Photo of the Month: Bycatch

Showing posts with label Snow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Snow. Show all posts

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Summer Snowstorm in Yellowstone

The same weather system that brought such enjoyable fishing on the Gibbon River turned decidedly colder as the day wore on. After fishing longer than I deserved, the rain had begun in earnest and my lovely wife was getting cold and wet watching me fish. It was time to give up on the fishing and look for warmer ways to spend the remainder of our day. Getting in the car, we cranked up the heat and debated where to go. A late day drive seemed like a good idea. Perhaps a bear or wolf might be out wandering around in the deteriorating weather looking for one last meal before the weather got too nasty.

After some discussion, we pointed the car towards Mammoth Hot Springs and embarked on a long loop drive through the northern reaches of Yellowstone National Park. Rain was fairly steady by this time although not particularly heavy. In fact, if it was much lighter I probably could have fished the Gardner River. As is usually the case, the rain mostly eased off in the vicinity of Mammoth Hot Springs. Some of the resident elk were out grazing and I snapped a couple of quick pictures out the window as we rolled past. 



A quick restroom stop allowed me to get a picture or two of one of my favorite western birds. Magpies are so striking and one of the big treats for me when I travel in the Rocky Mountain states. Since I don't get to see them often, I have to try and take at least a few pictures of them when I'm in their native range. Someone had dumped some trail mix or something similar in the middle of the parking lot. Magpies were coming from all around to get in on the excitement. I patiently waited in the car and snapped pictures as they swooped in for a snack. Here are a couple of my favorite pictures.



While the rain was minimal at Mammoth, we still had to travel back to camp at Norris and our intended route travelled up and over Dunraven Pass. The loop would take us to nearly 9,000 feet in elevation and with the cold weather, I was wondering if the pass would still be open. Snow was a distinct possibility even though it was still summer supposedly. The calendar said August, but the chill in the air suggested an early winter might be descending on Yellowstone.

As we began our long ascent towards the pass, the views opened up long enough to see what was happening up towards Mount Washburn. At this point, I was certain we would see snow. The only question that remained was how much. 


Thankfully, there were not too many other vehicles out and about. We were able to take our time and enjoy what will likely be the only August snowstorm either of us ever experience. The woods were magical. The snow was heavy and wet, coating all the trees with a thick white blanket. I was mildly nervous as I didn't relish the idea of spending the night out on a snowy road, but eventually we were over the pass and back on a downhill grade. 



By the time we reached Canyon, the snow had turned back to a fine light rain which continued all the way back to our camp at Norris. The snow stayed just a few hundred feet above us that night, but when morning broke I had a good idea. With the fresh snow, it was time to visit the Tetons. Check back soon for pictures from that adventure!


Monday, March 21, 2016

Welcome Spring!

Just like that, the calendar says that spring is here. The early spring wild flowers are getting going now and in fact some of the very earliest have already peaked in a few locations. The garden has been tilled a couple of times now and plants are sprouting here in the kitchen, just waiting until I can put them in the ground in another month or so. Despite all of this, apparently Mother Nature does not read the calendar.

Yesterday, on my way home from a weekend of camping, hiking, and enjoying time with friends, I drove through a near whiteout. That is rare here in Tennessee, but to be fair, snow in the spring is to be expected. Spring usually happens in fits and starts, with the cold short days of winter only grudgingly giving in to longer warm days. The junction of the seasons can be both maddening and stunningly beautiful. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

Forsythia after a spring snow storm in Tennessee
"Snowy Forsythia"


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Water for California

Things have been awful quiet around here. No, I haven't given up on blogging although I understand how that could appear to be the case. Instead, things have been busy and not on the fishing front either. I've been blessed to have some good family time lately. A trip to California to see family allowed me some time to enjoy spring like we will have here in a few more weeks.

Fruit trees were loaded down with oranges, tangerines, lemons, kiwis and grapefruits that I enjoyed immensely at meal times. Just run outside, grab whatever fruit sounded good straight off the tree, and go back in to eat!

Tangerines on the tree in California

I also looked over some local water and stopped in at a local fly shop, Fly Fishing Specialities. This was a nice shop with a superb fly tying department. Stop in and check it out if you are in the area. It is well worth your time. I didn't take any fishing gear with me on this trip but fully intend to return on a longer trip some time in the future to fish a little.

One thing I did confirm was that the snowpack up in the Sierra Nevada mountains is at an acceptable level, something that is a rarity as of the last few years. In fact, this should at least be a normal year in terms of runoff. Both the trout and people of California should be glad for that.

Sierra Nevada Mountains snowbank in California

Lake Tahoe snow

Finally, I always have my camera with me and this trip was no different. Here are a few shots I got while out in California.

Abandoned rock quarry water reflection

California coastal redwood

Sunset in California

Yolo Bypass Great Egret

Yolo Bypass white faced ibis

Monday, March 02, 2015

A Perspective on the 2015 Ice Storm

Here are two photographs from the ice storm of 2015. When I awoke around 3:00 a.m. to the sound of gunshots snapping limbs, I knew that morning's light would bring a scene much different from what I saw the evening before. Incredibly, the really good show held off until after daylight, allowing us to sit and watch out the windows as limbs and even whole trees came crashing down.

Once I have a little more time to digest the event I'll have a lot more written about it I'm sure, but for now, here is what it looked like outside my bedroom window looking down from the 2nd story. This tree does not have many branches left. They all came down in a crash of sound and glistening ice.


While we were still debating the safety of venturing outside, the neighbors kindly came out with a chainsaw and a large tractor, making quick work of the road and even our driveway. Now that is being neighborly!


Perhaps the saddest part of this whole deal? I haven't been fishing for two whole weeks.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Snow for Thanksgiving

Just let that sink in a little while.  Our third snow of the year fell overnight.  In recent years, we have often been lucky to get that many snows in a whole winter.  Maybe we are headed back to the deep freeze from my childhood when regular heavy snowfall was common here on the Cumberland Plateau.  Admittedly this one is more of a dusting and my friends from Colorado are probably chuckling as they ski in deep powder high in the Rockies.  Still, it is snow and we take every little bit we can get.  The woods are beautifully decorated with just enough snow to make the scenery interesting without actually completely covering everything in white.  The muted tones of winter blend with the white to make a rather enjoyable scene.


My poor canoe is shivering under a thin layer of the white stuff.  Probably right now it is wishing for another trip to the Everglades where at least it would be warm.  In fact, I'm thinking about another trip that way, this time with a lot more fishing involved.  So far nothing has been decided but the possibility is definitely intriguing.


The hemlock trees have collected more snow than some of the others, mostly because they have somewhere to collect all that white goodness.  The birds are strangely absent although that may have more to do with the fact that I still need to put out some seed on the feeders.  Occasional snow flakes are still falling but I doubt we'll see any more accumulation.


Each year, it seems, we get snow on Thanksgiving.  Most years it is just a few flurries, but they are there nevertheless.  Each year, I am thankful for that snow, mostly because we never have as much as I would like (yes, I definitely miss Colorado).  This year, in addition to the snow, I am thankful for friends and family, good health, and the opportunity this year to do something that I love.  Guiding has been an incredible journey thus far, and I have been blessed far beyond what I expected in my first season.  Yes, there have been a lot of difficulties over the past year, but life goes on and I'm thankful for all the blessings I have.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving today and maybe can even get out in the next couple of days to wet a line.  We are getting pretty low on time to do that this year so enjoy it while you can!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Already?

After an early declaration of fall, I'm also ready to make an early announcement for winter.  At least the early fall announcement was merely a few days early.  Unfortunately or fortunately depending on who you are, this winter business is starting more than a month earlier than the official start on December 21.  In case you need some convincing, here are some pictures from our 3 inches of snow on November 1.  Oh, and this next week will feature another cold Canadian airmass with highs struggling to get much out of the 30s by late week.  Is winter really here or just a strange fall?  Only time will tell.  Regardless, I'm still plotting on taking some late season fishing trips.

Yep, 3 inches exactly. 


The snow was wind driven, sticking to the sides of the trees for a beautiful effect. 


This tomato looks like it is wearing a white hat.  It just needs eyes and a mouth! 


Needless to say, the peppers were a little shocked. 


A few hearty trees were still holding on to their green outfits. 


There is nothing better than a silent forest after a snow fall.   


Fall, meet winter. 


This tree had a lot of snow stuck on the windward side. 


I found a leaf that had stuck itself into the snow on the deck railing.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dogwood Winter

Right on cue, as the dogwood in our front yard started to bloom, an epic cool down arrived.  After temperatures in the 70s for several days, waking up to snow flying outside my window was a rather abrupt reminder that spring temperatures are never particularly reliable.  Indeed, even now, the snow is nearly gone after covering everything this morning with a fresh coat of white.  Temperatures should warm into the 40s before tonights hard freeze.  Some of the plants are already looking tired and cold while others are still trying to act as if spring didn't hit the pause button.

When I got up, I grabbed a camera and headed straight outside.  Around here you never know how long the snow will hang around.  Now I'm glad I was in such a hurry.  Here are a few of the pictures I took.

The woods received a fresh coat of white.

The maples are wishing they had waited a few more days to leaf out. 

The daffodils are already feeling pretty cold. 

Forsythia brings some bright cheer to an otherwise drab day. 

Ground with lots of sun exposure was still warm enough to melt most of the snowfall. 

Redbuds are just starting to bloom.  The ones who haven't are probably much better off now.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Colorado Outing


Even though I've moved back to Tennessee, I still love fishing in Colorado.  Yesterday I made it out to the stream to battle the wind and hopefully find a few fish.  Initially I was thinking of hitting Boulder Creek, but at the last second I decided to make a run over the mountain so to speak and fish South Boulder Creek instead.  I'm glad I did.

When I arrived at the trailhead, I could see glimpses of the stream below and the most obvious feature was a distinct lack of snow and ice on the pools.  Looking good so far!  When I got down to the water after a short walk, I tied on a streamer to bounce around a couple of pools.  When absolutely nothing seemed interested, I quickly changed over to a two fly rig consisting of a mysis shrimp pattern and a small midge.  A little stick on indicator a couple of feet up completed the rig, and I got back to casting again.  It only took 3-4 casts before the indicator hesitated.  When I set, I saw a flash but missed the connection.  Thankful that the fish were at least interested, I worked the pool a bit more before heading on downstream to some new water.  

I came to a favorite pool that reminds me a LOT of a pool in the Smokies on Lynn Camp Prong.  The water flows through both holes in an almost identical fashion and it just so happens that it makes for some very tough drifts.  I was fishing in hiking boots so repositioning across the creek wasn't an option.  Thankfully, since it is winter, several fish were stacked in a slow back eddy on my side of the pool.  Several drifts around that eddy and 3 fish later, I was pretty happy about how things were going.




The wind was becoming increasingly annoying however.  It was blowing straight down the canyon in fits and bursts that made casting frustrating from time to time.  After another pool and another trout, I decided that it wasn't worth fighting any longer and headed back towards town.  


Stopping by Boulder Creek, I made a few half hearted casts with a streamer for old time's sake but there was very little open water.  That should be changing in the next few days thankfully with highs forecast to be in the 50s and even 60s for the next week or so.  I'm hoping to get another chance to wet a line while I'm here in Colorado, but the big news is that all my paperwork is back to the NPS for my Commercial Use permit to guide in the Great Smoky Mountains.  I'm predicting that late next week into next weekend will see some fantastic fishing in the Park.  More on that over at the fishing report on Trout Zone Anglers.  

Monday, December 16, 2013

Still Some Left

After the recent arctic outbreak here in Colorado, I'm sure that most people don't want to be reminded of how good they could have it.  You know, those nice fall days where the colors are peaking but the daytime temperatures are still reasonable...?  Or maybe you will think of spring with its increasing BWO hatches and hungry trout.  Anyway, whatever it is, I discovered I still have some fall pictures left, quite a lot of them actually.  So here are a few more of my favorites from back in October.

The Flatirons after an early season snow shower

Nature's Canvass in the upper Crystal River Valley

County Rd. 12 approaching Kebbler Pass

Marcellina Mountain

Aspen near Kebbler Pass

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Cool Down

As November gave way to December, there were still some great fishing opportunities to be had locally.  Then it cooled off just a little.  From highs in the 50s and even 60s, we are now going to be lucky to get to 10 or so above zero.  The low temperatures last night were well below zero.  As you can imagine, open water is going to be closing quickly now.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I made a trip over to El Dorado Canyon to find some solitude.  A recent snowstorm had both coated the stream banks and chased away other anglers.  I'm just fine with that.  If it takes a cool down to get some water to myself so be it.  Rocks were already gaining ice caps, and this was before our recent plunge into the deep freeze.


The snow on the plains had barely been a couple of inches.  In the canyon it had piled higher though, up to 5 or 6 inches.  Scrambling up and down the steep stream banks was an adventure but I just took things slow and made sure to not take any serious falls.  This included NOT wearing waders, but instead just wearing hiking boots.  Long ago, it became obvious that wading boots encourage me to take risks that I shouldn't even be considering.  My solution now is to just stay out of the water.  Yes, there is less water I can reach, but it also forces me to creatively improve my casting as well as try new methods.  I tend to fish streamers a lot more when I'm stuck on the bank which isn't too bad of a trade off if you ask me.


Anyway, as I walked up the access road and stared almost straight down to the stream, the thought of scrambling down was a bit frightening.  Eventually, I was almost to the top of the steepest stretch before I found a decent path down to the water.  Here, the danger factor was in the "broken leg" range if I fell instead of "likely death."  Oh well, surely I could drag myself with my hands out of the canyon.  I'm glad I snuck down where I did.  The browns were small but willing.  Getting around the banks was a bit tricky, but I navigated enough stream to feel that the scramble down had been worth it.


When I discovered the road was now much easier to get to, I decided to jump out and head back down the canyon.  Eventually I found myself fishing a hole near the car as the sun started to sink below the horizon.  Already shaded by the clouds and canyon walls, the stream was becoming even darker.  Finally, as the temperature was rapidly dropping, one last nice brown was eager to eat.  A quick picture, and the fish was back in the water, and I was headed to the warmth of my car.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Two Days

Two days make quite a difference in Colorado.  Just this past Monday I was fishing during a heavy snowstorm.  Aside from the stream not being frozen over, it could have been the middle of winter even though in reality it is now late April.  On Wednesday, the last of the snow was melting along Boulder Creek.  I took a picture of the same pool I fished and photographed on Monday.



It looks just a little bit different.  Maybe its just wishful thinking, but I'm guessing that we have seen the last of the snow.  Every time I think spring has arrived, winter laughs in my face so time will only tell if we have finally turned the corner.  

There is a lot (finally!) of snow in the high country ready to melt and head down the hill so my fishing my start trending towards warm water options in the near future.  I'm starting to consider an early summer trip to chase the salmon fly hatch on the other side of the state as well.  School will soon be out so things will be getting more enjoyable for me!!!