Friday, March 25, 2011

Jared Got Caught Playing With The Flip

I downloaded a bunch of videos the other day and found one on there I didn't recognize. Jared found the flip video camera and was playing with it and this is what we found. Thankfully it didn't break the camera! If you get motion sick you may not want to watch this too much!

Corey Lands a 30.5 inch Buck

Corey's wrestling season stretched into March. So he hasn't been fishing with just me yet. The Thursday before spring break was a day for me to see my wife and help get her ready to leave for southern Utah the next day. Corey and I were supposed to fish, but we canceled because of weather and because Kim needing my help. But, we got reports that the fishing was good, so, we planned a morning fish on Friday, before they left.

The water was high and fishing was decent. It had rained a bunch the day before. I hooked 5 on eggs, drifting them deep in the fast runs, but we only landed two of them in the heavy current. The boys didn't fair too well. I hooked a keeper hen almost immediately, but Corey was down river, fishing a good spot that happened to be open when we got there. I offered it to Tyler, but he declined, tailing it for me. Tyler finally hooked a fish up river on his fly rod, just before we left, but lost it.

Corey didn't pick up any fish down below , so he came up to fish with us. Just after he got there I hooked this fish. It was strong and the current made it almost impossible to move. Corey really had his work cut out for him. He couldn't reel, he had to just hold on. Finally he moved the fish out of the hard current into a seam and was able to crank it up to me. I tailed it, lifted it out of the water and it tried escaping. I had to hug it to my body to not lose it. We got it to bank and tagged it quick. Corey was REALLY excited.

I'm not sure if it was harder to keep Jesse or Lyndie out of the pictures. You can see Lyndie is excited about the fish. The first photo just shows her arm, but the second one she is the center of the photograph. She finally just walked in for a shot. We don't mind though. A girl this cute deserves to be on film!

Cole's Day

Cole with his 27 inch, fly caught, Wallowa River steelhead.

Cole was my next steelhead fishing partner. We got up REALLY early, I carried twice as much wood as when Abbie and I went, and we sat in the dark waiting for daylight. Fishing pressure had increased in the area we wanted to fish, and so we made sure we had our spot.

Cole got a fly rod for his birthday last year. I was a little hesitant to get him his own because of the detail required to cast, mend, tie leaders, fly choices, etc., etc., etc., so I made him a deal. If he would learn to tie the knots needed for building a leader, I'd buy him a fly fishing set up. I kind of figured this might deter him, since he was only 7; BOY WAS I WRONG. I had to get him line that day and he started practicing. I showed him a few times and within a week he had them down. He has also tied flies with me, and by himself. So, I figured he had the bug bad enough he might do okay. I really knew he was ready when he spent all of his free time in the back yard casting his brothers fly rods--I'm talking hours of practice, not minutes, and for weeks!

When he finally got his rod he cast it, instead of his brothers' and mine. Again, for hours. We finally got him out with it and he loves it. So, when we were sitting on the bank of the river, waiting for daylight I asked him what he wanted to fish with, his spinning rod, or fly rod. I'm sure you can guess the answer. I fixed him up his rod, and told him where I wanted him to fish. But, before sending him off I tried a quick cast to show him how I wanted him to mend line. I picked up a 13 inch mountain whitefish almost immediately. Cole landed it and then he went down, asked permission from some men that were fishing next to where I wanted him to fish, if he could step in. They weren't catching anything, so they said sure. In 3 casts I looked up to see Cole's rod bent over double. It isn't a steelhead rod, a nice trout rod, but it doesn't have a heavy enough spine to really tackle a fish like the one he was hooked into; a 27" buck. I couldn't tell if the guys were mad, envious, or dumbstruck that an 8 year old kid was out fishing them! I guess they weren't too mad, though, because they offered their net to help land it.

I unfortunately forgot the camera, both still and the video flip, so all I can do is tell you he was beyond excited and VERY proud of his fly rod caught steelhead. (The stonefly pattern worked like it was supposed to) I think part of his excitement was that he had landed a steelhead on his fly rod before Tyler and Corey. Tyler had hooked a few, but he hadn't landed one yet!

Fishing for us was pretty slow that day. I hooked 3, Cole landed one of them, Seth landed the other, and I made a long distance release on one more. Down river some guys hammered the fish, but our spot just didn't produce like it did when Abbie and I were there the week before.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Steelheading with my Abbie Jo

I started the year off fishing mostly by myself, through January and some of February. With my schedule I don't see the kids much, so I decided I'd take each one for a day of steelhead fishing, just them and me. Abbie was first. She didn't want to fish last year and with her excitement over catching a steelhead, and because she wasn't committed to a wrestling team, she was the obvious choice. We headed out early, and hour or two before daylight and headed to one of my favorite spots. We took a pile of wood on my pack frame and made a big fire, and we fished most of the day.

When we first walked up to the fishing spot, I noticed Kyle Carpenter there, a friend of mine. We went over to say hi, and he hooked a steelhead almost immediately. He gave the rod to Abbie and she landed it on his baitcast rod. My batteries were dead and in the cold the camera kept locking up, so I didn't get it filmed. It was a native, so we had to let it go. We fished with him for a little while, then decided to move to the top of the hole, where no one else was fishing.

Abbie fished by herself some, but mostly she ate the food I brought, sat by the fire and kept warm on that cold February morning (it was 13 degrees that morning when we left) and talked with me. It was one of the nicest days of fishing I've ever had, and I didn't land a fish. Together we hooked 9 and she landed 3 of them; one was a 30 inch buck that I hooked at our feet. With the two fish Kyle let her reel in, she added 2 more to her total, making it 5 landed for the day. Not too bad for a first timer!
Abbie's first steelhead

Abbie's 30 incher

Abbie fills her tag! This video shows her landing it.

Abbie holding tagged fish #3! A limit of steelhead.


Abbie couldn't keep this fish because it was foul hooked, so we let it go and kept fishing.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Plastic Comes off the Cork of Tyler's New Fly Rod

The week after state wrestling I took Tyler out of school for a day and it was his turn to fish with me. We fished from daylight to dark with a friend of mine Hubert Morrison. Hubert loves to fly fish for steelhead and he stayed pure all day, never once fishing with conventional tackle--it helped that he left it at home. Tyler and I switched off between the two, but mostly Tyler fished with flies and his new rod. Once he figured it out he was out fishing Hubert and myself, for a little while anyway. It was fun to watch him.

Hubert caught the first of the day and ended up hooking 6 total. He landed 3 or 4 of them. We fished with Hubert a few weeks ago and he hooked 3 steelhead in 4 casts. As well as a few others. He put on a clinic for us that day. Tyler finally hooked two steelhead, but lost both of them. Corey and I had to be content with smaller trout and whitefish.

We walked around 6 miles this day, looking for fish. They were there, but it helped to search and find. Tyler picked up a nice fish on eggs and his new Berkley Air rod, an 8.5 foot trigger stick with a baitcast reel. His next cast was a 16 inch bull trout. He christened two rods today, not a bad for a 14 year old kid. Tyler doesn't act or think like a "kid". I've never known any freshman in high school to get up at 4 AM to finish homework for that day so he can keep his 4.0 grade point average during wrestling season. He never missed a practice, regularly scheduled or extra. He did everything he was asked as well as lots of extra on his own. Tyler was named "Rookie of the Year" by his wrestling team this year. For his hard work and dedication, as well as his success he was honored by them. I thought this was really cool.

I was the last to land a steelhead. I hooked 5 on my fly rod and one on my spinning rod. It was a little frustrating. I hooked fish in almost every hole we fished, but it took me until almost dark to finally land one. I hooked one more, a few drifts later, and like a champ, turned it loose mid river.

Tyler's First Steelhead EVER on his new fly rod, the fish took a brown stonefly!

We have a ritual we just started, specifically with these fly rods. You can't remove the plastic from the cork handle until you have landed the type of fish the rod was purchased to catch. We caught whitefish and rainbow trout (all the trout were under 20 inches so not technically a 'steelhead') and decided that removing the plastic from the fighting butt would be appropriate. I lost my plastic almost a month ago when I landed 2 nice bucks on the Wallowa one morning after work. Tyler has hooked 3 or 4 steelhead, but hasn't landed one yet. After landing this fish he excitedly removed the plastic and I was there to capture it on video!

Tyler's First Keeper Steelhead on His Fly Rod (2nd Total). He landed this buck maybe 10 minutes after the last one--his official "first steelhead" on the rod. The one that allowed him to remove the plastic. I have over 4 more minutes of video on this fish as he fought it. It ran upstream quite a ways, initially, and wrapped him around a rock. I had to wade out and get the line off the rock, then I got the rod back into his hands and we filmed this sequence you see here. I spliced out a minute or two of it tearing out some line and posted for your viewing pleasure.

Pulling Some Line--Turn up the volume and listen to the reel sing! =)

Landing the fish after getting it off the rock.

I hooked 6 steelhead this day, 5 on my fly rod, but only landed this one, at the end of the day. It was my 5th fish of the day. I hooked one more for just a second right after this. I know I say this is my 4th on the video, but I wasn't counting correctly! I was delirious from losing too many fish, or the shock of landing one was too great, I'm not sure.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Jesse pointing, but not holding, quail

Jesse is going on 9 months this March. He finally has his new kennel built in the back yard. It's 20 feet long, 6 feet wide, and its covered; I can comfortably walk under the roof. Since I posted the first video of him in September, he has grown a lot. He has also chewed up and destroyed lots of things he wasn't supposed to.

I don't know why he hates my BBQ so bad, but he has chewed all the electronic start wires off of it as well as the gas hose that runs the whole thing. He then ripped all the rubber edges off the handles for turning the burners off and on as well as chewed up the handle to my wire brush I use for scrubbing the grill clean. He has also chewed all the plug-ins off the cars block heaters and the wire to my pump outside, that I use to water my yard. He found out how to push through the back fence and escape into the neighbor's yard, and he can jump the 4 foot chain link fence around the rest of the yard, like it was nothing. I love the puppy stage!

He LOVES birds and he LOVES our kids. Cole and I took him on a walk a few days ago and he pointed lots of quail and pheasants as well as a golden eye on the Grande Ronde River. I'm hoping to train him as a versatile dog, hunting and retrieving waterfowl and upland game birds. So far he likes both and has retrieved both, at home, in the back yard. He is more excited about retrieving now and doesn't tire of the game as fast. Whoa has been hard for him; he cowers when I make him whoa, so I have laid off of it, going back to it occasionally to see how he reacts; he is getting better. He likes water, but hasn't done any water retrieves yet.

The above video was taken today. I took Kim, Jared, and Lyndie out to watch him work. We saw quite a few quail, a handful of pheasants, and some huns. It was a good walk with some good dog work. He really needs polishing, but he is young and right now we are just trying to be excited about things. I'll start more formal training this summer.

I did take him chuckar hunting in January and it was VERY frustrating, at first. The fog was really heavy and visibility was 25 yards at best. He was typically out of sight and I had a hard time keeping track of him. He always found us again, but I wanted to see how he was reacting to birds. I shot a chuckar over Jesse's 1/2 brother and then shot two more birds around Jesse. He was below both groups of birds (30 yards or more) and the birds got up above me, so I shot one bird out of each covey. He tracked one bird over 60 yards to retrieve it; it was really cool. The other glided over a mile. Gus, Jesse's 1/2 brother got it for me. But just after shooting the bird Jess made the 60 yard trail/retrieve on, he pointed and held a bird for me. I shot it twice (sometimes I'm not a dead eye) and he trailed it 40 yards, picked it up, dropped it and headed off. I got him back to the bird, he picked it up again and dropped it in my hand, but didn't carry it. I was happy though. He pointed and help birds, trailed dead/live ones, and made attempts at retrieving. It was a very satisfying end to a long, frustrating day. He has a lot of potential and I look forward to finding and perfecting that potential in him.