Monday, August 4, 2014

Western Trout

I've had a rare and wonderful opportunity in the past week to fish for trout in two different regions of the western United States.  For a guy who doesn't get much time on the water, this was quite a treat.

First up was central Idaho. A friend from an online fly fishing group I've been a part of for quite a few years invited us to his property along Loving Creek, a spring creek tributary to Silver Creek, near Picabo, Idaho.  (And yes, Picabo is pronounced as if you were saying it to an infant.)  Steve has been taunting the group with photos of the landscape of his ranch and of trout from his stream, so I combined a trip to visit family in Seattle with three days of Idaho fishing.

We also fished the Big Lost river in the Copper Basin area above Ketchum, rushing mountain streams with different feel (and with cutthroat trout as well as rainbow) from the spring creeks.  Fishing the spring creeks was difficult but enjoyable and rewarding, as was the companionship.

Early morning on Loving Creek

Silver Creek from above

Floating Loving Creek

Since I had gear in tow, I decided to find a trout stream near my in-law's home of Bremerton, Washington.  With a few suggestions and some web searching, I settled on the mountain reaches of the Dungeness River, whose headwaters is in the Olympic Mountains.  In many ways the Dungeness is the opposite of the wide-open Idaho spring creeks, sight lines in the verdant Olympics being limited by the giant fir and bushy alder and hemlock trees.  In Idaho, I could see the truck from a mile or more away as I hiked back to it.  In the Olympics, I couldn't see more than 30 feet ahead of us as we drove the dirt roads.  The Dungeness plunges steeply as well, with fast rapids punctuated by occasional pools.  Father-in-law Doug, a native of these parts, joined me.

I was on the water early and had little success to start with, but eventually caught a few small trout.  One large pool beckoned with its overhanging trees.  I got myself into position downstream and cast a brushy red "Humpy" fly- one that doesn't resemble any particular insect but looks buggy to hungry trout- upstream.  After a few drifts, a trout took the fly and I assumed it was yet another small one.  After a much stronger tug and a good bit of line pulled off my reel, I got the fish closer to me and saw it was quite a healthy one.  It was tricky to get a photo of it, but measured against my fly rod it was 16" long and plenty fat.  My day was made!

After a sandwich lunch, we drove further upstream to a popular trailhead where the road crosses the Dungeness.  Apparently all hikers, I had the river to myself, and again worked the plunge pools with a bushy Stimulator fly.  Here the fish were eager but not particularly large.  I took one or two brook or rainbow trout from most of the pools, none larger than 10 or 12 inches.

Dungeness River, in a hurry to get to the Pacific

Healthy rainbow trout

It was a great day!  And I feel fortunate to have had these two opportunities to indulge my love of spending time in the great outdoors.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Time in Saxony

I recently had an opportunity I couldn't refuse: an invitation to travel to Dresden, Germany.  My friend Jay was invited by the watch manufacturer A. Lange & Söhne to tour their production facilities in Glashütte, just south of Dresden.  I was Jay's "plus one".  And the trip was a watch-nerd's dream.

Along the shore of the Elbe River
The 7:15am view from my hotel window: the clock shown here chimed at 7am, a pleasant way to wake!  It is in the tower of the Dreikönigskirche.

I love German hotel breakfasts with cured meats, strong coffee, Müsli, and best of all the soft-boiled egg or Frühstücksei.  At this hotel, the egg came capped with this cute gnome hat.

The Dresden Frauenkirche.  Until just 10 or fewer years ago, the church and buildings on this square were still ruins from the February, 1945 bombing of Dresden.  The dark stones are from the rubble: the light colored stones are new.

The Dreikönigskirche during the daytime hours.

Jay and Matt waiting for our tour of the Grünes Gewölbe, the Green Vault of the jewels of the Saxon kings.

We also toured the famed Semperoper, Semper Opera house, where, for us, the highlight was the Five Minute Clock, which you can see here near the bottom of the photo, showing 3:45.

The tower of the Schloß Weesenstein, where we lunched before touring the Lange factory.
The fleet of chauffeured black Audis that carried us from place to place.  The drivers angled to get Jay and me as passengers- seemingly few members of the group spoke German and the drivers spoke only rudimentary English.

On the factory tour with the president of Lange's North American office, Gaetan.

At the end of the tour, they presented many of the production models for us to inspect and try on for size.

Saxonia Annual Calendar in white gold.

1815 Up/Down in white gold.

Datograph Up/Down in platinum.
I really liked the Datograph.