Wednesday, April 30, 2008

indiana springtime smallmouth...are everywhere except stinesville

I have the makings of one fine post. It's about Stinesville. And Jack's Defeat Creek. But that has to wait. I went back to my favorite creek the other day and caught a couple more smallies and many more rock bass for MB Pell.

Also, my boat is scheduled to arrive on Monday people. Monday. Unfortunately, the boat's arrival coincides with Brian's. Brian is going to have to ride the boat whether he likes it or not.

Behold them. Click to enlarge them.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

dem bass ate real good

Click to enlarge all.

I caught this rock bass just for MB Pell.

Then I caught this portly smallmouth just for me.

This fish took the rabbit fur fly I made earlier. I guess it's closest to a sculpin in the water, but I'm happy to just call it an attractor pattern.

That's a pretty nice fish for a river this small.

But that's what Indiana Catch and Release* regs will do for you I suppose.

*Some Indiana rivers do have regulations actually designed to improve the catch and release fishery, for example Sugar Creek has a 1 fish 20" or larger regulation and the Blue River has a slot regulation, something like keep no fish between 10" and 15". I just hope my favorite little river is never deemed unpolluted.

bass food

I made bass food. I will now attempt to feed the bass.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

catching stonerollers for MB Pell

Michael B Pell is a bit of a snob when it comes to gamefish. Therefore, I heretofore forever more take it upon myself to fish exclusively for rising, spawning stonerollers with a Turks Tarantula. I particularly like how colored up this fish is. And his tubercles. I also caught my first trophy smallmouth of the season yesterday.

Click both to enlarge.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

clifty wilderness

The Clifty Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area located in central eastern Kentucky. It is part of the Red River Gorge Geological Area which is part of the Cumberland Ranger District of the Daniel Boone National Forest. The federal management units in that area seem to be a real bureaucratic cluster fuck. The area seems to be heavily used and may need a more centralized management structure than the Forest Service can currently provide in order to minimize damage to the natural resources the area provides. See this website for a good summary of some of the problems.

The most accessible area of the wilderness, and the only place where trails are maintained by the forest service, is in the Swift Camp Creek gorge. Swift Camp Creek is tributary to the Red River that cuts a rugged gorge for twelve miles or so from the town of Campton (where the four lane Bert Combs highway ends) down to the Red River. The section of the creek in the wilderness is all downstream from the highway and the town of Campton which might have something to do with some of the bad things about the Swift Camp Creek gorge.

Here are some things one might want to know before heading to the Swift Camp Creek Gorge.

(1) While the gorge truly feels like a wild place, a prehistoric place, with old growth hemlocks and white pines, 200' cliff faces, caves, waterfalls, house sized boulders, rhododendron thickets like the best in North Carolina, moss and liverworts dripping from every tree etc. etc., the river was full of trash. There were many, many tires, right in the middle of the river miles from any road, plastic soda bottles, white styrofoam coolers and this was all just in the river. In areas where people obviously camp a lot there was some toilet paper, cigarette butts, tin foil etc. Now the place wasn't trashed. But there was trash there. More trash then in other comparable places I've been.

(2) If you're interested in fishing the creek, as I was, or any other creeks in the area, be forewarned that they aren't so hot. Some older regulations say that Swift Camp Creek is stocked for 8 wiles in the Clifty with rainbow, twice a year, and it is delayed harvest. But if you look at the 2008 regs, they say only about 1 mile upstream from the Red River is stocked. I didn't see any fish in the river. No smallmouth, no largemouth, no Kentucky spotted bass, nada. Maybe they were there, but I didn't see them. Though here is some good video of people catching trout, presumably on Swift Camp Creek because they say Rainbow trout and I'm not sure if any other creeks are stocked with rainbows in the red river gorge.

Chimney Top Creek is in Red River Gorge as well and is touted as one of Kentucky's best "hold over" brown trout (read: put-grow-take) fisheries. Well, the creek is quite small and I didn't see a single trout in it.

Dog Fork is a small tributary to Swift Camp Creek in the Clifty and is one of four creeks in Kentucky that hold wild brook trout. Looked like brook trout water to me. But I didn't see a single trout there either.

Needless to say, Kentucky doesn't have great trout fishing (unless you count the Cumberland tailwater). Then again, I didn't really give these creeks a thorough fishing either. But from what I saw, they weren't so great.

(3) As I mentioned above, Swift Camp Creek gorge is super rugged. I was looking forward to exploring the river a bit, but that is nearly impossible as the Swift Camp Creek Trail, #219, though it does follow the Swift Camp Creek, follows about 100' above the river on the west side. There are a very very very few trails down to the river (there is good access where Dog Fork runs into the river). Most of the time it is a sheer cliff or even an undercut cliff. One slip of the foot at the wrong place and you're toast. Hopefully that comes through in some of my pictures below. Similarly, the trail is narrow, angled towards the river, very rocky and rooty, and muddy after rain. It goes up and down and up and down and follows creek beds sometimes. There's not a lot of net elevation gain, but it is tough hiking.

(4) Finally, I had a hard time finding a good topo map of the area. One of the only ones I found is made by Outrage GIS. DON'T BUY THIS MAP. There is a better one endorsed and published by the USDA that is a real topo map. The OutrageGIS map is a topo map, but the contour intervals are fucking huge, number one, and number two, the whole goddamn map is printed over a shitty green satellite photo of the area. This makes it confusing to look at and the shading on the photo is all fucked up so that ridges look like valleys and vice versa. It's a terrible map for many other reasons I hope to detail in a post in a series I will call "my maps." Buy the USDA map, not the OutrageGIS map.

OK then. The rant is over. Here are some pictures. It was quite a nice trip actually. I just had a hard time finding information on the area online so I thought I should actually put some detailed commentary up here.

Click many to enlarge.

The rare Kentucky Snow Nymph emerging from her egg case.

On Chimney Top Rock

The Trillium were en fuego.

So were the morels.

And black snakes. Snow nymph is not a huge fan of snakes.

Above Creation Falls on a tributary to Swift Camp Creek.

Creation falls again.

Rock Bridge over Swift Camp Creek. Note three beer cans on lower left side of picture.

This picture might give you some idea about the difficulty in accessing the river from the trail.

Swift Camp Creek

Swift Camp Creek

Dog Fork

Dog Fork

Me crossing Dog Fork.

Amy at the confluence of Dog Fork and Swift Camp Creek.

On Swift Camp Creek.

Swift Camp Creek

At the end of the Swift Camp Creek trail.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

behold the boat update

I haven't purchased a boat yet. But I'm one tax refund closer. Also, I've decided to buy a different boat. Vinyl bladders, but way better frame construction. Behold it:

And click to enlarge.

Monday, April 14, 2008

writing in a southern accent

I'm submitting a story for the Traver Award today and I've been debating whether to write in a southern accent for one of the characters or not. I decided against it. But here is an excert before I changed it back to standard spelling.

Is this obnoxious? Some of my favorite writes do it (Faulkner, Thomas Wolfe, Denis Johnson) and I love accents. I think they add a lot to a character. But I think for a contest for a mainstream fishing magazine it may hurt.

“Ok. All rot. Fon. I was jus’ excited about gettin’ to fish fo some while trout on a famous reeva. I suppose I’m a little ahead of myself. Thanks for the pointers I gayess.”

He turned and began to walk away. I made two false casts and dropped the fly at the head of the run about five feet in front of a previous rise and mended the line. A small fish rose and the man heard the splashing and turned around.

“I stood here for two hours and didn’t catch a thing. Now you come up and WAYAM! on your first cayist!”


“Yeah, pretty crowded up there by the hatchery. That’s why I came down hee err, try an’ get away from ‘um.”

“Then I came wading right into your hole. Sorry about that.”

“That’s all rot. I wasn’t catchin’ anything anyway. You were catchin’ ‘em pretty good though.”

“Yeah, I was doing ok. You really have to use tiny flies and small tippet. These fish are super selective.”

“I gayess so.”

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

panthertown outted, Eastern Fly Fishing peddles misinformation!

This was once a 1300 word rant about a recent article in Eastern Fly Fishing regarding southern strain brook trout. It was an incoherent ramble and I'm going to take some time and polish it up some more before I post it.

With love,
Matthew D Dunn, DDS.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

indiana done got them hollers...

...and I ain't got no boat. Yet.

These are pictures from a nice 10 mile trip on the Low Gap trail in Morgan-Monroe State Forest.

Click all to enlarge.