Monday, December 10, 2012

12/6 - 12/7 "Cheap Beer , Cold Cuts and Stocked Trout...Some Long Awaited River Time"

Anyone who follows my blog has probably noticed the lack of content around here for the last six weeks or so. Just so you know , it's not because of writers block or blog burnout (two things I hear others talking about from time to time) , it's simply due to the fact that I havn't been fishing...not even once!
The weekend of my last fishing trip the wife was out of town as well, spending several days horseback riding in the Flint Hills with some friends. Sometime during her stay at the ranch her thoroughbred injured his eye pretty severely and it required extensive care if there was any possibility of saving his eyesight. The treatment started off with us having to inject three types of medicine into his eye every other hour seven days a week and has just now tapered down to one medicine twice a day. We both re-arranged our schedules and took remaining vacation time off so that one of us was off work to make sure he got the treatment he needed. At this point the improvement is looking great and we've been told that all of our hard work (and hard earned money) has paid off , no surgery will be needed and he still has sight in that eye as well.
Fast forward to this last week...I was talking to my wife about what needed to be done on my days off and she surprised me by saying that she could handle it for a couple of days , she informed me that I was long overdue for a fishing trip and thought it would do me good to get a little "River Time" in. Was it really that obvious?? Probably so....I've been just a little irritable!
It was a short notice trip so there wasn't much time for planning or packing. Joe and I got up before the sun crested the horizon on Thursday and threw some essential gear in the truck then pointed the front bumper South and hit the road.
Our plan was to head to the closest coldwater fishery we could find and spend a couple of days unwinding from the past months events. We pulled into the campground just before 9:00 and were relieved to find that we had the entire place to ourselves , the campground and about a mile of river frontage were to be our playground for the next 36 hours and it looked as though we wouldn't have to share it with anyone.
It felt good to get away, really good! I took my time setting up camp and then walked down to the river and made a few casts before lunchtime. The fish were more than cooperative from the very beginning and I knew it was going to be a great trip.
After a riverside lunch of sandwiches and beer we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon walking downstream from camp.
The river was still pretty low and I figured we could make it down to some water that you would normally have to float to access. The fishing continued to be very good , for numbers anyway if not size. I leisurely worked my way downstream swinging small streamers and enjoying the solitude of the river while Joe entertained himself by chasing squirrels up and down the banks of the stream...we had both found our "Happy Place".
We did run into some other fishers before the day was over , a family of bald eagles that hung around close by camp both days we were there. The two adults didn't seem at all bothered by us and I managed to get some decent shots from my cheap P&S camera.
The young one was more leary and took flight when he deemed us too close to his personal space. We watched them fishing both mornings and listened to them talking to each other as they sat in the trees overhanging the river just across from our camp. They truly are remarkable birds and I really enjoyed their company around camp , I just wish I'd had a better camera as I could have gotten some stunning shots with a better lens.
We called it a day early instead of fishing til dark-thirty and decided to just kick back around camp for some much needed relaxation. We rounded out the day with a big fire , a few cold beers and a pot of homemade turkey noodle soup and a loaf of cheddar bread.
The perfect ending to a great day.
Sunday I was awakened by our fishing buddies screeching at each other on a tree limb less than 30 yards from the tent , from the sounds of things someone hadn't had their morning coffee yet.
One bonus to winter camping is the long nights that allow you to catch up on that sleep you miss out on at home , Joe and I were both well rested and ready to hit the water when we finally made our way out of the tent.
The sky was a dark gray overcast with the temperature hovering in the mid forties...perfect fishing weather. We fished around camp for awhile and then wandered upstream to check out some new spots that we hadn't fished yesterday afternoon.
Every hole held good numbers of fish , both browns and rainbows , and they were more than willing to come out and play when given the chance. These weren't picky wild fish for sure , they more closely resembled a gang of hoodlums chasing an old lady with a fat purse. It wasn't a matter of if they were going to bite but more a question of which one would get there first.
Usually that's a sign of a recent stocking , which was probably the case , and would explain the numbers of fish I caught and the large percentage of small browns in the river. I'm not complaining...I didn't even pack my A-game , left it at home on the bookshelf in my tying room , so I was happy to take advantage of those poor uneducated fish after six weeks without a flyrod in my hand.
I did my part trying to teach them a thing or two , hopefully they'll think twice before eating that odd looking item next time and maybe they won't end up on a stringer this winter. Apart from two kayakers that were just traveling through we didn't see another soul on the river this day either , a small group of turkeys..a lone doe grabbing a morning drink and our eagle friends were the only other company we encountered.
Nothing glamorous or exciting on this trip , just a man and his best friend sharing some cold-cuts and a cheap beer...River Time at it's finest!!


  1. Wonderful post. You my friend extract the most from your time on the water. You know the meaning of "fly fishing"

  2. Thanks Alan...Appreciate it. After a long dry spell it felt good to just sit on the riverbank with my boots in the water and ENJOY mother nature. That's really what it's all about.

  3. Great trip, fish, and pictures! Are you sure those are stockers? They look to be in great condition, and no indication of "hatchery fins". Well done!

  4. Thanks Dave...Yeah those are stockers , just not recently. I caught plenty of fish with "hatchery fins" but I'm a selective photographer and only shoot "photogenic trout"!!

  5. Well that does it... I didn't get to go and I'm not going to get to go this week end either.... life sucks!!!!
    I did take Monday and Tuesday off so I may get out at least a little.

    1. Bummer for sure...I was looking forward to some company around the campfire this weekend , Joe's a great fishing partner but the conversation around the fire can be a little slow!

  6. Great post man! Nice fish too!

    you might enjoy my recent posts

    1. Thanks man , appreciate the comments.
      I'll swing over and check out your site as well...

  7. I don't know where I've been but I missed this. I feel your pain and glad you've got a great wife to recognize the signs of needing water time. Next time you go, let me know. Man do I need a little R&R! Seriously good post and even a well needed break as I followed along.

    1. Thanks cofisher...It's amazing how a couple days of R&R on a river can improve your whole outlook. I guess I didn't realize how much I needed to get out until I actually did!

  8. Another great post. That is a nice stetch of river at "the campground" this time of year when it is deserted. Dad and I hit the CA a few miles downstream the weekend before and had a blast. I'm going to post it on OAF tonight.
    Love that dog!

    1. Thanks Dave...It's amazing what a different character that area takes on this time of year. I really enjoy that river this time of year.