fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

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brown trout named as an invasive species. I say airlift ’em my way.

Just about booked a flight to for long stay in Dullstroom, South Africa.

One might not expect to find the words “plague” and “brown trout” uttered in the same sentence here in the Queen’s North American Colonies, but it seems the British Invasion of lo’ so many years ago created just such a problem in South Africa.

From a Time magazine article in the Oct. 27, 2008 issue:

Here, in the waters that feed the grasslands and carve out the escarpments of the Highveld plateau, trout are a plague. The lakes, dams and rivers are overflowing with them. So is the town. Almost every shop, hotel and gas station in Dullstroom features a picture of a seven-pounder curling around a fly. (And no prizes for guessing which delicious, pink-fleshed fish dominates the restaurant menus.)

The kind of plague I wouldn’t mind in my backyard.

But you’d better get there fast.

As part of its Africanization program, the [South African] government is considering poisoning the [brown] trout in its lakes and rivers. This sounds drastic until you get to Dullstroom, on the edge of Kruger National Park, east of Johannesburg.

Don’t know how the folks of Dullstroom view this plan.  They tout their town as “South Africa’s premier flyfishing region.”

So, those with more money and time on their hands might want plan a trip after reading more on the Time site, and anyone willing to drag along a wanna-be trout bum companion, gratis of course, can email me here.

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what California water shortage?

Thanks to climbing flows, plans for the club fishing trip this Saturday to the Stanislaus River have been abandoned. Guess I’ll clean the nine months of accumlation from my desk instead.

We were to hit the Two Mile Bar section after flows hovered just above 200 cubic feet per second; eminently fishable. The flows climbed to 225 cfs on Oct. 8, to 425 cfs on the 9th, peaked at 669 on the 10th, and seemed to have settled around 655 cfs; definitely not fishable.

The "Stan" was good until last week.

The Stanislaus looked good until about a week ago...

Seems a bit odd to see so much water flowing downstream. It’s been a heck of a year for our reservoirs — the average level stands at 59.6% of capacity and as low as 21% — so one would think we wouldn’t see massive releases.

Seems I’ll have to head upstream when I’m fishing the foothills next month…

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small mistake fills gas tanks at 1968 price

File it under wish I was there (but not worth the 2151-mile drive):

A Citgo station in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, was chock full of customers this morning after an employee made a mistake and sold gasoline for just 34.9 cents per gallon of premium unleaded instead of the $3.439 that the station advertised on its sign. The bargain prices lasted long enough for about 40 transactions, or about 250 gallons of gasoline.

Station owner J.P. Raval changed the prices after 90 minutes when the attendant on duty alerted him that there was a mistake and he didn’t know how to change the prices.

“People kept coming, so fast,” Raval told the Associated Press. “Everything was crowded; it was like a fairground.”

Apparently some motorists were even filling up gas cans to cash in on the savings.


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catching up

I’ve been remiss in posting. But I’ll claim the excuse that it’s easier to get into the swing of a quick vacation than it is to get back into the swing of everyday life.

The previous post hints at the end of my visit last week to the Evergreen State. It was a good visit that began on the previous Friday. The wife and I dropped the last kid off at school and barreled down the highway to Oakland International…expecting traffic but instead arriving with plenty o’ time to read the newspaper.

Maybe it’s a sign of the times: our flight was at 70-80% occupancy. The two of us shared three seats. A little turbulence was followed by the always surprising decent to Sea-Tac. This flight was an experiment of sorts for me. It was the first time I hauled my fishing gear through the air.

Voula's Offshore Cafe

Voula’s Offshore Cafe

Mom & Dad’s Taxi Service picked us up. Next stop: Voula’s Offshore Café.

After seeing it on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” we volunteered a late lunch at Voula’s on the way home. Nothing like breakfast for lunch. My dad went for one of the hobo scrambles, mom for the salmon scramble and the wife a plate of biscuits and gravy. I opted for the amazing and very savory Eggs Benedict, made with pork smoked on the premises and chipotle hollandaise.

Once in Duvall we met my cousin Bill and his wife Laura, for the first time, then tried to walk off some of Voula’s excellent chow with some dog walking. The weather was good, but before I left we’d experience everything from sunshine to hail and downpours.

Saturday was the manufactured excuse reason for our visit. Though I lived there for a short nine months I missed out on the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival and during the summer decided it was about time I got up there to see what it’s all about. The day was full of drizzle as well as fun in the sights and sounds. Just your normal festival with craft booths and monstrous salmon plowing up the nearby creek. The Issaquah State Salmon Hatchery is a great facility that speaks to the success of a grass-roots effort. That evening my brother and his family invited all of us over for dinner and entertainment (provided by my two nephews, Levi and Kaden).

Sunday started with mass at my parents’ parish, followed by a breakfast spread that apparently only comes out when visitors descend on the house. I swear my dad was missing the usual morning meal composed of twigs and pebbles. After another visit with the nephews and their mom, it was off for an early dinner with mom, dad, the nephews, my sister-in-law and my cousin and his wife, before delivering the wife to the airport.

Monday saw me on the forks of the Snoqualmie River with fly rod in hand. Unfortunately, the upper reaches of the South Fork of the Snoqualmie were a little bigger than I envisioned. I flogged the water best I could…may have had only one take…but not a fish to hand. Spending a day on the water is always good, and I was treated to sporadic sunshine near Snoqualmie Pass and drizzle further down the hill on the North Fork. After stumbling upon a couple of camouflaged gentled carrying rifles, it was time to call it day.

Tuesday and Wednesday were typical of the best types of vacation days…days without any plan and composed of reading the newspaper, running into town for a turn signal bulb, visiting with a gentlemen who repairs microscopes and refractometers and hanging with the bro’. And as you know, getting a rather unique ride to the airport.

P.S. I haven’t processed the pictures yet…I’ll put ’em up soon…probably in a separate post.

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reflection on a summer of firsts

Summer’s official end — not the one marked on the calendar — came crashing down this morning with the standard fall overcast and threat of rain.

I’m relieved that our Indigenous Summer was short lived, giving way to crisp autumn air, fresh pressed apple cider and that last hustle to any water high enough to keep trout on the pre-winter feedbag. Things have been busy on the fishing front this trout season, with a lot of firsts.

Tied my first flies. Caught the first fish with one of them flies. Landed my first brown since picking up fly fishing in earnest. The first group fishing trip organized by yours truly came off well. (My strategy counted on keeping everyone stuffed with good food in the event fishing was poor. Got lucky. It wasn’t.)

And I made a first attempt at mentoring a gentleman considering joining the sport. The downside is that he’ll now have to unlearn the bad habits I taught him.

In a month I’ll inaugurate the first of hopefully many end-of-season visits to the cabin to do the last bit of trout fishing before the mid November close. I’m trying my level best to balance the need desire to remove myself from the world via fly fishing with daily commitments and responsibilities, but dates in my mind increasingly are filtered by the opening days of various rivers or Sierra Nevada passes. The wife already knows that any suggestion of travel prompts my immediate inquiry about the inclusion of a fishing day.

Leaving tomorrow for the Seattle area will mean visiting family, gazing slack-jawed at spawning salmon and probably tip toeing between raindrops. And like fly fishing, planning and anticipation is half the fun.

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salmon, salmon everywhere but no fly to cast

Finally following through with a self-made promise of many moons ago. This Saturday the wife and I will be surrounded by Chinook, Sockeye and Coho salmon swimming upstream to soon be relieved of their milt and eggs…and salmon and beef barbecue, Cajun blackened salmon, smoked salmon as well as salmon-logoed clothing and salmon-themed crafts.  Issaquah Salmon Days here we come. 

Almost like leaving Northern California’s salmon desert for the land of milk and honey and plenty o’ salmon.

And the debate still rages within whether to haul the fly fishing gear through the airport of a single day of whipping local waters.