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I thought it may be fun to show a little of my personal process in relation to painting. I work sometimes hours away from home. For some reason when driving to work I seem to come up with ideas. Some of my inspiratiions are random and don't really work out or translate to canvas well. However, I always sketch them out just to see if they are doable. I try to abandon the fear of creating a bad painting or having to throw a messed up canvas away. I do not want to be inhibited by fear. A great quote that I love is, Dont think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if its good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art. Andy Warhol
So this is where I began with my most recent painting "Bright Brown". I envisioned a layout of cubes. I wanted to create a picture that when looked at in its entirity was a "whole" picture of sorts, but when looked at closely had pieces missing. Something to really challenge the eyes and cross both the lines of reality and obscurity. My first step was to just clamp all of the canvases in a random shape that I felt I could sketch in the general shape and layout of the brown trout.
Once I got the layout the way I saw fit, I had to then drill and bolt all the canvases together. After all that, I could actually start to paint. I have a tendency to always start with my backgrounds first. I feel with my style, the background really sets the mood of my paintings. I wanted this background to be dark with a sense of warm light kissing the edge of the fish. For the body I started with a yellow ochre base, giving a bright color to build all those wonderful brown trout tones off from.
Here is my little early morning painting buddy Gracie, complete with crazy hair! This shot shows the beginnings of the head.
I have always loved fish eyes. However, until I started painting them did I truly realize how important they are to the soul of a fish. You can really see in this picture how the eye really makes the fish, well, a fish.
What I had envisioned was to create a luminescent look, centering around the middle spotted section of the brown. You know that magical spot where the colors range from blues, teals, silvers, and purples on brown trout.
After working in some reflections, and glazing, finally done! "Bright Brown"
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Great Miramichi Fall Salmon Run Expected!!September 12th 2015
September 12th - With our having such good fishing in the first week of September, this past week we had to settle for much slower fishing as the third heat wave of the season arrived over the weekend and brought water temperatures up again by Monday, resulting in our anglers being shut out for the first time in a while! On Monday, however disconcerting, we still managed to have a successful week as almost all our fishermen landed fish - including Atlantic Salmon fishermen Jens Adamsen of Denmark who landed 7 and lost another two fish during the tough fishing days. Fishing improved by the end of the week and we did manage to hook another 20. With our having access to 21 private pools on the Miramichi River system, sometimes almost all of the pools are producing well but this week we were down to only three that were producing on the entire river system, but three is better than none! Every year we often wonder if it is worth the investment for access to so much private water, as over the years some pools are seldom used. Occasionally, times like these make it all worthwhile as an otherwise poor week would turn into a good week and all anglers went home happy. Each year days on the water can be so different as conditions change and so do the pools - sometimes even rivers - as to where the best fishing will be. There is an old saying which goes "never put all your eggs in one basket" or in other words, "a varity of pools is the spice of life when it comes to Atlantic Salmon fishing".
Now the good news is that we expect no more low and warm water for the rest of this season! With the good amount of rain we received all day yesterday, we are expecting the Main river to rise approximately 3 feet and the tributaries rising even more. Yesterday, With the water rising, anglers had good success, especially in the Doaktown area Main river and lower Cains. With so many fish in the lower river system now, good fishing should continue for some time on the upper stretches as these fish move up the rivers. With the rise in fresh water levels we can soon expect the start of our fall run as conditions this week should be perfect for bringing in more fresh fish. With our having access to 5 private pools on the Cains and this rise in water levels, we have many happy guides this morning as they know just how good fishing can be on the Cains in the fall when conditions are right!
Over the last few weeks anglers almost all used dry flies - and what a treat it is landing Salmon on a dry fly - but with the higher and cooler water, the wet fly patterns will probably work best from now on. The fly of choice this past week was the Peach Carter Bug. Recommended flies to use this coming week are the traditional summer wet fly patterns such as the Green Machine, Bear Hair and Undertakers as well as fall patterns like the GP, Allie Shrimp, Red Franchis and the Copper Killer.
- Tight Lines
For more information, contact us at: www.flyfishingatlanticsalmon.com/
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Glad you found the Tenkara blog, my name is Dan Pierce and I live in central Maine with my wife, son, and yellow lab. Everyone says no matter where you grow up in Maine you get exposed to the water early on wether it is the ocean on the coast, the lakes inland, or the streams in western and northern Maine. For me it was no different, being raised in the Belgrade Lakes area of Maine, I was on the water at a young age.
A few years ago I stumbled upon a little known (until about 7 years ago) Japanese style of fly fishing called Tenkara. The philosophy behind Tenkara aligns with my desire for adventure and freedom perfectly and has brought back my passion for the water. Hopefully you catch some of the passion for Tenkara, and adventure, in the posts a head.
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So, an older gentleman (Bill) comes into my workshop one day asking about having some furniture repair done and notices the small collection of vintage fly rods on the wall and my “L.L. Bean Fly Fishing” hat (it’s my favorite hat because it was free for filling out a credit card application) (apparently, if you list your income as $0.00, you need to pay in cash) and starts talking fishing. Bill’s eyes started welling up as he went on about the excitement of taking a big bucket-mouth on a top-water hair popper. Well, after a while, the man let on about how he could no longer launch his 14’ Sylvan by himself. Turns out that he gave the boat away to a young, landlocked bass fisherman who, apparently, had no time to take the old man out fishing once in a while (hint, hint). I took the bait and offered an invitation. On my way to pick Bill up, I had visions of having to load a massive amount of gear but, when I got to his house, he was at the end of the driveway with his only gear being a beefy 10’ fly rod, a sparsely equipped vest, and an empty milk jug.
Once on the lake, Bill and I were the same age; we were two twelve-year old boys on an adventure, grinning ear to ear. We were both regulars to this lake and had the same routine; fish the lily pads at the launch, hit the mouth of an inlet, catch a bucketful of smallies off a particular rock pile, slam a few floats and docks, then head to where the big boys were (or so we had heard). The folklore, of the area, claimed that in one particular spot, there were largemouth bass so big that it would take two people to boat one and, there was one fish (The General) that would make the others look like bait. The General, according to the man who owned the camp where the legendary monster lived, was so smart and wily, that he had never even been close to being hooked. Bill and I decided to drop anchor and stay until one of us hooked-up with The General (as a bonus, the camp owner’s sister was sun bathing on the dock). By this time, I was over being in awe of Bill’s accuracy with placing his fly so, when he tied on the biggest hair bug he had and cast thirty feet into the wind to put his offering under the dock, I was not surprised. Bill tucked his fly rod under his leg, lit a smoke, popped open a cool beverage, and sat back like he was sipping martinis on a pleasure cruise. I tossed my “Basstermator” up against the banking, gave a tug so the fly plopped into the water, followed Bill’s lead, and just sat back. After what I thought seemed like a lifetime, I started to think it was time for a twitch of the fly but, bill caught me in mid thought an said, “Not yet”. All of a sudden, there was a huge splash and it appeared, to me, that Bill’s hair bug had a big customer. Bill didn’t move a muscle; he just sat, watched, and started counting backward from ten. When Bill hit one, he gave his fly just the slightest of movement and the water exploded. The monster tried every trick in the Largemouth Handbook to get away but, the combination of Bill’s heavy duty tackle, and his years of experience, won the fight at the dock and one more skirmish when the bass saw the boat. Here is the conversation that took place while Bill was trying to boat The General;
Me, “Get the net, get the net”
Bill, “Its o.k. I’ve got him”
The General, “Snap!”
Just as soon as Bill Tried to power rod him into the boat, the beast gave a head shake and set himself free.
Bill said, “Its o.k. We’ll give it fifteen minutes and try again. We have the recipe. Why don’t you move the boat down aways and we’ll drift back into position”. I moved the boat upwind, cut the motor, and Bill peed in his milk jug (while commenting about how many fishermen, usually drunk drown each year from trying to pee over the side of the boat), lit another smoke and took a few pulls off his beverage. We eventually drifted back into casting position and Bill laid his hair bug in exactly the same spot as before. This time the big boy didn’t try to stun his prey; he inhaled and Bill was fully prepared with a sweeping strip set. A short battle ensued with Bill, again, getting the upper hand. Here’s the conversation;
Me, “Bill, get the net, get the net!”
Bill, “It’s o.k., I’m gonna get him upside the boat and lip him.”
Me, “Bill, I’m just sayin.”
Bill got his adversary upside the boat and I think both of them freaked. Bill had never seen a bass that size before, and the fish had never come face to face with a human. As soon as Bill touched the bass’s mouth, the bass again shook his head so powerfully that Bill couldn’t hang on.
Bill said something like this, “*&^%$#@^%$&double####!”
After Bill calmed down, he said, “Its o.k. we’ll give it fifteen minutes and try again. We have the recipe and oh, by the way, can you man the net next time?”
Upwind we go. Downwind we drift. Bill repeats his cast perfectly. I grab the net. The bass inhales the hair bug and about half way to the boat, The General has apparently had enough and snaps the fifteen pound test leader like a dry twig. This was the only conversation for the rest of the day;
Me, “Well Bill, you’re the only person to ever hook The General”
Bill, “ All I did was smarten him up a little more.”
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By Kevin McKay
edited by Jennifer Bowman-McKay
My first time is something I will never forget. I was in my 20's and this was totally new to me. I wanted to try it and wanted it bad. I know it was late in life for my first experience but it is just how it worked out. It was early on a dark and cold April morning. I woke at 1 am as the excitement was over- whelming. As I laid there, I thought to myself, should I do this? It is awful early. Will she wake up? I don’t think she was as excited as I was. I slowly reached for the zipper of the old bag, I slowly unzipped it and reach my hand inside to find the long soft hairs of the fly I had been working on all winter. I really didn’t want to wake Jen (now my wife), but I was heading out on my first fly fishing trip.
It all started about six month prior to that morning, Jen and I had stopped over to my parents' house and my dad pulled out some catalogs a guy at work had given him. They were fly fishing catalogs. I think at that point I became addicted to the catalogs themselves, it was a toy store for adults. Not long after I found myself and Jen with my parents at a L.L. Bean outlet, where I purchased a Stream Light, rod, reel and line for $75. The rod is long gone but I was cleaning my office recently and saw that I still have the reel, which is very cool, not much use to me now but it will live on a shelf in my office.
So, over the winter I remembered going to a fly tying class with my dad when I was little. I asked him if he still had all the stuff. Which he did, so I dug it all out and started trying to tie flies, which were very rough, to say the least. Some were big streamers, looking back now they were like salt water flies, I wish I still had some of those.
Also, over the winter I was working at UPS as a loader and somehow my driver and I got talking about the fact I had bought a fly rod and had no clue what to do with it. He explained that he fly fishes all the time and had done a trip to Montana. He brought in some pictures of these big beautiful trout he had caught on his trip. He told me he would take me on April 1st, since that was when the West Branch of the Penobscot River opened.
So, it was April 1st, sometime in the early 90's. Mike had me meeting him around 1 in the morning; I was not sure why, but I went with it. You could feel the excitement in the air as we drove and he told me fishing stories. One that sticks out is when he and his brother drove from the West branch over to Greenville in a blizzard and how deep the snow was but they made it. I think of that story every time I drive across that road.
When we arrived it was dark and cold, and there was also a lot of snow on the ground. Now I am thinking, what have I gotten myself into? Up to this point I was just getting back into fishing, since I took some time off to chase women, which is a good thing I did, because I would have never met my hot wife. Back to the story, I don’t think I even had gloves, but we waited until the sun came out. So, on the trip up Mike revealed the reason we left so early was to beat the crowds. Well, that was not an issue. I think everyone knew, what we didn’t, it would be too cold and most of the fish weren’t up as high on the river yet, that early in the season. But this does make for a great memory.
I remember the crunching of the snow as we walked to the river. Mike gave me a fly, might have even tied it on for me. He demonstrated how to cast, do this and this and he proceeded to head down river. I was in a beautiful spot. It was cold but I did what he said; I cast and cast and cast. Then it began to snow as I was really thinking now this fly fishing isn’t any fun. Man, I couldn’t wait for him to come back from where ever he went. He could have been laughing in the warm truck for I knew.
So, a few hours later he came back to check on me. Did I mention, it was snowing sideways? He asked if I had any luck which I hadn't. So, he checked my fly. Well, at some point in the past few hours, I was just having casting practice because my fly had broken off in the snow. At this point I was done and I doubted I would be fly fishing again, but on the way home he convinced me to go again with him on May first.
So, there I was again, getting up so early that most people call it night. I met him and his buddy at his house, we drove the two hours. I will say it was warmer and all the snow was gone but, we still arrive in the dark. On the way, I show them my striper flies I had tied for this trip, they both laughed at me and said no fish would even look at those flies.
As we walked to the river in the dark, I could hear a splash and as we sat there and it got lighter out, I could could hear the splashing getting more frequent. I asked what it was? Mike said it was fish jumping and as the sun came up he was right. I have never forgotten that scene; the light just coming off the water and land locked salmon rising everywhere!
I knew right then I would never be the same again.
I was going to end right there but I forgot about those giant streamers. After missing several fish on BWO, I decided to try that awful fly of mine. I made several casts and to their surprise, I had several fish chase it to my feet. If I remember right, my first fish I ever caught was a 12 inch salmon on that god awful fly I tied. Like I said, I wish I still had one of those flies but live and learn. As I sit here writing this, it is November and there is frost on the cars, this memory has gotten me excited to get up to the West branch early this year, I better start tying some #20 bwo, because I still loose my flies in the trees and snow.
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Gray Ghost Productions Blog: Rolling On Salmon Take 2 - The Penobscot River
Salmo salar. Arguably translated as “the leaper,” this Latin term describes a fish whose attempts at doing what it is genetically pre-programmed to do are nothing short of amazing. History has proven that if you give this fish an opportunity to succeed, it will. Against all odds. Yet, since the American Revolution, humans have time after time created countless challenges within the river systems that these majestic fish inhabit.
The Penobscot River, once home to one of the most productive and healthy Atlantic salmon fisheries in the world, certainly the most productive in the US, is a perfect example of these challenges. We’ve spent a lot of time on this river system lately, and it will play a large part in the film. The Penobscot has received a lot of attention in the last few years, playing large parts in the Atlantic salmon’s listing as an endangered species, as well as the River Restoration Trust, Trout Unlimited and the Atlantic Salmon Federation's dam removal discussions. More importantly is the immensely exciting spike in the fish count at the Veazie Trap this year. According to reports from Maine DMR, this year was the 3rd largest count since 1978 with a total of 3,124, the largest run in 20 years!!!
A few quick facts about the Penobscot River: From Bangor to the confluence of the East and West Branches in Medway the main-stem is 74 miles long. If you include all of the tributaries, the Penobscot drainage includes over 1600 miles of streams and rivers with 625 lakes and ponds. Not all of these tributaries are salmon habitat, but you get the point; it’s a large system. And thanks to the efforts of many people, the river is as clean as it’s been in years.
But clean water doesn’t matter much if the fish can’t swim up to spawn in it. We discovered that at current count, 19 dams span the river, from the headwaters of the West Branch to Bangor, including the Piscataquis River and the Stillwater section. To those concerned with Atlantic salmon, the most significant would probably be the Veazie Dam, as it is the first structure that a salmon would hit on its way up river to spawn.
This past June we had the great opportunity to roll cameras at the Veazie Trap and spend a day with Oliver Cox and his crew from Maine’s Department of Marine Resources. We also spent some time talking with some incredibly passionate biologists about the Penobscot. I encourage you to take a look at the rough-cut video.
With help from the Penobscot River Restoration Trust, Trout Unlimited, the Atlantic Salmon Federation and many other organizations, the Veazie Dam has been scheduled to be removed in 2014, and the Great Works Dam in Old Town is listed to come out in 2012. One of the most poignant things we have learned in this process is that although we are madly in love with Salmo salar, other, less sexy fish are just as important to the inter-workings of a healthy river ecosystem. The lowly shad, and the alewife offer much to the overall restoration of this formidable waterway. But the worst may be over. Restoration has begun. Step by step, inch by inch, the Penobscot is starting to return to its original glory. This is great news for sportsmen, but one of the most important lessons we have learned is that the benefits of a restored ecosystem have benefits that transcend fishing; everyone and every living thing benefits from restored balance.
As we start to wrap up filming for this project, the blog post: Rolling on Salmon will be updated more frequently. Looking ahead, you can expect to see footage from our adventure to the Adlatok River in Labrador with Robin Reeve and John Gierach, or the GGP crew on location in Gaspe, the Atlantic salmon’s impact on our native peoples, as well as a look back to the sporting heritage of Salmon fishing. As always we love to hear your feedback, you and your stories are very important to us.
Yours in rivers,
The GGP Crew
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That's what one of my friends who guides in Montana told me about streamer fishing for big browns in the fall. So in preparation for my trip over to the Missouri headwaters I've been tying up some monstrosities. While I'm not looking forward to casting these beasts, they sure are fun to tie!
I used Trina's Sculpin Bulletheads with 30 lb. wire connecting the trailer hook. I took this fly out for a test run last night and it reminded me of a jointed Rapala, lots of wiggle!
Source: "Go Big or Go Home"
Recent rains caused the latest Smith River trip to get cancelled. As part of 'PLAN B' we did a two day float down another river. I was lucky enough to get invited to fun float with my friend John along on the trip. The water was high and cloudy, but on the drop and clearing. This river doesn't have a ton of fish, but a reputation for big fish. John and I had never been on it before, but ended up doing okay. We didn't get any of the truly large fish this river is noted for, but the gorgeous scenery of the tight canyon walls and comraderie made up for it.
Salmonflies were coming off, but really weren't on the water. Our best fishing was with large streamers and black/orange stonefly nymphs.
my best brown of the trip, just under 21"
Another good brownie
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