March2012

Stop this dam project before it gets going

 

I rarely post topics like this, but this one I can’t let pass unannounced.

I was recently contacted by a friend who I went to high school with. She wrote me to let me know that she recently gave up a good-paying job in LA to move back to the Pacific Northwet for the sole purpose of fighting a dam proposal on her favorite river, the Skykomish, on which she learned to fly fish.

The lower Skykomish is only 8 miles from where I live and I’ve fished it many times for steelhead, having even been successful on one occasion. I also caught a bull trout/Dolly Varden once, so I guess that’s two successes. But I digress…

The Snohmish County PUD has filed for a preliminary permit to build a small hydroelectric dam on an upper stretch of the Skykomish. It’s just insane to even be thinking about adding dams in this day and age where there is widespread opposition to any structures that block fish passage and flowing water. This dam would produce an insignificant about of hydro power but would damage a river that is only one of 4 rivers designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers by the  Washington state legislature.

Please take a moment to visit the website for Save the Skykomish and sign the petition.

This damn idea is bad and needs to be stopped.

Thanks for your help.

Signs of Spring

Although the weather hasn’t been exactly Spring-like, save for 3 recent days which have since given way to more cold rain, there are reminders that technically it is Spring.

A disturbing sign of Spring.

Nearly every morning for the past week or so I’ve been awakened by the familiar, disturbing sounds of woodpeckers beating their peckers on the house. Sometimes they pound away on the gutters, which is annoying. Other times they engage in a more troubling practice of using the house itself as a percussion surface. This is not good. They are causing property destruction.

Red-Naped Sapsucker, alive.

There are two species of culprits in question. I’m no ornithologist but I believe the Red-Naped Sapsucker to be the less frequent offenders. They’re also more easily deterred–all I need to do is shoo them away and they don’t return for sometimes days. Last year I discovered one of these dead peckers on our roof. It was sad, and I wept.

Red-Naped Sapsucker, not alive.

As I mentioned, the little red-headed sapsucking peckers are easy to intimidate. I only wish I could strike that sort of fear into the  Northern Flickers, which are the serial offenders. These larger, more annoying birds seem to revel in taunting me. If I so much as open the door to step outside, these birds are always one step ahead of me. Before I can level the scope of the pellet gun, the flickers are alreadly flying off at great speeds. They’re crafty little peckers, too. They seem to know the effective range of the pellet gun and perch well beyond that distance.

Norther Flucker, er, Flicker.

I’ve contemplated the skittish nature of the Flickers and have determined that either we can keep going round and round with this never-ending dance as we have for years, or I can step up my game. The pellet gun is ineffective, that much has been proven. What I need is more firepower and more coverage. It may be time to bring out my favorite shotgun and a box of #6 dove load that’s just been collecting dust for years.

Mr. Flicker, meet Signore Beretta.

There may not be much left of the feathers if my shot is not unaccomplished, but let’s assume, hypothetically, that the damage is minimal and there are ample feathers leftover:

What would you tie with the feathers, and what would you all the new pattern?

Discuss.

Waiting

I’m officially waiting for what seems like everything.

I haven’t wet a fly line in months. Steelhead season closed early in these parts except for the Olympic Penninsula and that’s a weekend trip in and of itself. I haven’t had an entire weekend free. I will however, be headed for the OP on last day of the month, hoping to improve on last year’s outing. Translation: I hope it’s me that catches fish this year while my son, Schpanky, tastes skunk. His first time fishing for steelhead and he catches two. That ain’t right. He’s 18 now, I’m done coddling him. The trip has been booked for months, and for months I’ve been

Waiting.

Today is officially the first day of Spring, but round these parts you sure wouldn’t know it. This year is shaping up to be just like last year: a “La Niña bookend”, as the local meteorologists like to call it: colder than normal, constant rain and intermittent snow. It’s ugly. I watch the evening news and see the breadbasket of the country sweltering in 80 degree heat. While troubling, I gotta tell you that it sounds pretty damn good right now. How about we split the difference and everyone can be 60 degrees and pleasant—you know, spring weather? I have no idea how or why, but the grass is starting to show signs of growth. Unfortunately it’s too wet, the ground too soggy to mow. By the time it’s dry enough to mow, the grass will be knee high. While that makes for excellent  Lawn Trout habitat, it causes problems for the lawnmower (me). What we in the Pacific Northwet need are a couple of weeks of sun and warm temps to dry things out, like the Midwest. That kind of forecast is nowhere on the horizon so I find myself

Waiting.

I’ve been trying to keep my mind off the weather while keeping busy with work. However, a very important side project has been weighing on me heavily and I’m waiting to hear back from a very influential company. I expected to hear back a week ago. When I didn’t, I figured no news was good news and they were giving my submission some serious consideration. A week later and still no word. I need to know if the answer is ‘no’ so I can move on, so I fired off an inquiry email. It’s eating at me and I can’t help but wonder how much longer I will be

Waiting.

Another important, but less important side project, is slowly moving forward. I sent an email to the president of a particular fly fishing company asking if they wished to be part of the project. After a week of waiting for a reply, I sent another email. Another week passed and yes, I’m still

Waiting.

It’s not about fishing, but recently I wrote a freelance article and submitted it to the editor of the Seattle Times. After waiting for several days without a reply, I left the editor a voicemail. Then I finally got an email reply, to which I replied. The conversation was still in mid-stride. That was over a week ago, and I find myself once again

Waiting.

As I sit here waiting for things to happen, I was looking forward to my first trout trip of the year. I was invited by  my buddy Derek Young of Emerging Rivers Guide Services, to join him and another guy for a day on the Yakima. Because it’s been since last fall since I held my 4 wt in my hand, I was really looking forward to getting out. I was eager to try out my new Redington Sonic Pro waders, too. Unfortunately Derek had a little trouble with the axle on his boat trailer last weekend. He told me that if the new axle didn’t arrive in time, our trip would have to be postponed. Well, I got the call today—the axle wouldn’t arrive in time. While Derek waits for the axle, I await my first trout outing of the year. It looks like it will be well into April before I get to dust off my 4 wt. Until then, I’ll be

Waiting.

While I wait for one or all of the aforementioned things to happen, I thought I’d watch some paint dry. Luckily there’s a website for that, complete with a time-lapse camera. Check it out HERE. It’s riveting stuff, really.

Go ahead, what are you waiting for?

 

Dealing with two types of silence

I’m very excited because in a single day I eliminated one kind of silence and added another. It’s not as complex as it may sound—read on.

Please.

The first silence was of the deafening variety brought on by a lack of music. You see, over the course of the last year the 4 speakers that make up the stereophonic high-fidelty surround-sound in The Fish Taco have been gradually dying off. Ultimately I was down to one. Listening to music or anything else out of one speaker is downright unpleasant. It blares annoyingly, thinly, into one side of your head. With multi-channel studio recording, underlying music tracks are all but inaudible in most songs. About the only music unaffected by this are Johnny Cash songs, which I have plenty of. But I do like a little variety–mostly the Allman Brothers Band. As I said, annoying. Because of this the last month or so has found me been driving around without the stereo on. The lack of tunes detracts from the pleasure of driving; the silence affords too much time to think, which always gets me into trouble.

Keep reading.

The second silence, which I added, is music to my ears. Because my tires had become quite worn, the hum of the road surface permeated the cab of the truck and the surround-sound, high-fidelty drone was getting unbearable. The whine of the highway wouldn’t be such a bad thing if not for a certain lack of music.  Alas, I’d become stuck between a rock and a hard place—or more specifically, stuck between a lack of rock and a hard surface (that was either very clever, or shamefully stupid).

So, what I did in a single day was go out and get new tires put on my truck and install new speakers. Now the hum of the road is drastically muted, which I marveled at as I drove home from Discount Tire, where I purchased the Cooper Discoverer AT3‘s. Dating back some 25 years, I’ve been a fan of Cooper tires. I had a pair of their Cooper Radial Discoverer AT’s which seemed incapable of wearing out. A friend of mine had the same tires, and the same experience. After reading a review of the AT3’s on a blog called River Mud (how could it be bad, right?) I decided to look more closely at the new Coopers. After discovering that they were significantly cheaper than the competition I decided to bite the bullet. I’d like to add that Discount Tire lived up to their billing and matched the much lower price I’d found online. Buying new tires, while it thrills me on many levels, is no cheap endeavor so saving nearly $70 per tire makes the pill a little easier to swallow. I could have limped down the road for another few months on my spent rubber, but I figured with gas prices going through the roof I better get tires before they follow suit. You should, too. Misery loves company.

Stay with me.

After I got home from the tire shop, I took advantage of a rare dry, warm day and installed the 4 new Polk Audio DXi570 speakers, which I’d purchased from Crutchfield. Since I’m plugging companies (and shamelessly hoping for some kick-backs) I’d like to note that Crutchfield has the best customer service of nearly any company I’ve done business with. I’ve purchased from them before, and will do so again if the need arises. No do-it-yourself vehicle-related project is ever as easy as it sounds on paper, but with Crutchfield’s detailed instructions, it went as smoothly as possible. A little custom fabrication was necessary on the rear speakers, which made me glad for the Dremel Tool, the single best invention since the microwave oven, and beer.

Are you still there?

I realize this is a blog about fishing, or at least it’s supposed to be. So when you stop by and find me writing about things like new tires and speakers for my truck, I fully accept that I’m likely to alienate some of my faithful 13 readers.  So, if you’re still reading, thank you. After all, this is about fishing, indirectly: I need my truck, the Fish Taco, to get to and from fishing locations. And as I drive to and fro, tires and music are important part of the journey.

Now, to fish.

But first I’m going out to the garage to take a big whiff of that new tire smell. It’s music to my nose.

OK, now you can go.

You can see the new tires, and because the window is down you can almost hear the new speakers.

Note: after 5 days of owning the tires and speakers I can happily report that the tires handle exceptionally well in cold rain, of which we’ve had plenty, and the speakers fill the cab with goodness. I’ve been playing “Blue Sky” by the Allman Brothers over and over, and it sounds great, although it’s just wishful thinking.

A pant rant.

Over at Up The Poudre, blogkeeper Sanders inadvertently opened up a whole can of worms with his review of the Redington Sonic Pro Wading Pant.

Yes, you read correctly: Pant. Redington refers to the product in the singular:

In casual, everyday conversation we always refer to the garment in its plural form. When was the last time you heard someone say, “Hey, punk–pull up your damn pant!”?

A couple pairs of baggy pant.

We wear pants, or a pair of pants, but that doesn’t mean we’re wearing more than one even if we have two legs. If ever there were an instance where it should be referred to in the singular it would be the one-legged pirate, but even he wears pants.

Where does the plural come from?  Is it because one pant has two legs?  Fine. But if so then what about shirts?  A shirt has two sleeves and yet remains, in reference, a shirt. Singular. If you say to a person, “Hey, nice shirts!” it suggests they’re wearing more than one shirt. And maybe they are, although I can’t imagine why someone would need to wear multiple shirts. For the record a t-shirt worn under an outer shirt is acceptable.

 

The matter of shoes just adds fuel to the fire.  One shoe is just that: a shoe. Two shoes, or a pair of shoes, are plural, obviously. But shoes are different than pants. Shoes may be a pair, but they are individually separate, whereas pants are conjoined. Even though he wears only one pant, he’s not Spongebob Squarepant. Or is he?

 

When you buy a pair, you’re actually getting one. One way to make sure you’re getting more than one is to buy several pairs of pants, but who has that kind of money burning a hole in the pocket of their pant?

But back to the Redington Sonic Pro Wading…apparel. It’s an interesting “in-between” product and I can see the appeal for when you need some protection from the cold water but don’t want to end up panting in the heat while wearing a pair of full-on waders. Or is it wader?

It’s all so confusing and the complexity will drive you crazy if you let it. Or at least I speak for myself.

Anyway, Sanders clears up any confusion with a solid, honest review HERE.