Painting Through Prosek: Volcano Creek Golden Trout

As I finish the section on the Rainbow, Redband and Golden Trout, it has begun to really sink in how much trout diversity there is in North America. This slow stroll through Prosek’s book has given me the chance to daydream about one day seeking out some of the less common species. Who knows, I might find myself backpacking the High Sierras, just south of Mount Whitney, stalking the Kern River tributaries in search of the Volcano Creek Golden Trout. 
From here, we move on to the Cutthroat Trout. This is a, relatively, diverse group. I believe I have about 6 or 7 pages marked to paint. Slowly but surely, I’ll make it through. 
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Rethinking being a Gearhead

I am a sucker for anything that comes in some sort of “outdoorsy” package. I fit right in with our consumer society. I love catalogues and new gear. I lust after the latest and greatest of the hiking and fishing gear.

Is this bad… Most of me says no. There is a, however, a little Jiminy Cricket waltzing around my shoulder telling me otherwise.

This video from Patagonia shares a mentality worth striving for. Of course we can’t all be like the extreme examples in the video. My patagonia rain jacket gets more time spent hanging behind an office door than in Denali. But still, I like the idea of a product not only made to last, but bought to last.

Enjoy the video!

Painting Through Prosek: Nelson Trout

A species native to Baja, California identified in 1908. 
A colorful body with blues, greens and yellows. 
I left off the ventral boundary on this painting. 
A subtle difference that draws the eye to the name of the fish. 
By writing the name in pencil, the name doesn’t draw the eye completely away from the image. 

Feeling Nostalgic and Reliving My "Rush to the Driftless"

Filmed this a while ago, 
but it seemed like a good time to revisit the old material. 
We all have waters
Tied to our core.
Mine is the Driftless.
What is yours?

I traveled back to the homeland for a week of family and friends. Fly rod and tenkara in tote, my dad and I met up with the Winona Fly Factory (winonaflyfactory.com) fisherman and we explored some of what the Driftless area has to offer for trout fishing. The tenkara rod ended up being a great option for my dad, someone who is pretty new to fly fishing. He took to it well. It was a long time on the water, but we had a great weekend fishing, finding morel mushrooms, and hanging out at the barn. 
Music graciously borrowed from The Rural Alberta Advantage: The Ballad of RAA
Filmed with GoPro, iPhone 4,

Painting Through Prosek: Sheepheaven Redband Trout

As you may have noticed, James Prosek seems to enjoy painting several of his variety of trout in their juvenile garments. Losing your parr marks must be like shedding the jacket of immaturity for many fish. Though, like humans, I bet they still make poor decisions time after time, even after puberty.
The Sheepheaven Redband Trout: a Redband trout (one of the Rainbow variety). 

And now, a look at the Painting Through Prosek portfolio. Below isn’t pictured the Brook Trout (that went to Owl Jones) and a brown trout painting that went to my Dad. 

You can also see the redfish tail in there. That is the second attempt at a redfish. 
The first went to a good friend for her birthday.

Painting a Red Fish… or rather, a Redfish

Last Friday night, I sat down and tried my second attempt at painting a redfish tail. When it comes to painting fish you can be as simple or detailed as you like. The redfish is a perfect example of a fish that looks pretty straight forward in the minds eye, but quickly becomes more complicated with its subtle highlights and many shades of  rust, silver and blue. 
I’m thinking I might find myself painting a few Christmas gifts this year. 

Out for a Drive: A Special Saturday

Though the peak of fall leaf season has come and gone in the Virginia Shenandoahs, I still wanted to get out for a day with the wife. We finally had a Saturday with no agenda, so we took the opportunity to visit our favorite BBQ shop and see the last of the fall leaves in western Virginia.
While some people might not look forward to a day of 7+ hours driving, I do. Especially when it is with the best company in the world. With a loose agenda for the day, we were given the luxury of an easy pace. 

Our first stop after the drive from Norfolk, Va through Richmond was the BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville, Va. We have a soft spot in our hearts and bellies for this place. For me, it is the Colonel Bacon BBQ sauce. For Sara, it has to be the cupcakes. Regardless, this has become a staple for us, and it filled us up for our hike in the afternoon. 

From Gordonsville we made our way to the Crabtree Falls (see http://www.hikingupward.com/GWNF/CrabtreeFalls/) trail in George Washington National Forest. This is said to be the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi, and is a relatively easy hike ~1300ft elevation gain and is about 1.7 miles to the top. As such, it is just about the busiest hike in the park. If it is solitude you see, look elsewhere. Still, it is a fun hike and the falls are pretty. Even though most of the leaves had fallen, there were still some beautiful things to be found. Fun bonus: the parking fee is usually $3 but it was waved for Veteran’s Day. Score!

The trail was hidden from the sun most of the hike until you reach the top, so it was a bit chilly as we hiked up and down. We spotted a few patches of ice here and there. 

Additionally, by throwing the tenkara rod in the backpack and a gotubb with my line and flies, I was easily able to bring along the gear up to the top to find some pocket water to pick off one last brookie before I let them spawn for November. 

After the hike, we were ready to eat again. Being in the area of the Brew Ridge Trail, we had no other option than to get some grub at one of the awesome microbreweries. The Blue Mountain Brewery was our destination. I sampled some phenomenal beers (some twice) and the food was excellent. Get a pizza and the bread pudding and you will not be disappointed. 

After that, it was time for a nice drive home with my buddy. Sara and I got to share a great day together. As she is almost 25 weeks pregnant, quiet, one-on-one car rides will soon be a thing of the past. Of course, it will be fun in its own way. 
My Leaky Waders might just become My Leaky Baby And Waders.