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Archive for the ‘Fishing’ Category

Accomplishments

Italian has been fishing the same stretch of river in the Arkansas Ozarks since high school. He introduced me to it in college and I loved the river so much, I married him. Naturally, we didn’t think twice about taking Little Clover there, in utero and post. The river has been a part of Little Clover’s entire life. Therefore, his accomplishment last weekend shouldn’t be a surprise, but it is still amazing. He achieved a Norfork Grand Slam – twice. On each of the two days we spent on the river this weekend, he caught a rainbow trout, a cutthroat, a brown trout, and the elusive brook trout. Many an angler has attempted this feat and failed. My little guy not only did it once, but repeated it the second day! He also caught the fifth species of trout, the cut-bow, as well, just for good measure. He caught them all on his own, with his own fly rod, with the fly he tied. I swear, he continues to amaze me.

The elusive Norfork brookie

One note regarding the brook trout: After catching the brook to solidify the grand slam, Little Clover, in his excitement, exclaimed, “All right! Let’s go get a grown-up brookie!” To which Italian laughed and replied, “There’s aren’t any grown-up brookies.” Part of the brook’s elusiveness is due to it’s small size and juvenile stage. They are often gobbled up by the more aggressive browns before they can make it to a significant size.

My accomplishment on the river was much less impressive. I managed to hike down river a little less than a quarter of a mile, then back up the river on the opposite bank a bit, to retrieve my fly box which had decided to go for a bit of swim down a fast paced riffle. I now join a long (very, very long) list of fly fishers who have chased a floating box downstream. Even though it was a lovely hike, I hope I never have to repeat it. I did still have a great weekend on the river, catching my own variety of trout specimens. I came up a couple of species shy of a Grand Slam, but I had fun nonetheless.

My knitting and organizational attempts have been a bit more successful. I’ve managed to organize my desk, transfer everything to the new Mac, organize Little Clover’s art box, and declutter my bookshelf. The office still holds much more for me to do, but I’m making progress in cleaning out my life. The knitting is also coming along and the knitting Fates smile upon me, I might just have a finished shawl by the end of this month. Even if I don’t, I’m making excellent progress in knitting down my stash.

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To be young

There hasn’t been as much knitting going on at Clover Field as I would like. I blame the Twilight series. With some luck, the last book will move to my “read” bookshelf tonight and knitting can resume with it’s normal voracity. The lack of knitting greatly impacts my Cold Sheeping goal of knitting through 8000 yards this year, which means I’m going to have to either knit faster or convince my family that my time helping out with household chores is really unnecessary and better spent on the sofa with yarn and needles in hand. Since the likelihood of being let of the hook with choirs is low, I better start speed training. Another option is to get on a project with requiring a lot of conference calls. Then, I can use my knitting to tame my need for multitasking while on a call.

Granted, Twilight wasn’t the only thing competing for knitting time. The warming weather and chirping birds signals the return of fishing season. We stole way for the weekend and hit the river. Although fishing was a bit slow for me, Smallish Clover manage to have a very good weekend. Not only did he luck out with quantity, but he also hooked and landed a very good quality fish.

From 2011 Fly Fishing February

The children’s only stream is a curse and a blessing. Although Italian and I are overjoyed with Smallish Clover’s success on the river, we are slightly jealous we can’t have the experience ourselves. Clover targeted this beast and we watched as the fly floated towards the whale. Then, with held breath, we watched as the fish opened to take the fly, and Clover set the hook perfectly. As always, we released the fish, exhilarated to see it swim away.

From 2011 Fly Fishing February

It was worth giving up the knitting time to have this moment.

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Westward Bound

My laptop desktop photo at work is of the South Platte river winding through Spinney Mountain Ranch. It’s my happy place and when work gets a tad bit too stressful, I look at the picture. This weekend, for Little Clover’s fall break, we actually went back Spinney. The moment I stepped off the plane, I felt as if I was home.

We found the Bear Creek Cabins and booked one for the weekend. The cabin was small and cozy with a fireplace. As soon as we arrived, we had our first daily encounter with the wildlife. A mama elk and her baby meandered their way through the cabins grazing as they went.

From Colorado 2010

Little Clover was busy pulling trout out of the creek in front of the cabin, but he paused long enough to admire the elk. That night as we drifted off with a crackling fire and cool mountain air carrying the babbling of the creek through our open windows, Little Clover admitted he liked Colorado. With some luck, I’ll get him hooked.

The next two days, we woke up before dawn to drive out to Spinney. Little Clover slept in the back and Italian and I watched the sun creep over the mountain tops. Spinney proved to be tough fishing the two days, but we all managed to hook into some great fish and I even managed to land my first big trout.

From Colorado 2010

This was a redemption moment for me. Not only had I lost several decent sized fish that day, but I had also managed to hook myself in the a$$ with a very teeny tiny fly, only to discover I could not remove said fly on my own and had to ask for help, from our guide. He was a very good sport about it.

Not only was Little Clover a great fisherman and a great sport while fishing a very technical and challenging stream, he proved he’s also a great photographer with an eye for beauty. He snapped this shot through the car window as we drove through the mountains.

From Colorado 2010

We treated him to a Coney Island hot dog because no trip is complete without a stop to this little place. Italian enjoyed the buffalo dog while I noshed away on an jalepeno elk dog. I even gave a couple of guys a chuckle while I stood by their truck to take a picture of the restaurant.

After our two days of fishing, the rest of the trip was Little Clover’s. He jumped at the opportunity to attend a murder mystery dinner at the Adams Mystery Playhouse. We were expecting it to be enjoyable. We were not expecting to have our cheeks and sides in pain from laughing as hard as we did! If you are ever in the Denver area and enjoy comedy theatre, go and go quickly! The experience was fanatastic and Little Clover even had a small encounter with the detective during the show. We are still quoting lines and will go again during our next trip.

Little Clover also wanted to see the Buffalo Bill Museum and Denver Zoo. We happily obliged and admired the view from the top of Denver’s Lookout Mountain.

From Colorado 2010

Between all the hustle and bustle of the trip, I even managed to snag some knitting time on my Versatility, listening to the creek. The bamboo is my own handspun and I can see how I’ve grown as a spinner since I spun it. It is soft and rustic and warms my heart. If we ever make living in Colorado a reality, I think it will work well for early fall.

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The farmer’s life

From Irish Clover

We attended a canoe trip outing with our fly fishing club this weekend, and Little Clover even manned the canoe giving me time between white knuckled gripped rides down riffles to fish every now and then. The weather was beautiful and the scenery breathtaking, solidifying my desire to be further away from the city and to find a retreat on a nice expanse of land near a river.

The pull towards land has been strengthened not just by my fly fishing hobby, but by my knitting hobby as well. Most knitters will toy with the idea of spinning. Once you’ve fallen in love with yarn and all its wonderfulness, you may find yourself touched by curiosity around the making of yarn. Some people will cross over and actually become spinners, and spinners will almost always have at least one fantasy of owning sheep. Being a spinner, I’ve had this fantasy. Mine includes several sheep, a few bunnies, and at least one alpaca. This week, I got a small taste of my idyllic pastoral dream.

While at the stables for Little Clover’s weekly riding lesson, I offered to help Mr. Soprano with the horses. He grabbed a halter and lead rope to bring one in from the pasture and I grabbed another. A few minutes later, as I was strolling through the wrong pasture, I heard him call my name. I ran out of the pasture towards where I was supposed to be only to find a horse running at a gallop directly towards me. I held up my hands and said “Whoa!” The horse proceeded to run right past me. I turned and proceeded to run after the horse. At this time, I thought, “Thank goodness I changed out of my heels.” This thought was followed by, “Thank goodness I was lazy and didn’t put on my Wellies,” which was then capped with, “Oh my god, I am soooo out of shape.” The much more appropriate, “How the heck are we going to wrangle up the horses?” finally found its way into my thoughts. After 15 minutes of chasing and wrestling horses (yes, I did my darnedest to wrestle a horse, albeit a juvenile one), we finally managed to enclose the horses into a barn and get them roped up.

After this little taste of farm life, I’m perfectly content getting my yarn the old fashion way, online or at a yarn store.

From WIPs

Above is the Tudor Grace scarf pattern. I’m knitting it with my own handspun, which impressed Italian. He asked how I got the yarn to stripe, and I really wished I had an intelligent answer instead of the “I have no idea” I gave him.

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On the range

This weekend, I discovered the truisms of some of the songs I learned in grade school. Italian and I ventured out to Colorado to celebrate our 10 wedding anniversary and during the trip, we found home. The West remains uniquely American and the Rockies were the most beautiful background to a remarkable trip.

For starters, we checked into the Highland Haven Inn, where a cute little cowboy duckie greeted us.

From Fly Fishing Colorado

Bear Creek, one of the many trout streams around Denver, not only ran directly through the town of Evergreen, but also ran through Highland Haven, making the place even more serene.

From Fly Fishing Colorado

On our first night in Evergreen, CO, right outside of Denver on the western side, we gazed in amazement at the purple mountains. When the sun sets, the fading beams hit the pinkish granite of the Rockies and the mountains are washed in purple which fades from a light lavendar to a deep rich purple. It was awesome in the purest sense of the word.

From Fly Fishing Colorado

After sleeping that night with the cool mountain air filling the room from the open window, we woke up to head to Cheesman Canyon, our first fly fishing destination. To get to the river, one must hike half a mile into the Canyon. At the top of the hike, we stopped to take in the view.

From Fly Fishing Colorado

The South Platte winds its way through the canyon and is punctuated with large bolders in many places.

From Fly Fishing Colorado

Those boulders you see are as tall as a person, and provided perfect places for hiding fish. Italian, landed the biggest of the day.

From Fly Fishing Colorado

All of the trout we caught were wild trout, so they fought with a gusto and zeal hatchery trout just don’t possess. Occasionally, they would take us on long walks along the river as we worked hard to land them. The majority of the streams in this area are also catch and release, which means that each of the fish are returned to grow bigger.

While at Cheesman, I did put my pole down a couple of times to capture a few sights.

Denver was experiencing a swarm of ladybugs.

From Fly Fishing Colorado

The wildflowers were beautiful.

From Fly Fishing Colorado
From Fly Fishing Colorado

I also managed to catch a few trout.

From Fly Fishing Colorado

The second day, we decided to do something completely different, and our guide, Pat Dorsey, gave us the experience of fishing a meadow stream. Wow. Really, wow. The drive to Spinney was one of the most incredible drives. From Evergreen, we wend our way through the mountains, going higher and higher until we reached an elevation of 8600 ft. Towards the end of the mountain pass, we took a slight turn until the mountain on our left cleared to reveal an expansive prairie beneath us. Italian and I, who weren’t saying much to beginning with as we took in the sights, both stopped breathing, gazed, and then exclaimed, “Wow!” There are no words to describe what we saw. We did immediately start singing “Home on the Range,” though.

Fishing Spinney was quite different than fishing Cheesman. For starters, the scene is an expansive meadow of wildflowers and wild sage.

From Fly Fishing Colorado

Cutting through the meadow is another winding stream, punctuated every now and then by old farm buildings.

From Fly Fishing Colorado

The sky was cloudless when we first arrived, but as the day progressed, clouds began to build up and roll along the expansive blue above. Pat, our fishing guide, had an incredible knack for seeing the trout in the water and taught us how to fish in lots of different conditions. If you ever go fly fishing in the Denver area, call the Blue Quill Angler. Their guide service is top notch, stacked with friendly knowledgeable guides.

Finally, on the last day of fishing, we had the luxury of fishing the North Fork of the South Platte. Again, the view was picture perfect.

From Fly Fishing Colorado

The stream is nestled against the side of the mountain, with a bit of pairie on the other side.

From Fly Fishing Colorado

Pat again helped us land beautiful fish and his strike indicator really is the best one we’ve used.

From Fly Fishing Colorado
From Fly Fishing Colorado

At the end of the day, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stop by the Coney Island hot dog stand, complete with boardwalk.

From Fly Fishing Colorado

The view we had while we ate our elk sausage dog only added to the wonderful flavor.

From Fly Fishing Colorado

Yep, we’ll be going back soon.

From Fly Fishing Colorado

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Last night, I had the pleasure of spending time with one of the world’s premiere fly fisher and came to understand and appreciated that I was in the presence of a legend. My local fly fishing club brought in Lefty Kreh for the monthly meeting. Lefty shared some tips, showed us his favorite places to fish, and taught us how to cast. From a knitting perspective, spending time with Lefty is comparable to spending an afternoon with Elizabeth Zimmerman just knitting. From a cooking perspective, it’s like being in the kitchen with James Peterson on a Saturday afternoon.

Lefty has fished with presidents, with fly fishing pioneers, with fishing leaders, with rock legends, with actors, and with several people he calls friends. He’s written books, produced countless DVDs, and invented his own flies. He’s personable, funny, and knowledgeable. He shares his wealth of knowledge with anyone who will absorb it and he conveys it with a twinkle in his eye. He is excited about you learning, which only makes you want to learn more. Meeting Lefty was special, but having Lefty teach me how to cast is an experience I’ll always treasure. Casting with Lefty also made me realize that fly fishing is not just something I do with Italian and Little Clover anymore. Fly fishing is something I do. It is a skill I want to master, and why shouldn’t I? Lefty said I could be really good, and I took that as a huge compliment.

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Snow and trout

From Family

We finally had our annual snow day this past week. At least we didn’t have to wait until March like last year. Granted, there wasn’t much snow on the ground, but there was enough. Little Clover awoke early to the news of a school cancellation and waited patiently for us to give him the green light, to go outside and play. I’m fortunate enough to have a job with enough flexibility I could stay at home with him. I spent the majority of the day on conference calls, but during lunch, I did take some time to get in a little snowball fight.

From Family

Despite the small amount of snow on the ground, Little Clover managed to enjoy himself.

Snow Angel From Family

I wanted to have my latest knitting project finished in time for the snow day, but that didn’t quite happen. Instead, I finished Cat Bordhi’s Mobius Cowl early evening of our little snow day.

From 2009 FO

The pattern is quite easy to follow. I used Jade Sapphire’s Cashmere to match the Koolhaas hat I knit last year. The hardest part of the pattern was knitting the first row after the cast on. My stitches were a bit loose, but I imagine everything will even out after a bit. One of my non-knitting coworkers asked if the twist was bothersome, and I honestly answered it wasn’t. In fact, I rather like the twist of the mobius. It fits perfectly under my chin.

As if the new FO of 2009 and the snow day weren’t enough, we added in an impromptu fishing trip to the week. A few rough weeks, professionally, were coming to an end and we needed a reprieve. Since our jobs didn’t look as if they would provide any type of reprieve anytime soon, and our weekends quickly booked up with activity, we took advantage of the relatively open weekend, packed up our car, and headed to Arkansas for a quick weekend trip. Italian and I both had new rods needing to be broken in and we hit the river with gusto. I spent the morning fishing in the freezing temperatures. At one point, the ferrules on my rod, the small metal eyes through which one threads the fishing lines, froze solid with ice. The convertible gloves from October kept my hands warm enough to allow me to stay on the water. Eventually, Little Clover and Italian decided to join me on the water and we headed to a more wader friendly spot. Italian caught a fish on his first cast and Little Clover caught a fish on a fly he made up and tied. We all drove back home well rested and well fished, having a memorable day on the river.

From 2009 January Fly Fishing

Oh, and I just realized, today is my blogiversary. Thank you to everyone who’s out there reading.

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