• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Monday, November 29, 2010

    Pick Your Devil

    Al Gore

    .. Ignoramus, ostrich, liberal, conservative, reactionary, curmudgeon, rationalist, nationalist, politician, etc.: choose your position and blame the other.
    .. Methane, carbon dioxide, CFC, fossil fuel, deforestation, nitrogen oxide, rice paddies, orbital wandering, natural cycle: all or something else is the cause.
    .. Whatever the case, there is some sort of long-term climate change trend in Montana, (and elsewhere - we're told.) So what?
    .. A note, yesterday, in the Billings Gazette  presents one bit of activity for "Conserving Montana's wildlife during climate change."

    Montana's average air temperature has increased 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit from 1951 through 2006, compared to a 1.25 degree increase for the entire United States. Our average winter snowpack has declined 17 percent over the same period, and spring rain has increased 5.9 percent. August precipitation has declined more than 20 percent in the 55-year period. Glacier National Park's storied glaciers are disappearing, with only 26 remaining of 150 that existed in 1850.

    Reduced snowpack, more spring rain, lower streamflows and melting glaciers tell a story of environmental change that is beyond rational debate. People might argue about the cause, but the trends in air temperature, precipitation and recession of glaciers strongly suggest our state's climate is changing more rapidly and extremely than we predicted just 20 years ago.

    These changes are forcing our big-game populations to adapt to changes in their forage base and shift migration patterns to accommodate the changing weather. Variations in water quality and quantity are transforming some of our native cutthroat trout rivers to smallmouth bass waters.
    Wetland loss in the prairie pothole region in northeastern Montana could severely reduce waterfowl productivity in North America's duck-breeding “factory.” The loss of the insulation of prairie snow cover can kill young prairie grouse and pheasants in early spring when air temperatures are still low or freezing.
    .. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is updating its comprehensive fish and wildlife conservation strategy to include adaptive measures to better protect and manage fish and wildlife across broad landscapes in a changing climate, using strategies presented in “Beyond Seasons' End,” and from the USFWS.
    .. The newspaper article also paints a pretty bleak picture of the future for our native Bull Trout and Cutthroat Trout.
    .. The "SEASON'S END" website points to changes and actions that can be taken to address these times and conditions.
    .. They have published a book about the happenings. Request the Free book HERE. They have also made the book available, (online PDF download, Give it time it's large and full of pretty pictures.)
    .. It's above zero by a degree or two and the snow flies are going to be dancing all day between the lakes at the Hebgen Tailwater. The snow is getting deep but the trail is keeping pace. Time for some bangers and mash.

    Saturday, November 27, 2010

    Ever So Humble


    .. Snow is far easier to drive on than is black ice. We're home and there is still fishing to be done.
    .. The trip was a brilliant success for the fish. We'll stick with our original plans next year. See you south coast folks in the spring.
    .. A few of the neighborhood sports have reported giant whitefish and brown trout from the bits of open water available on Hebgen Reservoir. The Hebgen Tailwater is not too snowbound yet and the midge circus is in full flight.
    .. The nice snowfall has provided the beginning of a base for the coming winter. Looks good, (but it's way early,) for this time of year. The neighborhood sledheads are getting a jump on the visitors.
    .. We'll be enjoying a nap after some chores. More to follow.

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    Giving Thanks


    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Early Out

    Snow On Ice
    pushing on

    .. Decided to make an early dash for West Yellowstone. Discovered roads with a sheet of ice covered by light snow and some creative parking.
    .. Not much to report on the fishy front. The snow trout are avoiding the record low temperatures and most of the water has entered a solid state.
    .. We're currently confined to a comfy motel room in Pendleton, Oregon. The Pizza Hut is close and delivers: makes life tolerable. Electricity and heat seem luxurious.
    .. May have to spend Thanksgiving here if the roads on either side of Boise, Idaho stay closed.
    .. The views and scenic atmosphere of the Blue Mountains would certainly be spoiled by having to stare at the rutted roads and dodging rapidly sailing SUV's & RV's.
    .. Roads into and out of West Yellowstone are intermittantly closed. The little town looks like a trucker's convention.
    .. The broken down cattle truck is having trouble getting hay for the critters. Beef prices may hit a new low in our frigid little hamlet.
    .. Yesterday's morning drive through Portland, Oregon saw traffic snarled  and our cruise down the shady side of the lower Columbia Gorge discovered lines of ice pounded into glacier-slick trails in the fresh snow.
    .. The jackknifed semi on the grade leaving The Dalles killed two, (bags and gurneys visible in trailer - survivors left in the emergency vehicle,)  and held us prisoner for 3 hours as we snaked and slid through the maze of scattered vehicles, debris, and broken chains.
    .. A light freezing fog blanketed the highway between The Dalles & Pendleton. By the time our brain leaped through our aching eyeballs we decided that sleep was the better part of valor.
    .. It's morning now and time to scan the weather reports, call the state patrol, watch the parade on the Interstate, and decide just how valorous we feel for a sojourn through the slick roads between here and West Yellowstone.

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Brookings Redux

    The Fish Flip Us A Fin
    waiting for visibility

    .. As the rain and cold descend into the Chetco River Valley, the kings, (and a few steelhead,) are grabbing air without being stabbed in the lip.
    .. Anglers are gathering for the break in the weather forecast for Thanksgiving. Bitter cold is also forecast for the Cascades and inland valleys. It's time to soldier-up and put some grease on the guides.
    .. The returning Chinook population has a few below average intellects - but none so dumb as to get taken by us. Even the seals have abandoned the Chetco River this year, (except for the two residents asleep in the fishing fleet harbor.)
    .. There have been no fly fishers under 60 years old spotted around Social Security Bar, (or elsewhere that we have been.)
    .. There's not a single fly rod in the racks at the local tackle shop. This is gear heaven!
    .. Fish are charging into the system and a few are getting caught down deep in the main channel. All that hardware must be worth it's weight in titanium.
    .. Gear sales are up as is angler population. The Smith River is also sprouting a fine crop of elbows. We may add to the crowds in a few days.
    .. We're about to pull on the silk undies, followed by long handles, followed by woollies, followed by something to delay cold rain. We may be able to walk to the river.
    .. Stopped at the local tackle shop and found a lovely hollow-built salmon net from our old stomping grounds down in Queen Califia's Kingdom. Brought back memories of a different era. The price is right but our need is not. If you need it it's hanging from the ceiling and is beautiful to behold.
    .. Well, a couple more days of torture among the catchers and others on the beautiful and chilly Chetco River. This is beautiful and strange country.
    .. The deer are the size of doberman pincers and the fish are the size of watermelons.
    .. The fog is everywhere and nowhere, while the trees hide the hills and mothers hide their children from the infrequent yellow orb that periodically appears in the sky. There's green of every imaginable shade and rain of every imaginable density.
    .. Such a place. More later.

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    They All Hate Us

    The River Went Down
    the fish are waiting

    .. It just seems to be our talent. For two years now we've stopped the chinook run on the Chetco River. All we had to do was show up.
    .. Along with our arrival, (both this year and last,) came the sun: bright, persistent, blinding, and warm. Mind you this is the end of November!
    .. It's not what the local fisher folk want: not now, not last year, and certainly not next. We've explained that we have no more desire to see a low river than any of the residents. They scoffed at us and told us where to go fish
    .. Well then, as far as seasonal weather for salmon fishing on the Chetco River goes -- it's great for surfing. We've included some images for H2O JOE down in the city by the bay. It ain't the wave of the day, but it is left coast surfing.
    .. We've been soundly chastised and are filled with remorse for having brought sunshine and warm weather to the gloomy neighborhoods of 'California Heights.' It's hard to get a cup of morning elixir without getting mugged by the piscene hunters. Down at the shore it's a different story. They think we're a hero.
    .. Since we've killed the fishing here, we've decided to head north and spread more brightness and warmth to a little known local trout and steelhead stream.
    .. The folks up there will only be able to figure it out after they discuss the weird vehicle and foreign license plate seen skulking about their favorite haunts.
    .. More later, if we survive the ordeal. Below are some pictures of the low river and both the happy and grumpy residents of Brookings, Oregon and other neighborhoods affected by our strange powers of light and warmth. Images large enough for wallpaper - just click.

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Along The Way

    Good Eats

    .. Not just another roadside attraction!
    ..Of course the fishing on the Elk River just happens to be spectacular right now.
    .. Of course the sun is making the leaden clouds a bit brighter. Of course the weekend was wet and wonderful. And, certainly, there is need for sustenance.
    .. Drop in at the Langlois Market. Replenish the cooler, grab some vittles, and partake of a genuine slow roasted hot dog - with some of  Muriel's finest homemade mustard. The best on the planet.
    ..The market is a font of information, the local social center, and has a couple of nice Roosevelt Elk on the wall. Shop in style and grace along the Oregon coast.
    .. Don't tell Lee that we sent you. It could be hazardous to your health. By the way, the hot dogs can be purchased in a vacuum pack for eating later. Mustard is rationed to a single bucket per customer. Boy, it is very good.
    .. Unlike the Buster Boys, we've no special insight into mushroom gathering. So our chanterelles came from the produce aisle. Yum!
    ..The golden orb appeared briefly yesterday and frightened local mothers and pets. The residents ran for the shade of trees or tall buildings as the bright light interrupted the normal gray fog of the season.
    .. Back to the river today. The Chetco River has gathered up visitors from the far corners of the world: the catching is that good. It looks like the sun has appeared for a second day in a row. Meteorologists are not holding out any hopes for a tree day run.

    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    On The Coast

    Just A Bit Damp
    great nightlife

    .. Just a typical November drive through Oregon. Rumor has it that there is a sky above the clouds - we'll see.
    .. The nightlife on the central Oregon coast rivals the most exhilarating we've seen in decades.
    .. We've also noticed that the ODOT is scrumptiously endowed with a sense of humor that is legendary. The example that keeps us in stitches is the erection of four lane bridges on two lane roads.
    .. The best part is that the bridges have posted speed limits of 40 miles per hour. The roads leading to them on either side have posted speed limits of 25 mph.
    .. Imagine it! Single file at 25 mph onto the bridge - - then scramble to the empty lanes and accelerate to 40 mph - - just in time to return to single file and 25.
    .. The humor has not been lost on us. We're still chuckling. The bridges are, however, far more entertaining than the suicidal dashes of the Kamikaze deer. One of them was smashed to smithereens by the monster motor-home that was on our rear bumper.
    .. The fatal plunge of the poor little cervid just missed the rear of our vehicle. The mobile condominium didn't even hit the brakes until it was in the ditch - - saw only part of it in the rear view mirror. It drew quite a crowd. We stopped but didn't see the need to add to the circus growing on the winding two lane road.
    .. By the way,images in this post are less than 24 hours old, posted in the most modern fashion, (the light in the booth works,) and depict the stunning beauty and dynamism of the most recent stop on this detour. Fish tomorrow - - WOOT, WOOT!