Archive for November, 2011


BP Oil Spill & New Gulf Coast Tourism Promo

BP Financed Tour the Gulf Coast Now Ad Airing on TV this week!

Was the BP Oil spill the monumental, cataclysmic, enviro event it was portrayed as? Noticed this ad on TV last night and noticed BP paid for it to help promote tourism on the Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana Gulf Coast. Has nature rehabbed already? 


Fly Fishing & Brrrr! Conditions: A Review of Layers

REI Primer on Layers for Outdoor Activities


Fly Tying: Basic Scud-Nymph Tutorial

This is a good, basic tutorial on how to tie a Scud pattern, best used in rivers. A lighter version would be suitable for lakes. In time, you will select color combinations (green, tan, orange) that provide variety. This basic pattern style had potential for Caddis Pupa/Czech Nymph variations, as well.

Grau Scud Nymphe (Angeltechniken)

 A Grey Scud/Nymph Pattern Tutorial at Angeltechniken


Fly Tying Threads (Near and Denier……….)

We are told the thread industry utilizes the ‘denier’ designation for sizing and strength. The 3/0 to 14/0 ‘aught’ thread labels that many of us have used here in the U.S. and beyond are reportedly going away.

All well and good, as long as there are comparison charts during the transition from ‘aught’ to ‘denier’. There already is great variety in tying threads around the world. In my little corner, I/you will eventually figure out the four + sizes of thread, I require and we will move on.

Threads (Aught vs. Denier) Fly Tying World Blogspot


Trout TV & Hillary Hutcheson

Hilary Hutcheson, Trout TV Co-Host

I certainly remember Hilary’s brief stint as a news anchor in Portland, Oregon. Little did I know, she had the outdoor cred’s in her resume. She is now co-hosting on Trout TV. I have watched a few episodes, and Ms. Hutcheson definitely carries herself well in front of the camera, both while fishing and while interviewing guests.


Hutcheson comments: “Getting more women into fishing is more about getting them out and letting them fall in love with being on the water,” she said. “The next thing they know, they’re good at it.”

Hutcheson said she makes a point of avoiding top-of-the-line equipment.

“We use affordable rods and gear that gets the job done,” she said.

“I’ve been fishing all my life and I’m still a hack and I always will be. I go into every trip excited to learn something new.” (I like this!)

The term “hack’ is an exaggeration, but it helps her make a point.

“A lot of people are intimidated to go into a fly shop and ask the right questions,” she said. “That’s not a good bridge into the sport.”


Old Photographs & Western Settlers

I was messing around with old photo’s from SwittersB to create a small collage. I went looking for more and came across an old box of black and white photo’s that took me way back to being  a young boy.

A very young, dirty faced, SwittersB, 1953, NW Vaughn, Portland, Oregon

I have always enjoyed the transport back in time, especially looking at photographs of settlers in the U.S. I certainly imagine anyone enjoys the same nostalgia ride regardless of their locale around the world.

Tacoma dock, men unloading halibut, 1888




Fly Fishing: Organizing The Flies….Hmmm?

Cal N's SwittersB


Truth be told, I have become a bit of a hoarder with regards to fly boxes and flies. I love to tie so much, that I probably have way more flies than I could possibly use for the rest of my days on the water. 

As a beginning fly fisher/tier, you most probably have less than three or four fly boxes filled with store bought flies and your own creations. How to organize those  flies?

If you check out the Mid Current link, above, you will see that renowned fly fishers have varying methods of sorting, storing, carrying their flies. My random thoughts regarding this subject are as follows: lake fishing or river/stream fishing; time of year and probable hatches; trout…bass…steelhead/salmon…pike fishing?; what are the probable hatches on that/those body of water? 

I most often carry most of my flies in a central repository in my rig (there is a risk here of losing everything with a vehicle break in). From there, I usually in advance, load 1-2 fly boxes with the probable food sources for the fish, in that particular location, at that time of year. I have tried to refine this over the years, so as to not carry a ridiculous amount of flies.

This method usually works and the simplified selection process eases the mind (mine anyway) and lets me relax and focus on presentation, observation and relaxation. I get the ‘what flies to carry/use’ out of the way, in advance, if I can. I don’t like to be sorting through fly boxes at the location, unless I note something on the water and have the luxury of heading back to the rig to grab some flies I now see I need, given my observations.

You are at a slight disadvantage when you stop at a location and have no clue about the typical insects in that stream or lake. Eventually, you will have a general sense of the probable insects at different times of the year and carry basic dries, nymphs, emergers, streamers that will work in a pinch: Parachute Adams, Hare’s Ear Nymph, Wet/Soft Hackle flies, Pheasant Tail Nymph, Elk Hair Caddis, Woolly Buggers, San Juan Worms, Ant pattern……….. OK, we are filling up one small fly box already. 

This whole process, begs for you to study and identify what food sources are probably available at a given time on a lake or river. There are plenty of online resources about hatches, patterns, timing, locations to help you fine tune your plan. This is all part of the fun, I think….sorting, studying your patterns, wondering if this or that would work, envisioning your presentations and the take…’the moment’. 


Happy Thanksgiving & Blessings to All

Give thanks for all you have. It may be a lot and you take it for granted, or it may seem like you have nothing and pass on the finding something to be thankful for self quiz. Yesterday, I overheard three men talking. They were considering this year and what Thanksgiving Day meant for them.

One remarked that he had lost his wife after four, seemingly continuous, years of fighting cancer. He dreaded the holidays this years. He didn’t want to deal with his older kids that were attempting to draw him into their celebrations to ease his loss and loneliness. But, he said he was going to go to ‘keep his daughter happy. She was having a rough time this year’.

A second man said it was just his wife and himself. He was looking forward to just enjoying a quiet Thanksgiving because he had spent the last three years in prison. He had lost the support of his family. His wife had stood by him. He was thankful this year to feel normal and ‘taken care of’.

The third man complained about the gathering being at his home this year and all the kids that would make racket and the cleanup. He wasn’t looking forward to all the noise and being around people he didn’t really ‘have patience for’ . He didn’t comment about the other two men’s conditions.

The conversation wound down and the men turned away from each other. The facial expressions on the first two men revealed much to me. They were a mix of emotions that fanned across their faces in seconds to disappear. I think they were thankful. The third man seemed oblivious to his blessings. This brief snippet of eavesdropping made me reflect upon my blessing this year. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Kitchen Science Bacon & Turkey Prep



River Gages (Time to Study, Observe & Record)

There are urban flood advisories in Portland today. Typical of mid- November it seems. I imagine the coastal streams are rapidly rising. So, if you fish rivers that have gages, monitoring the stream levels, now is a good time to judge the high water periods and note how quickly a river drops back into fishable shape.

Develop a feel for those low, clear, cold days and the river flows. Keep notes in a journal or somewhere prominent. You will know the optimum slot for fishing from the bank &/0r a boat. This data will be invaluable on whether you should drive two hours to the coast or not bother there and head to a more stable flow, say an open tailwater fishery, if you are so blessed. Track the weather fronts and then look at the flows. The same, of course, is done in the Spring/Early Summer when the snows start to melt.  

To the seasoned angler, this is automatic. For the beginner, who infrequently fishes, it requires some effort to not waste the high’s and low’s of river/stream levels so you can figure out the optimum slot of height/water clarity for preferred fishing (safe, fishable, worth your precious time). Yes, I know, I shouldn’t be taking pics in torrential downpours.


Watersheds and Stormwater Basins/Planters

Neighborhood under storm water planter box construction. Columbia Slough and Columbia R. benefit.

A typical urban enviro project for Portland. Supposed habitat enhancement, storm water runoff screening/filtering and reduced parking in front of homes. Trade offs/potentially significant for the watersheds. Where I have seen these types, jutting into the street, there are several gouge marks on the front end of the planter boxes from cars failing to see the reflectors and hazard yellow paint and becoming a temporary planter box ornament. A reasonable expectation, I mean people drive into power poles too.

Here the entire corner will be occupied by a storm water catch basin with foot paths cut through for pedestrian passage.

All this construction is on the downhill side of roads that run perpendicular to the Columbia Slough. In addition to the runoff, several springs run down off the hillside and enter the slough. I have such a spring running behind my property. I have left my property unaltered along the spring’s edges…neighbors along the way have not and I have seen the silt build up over the years, despite inspections, surveys and reviews. Anyway, below is how the storm drain basins are suppose to look upon completion…

We shall see how they function with run off; or, when under a foot of drifting snow and folks inadvertently drive into them. A reasonable attempt to I spose to control runoff of the waters moving South to North into the Columbia River Slough and Columbia River.

The Columbia River Watershed, where the I-205/I-84 meet and East, the terrain slopes toward the slough and the Columbia River.

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November 2011

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