"It's just like Schvitzerland!!!"

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Flag of United States  , Ca
Monday, September 5, 2011

That's what Ilana's Father said when he saw the Sierra Nevada mountains for the first time.  And there is so much snow still on the peaks of the Sierras from last year's heavy winter that indeed the comparison does hold water.....too much water for good fly fishing I'm afraid.  Here it is well into  September and the streams are still swollen with runoff.  Amazing.  Yet I have found fish, plenty of them.  I have already caught and released a truck load of trout in the last few weeks including rainbows, brookies and a trophy 21" brown trout that had to be six pounds, easily the biggest and baddest brown trout I have ever caught.  I have caught several other fish out of the East Walker River in the 19" range, fish so big they could swallow a rat or duckling whole.   I guess it's kind of like roping steers in a rodeo or riding bulls, without the broken bones.  Sometimes when you hook a good fish they do launch out of the gate like a bucking bronc; "yahoo!"   The biggest monster I hooked jumped completely out of the water right in front of me twice.  Somehow I kept my cool and bowed to him both times (not in homage; you lower the rod when a big fish jumps so that he doesn't come down on taught line and break you off).  That trout was easily the biggest I have ever hooked; nearly as long as my arm.  I estimated him at 30".  Had to estimate because I lost him after a battle that dragged me a hundred yards down-stream in heavy current, holding on to bushes along the bank to keep from taking a swim.  I held on to him but could not move him as he headed East, so far out that my entire fly-line was off the reel and almost all of my backing too; Moby Trout, with my little fly in his jaw.  The only thing to do was to point the rod at the fish, grab the last of the fly line and hold on....."plink!"  Adios my friend.    The local fly shop proprietor said a trout of that size (and there are some in this stream that are bigger) would weigh in at nine or ten pounds.  Of course this kind of drama is what we fly fishers are continually looking for; battles of epic proportions that we hope to win before setting our quarry free.   The kind of fish I have been cradling in my hands and reviving in the current are the kind of huge wild trout I have only seen on fly fishing magazine covers before now, before here.   I never thought I'd be fighting and catching trophy fish like these.  I have no pictures of them because I fish alone and the stream is too treacherous to risk carrying my camera in.  One false step and I'm on my butt and the camera is toast.  You'll just have to take my word for it, no matter how many of these bad boys I catch, each one is a mind-blowing experience.
     Ilana is on her tour now and if it's Monday she must be in Las Vegas.   I call her every night and she is doing okay.  The tour is exhausting, too fast paced, too much to see and not enough time.  She got a big group, 55 people I think she said, and that's a lot to cater to and keep track of.  And she got a bus driver who doesn't know where he's going and keeps taking wrong turns, which is embarrassing.  But she's held it all together and is doing great and I'm proud of her. 
     We took a few hikes together while she was still here, including a five mile trek up the trail above Twin Lakes and back, which I've included pictures of.  The area is thick with aspen trees and will be spectacular in a few weeks when their fluttering, yellow, gold and red leaves burn like fire in the late afternoon sun.  We also hiked along Lee Vining Creek and later the Tufa trail at Mono Lake.  You know about Tufa don't you?  It's a kind of limestone stalagmite formed on the lake bottom when calcium from underwater springs mixes with water with a high carbonate content, as found in Mono Lake.   It is really cool stuff and with a little imagination you can see all kinds of animals, people and things in the shapes.
     While Ilana's been away I've been doing a lot of hiking, fishing, and exploring, reading and fly tying, photography and playing with Chance, more fishing and playing with Chance, yet more fishing.....well, you get the picture.  At least there's one responsible adult in the family.  Well, I am semi-retired you know, though we're not exactly sure what the "semi" means yet.  Presumably I too will find work this Winter, if anyone is interested in hiring a semi-old person who is still pretty handy at a lot of things.....which is one of the big reasons she keeps me around I suspect. 
     Time to get this blog out of the can and onto the screens.

     Be well everyone.

               Marty
    
    
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Comments

your wifey on

Hey, I keep yoj around for way more than you handiness...I love you very much and am grateful for your being, even if I don't show it. I kind of discovered something. If I sleep more than 7 hours I get groggy, grumpy and wake up with headaches. So, no more sleeping too much. it's a waste of time any, isn't it. Loved your blog. You are a very good writer. Do more of it!
Sitting at the Oxbow Public Market in Napa enjoying a good coffee and muffin. Wish you were here to share it.
I didn't get the packet yet for the next tour which makes me nervous. Will probably pick it up on Wed and then head back to Ellie's for Rosh Hashanah dinner. Call me when you can.

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