Sunday, September 13, 2009

Connor Birthday Table

Day 2

When Katy asked me last night how I planned to keep Connor entertained today, I wasn't planning to go on the mountain again. I considered heading south and picking up some tying supplies and getting a double double fix. But the weather was way too hot to even stay in Cedar, so I packed another lunch and we headed back to higher altitude. The weather was calm today without the threat of rain and lightning.

I tied up a few #16 Butch Caddis last night. I used some of the cheap antron from Robert's Craft; it made a great segmented body. These things float like a cork!

I took Connor to the spot I fished yesterday while he watched his DVD. The water is shallow and the banks are low. It was tough to find holding water, but I was able to get a few little Brookies coaxed to my fly. I spent more time watching Connor then fishing. He is such a joy to have along.

We moved spots and Connor took a nap while I fished the Brook Meadow. When Connor woke up, we went on a short hike.

We ended the day on the Meadows and I rigged Connor's DVD up while I made a few casts. A couple smaller browns and a decent one before it was time to head home. I met a guy from Vegas just as I got back to my truck. He said yesterday there was a strong PMD hatch and he caught a lot of fish. We swapped stories and I excused myself to get Connor home for bed.

Day 1

I took Connor and Oakley up on Cedar Mountain for a boys' day out. Katy left this morning for SLC to visit friends and go to a wedding. Luckily I brought along Connor's favorite DVD to keep him entertained enough to let me fish for a quick moment.

I took a little break and waited for the rain to subside. I think I replayed "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" about 12 times for Connor while I waited.

I got one quick shot before the lightning got too close for comfort. We headed home and rocked a pepperoni and mushroom pizza from Bruno's.

RR on Willow Creek

Craig and I met at the Shell station and headed up the canyon. We've made this journey many times in the past three years and never once have we been disappointed. After a sour month of missed fishing opportunities, I was in dire need of respite. As we pulled up to the small, willow choked stream, we could see the flow had receded a substantial amount from just one month ago. It was second nature as we geared up and walked down to the first of many honey-holes. I tied on a Royle Wulff and immediately began catching fish.

After losing my fly to a small brown with a deep throat, I fumbled through a few patterns before I regained my momentum. I tied on a modified Boots Allen Emerger with a PT tail and body and the catch rate maintained from then on with about 90% Browns and 10% bows/cutbows.

Craig and I both had great success. I love catching fish on flies I tied and a rod that I assembled. Where these fish lack in size, they make up for in therapeutic value. With my batteries recharged, I'm ready for another week.

Truck Issues

I inherited my '93 Toyota Pickup about ten years ago after my Pickle-Rocket ('89 Nissan mini-pickup) fell victim to a hit and run. I've had to do little in the past ten years to keep it running strong. But all came to a head when I took it in for a safety inspection. A big red FAIL was issued due to worn-out brakes and the hood was held down by a bungee cord. And on top of that, it was diagnosed with intermittent starting disorder.
I THOUGHT I was mechanically inclined and this little weekend project would only take me out of the game for a day. I started by cleaning the battery terminals in hopes it would resolve the starting issue...wrong. Then I placed the truck on MacGyver jacks stands found in my back yard and began tearing into the axles. The brakes were paper-thin and the rotors were scratched and covered in rust. My little helper helped me lose a few parts along the way, but he got a good dose of grease in the process. After countless hours, I got it going strong with new brakes, rotors, battery cables, and a hood that latched.

I felt about the same way before it was done.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Katy Connects on the Bean Stream

Katy and I made a deal that if I would exercise with her this summer, she would fly fish with me. I held up my part of the bargain for the past few weeks and now it was time to cash in.
After work, we loaded up the car and headed out for a fishing adventure. I've fished Bean Stream a few times, but haven't been back for a few years. As we got close to the stream, we saw a turkey with its two chicks in tow.

I set Katy up with an "Amy's Ant" and a SJW. I had her make a few practice casts to get the feeling of the rod. Katy has gone with me a few times and she can place the fly where it needs to go. But she's never connected with a fish by herself on a fly rod. Katy made some good casts and we went to the first hole. It was a tough cast with many branches to tango with. But Katy was able to get the fly in the small current running into the pool. She had a few takes, but her timing was off. I stood behind her and helped her cast right up into the head of the pool and showed her how to hold the rod tip and take up line to avoid drag. We caught a couple fish tandem. Katy made a few more casts and the hole seemed to go stale. While Katy walked up to the next hole, Connor and I found "big rocks" to throw in the stream. Conner was not happy when I would stop search for throwing rocks to snap a picture of him or mom.

I began flipping rocks in the stream and showing Connor all the bugs that live under the rocks. This stone fly's older brothers and sisters were flying around taunting the fish.

Without waders, Katy and I were limited to only a few accessible runs and pools to fish in this area. We went back through the best sections and tried to pick up any fish still hungry. Katy had many takes, but her timing was still off and they would disappear before the point of the hook could settle in their mouth. We loaded back in the car and drove along the dirt road a little further. The stream meandered through thick brush and hid in deep slots cut into the mountainside. We came upon a meadow where the stream slowly curved around its edge. I re-rigged the rod and handed it to Katy. There was only one pool with good current and the light was beginning to fade. I coached Katy as she tried to get a drag-free drift. Connor was still in the car munching on gold fish crackers. Connor realized he was alone and the jig was up. I ran back to the car to entertain Connor as Katy continued her quest. "Mike, I got one!" The rod was bent and Katy had a grin from ear to ear. I grabbed Connor in one hand and the camera in the other and ran to see her prize.

Katy's first fish on a fly rod by herself! I was so over-joyed. I helped her release the fish and it swam back to its home. As we drove back to our home, we couldn't stop talking about how wonderful this evening was. "That was fun! Now I'm going to be jealous when you go fishing without me." I think Katy is converted to a fly rod on small streams.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Woods Ranch Outting

Before heading up the mountain, We spotted a caterpillar scooting around. Connor was not amused.

Connor takes his fishing seriously and was zen with the little tikes rod.

But Connor quickly found the light and picked up a fly rod. Connor patiently waited for the fish to come to him.

After some false casts and missed hook-ups, we retired for he evening on the swings. Connor is quite the daredevil and loved to swing as high as the swing would take us.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Many Firsts on Second Creek

Craig and I made it to 2nd Creek tonight. We planned to go last week, but Craig had some last minute work to complete. Last year around this time, 2nd Creek had perfect clarity and flows. The road was rough getting in and snow drifts threatened a long hike to the stream. When we arrived to the stream, it was higher then we'd hoped and a little off-color. The wind howled through the pines as I started rigging up my XP 5. These fish aren't very big and the 3wt is so much nicer for these little creeks, so I changed paths and opted for the DC SigV 3wt. Craig rigged up the Rx7 3wt I built for him last year.

I rigged a #14 Grumpy Frumpy with a lime-green belly. Below that I had a #16 copper CJ. Within the first couple pools, I had a small Brown rise to my offering. This is the first fish I've caught on a Grumpy Frumpy. I hope to have many more this summer.

After loosing the dropper to some under-water hazard, I fished with the dry for awhile. Below one of the many beaver ponds that line this creek, I tyed on a red with black wire rib chironomid. I was able to coax a small Brookie from the depths. This is the first Brookie I can remember catching on this creek.

Above the beaver dam, there is a deep pool with a slow riffle down the middle. The first cast into the pool is met with a feisty Cutbow. After some bursts of speed and a few aerials, the fish comes to hand.

I catch a few more fish with the red/black chironmid before sacrificing it to the river Gods. After many failed attempts to find another winning combination, Craig and I hike back down the creek below where we started. I decided to try yet another fly I've never seen action on, a San Juan Worm. I've heard of the magical abilities the SJW has to attract fish, but I was yet to believe. Below a #14 red CJ, I placed a bright pink SJW. But a failed cast dislodged the worm. After a couple more pools and a couple more lost worms, I question the myth of the SJW. But I tie on another SWJ and cast it to a likely riffle next to a solo willow bush. My indicator drops and I set the hook. It is a 11+ Brown with anger issues. I get it to the bank and reach for my camera, but I let too much slack in the line and the fish unbuttoned. I didn't get my first fish on a SJW documented. But soon after, I catch another willing participant and snap a quick shot before it swims away.

After my third fish on a SJW in one spectacular run, I chase after Craig to share my findings and a couple SJWs. I bring a couple more to hand before I meet back up with Craig and head to the truck to go home. Although we hit 2nd Creek before it was in its prime, we were able to have a fun day in the wilds of the 2nd Creek drainage.

Connor is a little man now

Its amazing to witness someone gain a personality and knowledge. Connor amazes me every day by the things he does and says. I am so happy to be able to raise such a fine boy. Connor and I have had a few "fathers and sons" outtings. I look forward to many more as I have the blessing of looking over this "angel sent from heaven".

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Backyard Dinosaur

While watering the fruit trees in the backyard, Katy spotted a Horny Toad. We put him in a box and planned to keep him as a pet. I Googled how to take care of it, but it seems like these guys don't fair well in captivity. I decided to take a few shots and let him (or her) go back into the wilds of our backyard. I've been studying how to take better pictures. Fly Art Studio has some great tutorials on how to take good pictures, even if all you have is a point-and-shoot camera. I finally found a use for the $5 tripod I purchased from Staples. I've been looking for a Gorillapod around town, but I think I will be ordering one on-line soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Little Tikes on the Little Reservoir

Katy, Connor, and I went to Little Reservoir. on Beaver Mountain for a well needed reprieve from my 55 hour work week. I guess "fish eat metal" too. I lined up my XP, but between the micro-bursts and Connor in my back-cast, I decided to put it away. Plus Katy kept catching fish after fish and I couldn't seem to find any awake...except this small shad taken on a #16 zebra midge.

Between the three of us, we caught over 20 fish in a couple hours. It was a fun family outing to start out the spring.

Connor takes his business serious. There's a couple spots I have in mind for Connor to catch a Brookie on his own (Connor didn't hook this fish, but he did a good job holding the rod while it tried to get away).

We ended the day at Wendy's. Connor loves hambuagas. When we got home he didn't want to put his fishing pole down. He had to take a bath with it and then he ran around the house until 11pm yelling sheshe. I think he's got the bug.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

One of Connor's favorite things is the throw rocks. Even better when he can throw them into water!