Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013 — horrible fishing weather, the return of Roman Polanski, and the reappearance of Ernie Witherspoon

It started raining big time Thursday, May 23, as I drove from Lakeville, Conn. to Phoenicia, N.Y.

I thought I had outridden the storm when I crossed the Hudson, but no. Another, larger storm was brewing to the west.

It was very jolly, the next couple of days. It rained more or less constantly for about 36 hours, and it was about 45 degrees outside. On Friday, the water temperature was 10-15 degrees higher than the air.

I kept the same two flies on my six-weight because my fingers were too numb to change them.

This did not deter me from fishing. I landed this holdover brown in Woodland Valley. Note how he fills the giant landing net. I think he'd top 25 inches if a) I had a tape measure and b) my fingers were capable of using it at the time.

The Esopus Creek and tributaries are clearing much faster than I thought they would. My little brook, the Pantherkill, was clear as a bell opposite my house Saturday morning after a night's steady rain — until I found this a little way downstream:

There are two of these open clay banks on my property, so I could do something about them — namely, plant willows.

Earlier that week I watched an intrepid bait fisherman edging along this rock formation on the Blackberry River in East Canaan, Conn.

That rock is slippery at the best of times, and with felt soles. Never mind just after a storm with rubber muck-out boots.

Mr. Worm Fisherman looks a little like Roman Polanski, at least from a distance. I notice these things.

Finally, I solved the mystery of "Whatever Happened to Ernie Witherspoon?" He was eaten by bears, and knowing Ernie as I did, my anxiety is reserved entirely for the bears.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Woodland Valley Brook — pre-stocking report, May 11-12, 2013

(Note: The USGS gauge showed flows between about 45 and 75 cfs for May 11-12.)

I opened up in Pantherkill the weekend of May 11-12. The Saturday was wet but warm. Sunday started the same but cleared up into sunny, blustery, and damn chilly out there in the elements.

Starting at the downstream end of the stocked section:

Gillespie/Botchford pool. The landscape has shifted again, quite significantly. The left bank is higher, and much more of the shelf formation is exposed. 

Downstream last year's gently descending runs are now sharper, deeper plunge pools, running into yet another deep shelf and tailout.

Upstream those flats where trout used to lurk are gone. 

All in all the pool proper is deeper and wider, and probably easier to fish. On Saturday, however, I could not scare up anything from the greenish depths.

Upstream from here are lots of riffles and the occasional pool with tailout. I also found this tantalizing pool, which you'll notice has water running into it from different angles. I got one to flash at a Prince nymph in here.

Don't ignore the skinny water. I almost stepped on a couple of browns in the 16 inch range messing around in the riffles, which are deeper than they look.

Up by Nakamoto's, the stream is trying its best to get to the road, the better to flood it, I suppose. So last year, where all this was flat as a lumpy pancake, the water has spread out some. Again, remember what I said about skinny water.

Downstream Mother Nature has thoughtfully knocked this tree right across the stream, creating a truly trouty situation. I got two nice holdovers to flash me in here, and hooked one, but lost him. You live by the barbless hook, and so do they.

Fishable water getting closer to the house here. And speaking of which, as you proceed up the right bank you'll see a long, deep run, which will be the place to put on a nymphing clinic.

I finally switched to a two-fly rig, with a Stimulator I bought in Portland, Ore. some years back for use in the Deschutes, and a Copper John underneath. I guess I didn't de-barb these as well, or maybe my knack was coming back. Perhaps it was the cigars. Anyway, this silly but feisty brown attacked the Stimulator out of this little run.

Last year this bit before the Low and High Roads out of the Roxmor pool converge was a veritable swimming hole, complete with sandy beach. This year it is another piece of extended pocket water ideal for nymphing. These two healthy browns came from this stretch. Bear in mind the wide-angle lens and the large landing net (suitable for giant squid) before you sneer at my 14-inch estimate.

The Roxmore pool is about the same, as are the runs and plunge pools above.

Up here it gets interesting again. The left bank, which was piled high last year, is flat. The water is skinny until you get to a long pool. By that pointy rock (lower right in second photo) I got an honest 16-incher.

The Iron Wall is sagging, but at least the water is back over there now.

The approach to Red Rock. Fish the tailout first — I saw a couple of browns that looked like torpedoes messing around in there when I stupidly waded right in for a better angle at the prevailing drift, which runs over to the retaining wall and circles back. Lots of fish still in here.

Red Rock is as far as I got this trip.

My "Avenge" hat has Panther Vision — two little lights under the brim. It makes me feel very vengeful, in a feline way.

On Sunday the Portal releases on the Esopus looked like crap, which seems to be the new normal. 

One good thing — on Saturday it rained off and on all day until it really poured at about 4 p.m. I knocked off then and had a late lunch.

But by 6 p.m. I got bored and curious so I went out again. The Pantherkill was already running clear almost to the junction with Woodland, which was itself noticeably better than it had been two hours earlier. 

This happy situation ended abruptly with a really torrential downpour at 7:30 p.m. or so. I figured fishing would be out for Sunday, but no. Woodland was actually clearer than it had been the day before.

So despite the exposed banks and other damage we see regularly, the streams seem to be healing themselves pretty well.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

All Twitched Up and No Place to Go

Iron Sky (2012) is an extremely silly movie that recently got American conservatives in a snit because the President of the U.S. looks like Sarah Palin.

I only knew about this from a post on Michelle Malkin's Facebook feed, which directed me to her Twitchy website, which discusses Tweets on Twitter.

And if that not's a good reason for banning the Internet then I don't know what is.

Anyhoo, this Finnish foolishness is so dumb it shouldn't worry anybody. Seems in 1945 the Nazis were able to escape and make it to the dark side of the moon, where they set up a colony and bided their time until...

The present day, when a couple of astronauts, sent to bolster the Palin-lookalike's reelection campaign, stumble into the setup, with unfortunate results — one gets dead and the other gets bleached.

The Nazis discover the astronaut's cell phone which can power their entire death star thing — until the battery runs out.

Then it's off to Earth for some iPads and hijinks

This is a truly dumb flick — like an extended Saturday Night Live skit, with spaceships and a set designer that's into steampunk.

And no nekkidity, which is a problem.

Two coils, for annoying Twitchy people, mostly.

The Devil's Rock (2011) is much more like it. In this nasty bit of work from New Zealand's Paul Campion, a couple of British commandos land on one of the Channel Islands just prior to D-Day, to disable a big German gun and generally draw attention away from the invasion.

Seems simple enough, except when the two Tommies get to the castle they can hear all kinds of shrieking, and one of them decides to go in and check it out.

It's always a mistake to stray from the mission — especially when one of the same bunch of Nazis in charge of getting the Holy Grail is holed up inside with a female demon.

Despite the demon's habit of ripping the guts out of everybody who gets near, the Nazi still thinks he can control the gal and unleash her on the Allies.

Two demon breasts. Piles of innards, gallons of blood. Brain-eating. Incantations. Book of evil spells. No devil music. Lots of screaming. Claustrophobia. A little long.

Three coils.