Sunday, July 29, 2007

2007 brewers of indiana guild festival

I went to the Broad Ripple Brew fest last weekend. Now I'm in England for a conference. My talk went fairly well today. I also moved two weeks ago. There's lots of catching up to do. But for now, read my latest Indianabeer piece on the beer fest.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I love my pennsylvania

I have a great nostalgia for Pennsylvania, particularly the central and western parts of the state, and the NY Times has two, count 'em, two stories on that area of this great nation in today's travel section. On is about Williamsport and baseball, lame. The other, however, is about the inclines of Altoona, Johnston, and Pittsburgh.

Also, part one of LISTS FROM MY TRIP out west: things that broke.

-wires in the passenger side wheel well of my car (chris hit a truck tire)

-TFO 7'9" 3 weight fly rod (already fixed!)

-whisperlite stove fuel pump (a little plastic-y bit that holds the pump to the pump assembly)

-Katadyn water filter (I pumped too hard and the plastic seat where the out-tube is connected to the body shot into the grass, need to get that fixed before England)

-camera flash (dropped my camera in a creek in Colorado, let it dry for a couple hours and everything works now except the flash)

-wading staff/trekking pole (not sure how it broke but I beat the shit out of it so it's really no surprise that the bottom section doesn't extend any more)

Also, don't forget to see the last set of pictures from the trip.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I love my family

Sometimes my brother goes completely anti-fly fishing. Click for bigger.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

free from the desert at last

Once you're on the eastern side of the Sierra it's hard to get west. Can't get west. From San Bernardino, Lone Pine, Bishop, Mammoth, you drive in the desert and can't get out. You can get up, but not over. And I passed up all the eventual opportunities, Sonora Pass, Tioga Pass (through Yosemite), and I drove right through Carson City, right through Reno as 395 arcs westerly into the northern California woods. Not quite mountains, some volcanoes here and there, but its not Sierra. Stayed the night in Susanville and had to leave 395 to head west.

I fished the McCloud River in the shadow of Shasta and it was one of the most beautiful rivers I've ever seen. Incredibly clear water. Blue and green in the light. Gray, white, red head sized rocks countable from fifty feet up. And big, fat Rainbows rising to the first real stone fly hatch I've ever experienced. Unfortunately, my 6x tippet was a bit small for these fish (and my fighting skills) and I broke off all my vaguely stone fly flies. Managed a couple. Here are some pictures.

Mt. Shasta. Click for bigger. I also have some video of Mt. Lassen that I'll include in the forthcoming epic video account of the road trip.

This is Lake McCloud.

The river below the dam at Ah-Di-Na

Click for bigger.

Shooting the National Forest outhouses seems to be a favorite pastime in California. The outhouse at Ah-Di-Na. Paintballs and shotgun slugs. The slugs were still in the holes.

From here I took the I5 north to Eugene where all the hotels were booked solid so I had to drive another 40 miles towards Portland past midnight to find a hotel. Arrived in Seattle in the rain around 4pm and went to the condo my folks rented in East Lake, just a couple miles north of the city on Lake Union. Very cool neighborhood. Very cool condo. The rain abated, the sun came out, I made myself a steak and enjoyed a good IPA before my parents arrived after a long, delayed flight around 11pm.

My steak.

On Lake Union. Click for bigger.

The view from the condo towards the city. Click for bigger.

A orange limo down the street from our condo.

My dad loved the pig sculptures in Seattle. I love Seattle.

The first Starbucks at Pike's Place.

The Space Needle. We ate dinner up there. Overpriced but good. And, of course, good views.

We left Seattle after a few days and headed south to Mt. Ranier and then up to the Olympic Peninsula and on to Vancouver and to our current digs in Whistler BC. Here's Mt.Ranier. All those volcanoes look the same. The glaciers were cool on Ranier. Click for bigger.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

california golden trout

I wrote a bit about the Golden Trout Wilderness in the last post. Here's a picture of the New Balance Cowboy. I wasn't kidding. Well, about the fact that he was wearing sneakers at least.

The Golden Trout Wilderness is in the southern Sierra Nevada and contains the first "big" mountains going north in California. Mt. Whitney, over 14,000ft, is just a few miles north of the wilderness. Golden Trout is part of Inyo National Forest and borders Sequoia National Park to the northwest and maybe Kings Canyon National Park as well. Lot of land down there.

The Kern River, South Fork of the Kern, and Golden Trout Creek flow through the wilderness. It is in these watersheds that the Golden Trout evolved from a northern Rainbow trout species that eventually gave rise to many other local endemics as far south as central Mexico in western Mountains. Golden trout, Oncorhynchus aquabonita (the species name means pretty water and some people actually say that it is a subspecies of rainbow trout, the name thus being O. mykiss var. aquabonita), is one of three local endemics in the southern Sierra. There is another species of Golden Trout, the little Kern Golden and then the Kern River Rainbow as well. Productive place. Here's a decent webpage that overviews the natural history of the Kern Plateau.

The Golden Trout was mostly wiped out of its native range through habitat degradation and hybridization with stocked rainbow trout except for one tributary (stringer?) to Golden Trout Creek, Volcano Creek. In the last several years (decades in some cases) non-native fishes have been removed and trout from Volcano Creek have been planted. California "markets" the Goldens, their state fish, as "Find some California gold!" I think it's more like "Catch some California Magma!" You know, Volcano creek and all? Liquid hot magma?

These fish are small and incredibly easy to catch. Just let your line lay in the water for 2 minutes while you do something else and you'll probably catch one. The hard thing is catching one over five or so inches. I found that using a large fly, size 12 or 10 is a good way to avoid the very small ones. I caught Goldens out of Mulkey Creek, South Fork of the Kern, and Golden Trout Creek, the latter having a resident (native?) population? I think there was some hybridization with Rainbows there but much less than the other rivers and they didn't have to do as much work to restore the population?

Click for bigger.

These guys were spawning I think. Very pretty bellys.

In Mulkey Meadows looking east. About ten miles that way and you drop seven thousand vertical feet into the desert. Click for bigger.

Click these 2 for bigger.

This is looking southwest in Tunnel Meadow. That's Kern Peak (11,510') in the distance. Pretty much the first big mountain going north. Click for bigger.

This is Golden Trout Creek, looking northeast. In the very far distance you can see the ridge leading to Cirque Peak (12,900'), maybe Cirque Peak itself?, and ultimately to Mt.Whitney I think.

The biggest Golden I caught. From Golden Trout Creek in an unnamed meadow below Tunnel Meadow and the place where Golden Trout Creek and South Fork of the Kern come within less then 1/4 mile of each other. Click for bigger.

Closer to Kern Peak now, with Red Hill in the middle ground. Lots of volcanoes. Click for bigger.

There were old growth Spruce everywhere. This is near Bullfrog Meadow.

The trusty, wrinkly palace in Bullfrog Meadow.

These look like frog legs.