right after Grandpa with this nice native we let go.

I finally got a pink egg on Corey's rod and he got one a few minutes later. I couldn't keep up with all the fish hooked and landed, so I didn't get video of all of them. After watching me tail fish in this video it is obvious that I REALLY NEED TO GET A NET!

I finally got my fly rod put together and ended up hooking 6 more steelhead, landing two of them. My little 9 foot, 6 weight, and I really took a beating, but it was well worth the perma-grin! I wore myself out casting and fighting fish. While I was down river fishing a different run, the kids and their grandpa were nailing the fish. Cole landed 3 fish on his own that day and hooked that many more. Tyler landed 3, my dad landed 4, I landed 2, and Corey landed 2. But we hooked a lot more than we landed! We took home 12 steelhead that afternoon. My dad carried at least 65 pounds of fish, four miles to the car! It was like packing out a deer!

Friday was cold, snowy and windy. We slept in and had a nice morning eating, talking and waiting for the afternoon bite (if there is such a thing). I took the boys over to fish the run where we did so well on Wednesday. It was full of people so we fished another run I have done well on in the past. We went fishless for an hour and a half, so we headed back down river and found the run we wanted earlier devoid of fisherman. So, we scrambled down the banks and got after it.

I hooked the first fish, a huge female, and Jared helped me land it. It was his first keeper and a beauty of a fish, almost 30 inches long. Cole didn't get one that night, but Tyler and Corey both hooked up. Tyler landed his, a nice 26-27 inch buck.

Jared's HUGE hen! He was so happy to get a keeper. He was even happier that is was the BIGGEST of everyone's fish!

This just shows the fish's size relative to Jared better than the other video.

Jared's 30 inch hen
Tyler's buck

This is Tyler landing his buck. Jared was a LITTLE concerned it may be bigger than his. It wasn't and so Jared knows that he is KING.

Saturday morning found us hoofing down the river again, 4 miles one way. We hit the river an hour or two after daylight. It was cold and stormy day before didn't help the water temperature much. It was a slow start. But my dad got us going with a native hen. Cole landed it, it was his only fish of the day.

I fished the same run below where the kids were fishing and hooked 3 steelhead and two whitefish. I landed one of the steelhead and whitefish. When I got back up to the family they had 5 fish dead on the bank. My brother-in-law, Matt, showed up right after I got back and we put 10 more fish on the bank before we left. My dad brought his packframe so he could pack fish out easier. It was another great day of fishing! Tyler lost a HUGE buck at the bank; grandpa couldn't get a hold of it and the hook straightened out on him. Mori, my niece landed two and Matt limited out. My dad would have limited out, but he let grandkids reel in some of his fish.

We brought 27 steelhead home that weekend and hooked half again as many that didn't get landed or were native fish we had to let go. It was a wonderful time with my boys and my dad!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Steelhead Fishing March 2010

Bruce with his native hen (28 inches)

Last year, during spring break, Tyler, Corey and I fished for steelhead, on the Wallowa River, for 10 hours straight. I finally hooked three that evening, landing one, a nice 25 inch buck. Tyler landed two small rainbows that day, both hatchery fish, and Corey hooked a few small ones in the morning, but never landed any. We had gone down the day before to check out water conditions and see if anyone was catching fish. The ladder at Deer Creek was full of fish and it really got their hopes up! So when the day ended without them catching a true steelhead, they both cried as we left. This year I was hoping to return and give them a chance to redeem themselves. We invited Kim's dad, Bruce, and her brother,Kyle, to come along. I've been talking with them since Kim and I got married 14 years ago, about heading to La Grande, Oregon, and doing some fishing with me. This year we finally made it.

This year's run is HUGE! Over 623,000 fish came up the Columbia this last fall. The record run was set some years ago at 631,000 fish; unbelievable! Steelhead have been in the upper river since late last fall. There are so many fish they upped the daily bag limit from three to five fish per day! With big numbers of fish, and lots of people catching them, I figured this would be the perfect year to take some new-comers out and get them hooked on steelhead.

We left Wednesday, the 10th of March, after school let out, for Rupert, Idaho. The plan was to meet my in-laws at an in-laws house. We left Burley around 8:15 pm and were to La Grande around 1 am. It was a nice drive down without any mishaps (accept being pulled over just after turning off the freeway down the Island City Strip for having a license plate light out). We got up the next day and got our licenses, more gear, and food. My dad took Thursday and Friday off to fish with us. I have been trying to get him to steelhead fish for almost 20 years. He watched me hook and land that 25 inch buck last spring, and he decided this was something he wanted to try out.

Our Camp at Minam Park

We camped at Minam Park in Dad's 14 x 12 foot canvas wall tent with a wood stove. It was nice to not have to drive back and forth every morning and evening, especially since we fished from daylight to dark. After setting up camp we headed out fishing, unfortunately my dad had to go back to La Grande for a Boise Cascade dinner. We headed down river and spread out in all the good looking holes. Everyone we talked to that day had caught over 10 steelhead, they said jigs had out fished eggs, and they were severely infected with perma-grins!

I'd never fished this part of the river before, so I just kept walking down river, past Polecat and on to Red Rock. There was just one guy there so I slipped in above him and started fishing. I fished for an hour or so with out a bite (I was using eggs under a slip bobber), when the guy next to me hooked and landed a nice fish. Just after that the family showed up and I hooked a good fish right in front of me. I gave the rod to Tyler and he broke the fish off in grand style. It wrapped the line around a big rock and cut the line. I retied and hooked another immediately from the same run. Corey landed the 22 inch buck. We tagged it and then fished till dark without anymore action.

Our First Fish of the Trip
The next morning Matt and my dad showed up at 5:30 am. Other fisherman had pulled up a half an hour before, and had waded down river to get a spot. We hurried into our waders and raced down the tracks. My father-in-law's hips were hurting from the day before, so he and Corey fished the big hole at the top end of the camp ground. Bruce hooked two, but lost both of them. Corey went fishless that morning. Kyle and Tyler stopped at Polecat and fished there all day. Dad, Matt, and I headed for Red Rock. Dad hooked up within an hour, landing a nice 26 inch hen, she was a fin-clipped keeper! His first steelhead on his new rod! He was as hooked as that fish. He landed another a half an hour later (another keeper, this time a 28 inch hen). I went up to check on Ty and Kyle, and when I was gone, Dad and Matt hooked and landed one each (both keepers and both bucks).

My Dad's First Steelhead!

My Dad's Second Steelhead

When I got up to Tyler he had a 30.5 inch buck on the bank. A guy named Glen Smith, from Pendleton, Oregon, had hooked it while fishing next to Tyler and let him land it. Then he took Tyler under his wing and showed him how to catch steelhead. They made a great team! Tyler landed nine fish in the 2.5 days of fishing, hooking six of them on his own. He tagged the 30.5 inch buck, a 28 inch hen, a 32 inch buck, and a 24 inch buck that day. He let one go because it wasn't fin-clipped, and the other so he could keep fishing.

Tyler with his 30.5 and 32 inch Bucks
The 30.5 inch buck by itself

Matt and dad had to be back by 4 pm for a hunter's safety course Matt's oldest daughter was in. So I walked up with them and took care of the fish. When I got back to camp I found Bruce and Corey there. Bruce started cooking dinner (dutch oven potatoes, steak, etc.) and I took Corey back down river with me.

Kyle's 27 inch keeper
When I got down there, Kyle was about to give up! He was really depressed, having fished for around 15 hours without a fish. He'd watched Tyler and everyone else on the river land a fish around him. But he couldn't buy a bite! But lady luck finally smiled on him and he hooked and landed a 27 inch buck just before dark! It was awesome! It really made the trip for him. I was really happy to see him get one.
Kyle's Steelhead

Corey holds the record for the most snags, most jigs, bobbers, sinkers, and swivels lost, as well as the most water fished! He runs from hole to hole casting a few times and moving on. If someone catches a fish he will quickly be found at their elbow, edging them out of their spot! He would snag up, ask for help, I'd hand him my rod and work on his. In the meantime he would snag mine up and I'd break us both off and have to retie for both of us. I finally was a little mean to him and he finally stood there and listened long enough to learn how to fish properly. Within 20 minutes he hooked up on a sucker. I thought he had a steelhead and I was really let down when it surfaced. Ten minutes later, though, he hooked a 25 inch buck and landed it all by himself! It was a great keeper. I hooked two that night, but lost them as quick as I hooked them.

Corey's First Steelhead, Hooked and Landed by Him
Corey with his 27 inch Buck
We fished until dark, and then headed back for more pictures and a great dinner. Kyle and I stayed up until midnight tying jigs and getting fish taken care of. It was a long day. It snowed a really heavy wet snow that night and got really cold. It was nice to have the fire. It was so hot in the tent I was worried it would catch on fire!

Dad was back at 4:30 am, and we were on the river well before daylight in the top end of Polecat, where most of the fish were caught the day before. Kyle hooked one right away, but lost it. Tyler landed a 24 inch keeper, a buck, right after that and then I finally got into another fish. It was a beautiful, bright, native hen of 26 inches. A little while later I landed twin bucks, 27 inches a piece, and both fin-clipped. Then Tyler hooked and landed a 28 inch hen (also a keeper), and then Corey nailed a 27 inch buck all by himself. He was way down river from us and the people around him were yelling at us to come and help him. It was a keeper also. Bruce never did get one completely on his own, but Tyler hooked two fish for him. Bruce landed the one, a big native hen we photographed and let go. My dad hooked another strong fish just before we left and fought it for a while, but it pulled free.

Tyler's 28 inch Hen on Saturday Morning
Me and my sons with our fish
Tyler's 1st Steelhead on Saturday Morning--a 24 inch buck

My 26 inch Native Hen

One of the 27 inch Twins
It was a great weekend with great company, food, and fishing. The weather was pretty nice and the river was low and beautiful. I can't wait to get back. I'm writing this a week after it all happened, and my dad went back down today, hooking eight and landing five. Four were fin-clipped. MAN I'VE GOT TO GET BACK!

After Our First Day of Fishing

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wrestling in Jackson Hole Wyoming

Tyler and Corey wrestled in the Jackson Hole Middle School Invite this weekend. They both had 3 matches. Corey lost his first--he got pinned--and won his next two. Tyler went undefeated, beating the same Green River kid for the 3rd time this year. Kim got there a little late, so we missed Corey's match that he lost, but she got the last period of Ty's first match. We'll start with that one!

Corey has taken on a new style of wrestling I call "The Spider Monkey"! It reminds me of Taladega Nights, when the kids say, "I'm all hyped up on Mtn. Dew! I'll come at you like a Spider Monkey"! His stance is horrible. I have to say, in his defense, that the kid he is wrestling doesn't know much about wrestling, and that can make it difficult at times. But I still expect he would shoot a good blast double and get it over with, rather than jump around, slapping with his arms wide! (See his 2nd match for the "new technique")

Tyler's Matches
Tyler vs. Evanston, Match 1 Round 3

Tyler vs. Big Piney, Match 2 Round 1

Tyler vs. Big Piney, Match 2 Round 2

Tyler vs. Big Piney, Match 2 Round 3

Tyler vs. Green River (3rd Time) Match 3 Round 1

Tyler vs. Green River (3rd Time) Match 3 Round 2

Tyler vs. Green River (3rd Time) Match 3 Round 3
Corey's Matches
Corey vs. Pinedale Kid #1 Match 2 Round 1 THE SPIDER MONKEY MATCH

Corey vs. Pinedale Kid #1 Match 2 Round 2
Watch Corey's head bounce off the mat on this one! It really hits hard and looks like a ball. He told me, "the funny thing is, I didn't even feel it!"

Corey vs. Pinedale Kid #1 Match 2 Round 3

Corey vs. Pinedale Kid #2 Match 3 Round 1

Corey vs. Pinedale Kid #2 Match 3 Round 2

Wrestling in Cokeville

Tyler and Corey had a wrestling match on Tuesday, the 26th of January, in Cokeville, Wyoming. Tyler had one match with a local kid; C0rey had two matches (also both from Cokeville). They wrestled pretty good. Corey won both of his and Tyler got hipped over, due to poor positioning, in the 2nd round, and pinned in a honeymooner. Enjoy the matches!

Corey's 1st Match, Round 1

Corey's 1st Match, Round 2

Tyler's Match, Round 1
Tyler's Match, Round 2

Corey's 2nd Match, Round 1

Corey's 2nd Match, Round 2

Corey's 2nd Match, Round 3

Corey's 2nd Match, Round 3 END

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rock Spring Middle School Invite

Tyler and Corey traveled with their team to Rock Spring, Wyoming, this last Saturday for an all day event. Tyler and Corey both went undefeated (Tyler won 3, Corey 2). The batteries died during Tyler's first match, so you don't get all of it. But the rest are here. They both did well! And this time, no crapping eagles!

Corey wrestled two new kids--ones he has never wrestled. Tyler repeated two matches. The first (Rock Springs) and third (Green River) matches below are kids he beat in Evanston the first weekend of their tournament season. The first time Tyler wrestled the Rock Springs kid he won by pin in the first round (3rd match in Evanston). This weekend he won by points (close to a tech fall). The Green River (2nd match in Evanston) kid lost 1-6 last time, this time Tyler beat him 7-0.

Corey's Matches
Match #1 Corey vs. Rawlins Wyoming Round 1

Match #1 Corey vs. Rawlins Wyoming Round 2

Match #1 Corey vs. Rawlins Wyoming Round 3

Match #2 Corey vs. Green River Round 1

Match #2 Corey vs. Green River Round 2

Match #2 Corey vs. Green River Round 3

Tyler's Matches
Match #1 Tyler vs. Rock Springs Round 1

Match #1 Tyler vs. Rock Springs Round 2

Match #1 Tyler vs. Rock Springs Round 3

Match #2 Tyler vs. Rawlins Round 1

Match #2 Tyler vs. Rawlins Round 2

Match #3 Tyler vs. Green River Round 1

Match #3 Tyler vs. Green River Round 2

Match #3 Tyler vs. Green River Round 3

Star Valley Matches

Davis Middle School, Evanston, Wyoming, and Jackson Hole Middle School came to Star Valley for an after school match last week. Kim ran home to get some food for kids and forgot to leave me the camera, so we missed Corey tech fall (beat his opponent by 15 points) his Jackson kid and Tyler beat his Davis kid 12-0. I got Tyler's last match, an exhibition match, with a Jackson kid. Tyler came up with a new move I dubbed "THE CRAPPING EAGLE". It isn't recommended for just anyone to try--kind of like stunts in the movies; best leave them up to the professionals! Well, Tyler is the professional and you can see NO ONE wants to try this

It's name originates from the "arms-spread-wide" stance with "your-head-near-your-knee" posture that reminds me of a majestic eagle ready to drop a load while soaring! It was also meant to alleviate the frustration Tyler felt after loosing this match. He didn't laugh about it for a few days, but now sees humor in it like I hoped he would. After all, this IS just a game!

He was ready to kill someone after the loss, so I sent him up on the deck to work out. I figured standing around clenching your fists and trying to find something to kill wasn't very productive, so we focussed his energy into a workout! I found him doing sprints, push-ups, deep squats, sit-ups, and v-ups when I got up there. Emotionally he was pretty fried for a few hours. I'M HAPPY I WASN'T THIS COMPETITIVE AND TOOK LOSSES WITH GRACE! I never punched myself, lockers, walls, other people; I was as good of a loser as I was a winner! Right mom? My sister Sarah can vouch for me if my mom can't!

He has rebounded nicely and the loss is chalked up as a good "learning experience". Enjoy!

Tyler vs. Jackson Hole Round 1

Tyler vs. Jackson Hole Round 2 "The Crapping Eagle"

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Evanston Invite

Tyler and Corey wrestled in their first middle school tournament of the year yesterday. Tyler won his 3 matches, taking 1st in the tournament. Corey lost one to a team mate (the coaches son) but came back and won his consolation pool, taking 3rd. The videos are below. I have tried to label them so you know what match and round they are. We are still training young bodies on how to "properly record" matches. Sorry for the motion sickness!

Tyler's Matches

Tyler vs. Evanston
Match #1 Round #1 TYLER'S FUNK MOVE!

Match #1 Round #2

Match #1 Round #3

Match #1 End of Round #3

Tyler vs. Green River
Match #2 Round #1

Match #2 Round #2

Match #2 Round #3

Tyler vs. Rock Springs
Match #3 Round #1

Match #3 Round #1 End

Corey's Matches
Corey vs. Cokeville
Match #1 Round #1

Corey vs. Star Valley
Match #2 Round #1

Match #2 Round #2

Match #2 Round #3

Corey vs. Cokeville
Match #3 Round #1

Match #3 Round #2

Ice Fishing Jackson Lake

January 1, 2010

Our neighbor, Joe Hale, invited me to go ice fish Jackson Lake with his brothers, dad, and a few other friends to celebrate the new year. Kim gave us permission to go, even though it was her birthday.

Tyler, Corey, Cole and I left home around 4 a.m., arrived at the lake side around 6:30, and started to walk in the dark out on the lake with the 13 others in our fishing party. There was 6 inches of new snow on the ice, which was 17 inches thick, making the mile walk to the "fishing hole" a little slow; it took a half an hour. It wasn't great fishing, but we did catch some fish. Well, Corey and I didn't but Tyler (caught 2), Cole (got one, but the biggest of the day) and the others all got into some Macks.

We moved fairly often hoping to find better fishing. We found fish everywhere we went, but never found a hot spot. At our 2nd place Cole hooked this 5 pounder. It was 24 inches long and fought him hard. He really had to work to get it through the ice. He carried it around the rest of the day like a baby. He was so excited. We really had fun and everyone donated their fish to us. We had almost two 5-gallon buckets of fish. We filleted them out and froze them. We will get 8 fish dinners from them; not bad for a family of 8.