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.
I know. I know. I can’t wait until YGF and SchnitzerPHOTO release their next installment for The Fly Collective. (The first installment rocked.) Rumor has it… (Thank you Adele for ruining that saying for me… rumor has it.. dah dah dah… rumor has it….) anyway, rumor has it Erin Block will be involved. By the transitive property, since they all are amazing, it will be amazing.
But until then, to kill some time (about 3 minutes and 6 seconds to be exact) here is the new My Leaky Waders Video.
Does it Get Any Better? from My Leaky Waders on Vimeo.
My last minute trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains turned into a phenomenally successful outing. The weather was wonderful, and the fish were rising. If “Dry or Die” was my mantra, I’ve never lived more fully.
Please enjoy the bounty of Blue Ridge Brookies taken on Tenkara.
Music: Mike Doughty “Take Me Home, Country Roads”
Food: BBQ Exchange, Gordonsville, Va
Filmed on iphone and goproHD
There you go. By the way, rumor has it Adele is taking up fly fishing.
Look at her. She is either A) stunned and the awesomeness of the video, B) ready to toss off that pashmina for a pair of Patagonia Waders (she seems like a patagonia girl) or C) Thinking, “Man, I wish I had some Owl Jones Art for this blank wall.”
What do you think?
Photo of Adele was graciously provided by a google image search. The rumor that Adele is taking up fly fishing was started by me. I do not know Adele personally, and therefore have no idea what type of waders she would buy. I do “know” YGF, SchnitzerPHOTO, Erin Block, and Owl Jones so I am trying to pimp them.
…. And by “know” them, I mean I’ve commented on their blogs and I’m trying to make myself look cooler by that extremely loose association 🙂
Today was a big day.
and I had plans this week to spend Sunday fishing the Eastern Shore for redfish, but the wind and waves had other plans. The local waters were going to be too rough for us, so it was back to the drawing board.
Last night I sat down to decide if I could make a last minute trip to the Mountains. It is a little over three hours drive one way, so, it is a bit of a commitment for a day trip, and there is always that little voice in the back of your head that whispers, “It could be a bust. You could catch nothing. Are you sure the drive is worth it?”
Well, today, it was worth it.
I happened to have a recent copy of the Blue Ridge Outdoor magazine
handy (check out their monthly Trail Mix – Music), and there was an article written by Jack Murray
(brother to one of my buddies and cousin to The Man in the Striped Pajamas
) that gave a few local suggestions. I found the one that looked accessible and within my 3.5 hour travel range and decided to give it a go.
I was streamside at 9:45 and water temp was around 50F. Air temps were in the mid 60s or better and the sun brought out the bugs. We had beatis, midges, beetles, and a couple types of caddis. Needless to say, this put the fish in a feeding frenzy. By early afternoon, water temps had risen about 4 or 5 degrees.
I tried to count how many 3-5 inch brookies, I caught, but I gave up after I caught 20 in about 30-45 minutes. I was covering a lot of water and the tenkara rod was helping keep things simple. I figure my numbers were around 60-70 fish total, and, honestly, that feels like a modest guess. It was absolutely insane. I missed a couple bigger fish and had a 7 or 8ish inch fish on that I lost due to fumbling with the net. Having not caught many bigger brookies in the Blue Ridge area, I felt pretty good about these close encounters.
By 2:30pm when I thought things couldn’t get any better, I ran into about an hour block where I landed 5 fish about 7 (+/-) inches and one that was a solid fish possibly pushing 10. It was phenomenal.
After the run of big fish, I decided to start heading back and quit while I was ahead. I had another 8 or 9 incher on that I lost, and caught another handful of smaller fish on my way back to the car.
I capped off the trip with a stop at BBQ Exchange
in Gordonsville, Va for some good eats and to pick up some fancy cupcakes for my lady who was waiting for me at home.
I lost some of the video from my phone, so this already slim picture got all-the-more shorter. For a nice write up of the outing, see Kevin’s blog
. And no, I can’t tell you what stream this is.
Another day trip to the mountains finds a great stream with eager brookies with some TU pals. Fishing a special stream in Washington National Forest, we re-aquainted ourselves with these little fish for the first time in 2013. There’s no doubt about it, when it comes to trout fishing, I can’t won’t and don’t stop.
Filmed with a GoPro HD
Music: Beastie Boys “Sure Shot”