Thursday, June 26, 2014

RIP D3200

Yes, you were good, but you are gone, now. My Nikon D3200 died on 6/22/14. This Great Spangled Fritillary was the final photo. It was a really good camera and all good things come to an end, sooner or later. I should be up and running at some point tomorrow. I ordered a new Nikon D5200. It was a hard decision, but I have a nice lens collection which will work with the new camera. I am still hesitant to invest more than major dollars in a camera that might get knocked into the river by beagles..Or worse. Time will tell but this camera has the same features, minus a few focus points and a more rugged body than the next one up that costs twice as much. It uses the exact same sensor and produces photos with the same amount of pixels. The new camera is supposed to produce better low-light photos than my previous one. That should be a big bonus in the cloud cover of Randolph County.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Backyard Gems

I built this small water garden and waterfall in 1986. It has given us many quality moments of staring and enjoyment over the years. Not a lot of maintenance has been required. A new pump is needed every three years or so and a heater is plopped into the pond in November. Four goldfish were thrown in on completion and they have been a self sustaining population ever since. Sometimes there are thirty; sometimes ten. They live, breed and die without any help. Minks sometimes thin the population in the winter. Green Frogs have taken up residence and American Toads sometimes successfully breed.

 Numerous species of aquatic vegetation have used this little pond as a home. some were good and others were pulled out and composted. Dragonflies and damsel flies make daily visits. Some were born there. If you have ever thought of making a water garden part of your life; go ahead and do it. It will not be too painful and you'll be glad you did it. We only live once and should cherish all of our staring time.

(c) 2014 High Virginia Outdoors All Rights Reserved
Photos (c) High Virginia Images

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

High Tech Rain Gauge ?

Nope. I was riding through the campground area of lower Glady Fork on Sunday and saw what I first thought was someone's rain gauge that they had left behind. I was wondering why anyone would take such a fancy looking instrument on a camping trip; just for a few days. I figured that it had to be a fairly expensive water collection device.

I walked over for a closer look. It is a Southern Pine Bark Beetle trap This is just another in the long line of pest species that we do not need getting established in our area. I didn't see anything in or around the trap except for ants. That is a good thing. I lived in Southern Pine Bark Beetle country for several years. I do not believe that they could withstand the winters in this area. I know that I have had about all of them I can stand.

(c) High Virginia Outdoors 2014 All Rights Reserved

Monday, June 9, 2014


I had somewhat of a problem this spring. Like most problems; it was self-induced. Times of deep thought or periods of brief pondering can tend to change your actions. I do know that one major problem that has an effect on many is the lack of random periods of un-structured quiet time allotted to thinking and pondering. Far too many people have let the demands of others take control of their lives. When was the last time you just went and did something that you really enjoy; without worrying? We often cannot take the time to do something without being concerned about how long we have to do it or where we have to be next.
I came to the realization this year that I really have zero interest in fighting the crowds and fishing for fish that were thrown from a truck sometime during the week. This process which is known by many as “trout fishing” in WV has become an absolute chore; to me. I do not want to have to make myself go do something that is supposed to be enjoyable. I made 2 trips this year during the “stocking season”. The first time was on Clover Run and I did manage to catch 3 trout; before others saw me and crowded me out. The second trip was planned out to be a memorable experience. That didn't pan out either. I made about 5 casts into Dry Fork downstream from Harman; before I realized that something wasn't normal in that stretch of river. Growths of stringy green algae had made that section of river pretty much un-fishable with anything other than dry flies.
During the next couple of weeks following the April frustrations I had several opportunities to go fishing. I just couldn't make myself do it. I plan on starting up once again in June; after the fish trucks have been parked. It just isn't fun anymore. Enjoyment to me is walking a stretch of river; watching for rising trout. If your timing is right and you find a decent mayfly hatch and feeding trout; each of your outings can become a memorable experience. June is that magical time to be on a trout stream. We have many to choose from and you are pretty much guaranteed to be alone on your favorite stream on any evening in June.
I also thought back to times when we just went fishing; not for anything in particular. Just fishing; remember that? Nice and peaceful, wasn't it. Simple, too. No fancy ingredients required. Rod, reel, line, bobber, sinker; grab a couple dozen night crawlers or a bucket full of minnows and just go. Sit, stare and enjoy. Think back to those days when you followed that recipe. You always enjoyed it and you always caught fish, didn't you? Those were good times that still can be had if we break or pattern, get out of the rut and just go out and do it.

I don’t know about you; but this year during the month of June: I’m just going fishing.

This article first appeared in the June 2014 issue of Two-Lane Livin . 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Coffin Fly Evening

Caylor Custom Coffin Flies
I love to fly fish and more-so love to fish the Green Drakes. i made the realization this week that I hadn't had the experience since June 3, 2009. That isn't a good feeling once it sinks in. It kind of makes one sad. I f one has to live and work in West Virginia; it should be guaranteed that you should have the time to enjoy the wonders of the state. Time to go and gas money seem to effect everything these days. It isn't good. I know that the Green Drakes should be hatching between Memorial Day and the 10th of June. Well, I apparently missed it or it hasn't started yet.

When you hit the spinner fall, it is a sight to be seen and it will stick in your memories for the rest of your life. Thousands of big mayflies laying eggs and then dying tend to bring every fish in the stream to the surface to feed. I thought I had made the hit; but it didn't happen. There was a March Brown hatch at 6:30 and a few Green Drakes were mixed in. The March Browns were dragging their nymphical shucks on their legs as they hatched and flew into the trees. I thought that was odd; since I had never seen this happen before. After a little hindsight; I guess the water was a little cold. I have never seen any March Browns of any numbers when I was Green Drake fishing.

I fished until 8:00 and had only caught 2 Smallmouths. One group of Green Drake spinners flew upstream and I thought the magic was about to happen. It didn't. There were only 50-75 drakes. Not the thousands I was hoping for.None the less it was on. The trout started rising; not many but here and there. I had my Coffin Fly already on and was actually ready. I managed to catch my limit in the fleeting light; but it wasn't easy. Number 5 was a Golden Rainbow and it flopped off when I got it to the bank. I was trying to grab it and stepped on my fly. I tried to fish the fly; but of course it would no longer float. It took me about 10 minutes to get the leader through the eye of the next fly. It isn't good getting old; but I did manage to catch a 16 inch rainbow for fish number 6 in the black dark. This was on Thursday June 5th.

I took a friend on Saturday June 7th; knowing that several trout were at that location and hoping that the Green Drakes would cooperate. I timed it so we would be at the good place at 8 pm. I got that sick feeling in my stomach when I walked down there and the entire bottom of the stream was covered with corn and fish heads, Gotta love West Virginia trout fishing !!