Four years was all I had to fish the heck out of the great state of Virginia. From the mountains to the coast. I paddled, hiked, drove, waded, climbed, crawled, camped, froze and sweat for these fish. I made lifelong friends, ate way too much BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville and indulged in my fair share of Virginia ales.
It may be true that Virginia is for Lovers… But you know what? It is also for hard core fly fishers with opportunities to scratch any fly fishing itch.
I didn’t’ even come close to exploring all the Virginia fishery has to offer. Muskies, tarpon, carp, CCBT drum and winter stripers, bass, gar, shad and on, and on, and on… I guess I’ll just have to make an annual pilgrimage.
Here’s to you, Virginia.
Music: Josh Ritter “Getting Ready to Get Down”
A couple weeks ago, I ran out in the middle of the day Saturday during nap time and squeezed in a couple hours of fishing on a small driftless region stream. It is a property stream that has had habitat improvement by the DNR and is located accessible through an easement by the landowners.
Like many streams in the area, you need to hike for a while to get past the heave cow traffic and water that probably gets more pressure. The water was a bit low, but it still seemed to be running nicely. I brought my Hexagraph and was throwing mini hoppers. Hopper season is probably about done with the fall on our doorstep. I easily could have used the tenkara rod, and probably will in the future for streams this size. It is just so convenient, and easier to manage with tall field grass.
The one purchase this summer (besides the Hexagraph) that I am very happy with is the pair of Simms wet wading stockings. They have been so great. I haven’t worn waders since moving back, because these have been so comfortable and the water hasn’t been too cold.
They are well constructed and easy to clean.
A good option for wet wading. I bought mine with a gift card to Bass Pro Shops.
I was pleasantly surprised to see this small waterfall. I’m not sure if this was habitat improvement by the DNR or natural. Either way, it was gorgeous.
What was special about this trip was that I was able to land my first Minnesota Brookie. They are the only trout native to Minnesota, and I fell in love with them in Virginia. I caught two in the same pool including this handsome fella below.
There are lots of spots like this stream, where, after a mile hike, you find yourself in a valley that seems very isolated. You can see an oxbow in the stream on the left hand side. It winds back and forth throughout this small valley.
I’m hoping to get out and find some spaced like this in the winter. I think they would be gorgeous.
Virginia has been good to me. Very good. Still, the time has come to move on. A few members of the local Trout Unlimited chapter (Bill Wills Southeast Virginia TU Chapter) and I made one last run to the mountains to find some hearty brookies.
With some tips from the boys at the South River Fly Shop in Waynesboro, Virginia, we found our way to a great stream holding wonderful fish. Tenkara has been good to me in the Shenadoahs, and that held true one last time.
Filmed on Gopro Hero, iphone 4s
Music: David Nash “The Fisherman”
Ive been inspired to paint a couple more images lately due to a recent inquiry from a fishing busy who has interests in fish designs and art. There was quiet a bit of talk about a brook trout print. As I’ve given away both of my previous attempts, I had the opportunity to work on another one from scratch.
I looked at lots of photos online and ended up with inspiration from several sources. I thought I would show you some of the layers and steps to the paintings.
You start with a blank canvas and a cool beer.
I lay down some textured base colors. In this case I think I used too much yellow.
I like layering the oranges and reds over the yellow.
Then it is time to craft some spot.
Nearly finished. Still looking w bit yellow.
Done! I darkened up the yellow belly a bit to give her that slightly dirty look, but even that is overshadowed by the autumn tummy.
Well, thanks for walking through that with me. Have a Happy Halloween!
My buddy Kevin wanted me to try painting a Shenandoah Brookie for him “Prosek Style.” Meaning, he wanted the swatch of color and pattern without the fins and such. That is good, because I can’t paint the other bits of the fish.
Using Prosek’s Labrador Brook Trout as a guide along with the picture from Kevin, I came up with a version I like. Hope you do too!
If you read the post before this,
you’ll know I made a CD and put it on CDbaby. Well guess what? It is also on Spotify and iTunes. I’m very impressed with how quick that all happened. If you get a chance, go have a listen. Search “David Nash Dormroom Sessions”and you should find it. It was pretty fun to put together. Spotify works a bit like pandora, so you don’t have to pay to listen as opposed to iTunes and CDbaby which will make you buy it to hear the entire thing. iTunes also has longer song previews than CDbaby.
No, this isn’t “Art by an Owl” where they give an actual feathered owl a paintbrush and have it paint a flower like those elephants in Thailand do. This is art by a person named Owl.
I recently put forth an idea to an up-and-coming young artist that goes by the name of “Owl.” I’m very interested in the different ways people paint fish and trout and Owl has a unique approach that definitely brings a surprisingly unconventional and exciting perspective to these fish. When I asked him if he would be interested in an “art swap,” I wasn’t sure what he would say, because, well, I’m no Owl Jones, but to my surprise he agreed!
I’ve been slowly working through my project called “Painting Through Prosek.” I’ve been painting my acrylic way through Prosek’s book “Trout: An Illustrated History.” I tried extra hard on the brook trout and thought Owl might like this.
Over the next few days, I believe he will be finishing up the project he has been working on for me. I’ve had sneek peeks on his Facebook Page
because, well, you see, today is National Owl Jones Art Day
. That’s right, he made a day for himself. I can’t believe I didn’t think of such a brilliant idea first 🙂
All I can say to wrap up this post is to support your local artist, fly shop, retailer, farmer and family member. Great things don’t always come from the big stores with low prices.
I skipped a page, but with good purpose. I might be swapping this piece in exchange for a painting by someone else. An art swap, if you will.
Here is the Brook Trout (Prosek uses the Labrador Brook Trout as his example). Brook Trout tend to be a favorite of many people. They have a jewel-like appearance with rich, complimentary colors.
I painted this one a little larger, again, just focussing on the patterns. No fins, yet.