Friday, January 29, 2016

Vet Gives The Go Ahead

After Kaiser's bout with bloat in December I accepted the fact that the wingshooting season for us was over.  But after a visit to the vet, she had given us the all clear to begin normal life.  With only one week left in the season, I decided to bite the bullet and buy all the bird stamps.
We made it to the Eastern Sierras late afternoon on Tuesday.  I tried a small creek that usually produces but without any luck.  I then paid a visit to my old friend Dave who let me know that the LADWP had dried up some ponds and diverted it to a new location.  So we went to check it out only to find a pair of hunters leaving the area.  No birds in sight.
The next morning we hunted the river and managed to flush a pair of mallards too far out of range. Not long after I managed a shot at a drake ringneck only to miss.  Afterwards we decided to head to the Upper to do some fishing and found the river loaded with fishermen on every bend.  What the heck?  Why some many people midweek?  I didn't even want to bother so we checked out some nearby areas for duck but without any luck.  So we headed down the valley.  I was looking for some old ponds but ended up wasting time driving around.  I didn't really hunt the area last year as Jeff invited me to his duck club most weekends so my memory was bit hazing as to where these locations were exactly.  When I did find these areas they were void of ducks.  So I tried some parts of the river I knew usually held birds.  The Owens is getting harder and harder to jump shoot.  There simply is too much overgrowth.  You can barely get to the water anymore.  In a year or two a lot of the water will be inaccessible.  We did mange to see a covey of quail but they were in a residential area likely wild "pets" of the residents.
Thursday morning I decided we will head to the Upper and fish for a couple hours and hunt the rest of the day.  On the way up we saw a herd of 40 or more deer all does.  Geese lined the river but would have been impossible to hunt as there is no cover to conceal a stalk. Anyway I wanted to rest Kaiser somewhat as he is not in full hunting strength.  I did not want to push him too hard.
Jeff had suggested a new streamer technique for the Upper that he used with great success in the past so I wanted to try it.  By 9am there were all ready four cars on the river.  I managed a spot on the river and tried my luck for two hours.  No success.  We headed down the valley in search of birds.
The old man asked to stop by a shop to get some beef jerky.  I said I can do better and took him to the Mahogany Smoked Meats.  After sampling a few we ended with the elk and wild boar jerky.  We started our way south stopping a few locations.  I managed to jump another pair.  After missing the first shot I carefully aimed at the second.  Clearly missing even more.  I completely stopped my swing and shot under him as he was raising.  Eventually we flushed another pair, I connected and saw the drake mallard fall on the opposite bank in the reeds.  I had to navigate a way for the dog and I to cross.  When we did we looked for the bird only to lose it.  I can't believe we lost it.  We looked for at least half an hour or more.  I marked it well but it either dove or somehow swam away while we were trying to cross the river.  The wingshooting season ends this Sunday and it is unlikely we'll head out again but at least Kaiser was able to do what he loves at least once this year. I think in the future I will forego cast and blast type trips.  For me it's too distracting, either focus on fishing or focus on hunting.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Still Looking For Those Monster Snowbows

After last Sunday's outing and with monster snowbows were still on our minds we headed out Friday for another shot at this migratory beasts.   Friday's fishing was tough.  I manged to get two to bite but just could not get them to stick.  I saw the first one perhaps in the 20 inch range come out of a shallow undercut and take my nymph but he spit the fly out just after I tried to set the hook.  Though I did not see her, the other slammed my streamer hard in a deep undercut.  While trying to set the hook I yanked the fly right out of her mouth.
Saturday we fished in near blizzard conditions.   Snow dumped on us off and on in the morning.  By the afternoon the storm passed.  With it our hopes of activating the fish.  I could only manage a 10-12 incher for my all my efforts and lost another of similar size. Well it's better than the skunk, it's still disappointing.  Time is running out for these winter beasts before they head back to the lake.
I'll try again.  Hopefully I'll get my beast before time runs out.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Suicide Run

Long story short.  Six hour middle of the night drive.  Fish for four hours. Lost one.  Chul lost two; both in the 20 inch range.  Managed a modest 15 incher to hand.  Another six hour drive home.  Back by midnight.
Sinn 856 UTC back on the wrist.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Different Type Of Hunting

Given the fact that hunting with my dog is likely over for this season, I decided to head out to the outdoors to find a different quarry all together.  I'm a complete novice when it comes to mushroom hunting but I thought I'd give it a try.  If anything it would be nice excuse to get some much needed exercise.
From my understanding it's not really mushroom season in the traditional sense but the way the California weather has been acting nature is in a bit off it's schedule.  Much of the woods acts as if it's spring.  Ferns are out which normally grows after winter.  We did not find any edible mushroom but we did find a few polypores.  Some may have been Turkey Tails and I believe the ones pictured above are Gilled Polypores but I could easily be mistaken.
Above are some pictures of the mycelium.  When conditions are right, the mycelium forms a fruitbody, pushing the mushroom up in order to disperse spores.
On the way back to the truck, we were shocked to see some domesticated turkey in the parking lot.  Apparently someone abandoned them recently and left them to fend for themselves. 

Will Always Remember Her First

On the day before New Year's Eve, my niece's full last day in California, I decided to take her our fishing in an attempt to get her her first fish.  I knew Mission Viejo Lake had recently stocked the day prior and I called my mate to see if he could get us in.  Without hesitation he obliged.  Since I do not own any fishing equipment other than fly I asked if he could bring his spin gear and some powerbait.
I planned on both Chul and I fish flies and Juliette mess around with the spin gear.  It was not long before we were on a fish.  Chul had casted the rod for her and in no time at all was on a fish.  He handled the rod to Juliette and guided her on fighting the fish.
We landed the 15 inch Tailwater stocker in my new Brodin net.  We ready our selves for pictures to text back to her parents.  After a few I lost the grip of the rainbow and as it flopped around in the boat it scaring her somewhat.  But it was not long before she regained her confidence and began admiring her first catch.
The fishing essentially shutdown after that and both fly fishermen came home without a catch.  After two hours we called it a day.  I've never seen Juliette so proud and excited.  When we came home she could not help but let everyone know how she did and to show off her first fish.  We had planned to watch the new Star Wars movie together in the afternoon but decided to memorialize her catch and make a gyotaku print of the fish instead.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Rough Way to End The Year

It was a rough last few weeks of 2015 as Kaiser was taken to the emergency room in the middle of the night and operated on for bloat.  He has since recovered with the staples and Elizabethan collar removed but now is treated for heart arrhythmia.  Looks as though the hunting season is officially over.  It ended before it began.