Archive for the 'Chafed' Category
Contracted while wade fishing for Texas redfish…
A) Ocean chiggers
B) Red state psoriasis
C) Larval jellyfish attack
D) I call bullshit. He got that from some bar hag
“…the spilled condensate was discovered last Thursday by a township employee inspecting a gas pipeline facility nearby. The spill had run into Bigger Run Creek, a tributary of Raccoon Creek. He had no information about whether fish or aquatic life were killed, but cleanup crews placed absorbent material in the creek on Friday.”
Hey Front Range – maybe you should have wondered where the water was going to come from before you approved all the rampant development of the last couple decades? Just sayin’…
“On the lower end, two fair-sized streams drained the interior. One rose from a series of springs that poured forth from hillocks around today’s 20th Street and Fifth Avenue. The Saponickan band living there called it Ishpetenga. It flowed southwest into the Hudson near the mouth of another trout stream. This one had its origins in a deep, fair-sized pond where Worth and Centre streets now cross. It flowed northwesterly, almost in a straight line, and became the course for today’s Canal Street. The pond was known as The Collect. The Dutch name for this trout pond was derived from one of its beaches, which they which they called Kalk Hoek – Chalk Point or Chalk Hook. It was given the name because the early Dutch settlers came here to collect the shells of freshwater mussels, which were ground and added to the mortar used to build their homes. When the English took over management of Manhattan in 1664 they assumed many of the Dutch words already in use for geographic features. Their inelegant pronunciation of Dutch turned the monosyllabic word “Kalk” (or “Chalk”) into the dissylable “Kal-leck”- hence, “Collect.” The pond’s name had nothing to do with collecting water in the area, as some writers have suggested, although it did have two small feeder streams. For decades, in the 1600s and 1700s, it was the source of drinking water for all of lower Manhattan’s residents. The Collect and its associated streams contained brook trout as late as 1740.”
- from Brook Trout by Nick Karas
What you’re not seeing on the teevee machine: much of New York’s Schoharie Valley and the headwaters of the East Branch, smashed into a muddy paste.
Since ice-out the whole world’s brimful of water and overflows with each passing blow, it seems. Down low the trillium are blooming with wet feet, but nobody can tell whether the Hendricksons have read the memo, and we’re all standing around at the pull-offs looking sideways at each other and not daring to complain about too much water. When the sun finally emerges it’s instantly warm, and we groan and stretch and make note of the fattening buds on the branches, and oh did you see the stickjam blew out up there by the Wall Pool. Yeah, the pool that’s had a standing wave in it for weeks, right, and we’re off to have a look at this meadow or that little feeder, splash-crashing through widening potholes full of the same caramel-colored water that’s now carving off the oxbow up by Bill’s place. It’s enough to make a guy quit drinking just so he can start again.
On the way home there’s a guy in red-checkered flannel way out in his yard, reclining in a lawn chair next to his burn pile and smoking a cigar. Damned if he isn’t going to burn something. Viking points for hanging tough, flannel man, might not rain tonight.
Towanda Creek is a small Susquehanna trib in northern PA. It’s a put & take trout stream at its upper end, and becomes more of a smallmouth thing later on. There’s a thousand streams just like it, maybe you know one or two.
It already suffered from low summer flows before the hydrofrackers moved in and started drawing water off to mix with sand and salt and proprietary chemical brewskis to make fracking fluid to be injected into their gas wells. Thousands of gallons of water are used for this, and it’s gotta come from somewhere, and in July you can just hope they leave enough for the fish.
Fish find ways to survive low flows. Well, some of them do anyway, at least for a while, we hope. But now there’s been an accident at a gas well near the headwaters, and words like “uncontrolled” and “blowout” and “emergency” are being used to describe the spill of fracking fluid that swamped the well site and dumped into poor Towanda Creek. Shares of Chesapeake Energy Corporation, named after the bay to which their vomitous oopsie will ultimately flow, are up 3%. Way to go, pricks.
Recently it’s been brought to my attention (several times) that fly fishermen tend to be backstabbing, petty, vindictive, self-righteous, and downright misanthropic (and not in the good way). This is not in reference to the fly vs. gear fishing dichotomy, we’ve all heard that story and the narrative is both deeply ingrained and repetitive. I’m not going to pick up that rotten salmon and try to revive it.
Lately these conversations that I’ve had (both electronically and in real life with actual beer and inarticulate grunting pauses) have been about the venom that we fly-fishermen seem to have for one another. For a group of people that cultural and linguistic theorists would lump together in a singular “Discourse Community”, we sure do seem to hate one another, and I am as guilty as the rest of you. Think about it, how many times have you wished brutal bodily harm on the guy who got to that one hole you’ve been dreaming about before you did? How many curses have you flung (either under your breath or at the top of your lungs) at the boat that cut you off just as you were getting set up for a productive bank? How many of us have heard and told the stories of stream-side fist fights or (at least here in Montana) drawn firearms?
For me the bile rarely manifests in riverside confrontations; that’s not my style. Besides, when I’m actually fishing it’s pretty hard to piss me off. I tend to get all itchy in the crotch when it comes to the things that happen around the making of money in relation to fly-fishing, especially in the writing and publishing arenas. I particularly spend far too much time (both in my head and out loud) bitching about people “in the industry”. I do this either to their faces, their inboxes, or just to other people that I happen to know (or have some sort of magical internet connection with).
Currently I’ve been talking a whole lot of shit about a guide/writer who seems to have made it his mission to sell out some of the few secrets that remain in this heavily fished part of the country. The truth is that I think destination writers are the scourge of the artistic earth. In my view they are either lazy or lacking in actual talent and so they have to get their work published on the strength of a little known resource rather than on the merit of their wordsmithing. Usually I verbalize this in a less tempered and more reactionary way however, criticizing the person’s worth as a human being rather than even attempting to see the world from his or her perspective. The thing is, I know this guy, he’s a nice guy. I don’t want to “eat his children” as Mike Tyson once said, and I don’t actually think he’s “a pathetic meatpuppet with the articulative capacity of an ocelot and the dental hygiene of a camel” as I said to a friend about him last week. But I do wish he would shut the fuck up and stop writing about the places that guides fish when they’re not guiding. There’s a reason that we don’t take clients there.
A certain industry magazine and I had a falling out last summer when they wrote up the two shops in this area that I think are solely interested in pimping out the fisheries and making the money. I wrote an overly dramatic and long-winded email to the editor who responded by essentially telling me to calm the hell down. He went on to say (quite politely) that I should be careful about where I deposit my excrement considering that we are all trying to eat off the same table. It was the same advice my father gave me when I was a freshman in college and I slept with two girls who both lived on the same floor that I did (sorry Dad, but it appears that I’m not that quick a study, I’m getting the same advice about proximity of shitting and eating 15 years later). I was probably making way too much out of nothing, and introducing a whole lot of negative back-talk for no good reason. Perhaps the editor was right. I have no right to stand in judgment, but yet I judge all the same. We all draw our lines in the sand according to our interpretation of morality–”Across this line you DO NOT!”–it’s just that mine happens to be the right one.
None of this is new ground. I’m not saying anything original here. If there is a point to my rant, it is to say this: I lament the anger that I feel toward all those other fishermen, especially the soulless industry types (who are in actuality generally really nice guys) and I realize that I have no justification for it, but I feel it just as strongly and just as viscerally as ever.
So for those of you who will curse my name this coming year: I salute you. As a good friend of mine used to say (it really was his mantra), “we’re all assholes, every last one of us”. Amen, and fuck you.
Post Script– Please do note that I didn’t actually mention any names in the above narrative. That’s gotta be worth something, right karma? RIGHT?
Just in from AP:
KENNEWICK, Wash. — Washington Rep. Doc Hastings says he’ll use his position as chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee to block any bills related to breaching lower Snake River dams.
Hastings says salmon runs are recovering under current management practices and dam breaching is the last resort.
The Tri-City Herald reports the Republican congressman was in the Tri-Cities Wednesday and spoke to the Pasco-Kennewick Rotary Club.
Hastings says he’s concerned that tearing down any Snake River dam puts every other dam at risk. Environmentalists favor removing dams to restore Snake River salmon runs.
A challenge to Montana’s Stream Access Law working its way through the State Legislature. Yep, Anglers are rightfully opposed.
The hilariously named Idaho Governor, Butch Otter, gets all foamy and sad over new federal regulations to protect the bull trout. He should go cry on Larry Craig’s shoulder. Also, the Idaho Reporter gets my nod for “best headline”.
In “not at all related” news, 1 in 5 anglers had to either cancel a trip or stop fishing an area due to access problems.
Enemy of Clean Water and the Santa Rita Mountains Jamie Sturgess, VP of Rosemont Copper
I’ve written periodically and somewhat haphazardly about our own local pit mine, the Rosemont Copper mine, which will be gouged into the east slope of the Santa Rita Mountains. Despite the economic downturn and the attendant plunge in commodity prices, which I hoped would be a death knell for this project, Rosemont is barreling full steam ahead. Last week, Rosemont had a full on propaganda blitz in town and the linked article is full of great mis-information. Of course, the aptly misnamed VP of Sustainability, Jaime Sturgess, (falsely) claimed that Rosemont would fully recharge the aquifer to compensate for the mine’s water draw to conduct cyanide heap leaching.
However, his most honest statement was that “[w]e’ve known right from the get-go that we had to have the best approach and the best way to communicate it so people would allow us to open a new mine.” Which means, “we really had to figure out which package of bullshit you wanted to hear so we could blast open a moutain range, draw down the aquifer, dump cyanide in what water remains, and best part of all, skip town when the price of copper drops.”
Due to the 1872 Mining Law, if the price of copper drops, the Candian company Rosemont gets to declare bankruptcy, shutter the mine, lay off the locals and leave it to someone else to clean up the mess. That’s what Jaime Sturgess neglected to mention.
I’ve seen what oilfield transportation corridors do to the economy and community of a region. It is a hurly-burly low-wage twenty-four hours/seven days a week service industry that does not build community. - Rick Bass, Author
The first big beneficiaries of this hijacking will be a Korean steel company hired at the expense of Canadian steel workers, and Exxon—the richest corporation in the world: the losers will be the American people, starting with us. - David James Duncan, Author
America continues its apparent national quest to despoil every square inch of the continent with the plan to truck large tar sand “modules” down HWY 200 in the Blackfoot Valley of Montana. The modules are about 3o feet tall, 24 feet wide and the length of a football field. Apparently the most direct route from their construction in Korea is from port at Lewiston, ID, through Montana and on up to Canada. Due to the width of the modules, both lanes of HWY 200 will be one direction and both sides of the road will be cleared for the additional 8 feet of clearance needed.
Not surprisingly, residents of the valley, which is the location of Norman Maclean’s “A River Runs Through It”, are pissed. They formed the grassroots org All Against the Haul to coordinate opposition to the project, which would severely alter the character of the valley and negatively impact the natural resources there.
As always, when oil and money combine, you get the politicians coming out of the woodwork to defend poor, helpless Exxon Mobile,; Politicians such as Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. Here are some choice quotes from the good Governor in a NYT article along with some commentary:
“Chlorine, insecticides and fertilizers go down these roads in trucks every day,” he said. “If they spill, they would kill fish for 50 to 100 miles.”
Yes they do, but chlorine, insecticides and fertilizers are also packaged as HAZMAT, and are limited by CFR 49 to certain amounts per transportation method, all with the goal of not spilling. Yes accidents happen, but there is a world of difference between an 18 wheeler and the transporters moving these modules.
But the large loads, he said, “are inert, like big shoe boxes made of steel. If one fell in the river, they could be cut in half or taken out whole.” Until they were removed, he argued, “fish could spawn under them.”
Well fuck, I guess that makes it all better; Although the effort to remove the giant shoebox would probably destroy a fairly large swath of habitat.
Many residents worry that the loads will block emergency vehicles, but the governor said helicopters could provide transport.
And how many air ambulance helicopters does the area around Missoula have? A quick check indicates 2 and the cost for a 56 mile flight ranges from $12K to almost $17K. Medicaid and the insurance companies are going to love this.
But Mr. Schweitzer argues that the roads are a federally financed transportation corridor. “Montana can’t up and change the rules because we don’t like somebody,”
Umm, didn’t Montana tell the BATFE to take a flying leap with the Montana Firearms Freedom Act? Oh yeah, it did:
The bill was introduced January 13, 2009 by Joel Boniek, Gerald Bennett, Edward Butcher, Aubyn Curtiss, Lee Randall and Wendy Warburton. It was signed in to law by Governor Brian Schweitzer on April 15, 2009 and became effective on October 1, 2009.
So, the good Governor is perfectly content to tell the Feds to STFU when it comes to guns, but meekly accepts the rules when it comes to limiting damage to the Blackfoot Valley. Uh-huh
The tour is over. Three months. More than 50 gigs in the UK and Europe. Not one river fished. Not one line cast. Not one trout grabbed up. Not a single salmon molested. Fuck. This here’s the final installment of FUKRIDF. If you’re up for this sort of misery, we’re most likely headed back in April for a whole new batch of not fishing. So what’d I learn? Well lots, really, like when you’re not fishing and being forced to watch other guys fishing one has the opportunity to practice patience. So there’s that.
I also learned that Black Bottle, a blended Scotch, is mixed only from Islay malts! For half the price of an Islay single malt, it’s pretty goddam excellent. Check it out, holmes!
A bit of a history lesson if I may: A long time ago, well after the Romans were like, “fuck this place, man,” some British dudes were like, “wouldn’t it be a cool idea if we got together and claimed all this land for ourselves? Lord Mountbaten said, “Hey, fuck that, Im’a claim nobility and take all this land for me!” So he ran some solid gangsta shit and thus it came to pass that Mountbaten became the landlord of Southwest England. What this means for anglers is that if you’d like to fish Thee Olde and Faymous Rivere Test, you’ve gotta pay the man — Mountbatten. For the Test is, without a doubt, his river. He owns it. He runs it. His posse strung the razor wire and patrols that shit like Silvio patrolled the Bing.
All this would be fine if the Test were just some dottering and middling English trickle, but alas, from the side of the road, behind the barb wire and just out of the way of the attack hounds, Lord Mountbatten’s river looks like a pretty great stream. The Test is only about 40 miles from start to finish and it’s upper reaches are chalkstream and jammed with big fucking brown trout. I saw them as I stood on a bridge, trucks, tour busses and bikes whizzing on by. Upstream they were rising to tiny white mayflies even as a goofy lab splashed around in the water. From the looks of it, the Test is jammed cheek to jowl with trouts. You can’t catch a fish in the test, maybe it’s time to take up bowling.
There they were, dozens of trouts, all locked up, guarded and patrolled by a bunch of Royal dicknobs.
So let’s just say you’re feeling flush, or a wave of Anglophillia washes over you (Mountbatten, was after all, grandson of Queen Victoria, uncle of “Phil the Greek, a.k.a Prince Phillip and mentor of the current Prince of Wales, whose name I have forgotten.) well, it’s gonna cost ya, pal. In the UK they don’t use dollars, they use these things called pounds and to fish the Test is up to around 650 heavy-ass pounds per day. In American, that’s about 1000 bucks. Yeah, I know — a straight G — fuck that.
As mentioned, cross a bridge over the Test and you can see big browns down there swimming around. Take a walk down a riverside paths and you can scope the quaint bank-bound fishing huts. Linger for a bit streamside and the goddam history of the place is palpable. There are no dirtbag fishermen on the Test. There is no sleeping in the back of the truck. Hanging around the parking lot crushing beers, spitting dip and chewing jerky as the sun sets is probably a rather rare occurance. Lordy, what a waste of a perfectly good river.
…That a picture is worth a thousand words.
If that is true, I figure that I’m up about 458,000 words in the last 7-day burnout session alone. This is probably a good thing, because I’m still feelin’ kinda fuzzy and disconnected – words will come, but I get the feeling that I’m gonna need to let the dust settle on this trip before I take the time to flex the semi-literate part of my brain again.
As if my punch-drunkenness wasn’t enough, I only have 72 hours to get the gear from the last trip sorted and stowed, launder all the fleece that I own, pack up the steelhead twigs and pretty flies, and head back out on the road – I got a 15-day date with some sexy-lookin’ H20 and a few out-of-town fish comin’ back and lookin’ for love.
Oh, yeah. The picture.
See you in a few weeks, Fisha.
The Tweed, Coldstream, Scotland/England border
Aug 26, 2010
Rod had to take a leak, so convincing him to stop along the banks of the River Tweed was a cinch. The Tweed, for at least part of its journey, forms the border between Merry Old England and Grumpy Olde Scotland. And even though Scotland is, indeed, grumpier than England, I tend to like Scotland more. Sure, the food is just as horrific and the beer just as crummy, but Scotland is funnier, more scenic and the whisky is, well, it’s Scotch, fay fook’s sake. Sounds great, huh? In fact, you may even be thinking of thumbing it out to the Boise airport and booking a cheap flight to the highlands. Well, think again, Angus. Scotland is expensive as fuck. There’s no fishing on Sunday and if, unlike me, you actually get around to fishing, be prepared to take out a second mortgage on your home.
We were heading north, up to a gig in Edinburgh, and I hopped out of the car on the English side of the Tweed and high-tailed it down a path toward the water, camera in hand. I had just crossed a gate and was 25 yards from the river when I came up short. Ay! Fay Fook Sake. Wha thay bloody fook? But there it was, the sign that confirmed my worst fears regarding fishing in the UK — all that permitting, private water, upstream, dry-flies-only-on-days-ending-in-y business. There it was — finally — proof!
Like most right-thinking individuals, I cannot abide the notion of “private water.” The phrase kickstarts my inner anarchist, compelling me to jump fences, deface signs (BWTF stickers are great for this, btw!) and pontificate on the internet. My indignation springs, I guess, from my general anti-authoritarian mindset. However, this was the first time I’ve been confronted by a sign marking that strangest of UK fishing regulations: beats.
This was, to me, an entirely new sort of outrage/affront/injustice and I rolled its sour taste around on my tongue. Fishing a “beat” is absolutely foreign to the constitution of a Western angler. We are built to ramble. We are inclined to strap on a pack and load it with water, cans of Rainier and beef jerky and get the fuck away from the assholes fishing right next to the road, at the boat launch or any of the various “idiot holes” found so easily along American fly water. We love taking off into the outback for the mere fact that 1) we can. 2.) well, what the hell is around that corner, anywho? 3.) i am not the type of angler who’s gonna be seen fishing with the likes of the fucking rabble. Sorry, it’s just my issue, man.
Needless to say, I was hopped up and I fairly stomped the rest of the way to the river, high off the delicious self-righteousness of it all. There she was. The great river. So much history, so much tradition. So much of our sport flowing inches in front of me. I could smell it all, mixed with the water, the grassy bank and the trees spilling pollen. She was much broader than I had imagined, but we were by the coast. It was an impossibly scenic river — castles, old rowboats, a stone bridge. Off in the distance, two old dudes sat in a boat, rods in hands, waiting. Directly in front of me, ya know– in the good water — a fish jumped. Fuck.
What were those dudes doing sitting in the goddam frog water? Just what the fuck are they thinking? I dunno. I never know. Yet every time I see a dude fishing the frog water I think, “What the fuck are you thinking?” It’s like driving down the road and seeing a cow and not thinking “cow.”
The fish that jumped right in front of me was, of course, nice and big. I am certain I would have caught it if I had actually been fishing the Tweed, which I was most certainly not. I walked back up the bank, past that stupid goddam sign, got in the car and drove over the river and back into Scotland.
The River Tay, Scotland, Aug 21 2010
After last night’s gig up in the highlands one of the staff at the joint we were staying got a little too deep into the scotch resulting in, so we heard, an offense to some ancient clan, the muttering of disagreeable oaths and inevitably, a bit of a dust up. The Royal Order of thee Hee-lund Coppers were summoned, tears of regret were spilled and some punter was hauled off to the clink. Amidst all that donnybrook sleep was tough to come by so I took a wee doze on the drive down to Crail, on the SE coast. To get to Crail, you gotta drive right through St. Andrew’s, which is where a lot of serious golf is performed. You can tell it’s a golf town by the incredible numbers of “slacks” people wear in combo with those those tasteful shirts golfers are so fond of. St. Andrew’s is “quaint” and “charming” and, just to make sure one is aware that it is also “historic” and “Scottish”, they like to spell the word golf “gowf”. Yeah, that’s fooking hilarious, Alisdair!
I woke up about halfway to the gig, outside the town of Pitlochry, just as we were crossing over a big, fishy looking river. Generally there are no signs in Scotland telling you where the fuck you are, where the fuck you are going or how long it’s gonna take you to get there, but for some reason there was a sign and that sign said, “Hey, Fuck You Thee, Here’s The River Tay And You Ain’t Fishing It.” Shit.
To make an already shitty situation even shittier, just as we were crossing the bridge there was a dude stepping into the drink with a spey rod locked and loaded. We, of course, drove right on by. God. Fucking. Dammit. As they are fond of saying over here, I was gutted.
I bribed our driver with a cold, half-eaten chunk of Steak and Ale pie that I had been saving for my lunch and we were able to pull over about 20 minutes later. We pulled into a sorta high-end subdivision and I jumped out of the car, ran down a dog-shitty path, found the river and took a pic. If, like me, you’ve never fished the Tay before, you might be a bit surprised to find that it’s one huge fucking river. The bit I saw — which I now believe was pretty cost to the Firth (estuary) of Tay — really didn’t have any discernible features other than it’s bigness, and to tell ya the truth, it looked a lot better up by the bridge where the dude with the spey was about to battle the constant — and I mean constant — 40 mph winds.
I got a magazine-thing called “Fish in Scotland” from the Scottish tourist board the other day. The word on the Tay is that, “It is one of the best Salmon rivers in the United Kingdom, and therefore the world.” I had a chuckle and thought, “yeah… sure” But who the fuck knows. It didn’t believe it because I am incredibly bitter and to accept that a river I crossed without fishing may, indeed, be one of the finest salmon rivers in the world is simply too close to self-flagellation. I am in enough pain.
In all honesty, the Tay really could be one of the finest rivers in the world. It could totally suck. Don’t ask me. I didn’t fish it the goddam thing.
We drove away and after a while we passed over the River Earn. I only got a quick glace and really have nothing to report about this sweet little river for alas, there are only so many rivers that I can’t fish in a day.
Sunny and 75° is a pretty bitchin’ forecast, unless you live around a bunch of glaciers.
The lack of rain in the last week or so has shriveled up the muskeg flows into mere trickles, shadows of their former selves. A few of the smaller ones look like urban footpaths now, except for the flyblown humpy carcasses and the lack of little blue bags covering the omnipresent piles of bear poo.
The glacial systems, mostly larger rivers with a network of little feeders, are in total shock. Spewing out meltwater like brown blood, most of those aren’t gonna be fishable for WEEKS.
While driving through the rainless rainforest one day – in shorts and a wife-beater tee – I had a song from a decade or so ago pop into my head, and I’ll be damned if I can get rid of it. Hopefully, the forecast of rain will bring some change to the brain radio and I can forget about burning a pig on an old mattress.
I wonder if jayj has holes dug all over his backyard…
Regarding on offshore drilling
“And while we’re at it, let’s expedite the regulatory and permitting and legal processes for on- and offshore drilling.”—Speaking at the Tea Party conventionon Feb. 26, 2010, about six weeks before the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico
“Unless government appropriately regulates oil developments and holds oil executives accountable, the public will not trust them to drill, baby, drill. And we must!” —Facebook note, June 8, 2010.
A big thanks to Palinisms on Slate for the quotes demonstrating naked political ambition and not a shred of intellectual consistency.