Thursday, 31 January 2013

He's everywhere.

Back covers of recent issues of The Drake, Fly Rod and Reel and Flyfish Journal..
Heroic nymphing master Yvon Chouinard graces the back covers of all the current fly fishing rags.  Seems a bit silly really.  I just traded in an SST jacket of the same vintage as the one Chouinard is wearing in the photo. I can pretty much guarantee that, like mine, the one in the photo is not waterproof anymore.  On the other hand, Patagonia gave me $240 for a 20 year old jacket towards a new one in the trade so I certainly can't complain.  These ads are selling the new Patagonia river crampons and rock grip wading boots. Having spent a lot of time walking around in the mountains wearing crampons (with points on them) I am sure that these new river crampons will work great - if only they weren't so pricey.  I do wonder what effect these new boots and crampons may eventually have on the river bottoms of heavily fished destinations like the North Platte, the Green, the San Juan and the Bighorn.  Hundreds of fishermen a month, thousands in a year, scuffling around in these things may tend to polish things up a bit. You can see the effects hobnail boots had if you climb a classic old route in the Alps. These are aluminum, not steel, but still a far cry from felt.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Cold day on the Platte

A nice rainbow that took the green leach pattern.
Spent a good day on the Platte yesterday with Jeff.  New license, patched waders, new wading jacket, first day out this new year.    For some reason, my feet were damn cold almost all day though the patched waders did not leak! Maybe I needed a warmer hat! Temps may have reached 40F but it felt cold to me all day. It was windy off and on with the occasional welcome calms but at other times there were serious gusts - strong enough that most non-Westerners anglers would sensibly call it a day. With a flow of 500 CFS the water was as low as I believe I have ever seen it. The Gray Reef holding reservoir is essentially empty. It was easy to cross the river below the dam at a number of spots going no deeper than mid-thigh.

A nice rainbow in Jeff took with the leech.
While the midges were actively hatching mid-afternoon a bead head midge pattern was a good bet.  Mid-morning when the fishing was slower I thought that perhaps something bigger than a size 22 midge might stir them to take.  I tied on a green leech pattern which Garrett had used so successfully on a similar day a few years ago.  As soon as I tied it on (with a midge dropper for good luck) I started hooking up regularly - with a slow drift though the deeper holes.  About 2/3 of the takes were on the leech though some fish still preferred the midge.   Sometimes it is hard to believe how the right patter at the right time can make such a difference.  I gave Jeff one and he did very well with it all day.

This was one that was working best.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Pheasant Rillettes

Found a couple of freezer burned pheasants in the bottom of the freezer when I cleared it to make some space for the elk this year.  I know - how could I let this happen.  I thawed them out and trimmed until I was left with a handful of good looking meat.  I mashed some thyme, salt and black pepper, rubbed it on the meat and confited it in duck fat.  Slow cooked them all day in the oven at 225F.  Put it in the fridge and left for Portland.  When I got back - I chopped it fine, put in a bit more salt - a lot more pepper - a sprinkle of cayenne - and a bit more thyme and put it in a jar in the fridge.  Had some last night - not bad at all for two year old pheasant.