Above all, try something. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rant of a So-Called Fisherman

What makes a good fisherman? As with any sport or activity, there are so many different aspects to this question. With some people, it may be how good you look on the river with all your fancy new Orvis gear. It could be how much fun you've had on the river that day. It could be how many fish in a day you catch. Some people are big counters in life. It could be the size of the fish you caught. Many people in this sport are big on measuring the length of things, and most often seem to be proven wrong by about 2-5 inches when the truthful tape measure comes out, myself included. So bad that I've started carrying a small tape measure in my bag.

I could go on and on, but I think what it really comes down to is catching fish and doing what ever you have to do to catch them, hopefully nice fish like these:

Madison River rainbow trout caught on a size 20 midge in March 
Some people will spend hours and hours working on their casting techniques. I never quite got that. I feel like there is definitely no such thing as a perfect cast. Only a cast that catches trout. Even if you have a line tied on to a tree branch, Huck Finn style, as long as your bug somehow gets in the middle of the shipping lane, the fish are gonna look at it, and maybe even eat it! This could be argued by the Trout Unlimited-Orvis wearing-net hanging off the back-has every fishing gadget ever invented-dry fly fisherman.

Living in a fishing community, all summer long you can see the buggy whipping fools out there on the front lawn of their hotels and motels working on their casts, less than a half of a mile away from the actual river, where they might have a bit more luck catching fish during casting practice.

The bottom line is good presentation, reading the water, and of course, fly selection. If you start trying to feed the fish some kind of bug in June that isn't active in the river til August, your odds are pretty slim.

Winter time fishing is tough. About the only bugs you'll see on the river are midges. If you include that on your rig, your chances will greatly increase.

Here's a step by step to tying a midge. You can enlarge the photo by clicking on it:

I use a size 20 hook with a natural bend, put a small white bead on it, and wrap the hook with some black 8/0 uni thread

Tie on some silver/gold tinsel, then a few strands of peacock herl

Twist your strands of peacock herl (I only use 2 strands on this pattern) and start wrapping.

Then I wrap my tinsel with some even spacing, all the way to the head
Add a whip finish to tie it off and.....

There's your finished midge

If you want a fancy variation, you can go outside and track down a hungarian partridge, grab one of his feathers and add some hackle to your bug: 

The length of the feathers may be a bit long in this one, but it'll still work

Here's what the midge pattern looks like in action:

This guy ate the midge mere hours after I tied it up.

Well, I know most of you aren't fisherman. I'm pretty sure Katie Rose has some plans to work on another blog entry this weekend, so this one will soon be buried in the archives, giving you something to look forward to other than my ranting and raving.

I'll leave you with a really cool shot I took coming home from the river last night. I think these guys/gals are snow geese? I don't know? Maybe you can help me out. They're pretty beautiful birds.

Hope you all have a great weekend....

Monday, March 14, 2011

Looking at Life With An Open Mind

I read this column the other day in our local newspaper Big Sky Weekly written by Jeni West. Not sure if it was my mood, or the fact that it's something I think about often, but it touched me. I thought it was important enough to post it on our blog, in attempt to share it with a few people who would never have the chance to read it in the paper. I tried to post it as link, but was only able to get the link for the whole issue, making it harder for you to read the specific article I'm talking about. So, I'm gonna completely copy and paste it here......

Getting over the Fear Factor
Learning to look at life with an open mind


Satellites falling out of the sky, every inactive volcano becoming active, the earth spinning completely off its axis... Somewhere between morning sickness and finally being able to hold my newborn son, I believed whole-heartedly in these fear-based thoughts I'd contrived from hearsay, media, and hype. I'd stay up for hours at night thinking about what to do and where to run and I was projecting all these fears onto my son.

Then, something changed. With a shift in conciousness, I began looking at life differently. It was the beginning of something new: letting go of that which I could not change, and just accepting what is.

How did I get to that realization? I was tired of feeling so low. Horrified to look at myself, I was always seeking change in others. But when I did finally look inward, I found the key, and answers to lifelong questions. Listening to my body instead of my ego, I became sensitive to the world around me. As a result, I am a better mother, a better friend, and life is good. Is it perfect? No way, not even close. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Change is certain. We are in continuous motion and evolution. By accepting this, we can embrace a new way of life, become more in touch with our rhythms, as well as the world's. Stop and listen to yourself, listen to your children. We can make decisions that honor our bodies, mind, and spirit. Ghandi said, 'Be the Change you wish to see in the world'. It begins with me. It begins with you.

Begin by being present. You may find yourself in the tram line, impatient, or in line at the post office, in disbelief the person in front of you needs to mail 37 letters, all weighed individually-and all you need is one stamp. In those moments, take a deep breath and remember, 'nothing is next'. Take a look around and realize you are here, nowhere else. How does that feel?

Eckhart Tolle said, 'There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be.'

Don't let one moment go un-noticed. When we're present, we're at ease, focused, and in alignment with the universe and ourselves. In those moments we radiate, open in heart and mind.

Practice being present for one moment a day. It is remarkable, uplifting, and will come easier and easier.

Jeni West spent most of her life romping around the mountains of Northwestern Montana, and has lived full time in Big Sky since 2006. She is a mother of a beautiful three-year-old boy and is a certified Yoga Instructer under Yogi Amrit Desai.


As I was writing this, I recieved a phone call about a search and rescue operation for a 24 year old male that has been missing since Wednesday. (Today is Monday) They were seeking permission to extend the search onto the property I caretake. I am hoping to go out and lend any hand that I can.

All the more reason to practice being present. Life is precious, and you only have one chance.