Ellis Gets a Rainbow

Fly Fishing: Photography, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Rainbow Trout, Uncategorized


At 12 weeks, it’s time to get Ellis on the fly.  Maria and I load him into the boat for his maiden voyage and load an additional passenger…a very reliable catcher.  Today, Nome works hard to sort through her catches to determine which is most likely a “dog trout”.  “Cat trout” detest puppy snouts and will let you know it with a swift swing of the tail.

It’s the last of the late Fall fishing that allows a shiver free pond outing as the sun dives ever deeper in the afternoons.  As we depart the water’s edge I have only one concern…  that Ellis might have the impression that this fly fishing stuff is “easy”!





Advertisements

Ellis Gets a Rainbow

Fly Fishing: Photography, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Rainbow Trout, Uncategorized


At 12 weeks, it’s time to get Ellis on the fly.  Maria and I load him into the boat for his maiden voyage and load an additional passenger…a very reliable catcher.  Today, Nome works hard to sort through her catches to determine which is most likely a “dog trout”.  “Cat trout” detest puppy snouts and will let you know it with a swift swing of the tail.

It’s the last of the late Fall fishing that allows a shiver free pond outing as the sun dives ever deeper in the afternoons.  As we depart the water’s edge I have only one concern…  that Ellis might have the impression that this fly fishing stuff is “easy”!






 

Trout Quilt

Fly Fishing: Photography, Flyfishing Photography, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brook Trout, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brown Trout, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Rainbow Trout, Uncategorized

I asked Maria to make me a quilt that evoked all of my favorite trout markings.  She delivered. I can now dream of next season’s catch into the dead of winter while wrapped in brookie, brown, and rainbow spots.  Perhaps she wants me to sleep right through May without complaint re: frozen waters….

Thanks, Maria, for a wonderful interpretation of my favorite river dwellers!

Generations: Passing on the Rod (among other things)…

Fly Fish the Trophy Stretch: North of Northern New Hampshire, Fly Fishing: Photography, Flyfishing Photography, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brook Trout, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Rainbow Trout, The Connecticut River, Uncategorized


I had the honor and all around good fun of accompanying my friend Art and his grand daughter on her first fly wrangling river adventure. A coordinated, focused, and good-humored teenager, she has all of the prerequisite characteristics that translate to fun behind the fly. We incorporate a night camping underneath unsettled skies to up the adventure quotient and find ourselves fortunate to be enjoying our freeze dried meals sans raindrops. 


Once on the water, I am so distracted by the hope of Molly catching her first fish that I find it impossible to move down below them.  I am, in fact, lucky enough to see her reel in her first rainbow and provide netting and snapshot services.  We are off to a good start! 


So, I end up hanging around soaking up the precious scene of generations passing joy.  This is a special kind of teaching- one full of hope that the student will go on to find the friendships, the solitude, the beauty, the escape, and the acceptance that only comes with loving an activity that can never be mastered.  Despite our algorithm driven obsessions to prepare with the right leader, the correct line, 14 sizes of the same fly, the outcome of our day on the water depends on a multitude of factors that do not respond to human influence. It’s a drag…and a hoot!  And for a grandfather, it just might reason enough to sign up to sleep in a tent on a rainy night. This duality -loving the process despite your lack of ability to control the outcome is the cornerstone of resilience.  And resilient people?  Well, they tend to report high levels of happiness and meaningfulness.  And don’t we all want that for the people we love?  Truth be told, you know you’re extra special when someone with lots of years on their skeleton willingly, and gladly, sleeps on gravel studded ground under threat of thunder to find you a cooperative trout!

So, Molly, see you on the river… OR the field, the library, the mountain…wherever you find your  joy.  (Selfishly, your grandfather and I hope the river calls you back because we are usually hanging around there in waders anyway.)

Thanks for having me along! 

The Hidden Joy of an Empty Net

Fly Fishing: Photography, Flyfishing Photography, New Hampshire Fly Fishing Multimedia, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brook Trout, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brown Trout, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Rainbow Trout, Uncategorized

image

September is behind us and the crisp October morning air has taken to painting leaves. For a fisherman, this is a somber and quiet time where memories of spring and summer intrude without warning leaving the fisher with a gratitude that will transform into longing when snow falls. Knowing this, it has become important for me to honor and punctuate the ending of a fishing season, a ceremony of thanks for the rivers, skies, herons, eagles, friendships, post fishing coffee outings, colorful fish, and moments of pure peace that found me in water.

image

This Fall, I have convinced my friend Art to let me organize an overnight float on one of our favorite rivers. A forecasted overnight temp of 29 degrees required that we dress and pack accordingly;winter bags in 3 season tents did the trick. I added an additional comfort for my sleeping satisfaction which included Hot Hands stuck in my socks, pants, hat and wherever else I could get them to stick close to my body. Hot coffee in front of a fire after a chilly night in the bag is a pleasure hard to describe and Art and I quietly colluded to stretch this activity out late into the morning. We decided a hot breakfast would be the pinnacle of delight and drove to the nearest restaurant treating ourselves to a full plate of eggs and bacon, a hot water soapy rinse in the diner bathroom and MORE coffee resulting in a late start on the river.

image

The river was high offering 4 sets of class 2/3 rapids consisting of waves that felt Hawaii “surfable” from the perspective of our tiny boats. The sound of this kind of water is a pulse raiser for both of us. We have a tendency to use caution when there is a potential for an injury consequence. So we both reel in for these sections and find our route through the waves avoiding the many boulders that can’t be seen until…well, when they are immediately in front of you. We learn that even 2 foot waves make it nearly impossible to see bad things that lurk behind them. We tackle the route together and meander our way through with nothing much to talk about other than the thrill of a little adrenaline.

The weather is 50 in the afternoon with a chilly breeze and a warming sun. Perfect for lunching. We take long pb&j breaks taking every opportunity to experience the combination of color, temperature, and light that are ever changing as the sun arches over the river throughout the day. Poking fun at each other and reliving memories of other trips this season are important past times that are slipped in between the currents.

image

At this point you may be wondering how the fishing was, I mean this is a post about a fishing trip, right? Additionally, the above telling of events seems to indicate that our fly lines spent more time spooled up tight rather than unfurled in water.
Well, the fishing was “what it was” and to spend any effort reporting on it further would be a distraction. The most important lesson I have learned this year was highlighted on this outing: whether it be mile 21 in the marathon, a slow/no fish day, a tough life transition…the way to find lasting meaning within the variable momentum of life is to accept and appreciate what things are for the moment. “It is what it is for now” was my mantra at many difficult points along the 26.2 journey. Some people are smart. They can read and practice Eastern philosophy and integrate this way of being without resisting it. Not me. I had to run a marathon, get skunked on the river repeatedly , and waste lots of energy before getting good at patience. Enjoy the extra moments for sipping and conversing with a friend (even when the fish are biting). Take time for the simple sensations that remind us of our primal selves (i.e. a warm mini tubby in the diner bathroom). All together, these moments are the path to realizing an empty net… full of uncrushable hope.

image

On a final note, if you are are a social scientist buff, you may be aware that there are markers that can sometimes indicate a pivotal shift toward a more “evolved” species, group, or society. In the fly fisherman niche, I think the following exchange would be a good marker of such a shift:
Fisherman #1: “Mornin’. Catch anything?”
Fisherman #2: “Yeah. Lots of fish, too many to count!”
Fisherman #1: “That stinks. Sorry to hear it…better luck next time”

 

Jazzy Little Raft has Ph.D in Hypnosis: VIDEO

New Hampshire Fly Fishing Multimedia, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Rainbow Trout, The Good Goods

CLICK HERE TO LOAD VIDEO IF NOT APPEARING

I’m loving getting to new and complicated lines to fish in my Kodiak.  The entire undertaking feels so effortless and non-lethal, I find myself nearly hypnotized when riding the river.  Trouble is, it’s hard to be prepped for the hit in such a state of relaxation. And when some one does come knocking, it feels a little like being “pants-ed” in gym class: a BIG emergency.  But,as the video demonstrates, even fisherwomen who are half asleep can catch a fish if allowed 3 shots at it!

Worth it? Holes, Seams, and Bends…Rubber Ducky nabs ’em all.

New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Rainbow Trout, The Good Goods, Uncategorized

image

Here’s my new\used Water Master Kodiak (aka “Rubber Ducky”, thank you Art) all ready for launch. The first section to fish will be the flat water just upstream the initial elevation drop for this section of river. And then it’s game on! for the mile section of quick water up and around a horseshoe bend.  Is the expense of a high quality, fly fishing specific ring of rubber worth it?  How about the frantic stealth hiding of the boat and sundry items at the put in followed by a two mile “walk” throughout which your mind replays  obsessive visualizations of your craft being molested, damaged, or stolen upon your arrival?  Worth it?  I say yes. Three reasons why:
image

Freddie

image
Jeanine
image

Raphael

River Guides: Fishing’s “Ultra-Runner” Equivalent

Uncategorized

The Urban Dictionary’s definition of an ultrarunner:

A runner who runs ultramarathons – distances greater than a marathon (26.2 miles). Ultramarathon distances are most commonly 50k, 50 mile, 100k, and 100 mile. Runs can be both road and trail, but usually trail. Ultrarunners are extremely dedicated to their sport and have been found to be some of the most laid-back folks around. They tend to eat like horses, too. Most find them a wee bit eccentric.

This week, I was invited to drift the Androscoggin River by one of my dear friends.  This individual is unique in his combination of inherent technical aptitude and an equally robust capacity for emotional intelligence. That being so, he is the kind of person that has amassed an large inventory of interesting and loyal associates.  You are a fool to turn down an opportunity to be introduced to someone by Art.

This spring Art informed me that he had booked a trip with his friend (and veteran fishing guide), Rick Estes owner of Owl’s Roost Outfitters, LLC, an experience that he had been touting for almost 2 years as a “must do”.  Last year, Art was able to demonstrate briefly from shore the incredible potential for fly fishing elation represented by the Alder Fly.  While scouting spots along the thirteen mile stretch, Art found Alder flies working in the current right off shore.  He pulled out his box of recently tied Alder Flies (in all stages) and immediately fish rose to his floating fly, over and over again.  It was magical.  Needless to say, I have been interested in fishing the Alder Fly hatch on the Andro ever since.

image

Art’s Alder Flies in all stages…

Rick and Art attempted to forecast the Alder hatch based on whatever semi-scientfic and gut projections they could muster.  Rick has been fishing the Androscoggin Alders since 1998, so he’s an authority when it comes to best guesses on these matters.  And, boy, they nailed it.  What an amazing combo of top water and sub surface trout fishing.  When I fish, I am usually relegated to getting bites from above or below the water resulting in a sort of spoiler effect…you know what the bite will feel like and where it will come from.  The opportunity to see and feel both kinds of takes intermittently throughout the trip was uniquely absorbing and engaging, comparable to a well executed psychological thriller.  This is the kind of fishing you could do all day and never feel finished. It’s the movie you could watch over and over again and find subtle morsels previously passed over.

image

Lunch prep on the Andro

Of course, as is the case with pristine cinematography, a portion of your attention is captured and held by the environment that the fish have summoned you into.  The Androscoggin is dark.  When I think of wading it, I feel a haunting twinge which keeps me from entering it unaccompanied.  It feels like walking blindfolded in a room full of obstacles that represent the potential for bone cracking.  But unfettered by the risk of being swallowed by it, the blackness of the Androscoggin against a thunderstorm threatening sky is all-consuming of your senses.  The drift for willing fish has the ultimate effect of total sensory immersion by day’s end.  I could have been 1000 miles away…could have been gone for days.
So, what does ultra running have to do with this little hobby of fly fishing?  Well, see, it seems amazing to me that in less than 12 hours my experience of the world could be totally transformed.  It feels sort of unbelievable, even suspect.  I have come to realize that when I have these kind of experiences, it is usually being facilitated by one or more outside forces.  And when it is almost impossible to perceive the planning, intervention, and instruction of those forces enabling the experience, you know that you are in the presence of a professional.  So, I started to think about what behind the scenes effort goes into creating an experience like the one Art and I had on the river last Tuesday.  It was about 15 minutes into this thought process that I realized I would NOT like to be a river guide.  I realized this with clarity at the brain busting moment in which I could not trouble shoot when Rick would logistically be able to find time to feed and bath himself before heading out to meet his next clients the following morning.  Keep in mind, it isn’t just the mental capacity involved for staying organized enough to obtain the paperwork, arrange for supplies, move and clean boats and tackle…no.  He rowed continuously for 10 hours.  Additionally, he has the very same routine responsibilities (maintain relationships with family and friends, attend doctors appointment, mow…) as us non river guides have.

image

I have signed up to complete my first marathon in September, the weekend of my 43 rd birthday.  My goal is to complete it.  It won’t be simple and anyone along for the ride will be fully aware my pain, my stress, and my potential frustration.  It will NOT be pretty.  I can only arrive at one conclusion.  If Rick was so inclined to join the running community, he would be an ULTRARUNNER, achieving amazing things with almost no noticeable effort.  And most importantly, he would have that wonderful attitude that this group of folk is known and revered for; 1)a willingness to help others learn how to participate in their sport at whatever level they are comfortable with and 2) an uncanny ability to make people around them feel at ease.
Luckily the fishing world has these people too. It’s a great convenience to be able to have a wonderful memory with friends on the river without putting in 8 months of prerequisite training.  Thank you, gentlemen, for a gem of a fishing outing!

image

Art and  me after lunch…

To Book a trip with Rick Estes at Owls Roost Outfitters, L.L.C. go to
http://owlsroostoutfitters.com
Or call 603-539-7354