Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Drop out time

Two weeks away from modernity is not nearly enough, but it has been a fine respite, these past, brief, fleeting days of spring.  It began with a solo excursion to wolf country, cabin chores, repairs, clean ups, natural observations, fishing and other happy pursuits that require no phones, internet, electricity or running water.
Two great friends arrived after their day of steelhead fishing and were easily convinced to stay the night and fish again the next day.  They had encountered fresh chrome.  Very high water was the norm on the larger rivers and there were fish to be had - if you could land them !  I did not handle a fish for two days, but several handled me, thank you.

Then it was on to inland trout lakes, but all save one were still ice covered on May 17th.  That little gem was likely still frozen on the 16th, so when I fished it, an isothermal condition was encountered that provided no incentive for the fish to bite. It was, however, spectacularly beautiful - well worth the paddle and the kayak drag up the snow covered trail.

Then the rain commenced for three days of constant and much needed soakage.  All the rivers went out of shape, into the woods, unfishable. The culvert washed out under my road - yikes ! The NE wind howled and howled and yanked the ridge cap off of one side of the cabin !

There were a few repairs to attend to for a couple of days (another story).
Then back to fishing and foraging and functioning in a natural diurnal rhythm.

So, the last full day before having to come back to reality, I went to a little stream that usually comes back into shape fairly soon after a major rain event. Indeed when I arrived it looked absolutely Hamm's Beer! There were a couple of steelhead in every hole and no one around to bother them.

And I came back to modernity, why ?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Make way for Zane

A new rascal arrives here in two weeks.
He's five weeks old today and he is a standard poodle
He doesn't have to like hunting and swimming
But that would be cool

You only go around once..........

Monday, May 13, 2013

Winterkill.......? I think not

I found exactly one dead bass on the first loop that I paddled around the pond. No other signs of winterkill. No hoards of merganzers, cormorants, gulls, eagles or other opportunists like those that followed the winter of '96-'97.  A major cold front arrived for Saturday's general fishing opener, and I did not even wet a walleye line. Some lakes were still not ice free - a record late spring. By Sunday morning  the temp had dropped to 22 F.

No matter - it is too late to deter the fish from coming into shallow water, seeking warmth - by 5 pm it was in the sixties and the water temp was nearing 50.  Today it was 80 and the game is on ! Everybody survived the long winter just fine. Ticks out in force. First spring peepers join the chorus tonight. Flycatchers and rose-breasted grossbeaks safely back home.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013



Ten days ago, I had to escape from here to find some semblance of spring. The experience with Wendy B and the dragon's wind kick started the change of seasons. It followed me home and in the space of less than two weeks that change has been dramatic, culminating in the ice going out of the lake late yesterday.

This afternoon the water temperature was already up to 47 degrees - a remarkable rise from the 39 at ice out. Tonight a few showers fell and the smell of manure was on the soft breeze. Frost gone from the ground and the greening has begun. Everything is springing.

Waterfowl court, catkins swell, midges hatch, and sunfish seek the shallows.
It begins anew.

 Large black chironomids

 Alder catkins

 A fine little dink - first bluegie of the year !

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Salvation in the south east

Another week in the winter dregs and I would have done something rash
A road trip to the south east finally became reality just as the darkness began to close in.

In the morning
The south wind roared up the canyon like the hot flatulence from a dragon's ass
Saturated with the aroma of mud and earth and detrital springtime ooze
Cheering its destination, wishing its advance north, to melt all that has been frozen
I bowed, back turned, hat in hand against its fierce buffeting
Nearly too loud to allow the songbirds' trill to reach the ear
We flailed nevertheless with nymph and streamer
The temperature rose near seventy and the trout went nuts
Frogs began their urgent chorus

Winter madness avoided
The driftless area pulled me through
Beautiful indeed

Arrived back home on the dragon's wind
The snow and ice are now assuredly doomed
A huge debt of thanks is owed to Wendy B.