Photo of the Month: Bycatch

Showing posts with label Reflection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reflection. Show all posts

Monday, April 12, 2021

Just Had a Camera Along

Lately, I have gotten away from carrying a camera everywhere I go. Oh, sure, I have my cellphone. I also snap way too many cellphone pictures, but they often leave something to be desired compared to what a dedicated camera can accomplish. Thus, when it so happened that I had my camera in tow this evening, I was prepared for the sunset picture I stumbled across. 

The last time I saw an amazing sunset at this same spot was not too long ago. I went whizzing by and had a brief realization of the beautiful reflection there. Still, I was in a hurry for some reason or another. Furthermore, my camera was safe at home and I knew the cellphone just could not do the scene justice. Tonight, I was again racing past when I saw it. A perfect calm reflection of the sky in this little pond. And tonight I had my camera.

I'll have to go back to this spot again. The opportunities are just too perfect. This initial batch of pictures came out okay for a quick 30 seconds of shooting. None of this would have happened except that I just had a camera along. I need to do this more often. Anyway, here are my favorites. 






Saturday, December 20, 2014

Cataloochee Return

This year I have easily set a new personal record for most visits to Cataloochee in a single year.  Last weekend I traveled to Asheville to visit some friends.  On Saturday afternoon we made the drive over to Cataloochee.  They had never been and I wanted to show them the elk and the historic buildings, not to mention the overall scenery.  Here are a few shots from The Return.












Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring Mix

Have you ever been in the grocery store salad section and noticed how many types of salad mixes there are?  The one that always makes me wonder is called a "spring mix," but for some reason it is available year round.  Maybe there are just a bunch of confused plants somewhere.  As it turns out, my favorite spring mix is not the salad, but the mix of fish available this time of year in some of my warm water ponds and lakes.

Two good options exist nearby that are stocked with trout during the winter.  That means that as the waters warm, I can go on a trout trip and also scratch a bluegill itch while I'm at it or the other way around if that's what I'm feeling for that particular trip.  Anyway, this past Thursday it was a trout trip first of all.

Back at my local state park, I found the creek's waters even calmer than before, same thing with the lake for that matter.  So pictures of the reflections I found along the banks and shoreline were back on the agenda.


The midge hatch that was barely happening on my last trip has progressed nicely.  In fact, after brushing off one insect it occurred to me that I probably should have checked to see if it was actually a midge or a mosquito.  I'm hoping midge on this one, but I guess it is close to that time of year.

Anyway, so the fish were rising to a pretty decent midge hatch, but I wanted to watch them chase down my fly.  Since they are still relatively fresh stockers, I knew that I could count on them to chase whatever I tossed at them.  The bead head Simi Seal Leech was put back to work.  My success on this particular trip was tempered by much clearer and lower water than before, and I was glad that I had brought a 4 weight instead of the 5 weight I used on the last trip.


Just to be clear, I'm definitely not complaining at all.  Just stating the fact that I didn't catch as many trout as the last trip.  Of course, the locals are still hard at it, each person trying to catch their limit that I'm sure will be headed home for dinner.  To be fair, it is better that these particular trout are caught and consumed.  In another 3 months the water temperatures will be getting a bit warm for trout.  I've spooked trout in the summer that have run way up into the little tributaries and are gasping for cooler water near small springs.  We are talking about streams that are a couple inches deep and maybe 2 feet across.

In the meantime, the fish will continue to take on more natural coloration.  By May, the rainbows will be downright beautiful, at least the ones that are left.  After that, it is a shame that they have to die in the heat.  There are some BIG mayflies that hatch later in the year in the creek.  Imagine if there were 20 inch browns and rainbows in there.

By the time I decided I had entertained the rainbow trout enough, I started wanting to catch some bluegill.  No problem! I just needed to hike down to the lake and look for some sunny spots.  Along the way I paused for more pictures, then continued my hike.



As I hiked around the lake, I kept one eye on the trail and the other on the water.  The bluegill are grouped up right now, mostly in warmer sunny shallow spots.  They will be spreading out more and more over the next few weeks as they feed heavily right up until the spawn.  I finally found my fish and had a blast catching a few.


Each good fishing story has at least one tale about the one that got away.  I'll keep this brief, but will say that I never actually saw the fish so it could have been a true giant.  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.  The fish hit on the second strip after I had cast to a down tree along the shore.  I thought I saw a shadow racing after the fly but that could be my imagination.  The fish ran hard so it could have been a big 'gill using it's body to fight or it may have been an early season bass.  Either way the 4 weight couldn't turn the fish and the fly came loose shortly after.  At least I know where to go back and try again.

By this time, the sun was getting low, and I was getting both tired and hungry.  Heading back to my car, I was pleased with another successful outing and glad that I didn't have far to drive back home.  I'm sure I'll be back here again soon!




Saturday, March 08, 2014

Hike and Fish

As I mentioned in my last post, I always am keeping my eye out for opportunities to combine hiking and fishing.  Hiking helps me focus on my surroundings a bit better.  While fishing, I tend to get so caught up on what is happening on the water that I forget to notice the scenery.  The hiking allows me to enjoy the best of both worlds.  Wandering through the woods with a camera over my shoulder and a fly rod in hand is my favorite way to get out in nature.

A favorite local destination is Cumberland Mountain State Park.  In the winter, Byrd Lake is the recipient of quite a few rainbow trout.  As we move into spring, the trout that have managed to elude the catch and fry crowd start to color up and look more healthy.  After all, trout weren't meant to live their lives in concrete lined runs.  They quickly begin eating more natural food and can usually be found rising to midges in late winter.

Even though I've walked this lake since I was a little kid, I never know what I might find so the camera must come along.  On this particular day, it was first employed in photographing some of the trout I was catching.  One of my favorite patterns for stocked trout is the bead head Simi Seal Leech.  Incredibly easy to tie, it also happens to hold up pretty well to a good chewing.  This picture gives you a good view of this pattern.


The magic that encourages me to carry a camera happened at the upper end of the lake where the creek is still flowing.  Here the waters of the creek were so smooth and calm that the forest above was perfectly reflected.



This stream can contain trout as the fish move up out of the lake.  The casting is tight though and because of heavy silting over the years, wading is not advised.


The rest of my hike was uneventful other than catching a few small bluegill.  It is great to see the warm water species starting to get active.  That is always a sure fire sign that spring is about to arrive!