The Circus is in Town

Okay, so Owl Jones at is hosting a rod and reel giveaway in cooperation with Rise Fishing Co.

I would love to get me hands on this so that my wifey could have a cool rod and might want to join me in fishing some afternoon. In order to win this sweet stuff, I’ve got to do as much silly stuff on the contest point list as possible. Owl tallies the points up on his forum, Fish Head Forums.

So, if you are one of the few who subscribes to this (I don’t have a list, but mom and dad I guess that is mostly you), you will be getting a flury of emails as I try to nail a few of these as quickly as possible.

My Big Adventure.

So, are you ready for this? Are you ready for a whirlwind recap of to sweet trips? This is your chance to either 1. turn around and walk away with your chin held high 2. just skim through the photos to get the gist or 3. dive right in and follow detail by detail. Choose your own adventure and lets go.

Last Thursday, I woke at 4am to a meowing kitty. “Okay. Okay.” I said. “You’re right. I should get on the road.” I made the 14ish hour drive (according to google maps) from Omaha to Fort Smith, Mt in a little over 12 hours. After buying my fishing license at the Cottonwood Camp fly shop, I was in the water and fishing by 5:45pm. tips for cutting down driving time: pee in a bottle while driving or while pumping gas. bring along a pizza for food. get an interesting book on cd to stay awake. oder good driving weather.

I basically fumbled around for about 2.5 hours looking foolish and exploring the area. For one brief moment, everything came together. I mended a great cast, laying my orange scud and zeebra midge accross a seam that was practically drawn with a sharpie. My indicator twitched. I set. And the fight ensued. I pulled in a 16-17inch brown. Beautiful and strong.

I missed a couple other takes that night, but was happy I was able to come away with some success.

The next day we hammerd the fish. We saw a bunch of redds while heading down the water indicating the fish were getting their spawn on. Our group of seven guys split up into 3 groups and each had a guide. Expensive but highly reccommended for a first day fishing the water. It sets you up for much greater success the rest of the days. The water was only 37 degrees and flowing at 3600cfs, but it the fish stayed in relatively fast water. It wasn’t until late in the afternoon they started sliding back to the slower stretches. They were hitting fire beads, sow bugs, red midges, orange/grey scuds, san juan worms, and zeebra midges. My last fish of the day was a beautiful rainbow with a healthy belly. Great fish.

The next two days, things slowed down quite a bit. We had an inch of rain after our first day, and the fish hunkered down. I caught most of my fish on the red midges (size 18) and orange scuds (size 16) that I had tied. I was told these were much too big, but the fish were just as interested in what I had to offer as anyone else in our group. That felt great to tie something useful.

On one of my walks along the shore I found something that Jay from the Naturalist’s Anglemight be interested in. It was peaking at me from inside a thicket. Any thoughts, Jay?

Throughout the weekend, we saw plenty of midge hatches, but the fish were rising inconsistently. Some of us in the group were expectantly waiting a baetis hatch, but none came. The days progressively got warmer, but also sunnier and windier, keeping the hatches at bay.

Our last day was windy as all get out but we still managed to finish it off with a hot pool getting most of the guys in our group 3-4 fish in the last hour or so.

On Monday morning, I was the last one to leave. I got packed up and headed down to Denver to meet some freinds. It was a quick stop. I got their, transfered gear, and jumped in their car as we got on our way to Arches National Park for a few days of climbing and hiking.

We got ourselves a camp sight and made our way to the top of Elephant Butte and through Dragonfly Canyon in the first day. It was gorgeous. The only hitch in the day was when I nailed my upper tibia on a submerged rock as I tried to jump across a pool of water in Dragonfly. There were several of these pools. It is necessary to swim through them, but I thought I could at least jump close to the far side and avoid fully submerging my self. Nothing broke besides a little of my spirit 🙂

After some rest, antiinflammatories, and compression, we spent the next day hiking a route called Lomatium in the Firey Furnace area of the park. The height of this was the 140ft repell. Spectacular. After that, we had a little time to see the Delicate Arch around a cloudy sunset. Another amazing day.

We capped it off with a morning doing a short hike with three great repells. This was Tier-drop. The 130ft repell in this was amazing because it gave you a far view of the park and another canyon.
If you’ve stayed with me this long, I’m thankful. It was two awesome trips (I use that word with it’s intended meaning “full of awe”).

Now back in Omaha and back to “normal” life. I’ve got lists to get through and work to be done, but hopefully, I’ve sewn a seed that I can revisit in the years to come.

Dreaming of the BWCA… or am I?

OBN’s at it again with another photo prompt, this time looking at dream destinations. Just like everybody, I have so many places I want to go, making this particularly difficult. I would love to see Alaska, ride the Siberian Railway, travel Chile north to south, dine in Cambodia, hike in New Zealand, etc etc etc.

Okay, as I write this, right now in fact, I’m changing the direction of the post. I was going to tell you, whenever I dream of a place to go, I long after the quiet, summer shores of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). I have been a few times and I absolutely love it. The smell of warm, musty pines, picking blueberries, moose, bear, great fishing, northern lights, no motorized vehicles allowed.

I’ve dreamed and dreamed of having a small cabin up there, or at least making a yearly trip for the rest of my life. But then I realized, as I was typing the list of places above, there is another dream. One more exciting and adventurous. One that, admittedly, will be difficult to pull off, because of real world commitments. But as long as we are dreaming, maybe I should shoot a little higher, eh?
I’ve already mentioned it. Chile. For some reason, I’ve been fascinated with the diversity of landscapes within the country. With national parks like Torres del Paine (pictured below, thanks national geographic), el pacha, Easter Island, Santiago, fishing galore, what is not to desire?

Photograph by Jerry Alexander/Getty Images
So there it is. It has been set. I choose Chile. The BWCA almost had it for a second, but then, like Ohio, or Kansas, or Duke, or whoever else you didn’t expect to lose during March Madness, a twist out of nowhere.

I would travel the cities and the parks. Fishing when I can and eating all the street food my bowels would allow.


Charlie Sheen couldn’t have said it any better. The spoils from my correct guess of Heterodon platirhinos on The Naturalist’s Angle have arrived! Jay, with your help I will hopefully become the local authority (at least among the intern residents) on the amphibians and reptiles of my new corner of the country. I’ll have to take this baby on down to the Great Dissmal Swamp and see what I can see. Thanks again Jay!

The Week is Upon Us.

I can’t believe this week is here. It is a beautiful Sunday morning in Omaha, Ne. I am thankful to be up and enjoying it. We ran a 10 mile run yesterday on the Keystone trail only to follow that up with 18 holes of golf with friends…. Well, Tiger Woods golf on the Wii, but still, long day.

Now my mind drifts to the West. Montana. Colorado. Utah.
On Thursday morning, after seeing Sara off to work, I’ll be driving up to Fort Smith, Mt to begin our 3 day trip fishing the Big Horn River. We are staying at my brother’s favorite place Cottonwood Camp. I can’t wait. I know a lot of bloggers I read are able to get out and fish pretty regularly. Well, for me, it is few and far in between. I have been waiting for this trip for a long time.
On Monday, I’m driving down to Denver to visit my best bud and follow him on a few more adventures. He has planned a few days of hiking in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park.
Its a good day for a poem, so let’s give it a go.
Looking forward. 4/3/11
I look forward
to each footfall
each rising sun
each splash of cold water
refreshing to touch
to blazing fall leaves
biting winter mornings
sticky summer lemonade
fires on the beach
to all of your laughs
all new foods to taste
all of the smiles
shared with friends
to more responsibility
maturity with age
finding eternal optimism
keeping cynicism out of my veins