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  • Wednesday, April 18, 2018

    Rocks And Rolls

    125 YEAR TRADITION
    Defining A Tradition
    a 'modern' revolution

    WALLPAPER:  FEATHER DUSTER
    -------  
    .. 3/4 of a century may seem short to some and long to others. The modern dry fly movement is just turning 125 years old, (short to some - long to others.) It is, in the modern mind, the "TRADITIONAL" way to fly fish.
    CLASSIC LEADWING COACHMAN
    .. Prior to the adoption of floating flies, (for centuries and even millennia,) the traditional and, accepted way was to fish with a sub surface fly.
    .. As with all flies and with all tiers the flies evolved and became standardized as the classic wet fly.
    CLARET AND GOLD WASP
    .. These classic flies, (salmon size or trout size,) have a simple body, sparse hackle, and an erect wing, (like the dorsal fin of a grayling.)
    .. Almost immediately after the standardizing of this morphology variation crept into the recipes.
    SCARLET IBIS
    .. Soon the shorthand vernacular of fly fishing took over and called everything that was sunken a wet fly.
    .. About the time of fly standardization came the interest in sub surface trout food.
    .. Patterns began to be imitative of what was found in the belly's of trout and what lived under rocks.
    FROM A TROUT'S BELLY
    .. Nymph patterns became popular. These proliferated as information and imagination took hold.
    .. Some of these patterns were highly imitative and others were extraordinarily impressionistic.
    .. About the time that the subsurface tradition had evolved into the accepted, and standardized way to take a trout, along came the floating fly techniques. At first it was just any fly on the surface of the water. 
    QUILL BODY CATSKILL DRY FLY
    .. Again, information and, innovation and, imagination  served to contribute to the patterns of floating flies.
    .. The modern dry fly is now considered traditional and classic.
    .. The art of the dry fly has become a bit of voodoo hocus pocus in the modern fly fishing fraternity. It is the 'holy grail' for many fishers.
    .. That's a whole different story.
    -----  
    PRINCE NYMPH
    .. Recently there has been an interesting resurgence in fishing sunken flies.
    .. The wet fly and, particularly the nymph, is gaining in popularity: for many reasons, we suppose.
    .. Properly fished the nymph will catch more fish than any other sort of fly. There is also a mystery about the 'take' of a nymph. Is it the bottom? Is it a fish? 
    BOB'S ROCK WORM
    .. Without the advantage of seeing the take there is much finesse, technique and, luck involved in galling a fish with a subsurface fly.
    .. Happily, fish will gobble the flies with amazing gusto and regularity, (and spit them out rapidly as well.)
    .. There are only a few tips that need be elucidated to ensure that success is achieved in nymph, (or other subsurface,)  fly fishing.
    CASUAL DRESS
    .. First off it is important to look under rocks. That's where the year round food supply is.
    .. Big ones, little ones, cased ones, wiggly ones, crawly ones, and even fixated ones all can be found there. Pick something from your box that is close to what you find.
    BLOND FEATHER DUSTER
    .. Be sure that your fly line is exceedingly clean and well dressed. It must float high, be easily mended, highly visible,  and of the proper taper to deliver the nymph. Long casts are not necessary; most of the time.
    .. Drift is very important. Weight should seldom be used. Line mending is a nearly lost art. The roll cast and water load are nearly forgotten - even with the currently popularity of Spey Techniques.
    THE PENGUIN
    ..  There is really nothing to it. Unlike with a surface fly; techniques for fishing a subsurface fly can be mastered in a long day
    .. Bobbers, (strike indicators for the effete,) are not really necessary - even though they can help. Double bobbers are even used. Yarn is nice. Foam works but is environmentally insensitive.
    LARGE STONEFLY NYMPH
    .. During the last year or eighteen months - or so - buzz in town and in the dark corners of pubs has been heard using subsurface vernacular in animated conversations.
    .. Most of our neighbors are accomplished sub surface fishers. Most visitors are either preconditioned to or, sucked in to, floating fly fishing by local counter help. Missing lots of fish on the surface makes it seem hard to catch trout.
    .. For some "hard" is the challenge. So be it.
    -----  
    .. About a year ago Tom Rosenbauer, (from Orvis,) bucked the trending 'Great Spey Revolution' and produced a very informative video about nymph and wet fly fishing. If you would like to catch fish all day long it is well worth your time to view it.
    ..
    -----
    .. It's another sunny day and, as they say around here: "We're down to dirt." There are still piles of snow in the corners and lining the streets. Some are 10' tall.
    STIMULATOR WITH HAIRCUT
    .. The kids are back on their skateboards. We anticipate about five or six days of 50°F temperatures. There may be some drizzle too - the melt will soon be in the creeks and rivers - the color cometh!
    .. We have just enough time for a brief nap and then some wandering along the muddy shores of Notellum Creek.
    -------  
    WALLPAPER:  PHEASANT BACK FEATHERS



    Friday, April 13, 2018

    Your Voices Matter

    ZINKE BLINKED
    Smaller Fee Increase
    keep the pressure on
    OUR SECRETARY OF INTERIOR
     -------
      
    .. It may seem like a small victory but it is very big in terms of public participation.
    .. Last October, (when he thought no one was looking,) Zinke directed the National Park Service to jack up park entrance fees.
    .. They would have been aimed at the most popular parks in the west and imposed during the most busy periods of visitation. Fees as high as $70.00 per visit were proposed [[LINK-PP.]]
    .. Surprisingly a public comment period was available. The public, (you good folks,) came through with one of the largest responses in NPS history.
    .. A revised fee schedule has been adopted by the NPS and, Secretary Zinke is claiming credit for listening and acting - ho, ho, ho.
    .. A $5.00 increase  --  from $30.00 to $35.00  --  per vehicle / per visit will be the new fee. This is in line with other more recent increases that have been levied.
    .. Most of the rate hikes take effect June 1. The $35 fee applies mostly in the West and will affect such popular parks as Yellowstone, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain and Grand Teton parks.
    .. Be sure to check the website of the park you intend to visit to see if the fee structure has changed.
    .. We're proud of y'all  -  all 109,000 plus  -  for responding in a rapid and positive fashion. Thanks again. [[ Read all about it HERE.]]
    ---- 
    'TIS THE SEASON
    .. The snow is still coming down. Small dry flakes are wafting through the trees and piling up slowly.
    .. The warm streets are slushy and the drains are keeping up with the runoff.
    .. The neighbors have swept off the grill and plan some burned meat as we look toward the coming melt down.
    .. We anticipate 50°F in a day or so. The sun will shine and, the wind will blow and, the neighborhood kids can get back on their skateboards. - YEE-HA!
    .. Our mid life morning turned into a baking frenzy, (must have been the coffee.) Such is life in the realm of the maturizum.
    -------  
    WALLPAPER:   SOME SMALL NAILS

    Thursday, April 12, 2018

    Here Today . . . .

    GOOD FOR TREES
    Slows The Runoff
    great for fishing
    BRING IT ON
    ------- 
    Praise Chaac the cool snow continues.

    Message:NOAA-NWS-ALERTS-MT125A9E4B5950.WinterStormWarning.125A9E5AFE00MT.TFXWSWTFX.344d3a297cce788a91da1cbc7f73a71a from w-nws.webmaster@noaa.gov
    Sent:03:48 MDT on 04-12-2018
    Effective:11:00 MDT on 04-12-2018
    Expires:06:00 MDT on 04-13-2018
    Event:Winter Storm Warning
    Alert:
    ...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM
    THIS MORNING TO 6 AM MDT FRIDAY... 
     
    * WHAT...Heavy snow expected. Total snow accumulations
    of 3 to 8 inches over the plains and valleys with local 
    amounts up to 16 inches in the mountains. 
     
    * WHERE...Portions of central, north central and southwest 
    Montana. 
     
    * WHEN...From 11 AM this morning to 6 AM MDT Friday. 
    Precipitation may begin as rain this morning at lower
    elevations then change to snow this afternoon. Heaviest
    snow is expected this afternoon  with rates that may
    exceed one inch per hour at times. 
     
    * ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Plan on difficult travel
    conditions and significant reductions in visibility, including
    during the evening commute. The weight of the snow may
    cause damage to trees and power lines, especially across 
    Judith Basin and Fergus Counties. Snowfall at elevations
    below 4000 feet may be limited to grassy areas throughout
    the daytime.
    ## 
    Instructions:A Winter Storm Warning for snow means severe
    winter  weather conditions will make travel very
    hazardous or impossible. If you must travel, keep
    an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle
    in case of an emergency. The latest road conditions
    for the state you are calling from can be obtained by
    calling 5 1 1. To see a graphical representation of the
    degree of stress on young livestock please visit our
    webpage and select  Local Programs then
    Cold Air Advisory for Newborn Livestock.
    Target Area:
    Cascade
    Chouteau
    Fergus
    Gallatin
    Judith Basin
    Meagher
    ----- 
    .. Just a small adjustment in the daily plans: we expected a dusting based on local forecasts - we're getting a foot or more.
    THE GREEN WONDER
    .. The one problem with the weather forecasters in Montana is: they have no windows in their offices - oh well.
    .. Breakfast was good. The second pot of coffee was as good as the first.
    .. We'll stay closer to home and fish in the bright mid day snows.
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    WALLPAPER:  LEMON CARAMEL CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE MINT FROSTING AND SINGED LEMON CARAMELIZED COCONUT TOPPING

    Wednesday, April 11, 2018

    Auténtico

    THE  'REAL'  STUFF
    Da Pop Vernacular
    ask from whence
    AUTHENTIC MEXICAN FOOD
    -------  
    .. We are blessed with some of the best neighbors that could be wished for.
    .. They go fishing, they work hard, they have loving families and - very important - they celebrate everything with food.
    .. We are privileged to partake of some of the festivities as well as the day-to-day celebratory feasts.
    .. Many of the neighbors are from Mexico. Some are from Peru. Some are from Russia.
    .. Some are American citizens. Some are permanent resident aliens. Some are are long term visitors. Some are transient workers with the notorious "GREEN CARD."
    .. One of the big jokes, (and a topic filled with considerable mirth,) is the North American vernacular phrase "AUTHENTIC MEXICAN FOOD."
    .. It's uttered by folks that have never been to Mexico. It's applied to the Americanized fare served up to folks in the United States by fast food emporia, advertising hype, and bloggers with puffed up chests.
    .. Last night, after we'd had a few and were laughing about бефстроганов befstróganov (Beef Strogonav:) - named after Alexander Grigoriyevich Stroganov.
    ORIGINAL STROGONAV=mustard / no mushrooms
    .. It was an interesting and lively conversation in a room full of Mexicans with the addition of a single Russian and a solitary Italian.
    .. Of course the 'authentic' beef stroganov from Russia is far different from that served in the Russian Tea Room in New York. But that is another story.
    .. Most of the conversation was about Mexican food. Not the borderlands food of the Tex-Mex variety, nor the stuff from Southern California nor, Arizona or, New Mexico. All do, seemingly,  have claims to their own "AUTHENTICS."
    CONTEMPORARY REGIONAL CLASSIFICATION
    .. But, and it's a big BUT, There are many diverse parts of Mexico with many regional dishes that seldom if ever make it to the lips of folks talking about authentic Mexican food.
    .. A few things can generally be said about the food from Mexico: it is usually augmented with chili peppers, (Ají picante,) it has beans of some sort, it includes corn, (tortillas count,) tomatoes, and it is served in quantity.
    RABBIT AND CACTUS - a Mixiotes dish
    .. Prehispanic foods did not have wheat, did not have beef, did not have pork, did not have cheese, did not have rice, etc.
    .. Prehispanic peoples were widely scattered in nation states in a sub-continental  region with diverse environments and resources. From snowy mountain valleys to high plateau tundra and steppe, from desert to deep jungle, from temperate sea shore to tropical sea shore; a diversity greater than many nations.
    .. Why mention this?  Because, the techniques for preparing the food in each culture and, region from the past persist today.
    .. Meat from rabbits, dogs, iguanas, parrots, monkeys, tortoise, snakes etc. were prepared in specific ways - and subsequently adapted to new meats as they arrived.
    ROASTED CHAPULINES
    .. Aztec preparations differ from Olmec preparations and, differ from Mayan preparations, etc.
    .. To state the obvious: boiled corn is far different than roasted corn. Popcorn is different than ground corn, etc.
    .. Fried surf perch is a far cry from raw trout or even roasted limpets.
    .. Now then, back to the funny stuff. Across most of Prehispanic Mexico, insects were roasted. One of our neighbors suggested that the biggest changes during the Spanish invasion was the change from roasted crickets to roasted Spaniards.
    .. Or, using the armor breastplate the feast was Spaniard on the half shell. There was much more!
    .. Outside of the cities where tourists go in Mexico there persists the 'ways of old.' Bags of roasted grasshoppers and crickets are ubiquitous.
    .. Peanuts and papaya are favorite snack foods. Tacos with just avocado, tomato, and boiled beans are a delicacy. 
    .. In the desert areas cactus is in everything, including tacos. On the sea shore fish and other seafood is in all of it. Authentic Mexican food is food prepared in the regional manner from which it comes.
    .. It is not deep fried in a basket of synthetic oil. It is not whipped up in a blender or food processor. It is not what we grew up with in North Dakota or Whittier, Alaska. Not in restaurants prepared by a Spanish speaking cook trained by the Norwegian owner's wife.
    .. It can be beef tacos or, fish tacos or, pork tacos. But ground beef is rare in most of Mexico. Deep fried tilapia is nearly unheard of. Water boiled pork disguised as carnitas is a sacrilege.
    TEXCALATE
    .. One of the great gifts to the world from Mesoamerica is chocolate.
    .. Both Prehispanic and contemporary dishes can be loaded with chocolate. Seldom do you see a good mole or even a fake taxcalate.
    .. For those of you interested in an authentic Mexican beverage, (not mescal or tequila,) try taxcalate.
    .. It is a drink for only the most powerful among you: roasted corn, hot chilis of your choice, chocolate, achiote, sugar, cinnamon, water - (milk for you Post hispnics.)
    .. Grind all ingredients in a molcajete to a very fine paste, add water, (or milk,) to form a thick slurry:  Está muy fuerte!
    .. So the next time your friendly neighborhood "foodie" tells you about Comida mexicana auténtica. Just ask, (in a non threatening manner,) what part of Mexico is it from?
    .. There is nothing wrong with "MEXICAN FOOD" served in most restaurants. Most of it tastes very good. It may even be 'Mexican' as defined by the cook or, the owner or, the neighbors.
    .. Enjoy it and don't allow the subtle tyranny of words convince you that it's not really authentic.
    -----  
    ENGLISH BUZZER
    .. Overcast, light rain, broken clouds = conditions for small midge nymphs in Beartrap Canyon. We do have it on good authority.
    .. Best get out there now. The creeks, they are a-rise'n and, the color will come soon enough.
    .. It's nap time.
    -------  
    WALLPAPER: AUTHENTIC CARNITAS BOILED IN LARD

    Monday, April 09, 2018

    Such Big Changes

    FROM OTHER TIMES
    With Other Values
    how far we've come
    THE ACCIDENTAL PRESIDENT
    -------  
    .. There was a time when, (despite political affiliation,) some basic cultural, [American,] values were agreed upon.
    .. Concepts of integrity, truth, honesty, equality, independence, privacy, individualism, directness, punctuality, pursuit of happiness, were well and truly agreed upon. Even 'bad guys' knew the concepts and behaviors.
    .. Over the last century we have seen the agreement of concepts dissolve into fractious and opinionated nuances about just what each of these values is - AND - what they mean.
    CATCH AND TELL
    .. From "alternative facts" to "grab them by the pussy" we now have a sundering of our sociocultural  fabric by a lack of agreement on the constitutional values that govern American Behavior.
    .. We have come to confuse liberty with license and, truth with opinion and, directness with insult.
    .. This is not a new historical phenomenon. Rome saw it. Egypt saw it. China saw it twice. Persia saw it. Many cultural nation/empires have seen this. It's the start of a precipitous decline that can happen rapidly or gradually.
    LOVE ME, LOVE MY DOG
    .. In fly fishing terms: it's the "LOVE ME, LOVE MY DOG" syndrome.
    .. We have seen this at fishing access points on many rivers. The dogs run freely with no discipline. Poop is viewed as a gift or present.
    .. This is a sure reflection on the undisciplined attitude of their owners.
    .. We have become a nation of undisciplined dog owners. We are now perpetrating on ourselves and the world an irresponsible behavior pattern.
    PISS ON YOU !
    .. It's a bit of behavior that fails to acknowledge the consequences of today's action on tomorrow's consequences.
    .. Tomorrow will come and the dog owner culture of America will piss all over itself and it's neighbors.
    .. No segment of our culture and no sub culture within any segment has escaped this transition. From the perceived gentility of fly fishing, we have come to the gonzo rich, ripping lips and, entitled in your face braggart.
    DOGGIE ENTITLEMENT
    .. From humble, forgiving, inclusive faiths, we have come to billionaire preacher performers with exclusivity as a badge of membership.
    .. Throughout time it has been shown that a culture that fosters segmental entitlement ends up in divisive dissolution. Here we are.
    .. When Harry Truman gave his inaugural address his emphasis centered on phrases like "equal justice under law," "equal opportunity," "peaceful settlement of disputes."
    .. When Donald Trump gave his inaugural address his emphasis centered on phrases like "bring back our wealth," "make America wealthy again, "think big and dream even bigger,"
    BLAME OTHERS
    .. Pick your devil. Pick your own 'Satan of Change.'  Somewhere around the Nixon / Kennedy era a cultural shift became apparent:  from public servants in politics to power mongers in politics.
    .. The shift has become the norm and is progressing along a trajectory propelled by recently adopted cultural positive feedback mechanisms.
    .. Of course "MORE IS BETTER." More of anything! Wealth, power, prestige, entitlement, and other self aggrandizing qualities are now desirable.
    .. We have more fishing rods, more flies, more destinations, more dogs, more cars, more awards, more members, more big fish, more clients, more brands, etc.
    THE AMERICAN IDEAL
    .. OR - more hotels, security men, firings, tax payer funds expended, public land reductions, oil produced, coal mined, laws broken, norms violated, advice ignored, buddy raises, lawyers hired and fired, etc.
    .. There is nothing unique or despicable about the attitudes and behaviors of President Trump and the majority of our citizens.
    .. He is a product of his times, as we all are. We will see more of this.
    .. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are immune from our cultural trajectory.
    .. The curse of "May you live in interesting times," is upon us and we'll not be able to avoid the thrust of history. Enjoy it while you can.
    THE BLISSFUL SOLITUDE OF NOTELLUM CREEK
    -----  
    .. The sun is out for a couple of days. The midges might show shortly after mid day. If not,  there will be trout in the riffles.
    A CARROT SPIDER
    .. If not the riffles then, there is the dark water and the reclusive monster under the bank.
    .. Notellum Creek has all these possibilities within a couple of hundred yards. So does the Madison River around Raynolds Pass and Three Dollar Bridge.
    .. The colorful runoff on the lowland Madison River is mitigated by the settling that occurs in Quake Lake.
    .. Must be a fishy day.
    -------  
    THE AMERICAN FISHING CHARIOT

    Saturday, April 07, 2018

    Under Bank

    SLOW AND SHORT
    Sneaky On The Shore
    get out the biggies
    WALLPAPER:  BRINDLE AND HEN
    ------- 
    ..As our spring runoff builds with each warm day a very special opportunity exists for taking large trout with a minimum of effort.
    .. The speed of water in a river varies with it's proximity to it's confining structure. The banks and the bottom have the slowest water. Dead center in the channel  - below the surface - is the fastest part of the river.
    PHEASANT AND BLUE
    .. By gum, Tiffany, the fish know this. The trout are pretty savvy about getting food delivered to them. Tucked deep under the bank they can rest, poised for action, and peer from darkness into light as they wait for groceries to drift by.
    .. It takes only the correct approach and a bit of gear adjustment to gather up these resting giants. First off, the stuff in the grocery bag must be attractive enough to move a comfortable fish from it's hide. So then, lash on something big and tasty.
    .. The general rule, (it even seems to work,) is that the darker the water then the darker the fly. It's corollary is: the quicker the water - the bigger the fly. Groceries is as groceries does.
    SNORTLE
    .. In some bits of the channel there are protected segments of water that are much more clear than the main stem of the river. AHA, a little smaller and a little lighter will be enough groceries.
    .. Adjustments to your gear are simple but in some ways counter intuitive. A short heavy rod, (6' or, 7' or, 71/2',) and a short heavy leader, (sans tippet,) will do the job. The length of leader should approximate the depth of the water - weight will be required.
    .. Technique is a bit of a nuisance in the current muck of our river banks. Because of the slow water under the banks sound is felt more easily by the fish. There are no splashings against boulders or rumblings of cavitation boils that occur in mid stream.
    BIG BLACK STONEFLY
    .. Duck walking, belly slithering, crouch waddling and other forms of stealth are mandatory. If you are familiar with the river then be sure to stay away from the submerged real estate of the undercut.
    .. A couple of short casts, (mere flips in some cases,) should gather up the submarines. Squirming along the bang will allow coverage of the real estate in short order. Back feeding line at the end of the drift is also productive in some instances. Very short lengths of line payed out with a jerk or two can produce eruptive strikes - even at the surface, [[remember the "Leisenring Lift"?]]
    ..  Setting the hook is seldom a problem in this type of catching. Just keep the hook very sharp and the line as short as possible consistent with a fair drift. Yes the rivers are going to be out of shape for some time - BUT - that doesn't mean that the fish quit eating.
    ----- 
    .. We had an altogether perfect Spring day, freezing rain was followed by periods of snow and sun. The sidewalks are wet and slick and the kids in short pants are having a dickens of a time controlling their skateboards.
    .. It's late and dinner will have to wait. Makes breakfast all the more satisfying.
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    WALLPAPER:  ON A SHINGLE