March 25, 2019

It's Trout Time, Both Near & Far

It's trout time across the land... Huzzah!

With all my early-year work and family obligations (more on the latter later this week) somewhat completed, fishing is finally on the mind in a MAJOR way.

Between planning a mini trout trip for this upcoming weekend, tying flies to refill the fly box, editing up the latest issue of Tenkara Angler, playing "swap master" for Facebook fly swap, doing casting practice in the backyard (thanks to an extra hour of sunlight), and just consuming pretty much anything cold water and trout that's out there, I'm definitely shifted out of park and into drive.

In all that consumption, I was really stoked to see Chris, an online buddy currently halfway across the world in South Korea, having his own personal success chasing native cherry trout with spinning tackle. He posted some great photos to his social media over the weekend, and he's letting me share them here.

Man, Mother Nature just doesn't preside over very many fish prettier than that...
South Korea, who knew? Thanks for sharing Chris!

March 7, 2019

Night at the Vise

Tied a few flies last night. First time at the vise in a while. These aren't even for me, they're for an upcoming fly swap. I like tying flies similar to these for probing pocket water in search of eager brook trout. With a touch of floatant, these stiff hackles are great dries, but soak them good in the stream and they play the role of sub-surface wet fly more than adequately. The fish usually enjoy them, but wild brookies usually aren't too selective. I hope the recipients of the swap aren't discriminant either.

March 4, 2019

Exploring Florida: 2019 Ididahike on the Florida Trail

This past Saturday (March 2nd), I decided to join about 150 other hikers on for the 2019 "Ididahike," an almost eleven mile hike on the Florida Trail as it runs alongside the Suwannee River. I found out about the hike via a local REI events email and impulsively signed up. The annual hike is one the Florida Trail Association's larger fundraisers, so it seemed like a good cause.

Heck, I didn't even really know there was a Florida Trail, but I suppose there is, all 1100 miles worth between its two termini in South Florida (Tamiami Trail) and Pensacola in the western panhandle. Not as sexy a thru-hike as the Appalachian or Pacific Crest, but still, that's a lot of ground to cover.

Anyway, there was what seemed like a good turnout, and everyone was in positive spirits despite some pretty nasty Florida thunderstorms all morning. Much of the hike was in a downpour, but it's Florida, so while it was wet, it was still plenty warm.

As for me? My phone said I completed the hike in a little under four hours. I probably could have finished sooner, but I lost a half an hour at the multiple checkpoints along the way stopping to talk to many of the other hikers... one guy was all the way from Ontario! I was also somewhat surprised how sandy the banks of the Suwannee were. If the weather was nicer, it could have been a beach day.

Heck, I'll even toss in an unsolicited recommendation, Altra makes some damn good trail shoes (Lone Peaks). I was a bit achy after the hike, but my feet felt great!

In any event, here are some photos and a little video.

Here's a map, we hiked along the river starting in the bottom right near where it makes that last bend toward I-75, northwest to the upper left where the river crosses Route 129 at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park Campground.

February 27, 2019

Restoring Brookies: An Appalachian Brook Trout Story

A cool little documentary project recently popped up on my social feeds, and I'm all about helping them get the word out. It's an upcoming film focusing on the story of the Southern Appalachian Brook trout, the native char of the Southeastern United States.

The synopsis for the film as provided by their website and press release is as follows:

Restoring Brookies, it’s exactly what it sounds like. This is a feature length environmental documentary film about the restoration process of the Southern Appalachian Brook Trout with a fly fishing aspect. In this documentary we will be taking our viewers through the history of these trout, the process of their restoration in their native environment, and what all of us can do to help further conserve these beautiful little fish. 
Along the way we will be working with agencies like the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Tennessee Aquarium, National Parks Service, Department of Agriculture, and many more. While learning from the agencies who have boots on the ground daily to help conserve this species we will also be visiting with locals and fly fishermen and women. 
We plan to learn more about the history of the brook trout in these areas, why restoration is needed, and how successful the restoration efforts have been. This film is not only going to show us how the restoration works but also why it’s there through the eyes of fly fishermen/women and the locals who see this fish as a part of their culture in the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

See... sounds like something we can all get behind, whether it's from a fly fishing angle, a historical interest, a conservation perspective, or a combination of the three.

If you'd like to learn more about the project, and possibly support it, (10% of all money raised will be donated back to restoration efforts in Tennessee, North Carolina, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park), check out their website HERE, or if so inclined, their Facebook and/or Instagram.