Posts Tagged ‘fishing’

Another Park with Mostly Tree Prisons (Day 110)

November 6th, 2009 2 comments

So the north part of the park has all these hiking trails, but the ranger informs me that they’re all tree prisons (not her exact words). But then there’s this hike-in lake that, she says, has pretty good fishing.

No park rangers have ever fished. I’m sure of it. Well, whatever.

It was about a 4 mile round-trip hike to this lake and, yes, tree prison. The lake was okay-looking. I saw fish jumping, but none biting. Went to the river nearby — similar story. I’m trying to figure out how this took an entire day. Eh.

first-creek_lakeThe lake.

nolin-riverThe river.

nolin-river_fishingThe fishing gear.

houchins-ferryThe ferry.

I think I needed rooster tails. Was there two and a half hours trying to catch something. That was probably enough to prove the point.

Also! Did laundry at the campground when I got back. And took a cold shower that cost me $2. And it got down into the low-30s that night.


Moose River to Nina Moose Lake to Agnes Lake (And Then Back) (Photos) (Day 55)

September 12th, 2009 2 comments

bwca_moose-river-parkingDay 1: Rudolph?



bwca_grasswaterThere’s probably some better way to crop this one.



bwca_turtleA fierce lake turtle!

bwca_walleyeDay 2: A fierce lake walleye!






bwca_return-in-fogDay 3: Heading Home


Overall, a pretty cool trip. I think going solo made it a little more of an adventure than it otherwise would’ve been — the place has to be a haven for Boy Scout troops, guys’ weeks out, etc. Also:

  • The solitude here is amazing. You go and find a campsite and you basically don’t need to remember that humanity exists after that point — which is a little unsettling when you’re out there by yourself.
  • The bird sounds here were all foreign too me.
  • Even the squirrels seemed off-model (I think they’re red squirrels rather than whatever the other kind are).
  • The lakes all do look kind of the same.
  • When paddling home in the fog Thursday morning, I actually got to use my compass (thanks!).
  • Paddling against the wind is one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever done multiple times. Fortunately it only happened for about the last hour of paddling on Day 1.
  • Had never caught a fish while paddling my own boat before. Probably a good thing it wasn’t a 30-lb. northern pike — that might’ve gotten awkward.
  • When I was coming out of the lake, the folks just putting in were asking me if it was crowded. Relative to Boundary Waters? No idea if that constitutes crowded. There are, like, seven campsites on Lake Agnes and they were all taken, but it didn’t *feel* crowded.
  • For having no padding under me (and no stuffing on the bottom of my sleeping bag), I slept remarkably well out there.
  • Finally got to dig into my MREs. The chili and macaroni one was excellent. Even the penne with vegetarian sausage was good.
  • Pretty much all the water out there is brown, I’m guessing from all the tannins in the trees filtering through the soil? Anyway — when you put that through your own water filter, it’s still brown when you drink it.

Close enough.


A Bad Day Fishing (Day 47, Part 2)

September 4th, 2009 3 comments

11:30 — Finally leave the house and head into downtown Sheridan.

11:50 — Arrive, find a sporting goods store, realize they don’t have any fishing experts there, leave.

12:00 — End up on Main Street, find another sporting goods store, realize they don’t do any fishing there, ask them if there’s a fly fishing store nearby. It’s across the street.

12:05 — Arrive at fly fishing store. They don’t sell any non-fly gear there though. I buy a license. Guy knows about fishing and likes talking about it. Guy recommends Twin Lakes, says it takes a half-hour to get there from downtown and that there are signs that clearly point it out from FS Road 26.

12:35 — Go back to the first store and buy a couple more lures.

12:45 — Leave store on “half-hour” journey to Twin Lakes.

1:45 — Arrive at Twin Lakes picnic area, but there are no lakes. Exit car and look around the area: there is a river. Wonder whether by “lake”, they mean “slow part of the river”. Decide they probably don’t.

2:05 — Cross the road to where I saw a sign for Sawmill Lake. Follow a trail for a while before I realize that it’s kind of dumb to follow a trail when you don’t know how long it is.

2:35 — Get back to car and head further into the wilderness area until I find a map by a pull-out. The map indicates only one area called “Twin Lakes”: the picnic area.

2:45 — Turn around and head to the Ranger Station.

3:05 — Arrive at Ranger Station. A helpful volunteer there says he doesn’t know how to get to Twin Lakes, but he has a map. It looks like the lakes are on another road next to the picnic area — probably the road that I didn’t go on because it was gated shut. The road doesn’t look very long.

3:25 — Arrive back at the Twin Lakes picnic area. Get out of car, get fishing gear, start heading up the closed road.

3:30 — See the lower lake, decide to head to the upper lake.

3:40 — Reach upper lake. It looks windy, so return to lower lake.

3:50 — Get gear out, put lure on swivel, open bale to cast, notice that the reel is missing its handle. Cast once to see whether it’s reasonable to reel in without a handle on the reel. It isn’t.

3:55 — Hand-spin the bale until all the line is back in. Head back toward car.

4:00 — Dig around the back of the truck looking for the handle. Find it. Put it on the reel. Try reeling a few times. Realize that there has to be something that holds the handle onto the reel, otherwise it’ll keep falling off. Dig around back of truck looking for handle lug. Find it. Screw it into the handle. Line is now all fouled up. Break off ten feet of line. Re-tie swivel and feet it through eyelets.

4:25 — Gather up gear, head back out to lakes again.

4:30 — Arrive at lower lake. Cast ten times. Eight of these casts come back with grass.

4:40 — Head for upper lake.

4:50 — Arrive at upper lake, maneuver around to the side of the lake where there’s something like a spit going out into the water (which is obviously much lower than it’s been).

5:00 — Put lure onto swivel, cast.

5:35 — Having caught nothing, seen no fish jump and no birds swooping down, realize that I should probably get back to my bro’s house before someone sends the police after me. Leave.

6:30 — Return to bro’s house.

I think the more apt question is whether it beats an *average* day working. Yes, certainly it beats an average day working. The best day working? I mean, the best day working at my old job included having cool vendor people take me go-karting or to basketball games, so probably not. A bad day — let alone the worst day — fishing probably isn’t better than the best day working (depending on what you do for a living). But still: better than an average work day, rest assured.


Categories: northern states Tags: , ,

Swiftcurrent Pass to Bullhead Lake Hike (Day 41)

August 27th, 2009 3 comments

Back at Apgar and using my Vz wifi, found a website that reviewed all the fishing lakes (and hikes) in Glacier and — oh man. I should hire a monkey to randomly type letters for my intros to these things. Whatever. The guide made an off-handed reference about how all the best stuff at Glacier is found at Many Glaciers anyway, including the best fishing lakes (paraphrased). Hadn’t been to that part of the park yet (it’s the northeast corner of the US part of the park) and I still wanted to fulfill one of man’s oldest desires, namely tricking of an almond-sized-brained creature into impaling itself on a sharp piece of metal. So I went there (long drive, much construction).

There’s a hike from Logan Pass to Swiftcurrent Pass that’s supposed to be awesome, but requires two cars. Figured doing this one would let me take care of half that hike.

swiftcurrent_bear-frequentingDo bears frequent the area or does the area frequent bears? And I like it when people wear bear-bells. Sounds like Christmas.

swiftcurrent_trail-peakThe trail with some peak in the distance.

swiftcurrent_redrock-lake-peaksRedrock Lake. I didn’t fish here, due to the high fishing pressure the website warned me about.

swiftcurrent_creek-n-peakThe ol’ creek-‘n-peak.

swiftcurrent_bullhead-lakeBullhead Lake. About 8 miles r/t, btw.

swiftcurrent_me-castingMe, casting. In background: water, falling.

swiftcurrent_caught-troutAnd, 90 minutes later (not on the same cast), success!

swiftcurrent_trout-danglingHe didnt want to hold still for the photo. Caught on a Blue Fox Super Vibrax #3 Spinner at 1:45 PM, about the same time I got hypothermia from standing barefoot in the water for two hours.

swiftcurrent_trout-jumpAnd then I caught this guy trying to swim up a cascade.

I only caught the one fish, but I’m guessing the marginal utility of zero to one fish is about 8x the marginal utility from one to two. And it was a beautiful hike. I’d like to go back and do the one that goes over the pass some day. Some time when someone else is there with a car, I guess. Looks like a heck of a climb.


Whitefish, Kayak Fishing, Food, Fire!, Etc. (Day 40)

August 27th, 2009 1 comment

Some book or something I read suggested that I should go to the Great Northern Railway Depot in Whitefish. I did, but the only interesting thing was the Great Northern Railway logo. Maybe not “interesting”, I just thought it looked cool:

whitefish depotI like the goat, I guess.

Otherwise, Whitefish looked like most other ski towns. It would probably be a cool place to go skiing. Since there was no snow, I went to lunch instead at McKenzie River Pizza. The food looked a little like this:

IMG00038-20090825-1314Or a lot like this, actually.

They were having the lunch special on “The Rancher”, so that’s what I got: “seasoned” beef (does that mean it’s “experienced”?), bacon, pepperoni, onions, tomatoes, and green peppers. I had them leave off the peppers, though. It was, as the Canadians say, quite good.

Oh, but before all this Whitefish **** went down, I left the National Park to go take a shower at the KOA kampground nearby. You pay them $5 at the office, then they point you to the back of the kampground and tell you to have at it. I’m guessing it’d be easy to sneak in without paying. OTOH, I’m guessing if they see you trying it, they wait until you start undressing before they come to harass you. And no, there are no pictures. I also bought firewood at the KOA because it’s a few bucks cheaper than it is inside the park.

After lunch, I drove back to the national park. On the way, I took this picture of which is so typical of pictures that I take it makes me vomit with rage:

flathead riverI like rivers and green-brown gradations. Sue me.

The river was (is!) Flathead River. There’s nothing of particular interest that caused me to add the link, it’s just an homage to the origins of web-logging.

Then I came to the metropolis of Hungry Horse. They have a motel there:

hungry-horse-motelI think it’s for sale.

Got back into the park, then pulled off toward Apgar Village (had a site at the Apgar Campground), then went to the picnic area so I could go kayaking:

lake mcdonald kayakInflated and ready to go!

I went fishing while in the kayak. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be and ended when my line broke off at the weight and I realized there was no way I was going to be able to re-configure the line without flipping the boat. OTOH, I got some good paddling practice in for when I’m in Minnesota. The portaging practice was less enthralling.

Then I went back to my campsite and ate the rest of the pizza and waited for it to be dark enough to build a fire that I could then read by:

IMG00041-20090825-1939And if the Kindle displeases me, disposal is only a couple feet away!

The Kindle doesn’t displease me. And I was reading Gordon Wood’s The American Revolution: A History, which is about as concise a book on the revolution and origins of American government as you’ll ever find. Very enlightening and very applicable to present-day politics. Highly recommended if you haven’t taken a US History class in a couple decades.

Some other notes:

  • There are a lot of trains that pass by the Apgar Campground.
  • It gets cold at night in Montana.
  • I think these two things conspire to keep me from sleeping here.
  • I think I sleep better where there’s moderate humidity.
  • Although I also think I should maybe get another pad to put between my cot and my sleeping bag.
  • I’m also considering actually using my tent some time.
  • Maybe tomorrow night.


Fishing Chambers Lake (Day 25)

August 8th, 2009 Comments off

It’s like I can’t come up with decent headlines whenever my truck is having its transmission worked on. Tomorrow’s another day. My apologies in the meantime.

After pre-selecting a campground on a map at which to meet my parents the next day, I then entered T-Mobile-induced radio silence, knowing that we’d meet at that campground at 6:30 PM the next day. Turns out the campground didn’t exist any more, so we ended up just running into each other at a gas station in Packwood. It’s a good thing there aren’t many places to get lost when you’re on mountain highways.

Then we went fishing. Some guy at some store in Packwood suggested a place called Chambers Lake based on its being full of fish *and* not having any too-weird restrictions on it (most of the lakes in the area wouldn’t allow treble hooks or bait — as if it’s possible to get artificial lures without treble hooks). Unfortunately, the direct, 17-mile road from Packwood to Chambers Lake was closed for “construction”, so to reach it we had to drive 20 miles to Randle, and then 40 miles through the woods. Not that it was presented to us in those terms, but whatever.

gmd castingMy dad, casting.

bkd castingMe, doing same.

There weren’t a lot of fish in the lake as it turns out. My dad caught one and had another strike and then we saw an osprey come down and catch one, which was also interesting for watching him have to circle around several times before he could get off the ground far enough to fly away with the added weight of late lunch.

Was cool, though, to get some use out of the fishing gear and some knowledge transfer about casting and rat’s nest management. Plus the lake was pretty, small, and uncrowded.


Categories: west coast Tags: , ,
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