fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

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Warning: good, fun weather ahead

Well, looks as if we are being smiled upon for our trip up to western side of the Sierras this afternoon.  The forecast is for fantastic weather.  Hopefully the fishing will be just as good – more catching than fishing.  But either way, it will be good, and good for me, to get out and enjoy the sunshine.  A good weekend to all!


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little discovery of mine for you fish folks

In all of my digging around for information on fishing in the sierras, I ran across an old PDF document hosted somewhere on the California DFG Web site, that offers something that almost every fisherman at one time or other during their life would have given up their best lure…well, maybe their second-best lure…to have. It is in an old issue of the Tracks pseudo-magazine put out by DFG, which covers fishing and/or hunting depending upon the season it might be published.

Like all issues of Tracks, this particular Spring 2001 edition offers information on rules and regulations, the species of fish one can expect to catch, and so on. But within this issue is what might very well be considered a little gem: a section entitled “Guide to Fishing California Waters.”

This seemingly innocuously named portion of the publication offers a wealth of information on the fishable bodies of freshwater – lakes, rivers, streams, reservoirs (forebays and afterbays), creeks and lagoons throughout the state. While it contains the typical notations on the type of fish that might be caught and the services available, the most exciting column is labeled “Driving Directions.” In this column is written directions, from a nearby and well recognized landmark, to a public access point for each body of water. Even for the smallest section of water that receives plants from the DFG’s hatcheries. For example, the small Lyons Canal in Twain Harte warrants a listing, with driving directions that read,

From Sonora, at junction Hwy’s 49-108; go E 11 mi. to Twain Harte Dr. Turn N, go 1.7 mi. to Joaquin Gully Rd. Turn NE, go 1 mi.; road curves E at Middle Camp Rd. for 0.1 mi. Turn N on South Fork Rd., go 0.4 mi. to fishing access on left.

I know from personal experience that these directions are pretty good (although we take the nephews and kids to another section of the canal). So, in a service to fisherpersons everywhere, I am pulling this information out of the PDF and putting it on my Web site for all to see. You can get to a main page for this info by clicking on the ‘Calif. DFG Driving Directions’ under the “Join In” section of the side bar. From the main page you can jump to the various sections.

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countdown to trout season opening day

“Some go to church and think about fishing, others go fishing and think about God.”

          ~ Tony Blake

“To go fishing is the chance to wash one’s soul with pure air, with the rush of the brook, or with the shimmer of sun on blue water. It brings meekness and inspiration from the decency of nature, charity toward tackle-makers, patience toward fish, a mockery of profits and egos, a quieting of hate, a rejoicing that you do not have to decide a darned thing until next week. And it is discipline in the equality of men – for all men are equal before fish.”

          ~ Herbert Hoover

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What’s 18 years old?

My son became an adult this month.  I got to thinking…

If you were an 18-year-old police horse in Berkshire, England, commended by the chief constable your work after disorder at a soccer game in 2003, you’d be retired already.

If you were an 18-year-old movie, you might tell the story of selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt’s cross-country trip with his savant brother Raymond…

If you were an 18-year-old Olympics gold medal, you might have been won by Jay Barrs for archery.

If you were an 18-year-old book, you might be the not-so brief “A Brief History of Time.” (Author Stephen Hawking noting that for every equation in the book that the readership would be halved, thus it includes only a single equation: E=mc².)

If you were an 18-year-old television series, you might be the short-lived “High Mountain Rangers.” (Lasted one season and was filmed near our cabin.)

If you were an 18-year-old song, you could follow the advice of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

If you were an 18-year-old candy, you might be those oh-so dangerous Pop Rocks.

If you are an 18-year-old today, I won’t pretend to offer any sage advice. Rather, I will offer the following:

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’97

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. Scientists have proven the long-term benefits of sunscreen, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine. Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or celebrate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders. Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it is worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

—Mary Schmich, Chicago Tribune, June 1, 1997

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Plugging away at it

Gave up going to the movies today…unusual for me. But so far I have given the dog a haircut and shampoo and uploaded some more albums. (Check the sidebar for a few new ones. Still have to add the narrative.) Next I’ll be ventured out to the backyard to till the vegetable garden. The sun is out (was supposed to rain), so I might as well get to it. Sure hope to get a lot more out of it this year. Last year was sort of a bust, though we did have plenty of tomatoes and a good amount of potatoes. Have to check for volunteers this year as we may be close to having a self-perpetuating potato harvest. The biggest hurdle is ensuring it gets watered enough when I’m not around. Have a great weekend!

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Our first opening day

If all goes well, my son and I will head up to to the cabin next weekend get out for some trout fishing on opening day.  (The season east of Hwy 49 is only open from the last Saturday in April to mid-November.)  This will be our first time doing so, so it should be fun.  I’ve heard tell that it’s easy to limit out before the summer fishing pressure.  Figure we’ll try some new areas, maybe Moccasin Creek and Powerhouse Stream. 

If nothing else, the California DFG will help as their Web site says:

The following waters are scheduled to be stocked prior to opening day, April 29, 2006, if water, weather, and road conditions permit.

TUOLUMNE COUNTY: Basin Creek, Beaver Creek, Deadman Creek, Lyons Canal, Moccasin Creek, Pinecrest Lake (Strawberry Lake), Powerhouse Stream, Stanislaus River (Clarks, Middle, North and South forks), Sullivan Creek, Tuolumne River (Middle, North and South forks).

I guess the operative wording is if water, weather, and road conditions permit. There is some worry that the water is running too high, though it certainly won’t be too warm. 

Here’s to hoping for clear weather!

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Driving for the Japanese mafia

Mafia Car 4

The aggressive pose.

As my family and close friends know, I am a bit particular – maybe to the point of having a touch of OCD – when it comes to cleaning my car. Well, we finally had a sunny day, allowing me to give my “new” car (2003 Honda Accord but new to me) its first through washing, waxing and detailing. My son Chris thinks this car goes “18 dummy” (meaning it’s off the hook, dude). Sometimes it looks a bit sinister to me. Received the registration a few days ago, so soon I’ll be off to DMV to swap the plates to my amateur plates, then I’ll work on the dual-band radio installation.

How I came to own this car was summed up by why a fellow co-worker who said that “Pat has never met a new Honda or Toyota that he couldn’t trade in.”  The upshot is that I traded a 2006 Civic for this 2003 Accord because the seats in the Civic seemed to be designed for drivers with more delicate derrières.  Yeah, one would think I would have sensed this problem in the test drive, but it was oh-so subtle.  Sure, the seats were a bit stiff, but having not owned a new car in may years I said to myself, “Self, they’ll soften up over time.”  But a week into ownership, I found my right hip was beginning to hurt after my commute, and even the new-car smell did not assuage my feeling that something was wrong.  I thought it was the seat padding, so I tried a few things that I thought offer a bit more padding, even though I have plenty o’ padding on my hiney.  However, it didn’t help much.  I can’t say why, but one day during my commute, I came to me, and with an examination I confirm my suspicions that the seat belt latch was above the top of the side bolster — much higher than any other car I have driven — and that was digging into my hip.

After quickly firing off letters to the Honda dealership, the dealership owner and Honda corporate, I realized that (1) there wasn’t much that could be done and (2) I was unlikely that anything would be done.  With some quick research and bit of luck I found the Accord (for basically any equal trade and no extra money out of my pocket) and not once have I second-guessed my decision.  I, and my derrière, are much happier.

P.S. I must commend Honda’s warranty service, as my extended warranty on the ’06 was fully refunded.

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Baby you can wash my car

Can you tell me what happened to the national habit of washing one’s vehicle yourself? I finally got the chance two days ago – meaning the rain finally let up in here in sunny California – to give my new-to-me Honda Accord its first washing and waxing. While in my usual manner I was focused on truly detailing my car, my mind had time to wander off on its own and found myself pondering the esoteric idea of the archetypal American neighborhood of the 1950s and ‘60s, fostered by my earliest memories and probably more strongly influenced by pop culture. 

Washing one’s car can extend beyond the simple cleaning of your conveyance. It forces me outside, as a rule on those days when the sky is blue and the sun is shining. Whilst I am known to be perhaps a bit too fastidious in the washing of a chunk of metal that barrels down the road, I find it to be somewhat of a relaxing task that brings little burden to the brain. A sort of meditation. In years gone by – even in my lifetime – it was be part of a neighborhood’s social goings-on. I’m sure it still does in a few places.

Do you remember those sunny Saturdays when almost every father on the block was out in his driveway polishing his Corvair or Beetle or Impala? Greetings were exchanged. Cars were shared and inspected. In between vacuuming the interior and hosing down the exterior, kids would get a quick squirt from the hose. The good old day, huh?

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Idle Thoughts are a Blogger’s Playground

As I eased into Web page design nearly fifteen years ago, I had little of idea of the reach of the Internet. While I reached out to the world with my little Web site, the world – or at least a small portion of it – reached out to me. People from far off lands stumbled on to my little patch of HTML. Some liked what the saw. Some prodded me for more information on aloha shirts. (Check my Web site.)

Now, as I eased into a redesign of my Web site, I came to realize that a blog (derived from “WeB log,” btw) was a closer approximation to what I attempted to do with a Web site. So here I am. Blogging. Not that it is such a vanity anymore…guess I’m just going mainstream.

I have no illusion that my blogging will have a significant impact on the world. Rather, I look upon a blog as an external collection of memories and thoughts. I do not know where this might lead, but I’m sure that over time I’ll touch upon favorite topics: fishing, the Sierra Nevada and the foothills, travel and video games. So wish me luck as I join this fast growing electronic community.