2014 Top Ten List

OK, it’s time for my top ten list.  The top ten places I want to go fishing this year.  These are places I love to go or new places I’ve yet to try.  This year, I’m going to try to get away for an overnight trip or two but where will be determined later.  We’ll see if I can’t check off the entire top ten this year, something I didn’t come close to last year.  I only hope we get some snow and another big fire doesn’t keep me indoors for weeks on end or the fishing season might be pretty dismal.

So, here is the list:

  1. Twenty Lakes Basin – A chain of lakes near Yosemite and behind Saddlebag Lake.  I’ve wanted to go here for years and never did it.  You take a ferry across the lake which is sort of cool in itself.
  2. Cooney and Frog Lakes – This is another place I’ve wanted to get to but never have.  Last year it was thwarted in part due to the Yosemite fire.  These are up beyond Virginia Lakes and might become an overnight trip.
  3. Highland Lakes – These are drive to lakes off of Highway 4.  These can be windy so I’ll need to set out early.  Again, I might camp there (need to look into that possibility) and I’ll definitely bring the tube.
  4. The Owens Gorge – I’m probably stupid for attempting this with my back but what the hell.  You only live once.  This is the rugged, rattlesnake and trout filled canyon below Crowley but it’s small creek fishing at it’s best.
  5. Upper Owens River – I want to hit this either this spring or next fall during the spawn.  It’s a spring creek that takes a lot of patience and stealth.  I might get skunked hard but it will be fun.
  6. Milton Reservoir – Northwest of Truckee, this is a wild trout lake.  I’ve been here many years ago.  It’s small and scenic and being it’s about 2.5 hours from home, this might be a nice spot to spend a night it the wilderness.
  7. Mokelumne River, North Fork – Another water up Highway 4, the river is a small meadow stream here.  A short hike will take you into the wilderness and a Jeep trail will take you up Deer Creek.
  8. Yuba River, North Fork – This is a roadside water but in some beautiful country with a lot of other waters to hit if the Yuba is slow.  Again, over three hours from home so a possible overnight trip.
  9. Toiyabe Range – I gotta have one in Nevada, right?  No specific location.  Maybe Big Creek, Reese River, Peavine Creek, Kingston Creek or Groves Lake, all places from my childhood.
  10. Warmwater Fishing – I haven’t fished for bass and bluegill for years.  I’m not sure where but I’ll do a little research and figure it out.  I’ve got a few spots I’ve fished but I’d like to try something new.

So, that’s it, 2014′s Top Ten.  A list will appear over to the left and I’ll add links to the reports as I check these off.  Hopefully, by the time fishing season rolls around, I’ll have shaken this damned plague the boys brought home.  I’m so over coughing and feeling worn out.  I really do hate winter!

Survival Stove Shootout

Survival Stove Kit

This is my survival stove kit an below is the shootout that helped determine that.

When building a survival bag, bug out bag, get home bag, whatever you want to call it, a way to heat water is essential.  Heating water not only makes eating light and compact freeze-dried foods possible, as well as making treats like coffee, tea and cider, it’s a good way to disinfect water.  As long as it’s relatively clean, boiling will kill just about everything that might live in that water and make you sick, toxins and pollutants not withstanding.

But what’s the best way to boil water?  Fire is the best way but what’s the best way to carry around fire with you?  Some form of tinder (I used Vaseline-soaked cotton balls) and an ignition source (I use Bic lighters, storm-proof matches and a BlastMatch) is how you make fire.   But you can’t always build a fire and it’s not the most efficient or subtle way to heat water.  Zombies can smell the smoke and see the light for miles :D

So you need some way to boil water quickly and easily and luckily there are many options out there.  Backpackers are way ahead of the rest of us in this department.  They have all manner of small, light and efficient stoves.  From complete cook systems to tiny alcohol stoves and from high-tech gadgets like the Jet Boil system to old-fashioned wood stoves.  I’ve selected three relatively inexpensive options that use three different types of fuel.  Each stove is small, lightweight and offer relatively easy to find fuel. Continue reading

Home Office Fever

I was feeling a little shut in, a little restless.  So I took a drive to Yerington to gas up the Jeep (worth the 20 minute trip to save over a buck a gallon plus I got lunch at Maverick ;))  Anyhow, on the way back I took a detour and drove up to the old mining settlement and current ghost town of Pine Grove.  It’s not Bodie but it’s still pretty cool.  Anyway, enjoy the pictures.  No commentary today.

Update:  What I’ve labeled a headframe is in fact a stamp mill.  It was used to pound material rather than crush it.  The camshaft up top is what drives the shafts that pounded ore.  Those are missing, probably easy to cart off and so stolen long ago.

Headframe

An old headframe. The shaft is caved in but it’s in great shape.

Continue reading

I Let My Sons Play Football

Henry (right) coaching his brother Owen.  Owen played one year and didn't like it but he tried it.  He loves basketball, however.

Henry (right) coaching his brother Owen. Owen played one year and didn’t like it but he tried it. He loves basketball, however.  It helped him become a more confident young man.

I’ve been saying the NFL has been “chickifying” football for years.  From female commentators, to commercials that cater to women, to breast cancer awareness.  Look, I’m not sexist, but football is a man’s sport, played by men for men.  I’m all for combating breast cancer but how about prostate cancer?  Tens of thousands of men will die from that disease.  How about a sport played by men and enjoyed predominately by men support that cause instead?

But now with all the concussion issues, the “bullying” scandel, Aaron Hernandez, etc., all these people are coming out saying they won’t let their sons play football.  Bob Costas and Brett Favre are the latest.  Well, I disagree and vehemently, as you might have guessed by the post. Continue reading

Fly Fish Nevada Premiers on YouTube

After some fits and starts, I’ve finally premiered my first video on my YouTube channel.  It’s a short video about my afternoon in the East Walker detailed in this post.  As I’ve said before, this is a lot of work and more difficult than it looks.  I could have chosen to just do a simple gear review or something but I chose a more complex subject with a lot of editing, music, etc.  I probably won’t be doing these kind of videos often.  It’s hard to fish and film at the same time.

I will, however be doing some gear reviews, educational stuff and a few rants from time to time on my channel.  I intend for the YouTube channel to be a companion to the blog.  For instance, when I review something, say my “tactical” fishing bag, I’ll do a write up for the blog and a companion video.  Each will stand alone but act together too.  Some things are easier to write about and others easier to talk about on video.

Anyway, hope you enjoy and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel.  Thanks!

East Walker River – One More Time

Beautiful stretch of water just downstream of the Elbow.

Beautiful stretch of water just downstream of the Elbow.

I had so much fun last week down on the Elbow I did it again.  This time, however, I fished downstream of the Elbow and though I never found any water as productive as my honey hole, I did find some good fishing.  I also “camped” again and this time, I got some usable footage that become a YouTube video I will debut next week.  All in all, I had a good day and there aren’t too many left before the river starts to ice up and shut down for all intents and purposes until spring.

First fish of the day.

First fish of the day.

So, like last week I left home about 12:30 pm and got to the spot I wanted to fish a little after one o’clock.  It was warm but there was that chill in the air you get this time of year.  I donned my gear and hit the river, first hiking a bit down stream to some good-looking water.  I hooked my first fish of the day on a nymph and I spend the rest of the afternoon finding trout where you’d expect them, all rainbows this time around, with a light but steady breeze at my back that chilled me as the sun got low in the sky.

Nice panorama of the crag behind my "camp."

Nice panorama of the crag behind my “camp.”

I switched to a dry early on when I spotted some fish rising and stuck with it until the end.  In some riffles, trout were rising pretty aggressively but taking emergers, I suspect, as often as dries.  In other spots, mostly the flatter water, the fish rose more sporadically.  I bet a nymph would have done well too but sometimes dries are just too much fun.  Most of the rainbows were between eight and ten inches but a few went up to maybe eleven or even twelves inches.

A spooky fishing trail.  It was Halloween after all.

A spooky fishing trail. It was Halloween after all.

About 4:30 I was getting hungry and my back was getting sore so I packed it in and set about making dinner.  Mountain House spaghetti and meat sauce this time.  A little runny but tasty enough.  After that, I whipped up some hot chocolate.  Damn, that hit the spot as the air began to cool.  I leaned up against the Jeep, enjoyed the hot chocolate and listened to Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do” as it got dark.  A little bit of perfect.

Making hot chocolate.

Making hot chocolate.

So anyway, I had another great day on the East Walker.  As a side note, my back (really the nerve that runs down my leg that my shoddy lower spine is pinching) felt pretty good.  My leg hurt a few times and after about three hours my back was getting sore (probably from all the bending and walking on the uneven stream bed as much as anything) but all in all both this trip and the last one were pretty good.  The back’s not better but for the most part I’m able to manage the pain.

Selfie!

Selfie!  BA, baby, BA :roll:

Probably won’t get out next week.  I’ve got some writing and editing to do.  Looks like next week will be the end of temperatures in the 60′s for a while but the weather looks generally good for the next couple of weeks.  You never know.  I might get burned out on the writing and sneak out.  High school football is over too so I might get the kids out with me fishing or shooting before basketball practice starts in a few weeks.  But now that I’ve rediscovered hot chocolate, I might just stay home where it’s warm and drink some of that.

I’m Back Home and Back at Work!

Baker Company Box SetI made it home safely from Jamaica, with a bit of a tan, but now I’m sitting at my computer freezing.  I’ve been working though trying to get some stuff done so I can get away next week and go fishing and play with my survival pack.  In that vein I’d like to present my latest work, the Baker Company Box Set.  That’s right!  Now you can get the entire serial in one volume and for a pretty nice price.  For  limited time, it’s only $2.99.  That’s less than the episodes purchased separately.  I know, I’m nuts, right?

You can get it at most of the usual places, Amazon seemingly the favorite of readers by far.   Last month I sold over a thousand copies of the serial combined.  That blew me away.  Thanks to all of you that bought the books.  For those of you that haven’t, now you can get a novel length box set for just $2.99.  Pretty sweet.  Episode 1 is free now too so you can try Baker Company on and see if you like it before sinking three bucks into the box set.  But c’mon, a latte (or a streamer) costs more and doesn’t last as long or provided as much entertainment.  Well, maybe the streamer might. ;)

We’ll, that’s all I’ve got for now.  I need to get back to work so I can give myself a day off.

Vacation and Some New Stuff

I’m off on a short vacation.  Going to Jamaica for some sun, sand, rum and meat patties.  Mmm.  I’ve been working on some new stuff for the blog, namely a YouTube channel and videos instead of just words.  I’ve always provided picture heavy posts but in the future, many posts will include videos.  From artsy stuff taken on fishing trips to gear reviews of stuff I use to some how-to and educational videos.  I’ve already shot a few but I wasn’t happy with them.

Let me tell you, shooting video is tough.  I’m sure once the workflow is ironed out it gets easier but at first it’s a chore, not to mention how hard it is to talk to yourself out in the middle of nowhere without feeling like an idiot.  In fact, I had a family walk by and catch me as I was speaking to my camera.  That was unnerving.  I’m sure after a while you just stop worrying about it.  I hope so anyway.

By the way, the East Walker is probably fishable now.  The flows are still low but the evenings have been cool, below freezing in fact.  The water should be cool and have a higher level of oxygen so fishing won’t be so stressful for the fish.  I plan to find out once I get back…theoretically.  I’m having trouble finding the time lately.  I’ve got a lot of writing deadlines, self-imposed deadlines, but deadlines nevertheless.  Not to mention football and school stuff.  I’ll get out there, eventually :roll:

A Little Housekeeping Post

Since I posted it earlier this year, I wanted to take the opportunity to say I’ve abandoned my 2013 Top Ten Quest.  Quite a few of the locations were near Yosemite and the Rim Fire is still burning and likely to be until it rains or snows.  Smoke is a concern and Highway 120 is closed 35 miles from the junction with 395.  I can get to the places, but whose to say what I’ll find once I’m there.  Could be clear, could be blanketed with smoke.  I’m going to be looking north for opportunities this fall and taking advantage of locations in the Bridgeport/Mammoth area when and things clear up consistently.

In the meantime, I’m preparing some posts for the fall and winter, mainly concerning my survival kit, my new tactical fishing bag, and stuff like that.  I’m traveling for high school football this week, but next week I’m going to get out there and ply the waters of somewhere free of smoke.  Hopefully the weather cools a bit soon and I can fish the East Walker.  Still too low and the air temps too high to fish without harming the trout.

Smokefest 2013

They view off my front porch this AM.

They view off my front porch this AM.

The beautiful summer weather goes on.  The Rim Fire burning near Yosemite continues to pour smoke into the valleys along the Sierra front.  Football games have been canceled for another week and outdoor activities of any kind are difficult at best.  I’ve heard rumors that the skies are clear near Bridgeport and Lee Vining but driving through the haze to get there is the problem.  The Jeep isn’t exactly air tight and by the time I could reach clear air, I’d likely be ruined.

So, while I wait for the skies to clear to begin enjoying the fall fishing in earnest, I’m working on some projects at home.  That is when I’m not suffering from near constant headaches, sinus pressure and a burning throat.  I know the fire crews are doing their best but I wish they could work faster.  As long as they’re safe, that is.  Reporting from Smokefest 2013.

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