Guadalupe River Chapter
Trout Unlimited Newsletter
P.O. Box 701864 /
San Antonio TX 78270-1864 / (512) 261-4409 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Published three times each year: January, April, October / Number 72 / April 2003
Editor: Pat Amick / Contributors: Bob Tuttle, Jimmy Moore, Hylmar Karbach, Billy Trimble
David Schroeder, Dave Agerton, H.L. Lovell, John Novack
Derrell Nantze, Bill Engvall Meetings: Fourth Saturday of the above months.Visit GRTU Home Page
Saturday, April 26, 2003
The Dam Red Bar (The Former Dam Red Barn)
Meeting dates and directions inside
Registration and Socializing 9:00 - 10:00 AM
Chapter Affairs 10:00 - 10:45
Program 10:45 -11:45 Jim McGrath noted guide from Alaska
There will also be a free streamside clinic following lunch (More about Jim inside.)
Hearty lunch available for $7.00. Desserts welcome.
In addition there will be a swap meet. Bring stuff to sell or trade.
Big Time Raffle Drawing and Door Prizes 11:45 - 12:00
Only one lease orientation class 9:00 sharp
GRTU Officers and Directors
Carl Bohn 210 481 2504 email@example.com
Oscar Dupre 830 964 2200 firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Gebhardt 830 980 7580 email@example.com
Dave Gutweiler 245 751 1285 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hylmar Karbach Jr. 830 606 0737 email@example.com
Doug Kierklewski 512 250 0840 firstname.lastname@example.org
Doug Ming 830 964 4176
Jimmy Moore 254 751 1285 email@example.com
Jim Roberts 210 826 1766 firstname.lastname@example.org
David Schroeder 512 996 8283 email@example.com
Marian Tilson 210 493 8249
Ron McAlpin 830 980 8043 firstname.lastname@example.org
by Bob Tuttle
Welcome our new newsletter editor, Pat Amick, another volunteer worker. Send him your literary gems for future publications.
Yours is needed if it is not currently in our databases. The chapter sends out messages from time to time keeping members up to date and current with newsworthy information.
This is true for our lease access members in particular as it is rather costly to send trout stocking notices by mail. Just email your address to email@example.com .
Another free fishing spot..
Add The Cliffs just down river from the 3rd crossing to your list of free public access areas for fishing along with Camp Huaco and the right and left banks below Canyon Dam. Anywhere IN the river is free access.
What ever happened to the "N" that was in the Red Barn name? Noted sage, Alan Bray suggests that it was stolen by persons unknown. A reward for its return has NOT been offered.
It has been reported that gar and striped bass have been caught recently on the river.
The stripers probably came in during the recent great flood. Who knows about the gar. If anyone reports piranha, look out! From all reports, the fishing has been just great. Remember to carry out your trash and if you find some from thoughtless people, take that along with you.
Volunteers always needed..
If you have a particular skill that would be of help to the chapter, let one of our officers or board members know.
Our Trout Stockings...
It is no secret that the chapter stocks trout in the Guadalupe River. It is part of our Lease Access program, but everyone who fishes the river benefits as the fish are there for all to catch once they are in the river. Due to the economy, our lease membership is down from previous years so we did not have as many stockings. The ones that we did have put some quality fish in the water.
South Access Road..
The road from the Red Bar down to FM 2673 and back is still closed due to the bridge being washed out by the floodwaters over the spillway. Do not attempt to go past the barricades as you will receive a ticket. The only way to reach our meeting place is from SH 306.
New Game Warden Number..
The quickest way to contact a game warden is the 24-hour number: (210) 854-8272. Try to call immediately when you see a violation.
There are a great many fish being taken by poachers that Return to Top
by Jimmy Moore
As many of you are aware, we ran a contest on the GRTU webpage back in December and January to decide the official design for our new GRTU patch. Seventeen designs were submitted by GRTU members. Design A, the unofficial GRTU logo that has appeared on the newsletter for the past year or so, was the winner by a margin of 52 to 37 over design F. The new cloth patch is a 4" x 3" oval with the logo - (Texas flag with white trout superimposed in center), embroidered on a turquoise background with tan border and tan wording - (Guadalupe River), embroidered across the top and (Trout Unlimited) across the bottom. This striking patch is fully embroidered and can be worn on a fishing vest, shirt, cap, etc. The new patch will be available for purchase at the April GRTU meeting for $ 5.00 each. A special "thank you" to the members who submitted a design. Return to Top
by Hylmar Karbach
Our program for the April meeting will be presented by an extremely experienced, and interesting fisherman and guide. He is Jim McGrath, who has been flyfishing for about 20 years. He actually learned to flyfish in New England. In 1989, he moved to the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. While living and fishing on the Kenai he met Ted Gerken, who owned and managed a "flyfishing only" lodge nearby, located on Lake Iliamna, which is the largest inland lake in the United States. At the time, Ted spent the winters in Homer, Alaska, and spent quite a bit of time on the Kenai. In 1992, Jim started guiding at Iliaska Lodge, and spent a good part of the winter in Virginia, professionally tying flies to be used at the Iliaska Lodge during the summer. He incidentally did a little fishing in the East Coast, even ranging as far South as the Florida Keys. He has been the head guide at the Iliaska Lodge since 1995, and still produces most of the flies that are used there during the summer. Jim guided in Patagonia, Chile during the winter of 1999-2000. He also spent 6 weeks fishing New Zealand in 1999.
Hopefully, he will share some of those experiences. Last May, before leaving for the opening of the season at Iliaska, he boated a 150-pound Tarpon on a fly (which is no small feat!). I met Jim in 1994, the first time I went to Iliaska to fish, and have spent many enjoyable days fishing with him, and he has probably been my best teacher regarding catching large Trout and Arctic Char.
He will entertain us with a slide show featuring some of his fly-fishing experiences, and large trout, in the morning. After lunch, he will do a streamside demonstration featuring rigging up for nymph fishing, and techniques for fishing nymphs productively. This seminar is free of charge, and promises to make everyone a better and more productive trout fly-rodder.
I was personally very pleased that he could come to Texas, and the Guadalupe River, to share his experiences with us. He brings his very charming and talented wife, April to share the Guadalupe and Texas hospitality. Please make plans now to come to the April meeting.
DIRECTIONS TO THE DAM RED BAR >From NORTH or SOUTH: Just North of New Braunfels on I-35 take Exit 191,(Canyon Lake Exit), which is FM 306 and go WEST, about 14 miles to Sattler (Canyon Lake area). Go past the traffic light at FM 2673 in Sattler for about 2 miles, (through Canyon City) and turn Left at the blinking caution light and small road sign marking the South Access Rd. Follow the South Access Road for about two miles, passing below the dam and across the spillway. The Dam Red Bar will be on your left. You cannot go much further as the road is closed because the bridge below the spillway has not been repaired. >From the WEST: From US 281, turn EAST on FM 306, which is between Twin Sisters and Spring Branch. Drive about 16 miles to the blinking caution light (just before you enter the area called Canyon City) Turn Right on South Access and follow the directions above to the Dam Red Bar which will be on your left. >From the EAST: From I-10, take SH 46 to I-35. Go North on I-35 to Exit 191 (Canyon Lake Exit), which is FM-306. Go west, (Left), on FM306, and follow the directions for North and South above. Of course there are other routes, just check your Texas map for other ways that might be better for your travel. Return to Top
By Billy Trimble
In April the terms of the current officers are expiring along with three board member terms plus one board member who is resigning. At the January board meeting the board set up a nomination committee to find candidates to fill these positions. The hard working outgoing officers are Ray Chapa, who filled in so admirably as president after George left, Jimmy Moore, Scott Thompson, Scott Graham, Mike Scott and Shelley Marmon. It is incredible the amount of work these volunteers take on and they deserve your grateful appreciation. Please make a point of telling them so the next time you bump into any of them whether at the meetings or on the stream. The board terms that are expiring are Marian Tilson, Hylmar Karbach and Oscar Dupré along with Doug Ming, who is resigning. The incoming roster is as follows:
President Shelley Marmon
VP Chapter Affairs Jimmy Moore
VP Membership Scott Thompson
VP Fisheries Mark Marmon
Treasurer James Pelland
Secretary Dave Simms
Ex-Officio Ray Chapa
Board 1 Marian Tilson
Board 2 Hylmar Karbach
Board 3 Oscar Dupré
Board 4 Scott Graham
Shelley Marmon has agreed to serve as president of the chapter and has been working hard with me to help fill this roster. I think this is a good sign of how well she will do as president. Jimmy Moore and Scott Thompson have agreed to continue in their positions. New officers include Dave Simms from Houston, Mark Marmon from Houston, and James Pelland from Austin. Marian, Hylmar and Oscar have, with some arm-twisting by me, all agreed to continue for another term on the board. This is good news for the chapter as they are very experienced on the board and active in participating in chapter affairs. Scott
Graham is leaving his officers post to take a seat on the board. His experience with the chapter will make him invaluable to the successful operation of chapter business. Finally Ray will be replacing me as Ex-Officio. I would personally like to thank Ray for his years of service to the chapter both as president and VP Chapter Affairs. In closing I would like to say what an honor it has been for me to serve this chapter for the past 8 years. This is a great organization and you should give yourself a lot of credit for the things that this chapter accomplishes, GOOD PEOPLE, and I am happy to rejoin the ranks!
Ex-Officio, Nomination Committee Chair Return to Top
Board member Doug Kierklewski's name was drawn for the third time in a row, but
Doug bowed out and gave his prize to someone else.
Thanks to GRTU Secretary Shelley Marmon for keeping track of the above raffle and door prize items. Return to Top
by David Schroeder
The Texas Supreme Court has just dismissed the lawsuit against Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority brought by the Friends of Canyon Lake. The case was GBRA's water right application for additional water from Canyon Lake. The dismissal makes the GBRA water right application "final and not appealable." This clears the way for the provision of the GBRA-GRTU contract granting minimum daily releases from Canyon Reservoir for trout on the following schedule:
May 1st-15th: 140 cfs
May 16th-31st: 170 cfs
June 1st-14th: 210 cfs
June 15th-30th: 240 cfs
July 1st-31st: 200 cfs
Aug 1st-31st: 200 cfs
Sept 1st-30th: 200 cfs
This is a great day for trout, sport fishing and water recreation on the Guadalupe. Trout are expected to thrive, year-round, in a 10-mile stretch below Canyon Dam. Before Canyon Dam was built, the planning called for a trout fishery in 10 miles of river and a 200 cfs release rate from the reservoir way back in 1957. This realizes the original concept. Heavier flows from May through June will sustain a good trout habitat down to the 2nd Crossing. In July, the survivable habitat will be somewhere between the 3rd and 2nd Crossings.
The local economy should benefit greatly from the increased flows. The water will be available in non-drought years; at least 2 out of 3 on the average. Drought years will experience heavier than normal flows as more water is released for sale downstream. Water will be available for release in any year when Canyon Lake exceeds full conservation capacity for any measurement after January 1. Once that trigger is pulled, the flows are guaranteed for the entire period- no matter the lake level. We are guaranteed water for 2003 since the trigger has already been pulled.
Flow protection for trout has been one of GRTU's goals for a long time. In 1999, the Board adopted a resolution making it an official goal of our chapter. From there, GRTU asked for a "Contested Case Hearing" at the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission in response to GBRA application for a new water right to Canyon Lake. For GBRA to gain new water meant that the flow releases would decrease from the dam and the trout fishery would suffer. In a contractual settlement of the dispute, GRTU and GBRA reached an agreement and GRTU withdrew its request for hearing. It was a great compromise that cleared the way for GBRA to gain its water right. We do thank GBRA for reaching the agreement, which we believe is a win for everyone. We also thank our attorney, Stuart Henry, for representing us so expertly and making the settlement possible- he performed an outstanding job! Most of all, we are thankful for everyone who contributed in any way toward the GRTU Legal Defense Fund. Without the generous support, the effort could not have been successful. Thanks for believing!
The flows on the Guadalupe have been very good for both fish and fisherman. Rainfall is above normal, and so is the lake. Thanks to the ongoing clean up effort, the Corps of Engineers has moderated the releases from Canyon Dam providing great fishing opportunities. The water temperature of Canyon Lake is down to 53 degrees, which is typical (or slightly colder than normal) for late winter. That last blast of ice and cold in February has fully replenished the needed supply of cold-water in Canyon Lake to sustain the trout over summer.
The Guadalupe trout stream is back! Return to Top
by David Schroeder
The Texas Legislature is back in session and is considering a bill to ban automotive vehicles (recreational 4x4s) from the riverbeds. This is a needed protection. Some concern was raised about where sport fishers and canoeists would park, as often there is no space on the public right of way. Changes were made to accommodate sport fishing and water recreation. The bill exempts: "a private road crossing established before January 1, 2003;" and "a state, county, or municipal road right-of-way." Therefore, I urge you to write to your state representative and senator in support of passing the "Anti-Rec ATV Bill" Senate Bill 155, House Bill 305. For more info, go to http://www.txrivers.org/ .
The San Marcos River Foundation is scheduled to go before the Texas Commission on
Environmental Quality for a hearing on March 19th. The purpose is to apply for a water permit of 1.3 million acre-feet to protect stream flows on the Guadalupe and San Marcos Rivers, and to protect the saltwater estuary. Texas Parks and Wildlife has determined the estuary needs 1.15 million acre-feet of fresh water each year to sustain itself. Politics is getting in the mix as Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst is urging TCEQ not to take action on the SMRF application until the legislature has a chance: " . . . to clarify the Commission's authority to issue such a permit under Texas water appropriation laws". There is nothing in the law to suggest that SMRF cannot apply for a water permit. This was a strategy GRTU thought about using to protect Guadalupe flows. I urge you to write the Lieutenant Governor with your thoughts on the issue: Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, Texas State Capitol, Austin, Texas 78711-3087. Return to Top
by Hylmar Karbach
In conjunction with Trout Fest(an annual event held by the Parks and recreation Dept. in New Braunfels) GRTU sponsored a fly casting seminar. The Trout Fest goes on for 10 days, and this year began on Jan. 30, and ran through Feb. 9. Several hundred pounds of trout and catfish were stocked on Jan. 29 and Feb. 5. It was open from 10-5 on Sat. and Sun., and from 4-7 on the weekdays, and a $5 charge is collected for those who want to take fish home (limit 5 per day).
For the casting seminar, no charge was made. The YMCA loaned rods and reels for the seminar, which ran from 8-11 AM. It was open for boys and girls ages 10-17. The first Saturday saw 8 youngsters, and 6 GRTU volunteers to instruct the beginners. The GRTU volunteers were: Ron McAlpin, Jack Geyer, Bryan Kallies, Russ Schwausch. Doug Kierklewski and Karen Gebhardt were in charge. On Feb. 8, there were 5 hardy souls who braved the 33-degree weather after an all night sleet fall. Recent member of GRTU, but previous guest instructor, Troy Miller, was the main instructor. Helping were Mark Marmon, Shelley Marmon, Raleigh Eggers, David Lemke and Hylmar Karbach. Door prizes of a fly rod, reel, backing and line, and a beginning fly-tying outfit, provided by GRTU, were presented each day to one of the participants at the close of each morning session. The second Saturday winners were Albert Manag Banag (left), and Andrew Tharp (right), who are pictured. All of the participants showed improvement in fly casting skills, and real interest in casting with the fly rod, and may be enthusiastic fly fisherpeople. Thanks to all the volunteers, and to YMCA for the use of the rods. The pictures are of the two winners on Feb 8. Return to Top
by Jimmy Moore
In repairing a broken graphite, fiberglass, boron or any kind of hollow rod, ( bamboo is totally different), I use a 3" to 4" piece of spinner bait wire, (spinner bait like the chunkers & winders use). This wire will bend, but springs back because it has "memory". Just any kind of wire will not do. It must be of spring steel so that it will bend when the rod bends, but spring back straight with the rod after the cast or fighting the fish.
Usually, the break is fairly close to the tip of the fly rod. Both pieces on either side of the break are "hollow" and the wire will slip into the hollow of both pieces and fit fairly well. If hollow is much too large for the wire, get a bigger piece of wire or wrap some thread around the wire to make it fit more snug inside the hollow part of both pieces.
Taking some 5-minute epoxy, coat 1/2 the 3-4" wire and slip it into the hollow of the tip, rotating the wire to get the epoxy into the hollow. Take wire out, re-coat with epoxy and insert it into the other piece of the rod. Rotate it again so that epoxy is uniform inside the broken
part. Then take the wire completely out and re-coat the whole wire with plenty of epoxy. Slip 1/2 way into the tip of the rod and pinch rod and wire with forefinger and thumb to keep wire from slipping out Then slip
the exposed end of the wire into the other part of the rod. Slowly push the wire until the tip and other piece come together. Align the rod so the break matches, ( This will insure that your rod guides are properly aligned.) Lay the rod down, but support it under the repaired break so that when epoxy dries the rod will be straight.
Let epoxy dry. Then take some tying or rod wrapping or plain old rayon or nylon thread, ( I try to match the color of the existing rod wraps), and wrap the break, starting about 1 1/2" below the break on the butt side of the rod and wrap 1 1/2" past the break on the tip side. Coat the
wrapping with clear nail polish. You'll be surprised how good it looks and how well it casts.
There, good as new.
888-353-4748 Return to Top
Please submit your stories to the editor in Word format. Pictures are welcome, but are best submitted in a separate file. The editor is very grateful to all who submitted articles and remember, if you don't see your article here, you can look forward to seeing it in the next issue. Enjoy!
by Dave Agerton
Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again. Eccl 11:1
Shortly after New Year's Day, Anne's dad, age 75, ended his life, alone, in his garage. At lunch a month later, Anne's husband Tom mentioned that she felt unsettled by her family pouring her dad's ashes on the Red River. So, I told Tom a bit about when I spread my father's ashes on our favorite trout stream almost 25 years ago. After lunch, I asked Tom how I might lend some comfort. He requested I write a note to Anne about my experience. I'd not thought about the details for a long time. But, what came out on paper surprised me and reminded me of some of the reasons why I like to fish on streams with my sons.
February 12, 2003
I felt deeply sad to hear of your father's untimely winter death.
Sad especially because it recalls memories of my father.
At 65, Joseph died of myocardial infarction,
A wounded heart ..connected to body, mind and spirit.
Our separation, which began well before,
Still brings sadness.
Dad missed so many joys:
Knowing me grown and delightfully wed.
Hugging our three wild-man-wonderful sons,
Hearing our first-born's middle name: Joseph.
Casting size #22 blue wing olives with us to big rainbows on the rise, and
Smelling the glorious, fragrant, grand winter roses I grow here.
Dad grew roses.
When he cleaned fish, he buried their bones and bellies beneath their earthy beds.
Outside, his pipe brought puffs of pungent-sweet smoke.
When I put rod in hand or gun to shoulder, he's near.
Memories open like a scrapbook.
Dad's dead now, most of 25 years.
Yet, vividly, I dreamt of him last fall in his red plaid wool shirt my sister sewed.
We stood talking beside a wooded river in a new-plowed field, tan stubble sticking out,
About quail and my over-and-under,
And about if he'd ever wanted to farm the earth,
And, as our blue eyes meet, about how much I really miss him,
How much I long to see him and to hear his voice,
And about how much each of us is, and has, Forgiven.
I feel his embrace and, at last, his Blessing.
So, over lunch, as Tom told me about your Dad's departure, Anne,
And, about your discomfort.
I felt my eyes tear then, as now,
As I'm sure you've felt yours do often this winter.
After the memorial service,
I drove Judy, Gail and Mother to Hackettstown:
To the Musconetcong River the "Musky", we called it,
Where Dad and I'd spent happy days fishing for Jersey Rainbows.
They'd never visited this place:
A narrow, rusty black bridge, 30 yards upstream of a mysterious willow-tree island,
A place just big enough for two, ringed all around by a low rock wall,
Where, in quiet times, we fished and ate ham sandwiches on Pepperidge Farm white bread.
The place hadn't changed since I'd first waded there,
Hand in hand, through running water
Just deep enough to lap at the open tops of my green rubber hip boots.
Always, some sloshed over. Ah, soooo cold and wet down each leg!
But, that never mattered, those 20 years before.
So, there we stood, a family, minus Dad, on a bridge over the River.
Clear dark-green water billowing and swirling slick below,
Slowly, inexorably, painfully flowing downstream, away forever.
From that bridge, amidst gentle fall breeze and cotton-balled blue sky,
We gave Dad's dry ashes into the wet gravelly-bottomed River,
Into Blessed Water
Just like your family did this winter on the Red.
Through tears, we pray for Peace which passes understanding:
The presence of God, our Father, in whom we Trust. Return to Top
by H. L. Lovell
I had always wanted to fish for trout in the Guadalupe but had never taken the time.
My father was a schoolteacher and loved to fly fish. He would fly fish for bass, bluegill and catfish in the Concho River near San Angelo, Texas.
He had summer school in Las Crusas, New Mexico in the summer of the late 1950s. One weekend we went fishing in Bonita Lake near Ruidoso, New Mexico. We had some mepps spinners that he had bought when he inquired how to fish for trout. He put one on my rod and said to start casting. I had a Zebco 33 reel. I had been fishing since I was able to hold a rod at maybe three years old, with the help of my dad. I stepped out on the point and stood on a rock. I saw a fish strike the top of the water. I threw the mepps past the circle and started reeling. The trout hit and I had caught my first Rainbow trout.
Starting that summer every year we went to Colorado or New Mexico to go trout fishing. I had learned to cast a fly, fishing for perch at a very young age. The Zebco made casting a spinner so easy that I did not get serious about fly fishing until later in the 1950s on the Rio Grande River near South Fork, Colorado. We used flies like Grey Hackle yellow body, Renegade, Bearclaw, Pink Lady, Mosquito, Adams, Wardens Worry and more up in Colorado and New Mexico. In the Rio Grande, I have had luck with an Orange Asher and woolly worms, but these all stay near the surface. We caught so many trout near the surface, I hardly ever thought about fishing the fly down near the bottom.
I thank my friend Frosty Walker for buying my Hodgman boots last fall and in the process getting me my
membership in Trout Unlimited. On January the 8th, I attended a seminar taught by Hylmar Karbach, I joined the lease program and the next day Frosty and I were able to fish for a few hours on the Guad.
I can't believe that I have lived in Texas since I was born (1950) and I never tried fishing the Guadalupe. I have known about it since it was first stocked in the 60s and I even drove by a few times and saw all the tubers, but never took the time to try it out.
We fished Cliff view and met Hunter. The river was a little dirty. I used four pound line and a small crawdad crank bait for about an hour and I half caught a couple of 10 to 12 inch trout. Frosty got a surprise. We could see the fish in the water and thought it was a Brown, but it was the smallie (as they say in Minnesota).
The last hour before sunset we fished below the third crossing, I decided to fly fish and I was glad I did (I like fly fishing better anyway, but I like fishing any way I can). I was able to catch 4 rainbows on about 8 strikes with a fly (Frosty bought some Wednesday night from Gruene Outfitters). I caught two 11 inchers, one about 14 and one I measured at about 17 inches, but he thought he was a lot bigger. He had a very wide body, hooked jaw and was a very heavy beautiful trout. The fly was a wooly booger on a number 10 hook, Olive / brown with bead, the first time I had ever used a fly like that.
Thanks to GRTU and the DPW for stocking the Guad after the massive flooding around July 4th of last year. The Guad seems to be doing just fine. I have since been able to go back to the Guad once more for a few hours and have caught a few more trout. My friend Frosty has been able to go back more since he lives in North Austin. He has reported catching a 19 and a 22 inch rainbow on the Wooly Booger.
I hope to go more in the future. See you on the Guad. Return to Top
by John Novack
The Rio Baker was huge on this day, especially intimidating and fierce here at Kilometer One. The boca (one kilometer upstream, of course) flowed at over 120,000 cfs, half again larger than usual for this time of year, making the white water rapids that classify this river a "VI" for its first couple of kilometers nearly twice our height. The big water made the hundred meter long eddy here at Kilometer One especially pushy as it changed direction from time to time, first pushing shoreward and then back upstream in ineffable vectors of the rapids and their charge upon the great depths beneath. I saw Larry, a solid, sure-footed Dallas native, knocked down with ease as the sudden shifts in current reset the wobbly stones serving his footing. It was cold, too: This very day, 10 young and foolish Santiagoans froze to death some 20 kilometers away.
But we didn't know that for another week, plus they were on the huge ice field flanking Cerro Valentin towering somewhere above us _ it was very cold at that exposed altitude. Here, at the river level, the coldness was simply enough to assure the three of us were the only fishermen for the river's 200-kilometer length.
I was roll casting from a rock up at the head of the eddy, that swirling, twisting place where the eddy rejoined the river. I was casting a streamer (tied especially for the bright cerulean blue Rio Baker) and using a T200 sinking line to get the streamer at depth. Larry was standing (more or less) two meters into the eddy, about mid-length - a small stream flowed into the river just behind him - and Alex was at the far end, fishing the eddy where it first turned upstream. The day before (Christmas Eve) I had caught the largest trout I had ever caught - from this very rock _ a trout only 24 inches long, but very deep, very strong: A football weighing about 8 pounds. What exquisite wildness, that Rainbow what promise of other creatures swimming below.
Casting downriver, I watched Larry catch his third _ or was it his fourth "cookie cutter" (those endless 16-inch Rainbows that are here near the boca)? Alex went around the corner, out of sight, to fish the eddy opposite of the Japanese Photographer's Island (on this day of high waters, more a shoal than an island). I recast upriver, counter to the eddy's flow: Hundreds of swallows were darting amongst the waves and one whacked my T&T 8 wt. mid-cast, stunning the swallow for a moment and surprising the hell out of me. Regardless of that rattled cast, the slow retrieval remained the quite pleasure I enjoy when in such a wild place _ the wildness today so exaggerated by the wind and rain. I can't think of a happier time on a river.
Something struck my streamer near the end of the retrieval _ or did it? Though there were no logs or branches visible in the clear blue water, the stones here were sharp and broken: Maybe it was just the steamer hitting a stone-edge. I cast again, definitely spooked by the diving swallows, this time down-stream, to let the eddy carry the streamer up past me. Giving a small tug to make certain of a taut line, I felt that headshake that is so welcomed by a fly fisherman: Wow! This felt like a very big fish!
What was the condition of my tippet and leader? Did the bouncing of the streamer off of the sharp rocks nick the leader or tippet? I was pretty confident that I had no "wind knots:" But really? Wow, this guy really took off _ luckily downstream and up the eddy - not out into the main current! But would I get the line onto the reel without a break-off? The fish jumped, shaking its head, clearing its length completely _ this fish was four or five inches larger than that magnificent Rainbow of yesterday _ how big was it? Surely I would break it off and where would I land it? Man - at this point, landing was pure optimism! The rock that served my roll-cast so well was high above the narrow, rocky shore _ too high to "step" down. The wind and the big beech pressing into my back kept pushing me toward the river: Could I possibly jump down the couple of feet to the beach of wobbly stones, remain upright and still control this big, big fish without a break-off?
I did get down to the river without falling - amazing, this, for earlier in the day, back at the 308 pool, I fell hard - three times as we were scooting down to the river. ("308" identifies an electrical utility pole along the road directly above a stretch of the river where trout frequently take dry-flies except for this morning.) Equally amazing -
I managed to keep the fish on the line. Slowly I brought it toward shore and a quieter water. I didn't have a net _ the beech trees here in Patagonia strips anything like a net off of one's vest or back, and besides: This fish was far larger than any net I owned. As I reached below the Rainbow's belly, I wondered if anyone saw me and this magnificent fish as we did our thing _ they didn't - and as I pulled the barbless streamer from its mouth, I sensed that I would never forget this large, large Rainbow, nor would I forget soon this wild water, the dancing swallows, the enigmatic mists dropping further onto the river and my fishing companions Larry and Alex, as they, too, caught trout on this very special Christmas Day at Kilometer One.
We returned to the Rio Baker Lodge (and the ubiquitous Chilean Christmas asado) early on this evening. Later that night, the storm passed. Alex's father, Roberto, called us all to go out to the deck, to witness and celebrate the magnificent austral stars in the clearing sky. The Milky Way completely arced the moonless sky. It's nearest companions, the Magellanic Clouds, were clearly visible, as was the constellation Southern Cross: These wondrous stars and constellations are only visible while one's this near the south celestial pole, a notion adding immensely to the events of the day.
I write this on a beautiful spring day here in Dallas, a day where half a world away, young Americans are dying in Iraq. The contrasts of the beauty of this vernal day with the distant "Day 5" carnage caused me to remember the like-contradictions inherent in the ending of a perfect fishing day. The clear night sky that followed the lifting of the Christmas storm, marked so brilliantly by the endless stars, was indeed powerfully beautiful. But I now know that this cloudless night sky was simply a harbinger of the plunging temperatures and the unwitnessed deaths that followed in the blowing winds, high above on Cerro Valentin.
Reconciliation remains elusive still.
things without really listening to them - traffic from the nearby highway, trains, passing boom boxes, appliances, television. At Rinehart, every noise is noticed, starting with your own labored breathing and heartbeat. You hear the raindrops. You notice when you step on a dry twig under a lodgepole pine. As I strung my 5-weight rod, I was listening to the sound of trout rising to feed on a hatch of insects - the rain was only serving to enhance the scene for me.
After managing to land a couple of cooperative trout, I heard a new sound over in the forest across the lake. I recognized the song of a hermit thrush right away, though I had never seen or heard one before. It is at once an eerie and beautiful song - not unlike a flute. The song seems too beautiful to even occur - like something from another world. I had heard an Audubon tape explaining how to identify the bird by its song and also how the thrush sings the song which makes it so unique. The tape slowed the song down so that I could clearly hear that one bird is able to sing two notes simultaneously - in effect, singing in harmony with itself. What is quite impossible for the human larynx is an everyday event for this bird's syrinx, occurring daily for a very limited audience. I listened with great appreciation.
My friends soon got a chill from the rain, and were ready to return to the ranch house for a promised Fourth of July feast. Before I had even finished packing up my fly rod, I knew I would come back to this to this spot soon. When we got back to the ranch, the sun was shining brightly. My companions listened politely to my report about hearing the thrush, and no doubt privately categorized me as a bird nerd.
That evening, I plotted my return to Rinehart with Ted and Josh. They were hoping Boss Jim wouldn't notice that they both would be helping me fish later that week. Maybe the three of us could stay overnight at Rinehart and continue to Lost Wilderness Lake the next day. It would be a sneak attack on cutthroat trout at a lake in a glacial cirque near treeline. The fish would never suspect we were coming! Ted helped me prepare by teaching me how to tie my first Elk Hair Caddis. When I started on the second fly, he left the tying table to visit some other friends across the room. I was glad he didn't notice that I had embedded the tiny size #16 hook, locked in the Regal vise, into my ring finger.
First, I looked around to see if any other guests had noticed my predicament. Ascertaining that my error was still private, I quietly gritted my teeth and pulled the barb free of my finger. I decided to delay finishing the fly until Wednesday.
Wednesday was spent seeing sights closer to the road. I fished two sections of the North Tongue River, and part of Twin Creek. The Elk Hair Caddis produced three species of trout for me at Twin Creek before it was bested by a fir tree on the bank - ample motivation to return to the vise that evening with a little more caution. Step #1 - debarb the hook.
When Thursday came, it was clear that Boss Jim was on to our scheme to all go fishing and leave him with the horses. Alas, Josh was to remain for equine duties while lucky Ted got to backpack with an aging lowlander. The wonders of youth! Ted was somehow able to carry twice the load as me, and walk twice as fast. By midmorning, we were back at Rinehart with a tent pitched and rods strung. Soon enough, we were onto the rainbows, debating who was choosing the best flies. Of course, whoever caught and released the last fish was the designated expert until the other demonstrated similar genius by hooking the next trout.
We continued this alternation of expertise until the sun got low in the west. We fished all the way around the two Rineharts, Return to Top
by Derrell Nantze
Contrast. In the Bighorn Mountains, the word comes to life before your very eyes - you see bright blue sky against dark green forest; you stand on a July snow field in the Cloud Peak Wilderness and look all the way down Red Grade Road to hayfields near Sheridan. You find your focus changing from choosing the fastest lane on the freeway to selecting the right fly for cutthroat trout.
One fine Tuesday afternoon, I made my first trip up the trail to Rinehart Lakes. Ted, a guide at the ranch, was escorting a small group. We started out in sunny weather, fording the clear waters of the East Fork of Big Goose Creek near Coffeen Park. I was taking along my favorite luggage - a fly rod to pursue the rainbows at the top. When we started up the steep part of the trail that ascends the ridge to the twin lakes, our hike began to be punctuated by short breaks between switchbacks in the trail. The smell of evergreen freshened our pace.
It was the Fourth of July, and our little group was not well equipped for the sudden rain shower that next overtook us. We shared what rain gear we had, and struggled onto the top of the ridge where we encountered the lakes. There before us was gin-clear water, set in a boulder-strewn bowl garnished with fir trees and lodgepoles. The only disturbances on the water's surface were the gentle rings left by the raindrops, and yes - feeding trout.
I was struck by the absence of white noise. Living in suburbia, you get used to hearing having great fun in the circuit. As we returned to our camp to settle in, I wondered if the hermit thrush had departed because I hadn't heard the song during the day. At dusk, I thought I heard the song again over the wind once or twice. As we settled into sleeping bags, the thrush began to sing, and I knew the day was complete.
The hike up to Lost Wilderness Lake took us through forests and across meadows dotted with brilliant blue alpine forget-me-nots, and patches of yellow mule's ear. The upper end of the trail took us to 10,000 feet above sea level, where our entire route from Spear-O-Wigwam was visible. Crossing the melting snowfields, I could see Rinehart Lakes, Park Reservoir, Bighorn Reservoir, and Red Grade Road leading back to Sheridan.
About 800 feet below us was the circular form of Lost Wilderness Lake, a glacial gift. We picked our way through a tumble of boulders that represented the last obstacle to our quarry. The cutthroats were in the 15-inch class and once again we were debating about whether a Peacock Nymph or a Palomino Midge was the most effective fly. It didn't matter that much - we were in a place of spectacular beauty, and catching a few cutts was a bonus. When the day ended back at the ranch, I was tired in best way possible.
At home now, I still dream about Wyoming - the fishing, the Bighorns, and that hermit thrush. I must have caught those fish a thousand times now in my mind, and in the telling of it. When circumstances seem to hem me in, I think about that thrush at Rinehart. And I remember that God made such a small creature with an ability that defies my concept of limits - the ability to sing in harmony with itself. And I know I will be returning to Rinehart somehow. Return to Top
by Bill Engvall
I don't have any trout fishing stories, but I am enclosing a couple of experiences I've had while fly-fishing in Central Texas.
I was fishing a large tank last summer that had big beds of hydrilla. I threw a large, weedless yellow popping bug on top of one bed, let it lie for a few seconds, and then gave it a couple of twitches. About six feet away, two dark knots ,about three inches apart, appeared. I gave the bug two more twitches and retrieved it about six inches. The "knots" disappeared, and then re-appeared closer to the fly. I repeated this about two more times, with the "knots" getting closer. Whatever it was was tracking my bug. I thought the knots resembled a small alligator's eyes.
After the third twitch, something slammed my bug and took it under. After a short, but vigorous fight I reeled in a huge bullfrog. I should have suspected earlier that it was a frog, but somehow it was not in my
differential diagnosis. As an addendum to this story, as I was removing the hook from its mouth, it squealed just like a little kid.
I was flyfishing on Salado Creek with a terrestrial, and catching some
small bluegills. On one cast, I got a small strike and proceeded to reel it
in. Suddenly, the fish started fighting a lot stronger and then about a half-pound largemouth broke the surface. I played him for about fifteen more seconds and he "spit" the hook.
As I was reeling in my slack line, I became aware of something still
tugging at my line and reeled in a three-inch bluegill. As I was removing the hook I noticed this little fish was all skinned up and then I realized what must have happened. I hooked the bluegill and then a bass hit the bluegill and didn't want to give it up. When he surfaced, he must have seen me and decided to forget about supper. This is the second time that has happened to me. Return to Top
by Jimmy Moore
1) You have one of those large demo flies dangling from your rear view mirror because you think it makes a good conversation piece. 2) Your wedding party had to tie tin cans to your drift boat.. 3) You call your fly rod "sweetheart" and your wife "midge". 4) Your local fly shop has your credit card number on file. 5) You keep your wading staff by your favorite chair to change the TV channels with. 6) You name your black lab "Scott" and your cat "Sage". 7) Lefty Kreh has a private line just for you. 8) You have your name painted on a parking space at the launch ramp. 9) You have a photo of your 10 lb. rainbow on your desk at work instead of your family. 10) You consider vienna sausage and crackers a complete meal. 11) You think MEGABYTES means a great day fishing. 12) You send your kid off to the first day of school with his shoes tied in a "blood knot". 13) You think there are four seasonsFly tying & dreaming, Fly tying and waiting, Fly tying and getting your equipment ready and Finally, Fishing, but first you have to tie some extra flies, just to be safe. 14) You trade your wife's van for a smaller vehicle so your pontoon boat and drift boat will fit in the garage. 15) Your kids know it's SaturdayBecause both boats and you are gone. 16) You're up at 6 a.m. each Sunday to catch all the fly-fishing shows. 17) You fondle your favorite fly rod while watching the fishing shows. 18) You removed the ceiling fan in the TV room because you're afraid you'll break your favorite rod practicing your "roll cast". 19) You think that "somewhere over the rainbow" refers to a "dream" hatch on your favorite trout stream. 20) You don't know split beans from corn, but can readily explain the difference between the three families of Stone flies: Pteronarcyidae, Perlidae and Taeniopterygidae. 21) Your "go to sleep music" is a recording of the sounds of the rustling wings of a mega giant stonefly hatch. 22) You don't need an alarm clock on fishing days, but sleep thru two settings of your alarm on workdays. 23) And finally, your wife believes you went fishing even when you come home "fish less". Return to Top
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from the Editor
As your new editor, I have tried to put together a newsletter up to the high standards of my predecessors. Any suggestions on improvements are always welcome. I have appreciated member's willingness to contribute to the newsletter and look for it to continue. I want to especially thank Bob Tuttle and the rest of the Officers and Board Members for their assistance in my transition to editor.
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We both look forward to working with you.
Editor, GRTU Newsletter
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