Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Genetics Reveals Big Fish That Almost Got Away

ScienceDaily (Aug. 21, 2008) — Researchers from the University of Hawaii, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, National Marine Fisheries Service and Projecto Meros do Brazil discovered a new species of fish—a grouper that reaches more than six feet in length and can weigh nearly 1,000 pounds. This newly discovered species can be found roaming the tropical reefs of the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Was the massive fish hiding among the corals and sea grass to evade marine biologists? No, it was just a case of mistaken identity, as explained in a recent genetic study in the journal Endangered Species Research.

August ties

It's this month's killer topper-dropper tandem for me.
A #12 black & brown beetle w/a yelo foam flag, and #16 partridge & peacock down below.

Sure they're ugly. So what.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wherein I teach ...

Two weekends ago I broke my long standing prohibition on teaching any one fly fishing. Being a fly fisher of modest skill and less success, and a caster who's talents lie on the border between bad and execrable I feel I am not really qualified to teach any one about this.

On the other, the brother in law of 30 years wanted to go to fly fish for trout on the family property on the Escanaba. He has demonstrated some proficiency with other loathsome arts a spinning rod and since he already occupied a position as a university professor and Dean of the College of Art and Sciences at Dominican University, I felt his basic life skill set was already as useless as one could possibly conceive so what difference did it make if he learned to fly fish poorly? you know, when you are at the bottom you can only go up right?

To his credit he did say he would use one of the broom handles that masquerade as resident fly poles as he didn't want to risk breaking one of my "good" rods. I gave him a quick casting lesson and after 5 minutes on the lawn at the cabin, I said why not try my Scott G2 8 foot 4 inch 4 weight ? after one bad false cast - he did agree to use that rod instead of the telephone pole he had been waving around in the air.

The man carefully positioned above the tailout of the big pool on the family water. This spot always holds a trout or two, except for those times when it doesn't. He's dropping a dry fly fished down and across in traditional U.P. style.

This time the tail out contained a trout. First trout on a fly rod and a dry fly.

He fortunately went on to get about another five trout to rise to the fly hooking several including one nice one, but failed to land any of them thank dog.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

a flawed equation: corn equals green

From todays NYTIMES ...



Published: August 15, 2008

Samsung has announced the latest model in its lineup of “eco-phones” — one of the dozens of new electronics products from manufacturers striving to be green. Samsung says the new phone is made in ways that cut down on the use of environmentally harmful materials and is packaged in recycled materials. But what really makes this model different is that its case is made of bioplastic — with materials extracted from corn.

The electronics industry has been a major polluter, from the manufacturing end to the landfill. The dizzying pace at which consumer electronics become obsolete (What, you’re still using that old phone?) compounds the problem. And increasingly rich countries are offloading the disposing, and often the incinerating, of phones and computers to poorer countries.

Unfortunately Samsung’s new cellphone relies on a flawed equation: corn equals green. It is really time to throw out this formula for good. Bioplastic derived from corn requires special handling in recycling, and the difficulty of those processes makes them energy inefficient.

Bioplastic also creates another market for corn — a much smaller market than the ethanol market, but growing nonetheless. New industrial demands for corn are driving up world food prices and are increasing the pressure to convert more nonagricultural land to corn production.

The truly green solution for electronics makers is to close the loop between manufacturing and recycling: reusing the plastics we so quickly and happily toss away to make new cellphones.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Any can tell you ...

In today's Wall Street Journal a story about Hemingway and his yarn about the "big Two-hearted River"...

"The narrative begins with Nick Adams, Hemingway's protagonist and alter-ego, having just gotten off the train in Seney, a town in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. He hikes into the wilderness and fishes for trout. The problem is that the Two-Hearted River lies about 20 miles north of Seney and flows into Lake Superior. On foot, it's virtually impossible to get there with Nick's apparent speed. The Fox River -- a perfectly good stream for brook trout -- runs right through the town, on its way to Lake Michigan.

Hemingway visited Seney with a couple of friends in 1919. Wouldn't he have just fished the Fox?"

This was settled long ago, in the 1960's in fact by a real fishing writer, one of the greats, and one of the U.P.'s own sons. Read the chapter about this topic in Robert Traver's ( née John Voelker) book "Trout Magic". Some other good stuff in there as well.

Lightning and Angling

Two weeks ago, from 35,000 feet over the Sea of Japan, I got lucky and snapped this view from the opposite side of a big cloud. Some half remembered W.S Burroughs quote popped into my mind about images flickering in a dying mans brain like lightning in a distant thunderstorm at night.

And today - in the Field and Stream Flytalk blog:

A fly rod exploded by lightning.

"Have you ever been in the river, or out on the flats, and those clouds roll in... then the hair on your arms stands up... then your rod starts to hum? That's a pretty good sign that you might want to drop the rod. This is what it looks like when a fly rod gets zapped."

read the whole post here

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Banner update

6 weeks left of the season up here... time for an update

Tiny Invasive Snail Impacts Great Lakes, Alters Ecology

From the Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Aug. 11, 2008) — Long a problem in the western U.S., the New Zealand mud snail currently inhabits four of the five Great Lakes and is spreading into rivers and tributaries, according to a Penn State team of researchers. These tiny creatures out-compete native snails and insects, but are not good fish food replacements for the native species.

"These snails have an operculum, a door that closes the shell," says Edward P. Levri, associate professor of biology at Penn State's Altoona Campus. "They can be out of the water for longer than other snails and when fed to fish, they are not digested and sometimes come out alive. This has a potential to alter the salmon and trout fisheries because they alter the food chain."

Monday, August 11, 2008


It's that time of year in the U.P.

My preferred preparation. Wild mushroom omelette.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bass fishing - Why the Japanese rule the world

As I have indicated in the past, spin fishing for bass is one of those activities that just don't really mean much to me. However, in Japan they not only create better lures than we do, they also have really plumbed the very core meaning of spin fishing for bass. Like their great achievements in paper fish trophies and building robotic carp - the photographic documents from this site reveal the essence and pinnacle that has been reached in spin fishing for Bass in the land of the rising sun. Little more needs to be said....

All pics from:

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Catch up post #3: Posted on Aug 2 but fished on July 5.

This comes from George Cleveland, Uber moderator and insect overlord at the Wisconsin Fly Fishing Message Board . After many postings about the Prairie River during the regs change fight last spring, I finally had the opportunity to fish the river, my first, and G.C. made the time to guide me along the ex-special regs water. This is his post about our trip:

By George Cleveland

The interwebs are a strange social landscape. They give one the perfect disguise, enabling a person to alter their persona to whatever template they may desire. So it is always interesting to meet someone with whom you have only communicated in the past via message board postings and IMs.

Hdw IMed me late last week and wondered if we could do a little fishing Saturday evening. He was going to be in our area picking up his Brittany "Gryffindor" from a trainer. Gryff had been attending Bird Camp while Harlan and his family did the Sound of Music tour in the Alps. A couple text messages led to a scratchy cell phone call from Gilman, Wisconsin. In an hour or so I knew I'd be meeting hdw in the flesh. And sure enough, with a little help from his GPS, the Volvo with Illinois plates was soon pulling up to the curb in front of our neighbors house.

The guy who unfolded himself from the Swedish tank was taller and a bit grayer than I expected. (As a writer he comes across as a younger man.) But there was an air that came from him that I can only describe as "authenticity" and made me comfortable in an unusually short time for an old curmudgeonly Norwegian such as myself. My estimation of him grew as I watched him interact with his dog, Gryff and later with my son and my wife. Add to that the fact that he didn't noticeably act disgusted by the chaos that exemplifies what could laughably be called "housekeeping" in the Cleveland shack and he attained the vaunted "O.K. By Me" status, in my mind.

The next couple of hours were spent in comfortable conversation which at times approached the subject of the evening's fishing. It had been in the 80s all that day and I was dubious about the River's temperature. Trying to steer him towards the bass that live in the Wisconsin instead, hdw averred that he really wasn't that enthralled with smallmouth. So we decided to try some of the cooler waters that flow through sections of the late, lamented Special Regs section. After transferring his equipage from his Volvo to the Taurus we made our way up the highway to the access point.

It wasn't until almost 7:30 that we found ourselves be-wadered and be-rodded and standing in the reassuringly [b]cold[/b] water of the upper River. Before we even had a chance to feed enough line from our reels to fish a small riseform spread beneath the tag alders opposite us. Harlan had tied on a chunky looking soft hackle and he cast it to the fish. But on the second cast he snagged an over hanging willow behind us. At his urging I fished to the rises with my Pass Lake and after 4 or 5 casts, hooked and landed the small brookie that had been making them.

We continued upstream. After missing a few fish with his soft hackle , Harlan changed to a Goddard Caddis. There were sporadically rising fish scattered through a thigh deep, timbered section. Including one that was feeding just off an Entish finger of deadwood pointing out into the current.

The Goddard seemed to elicit more solid takes and the Pass Lake did its usual thing, so we played trade-a-fish while we went upstream. First Harlan would catch a fish and then I'd step up and take one. The only break in the pattern was when one of us would tangle with an alder and then the other would cast to the trout while the other fiddled with his tackle.

As dusk deepened we came to a long deepish run that had been HIed decades before. The fish were still rising but both Harlan and I found ourselves missing more fish than we were hooking. Both of us struggled with hook eyes and tippet held up against the fading sky as we fumbled to change flies. Harlan finally got his attached, a big Stimulator, and flipped it to a fish that had started feeding a rod length away.

While the take wasn't splashy the commotion that followed the hooking was. H's rod, a 4 weight built on a Sage LL blank, formed an almost perfect arch as the fish fought first up and then down the stream. I cautiously tried to back away and not spook the fish. After a few minutes Harlan led the trout to his net. The 14" brook trout lay quietly long enough for me to take a quick pic and then Harlan snipped the tippet, leaving the deeply embedded fly in place and returning the chunky trout to the River. Then it was grins all around.

It was near dark now so we turned about and fished down through the water below toward the car. I had managed to get a bushy Catskill dry on my leader and other than a few taps had not had any real luck with it. But near the middle of the timbered, deep run my twitched fly brought a solid hit and after a short fight the 12" brookie was being photographed like a Hollywood starlet. (I wonder if brook trout get those little purple spots on their retinas from camera flashes.)

We continued downstream, hearing rises back in the log jams from fish that would never be caught. Shortly after joking with H that he needed a 20" brookie next, Harlan's fly was engulfed by a shockingly large rise. He failed to connect solidly but the inferred size of the fish made any joking reference to a 20" brook trout seem less absurd.

We hold these truths to be self evident

Catch up entry number 2 - posted on Aug 2 but fished on July 4th in the Driftless

My July the 4th.

Landed from old yurp on wednesday, headed up to the farm where the pup was boarded in central wisco. Spent the afternoon and fishing through the evening.

Where and what are these pairs.

My fireworks outside the tent - camped next to a stream behind some farmers trees, and the fireflies were flying.