Welcome to another edition of Neil Whitacre's travel and fishing blog.
I got a chance to get back to Iowa the beginning of this month. And experienced the continued thrill of now looking at my home state with the eyes of a foreigner.
I changed the name of this blog from Conflicted... to Seagull + Fry to more accurately reflect my feelings on the urban fishing experience. A lone gull flies poetically through the fog somewhere and swoops for the tossed fry.
That painterly looking pink area on the head there is either fungal or crayfish plucking zone. It was odd and slightly disconcerting to see crayfish still very active and working on salmon carcasses in September. For one, crayfish are not native to this part of the country and they are probably pretty effective egg eaters.
She used to have a hand with a rose in it. We used to go into this cemetary at midnight on Halloween and hope to see her drop the rose. Instead what would happen is we would get chased out by the cops.
Photo is of the cool 3D display to illustrate the path of the boiling river wall of mud and rock and trees that poured down the mountain that day.
I suspect it takes more than a facebook level attention span to craft something like this.
Chicken Turtle shell found in Iowa.
My brother found this shell doing land surveying work in far Southeastern Iowa. A couple hundred miles north of its typical range. The reptile nerd in me was thrilled at this anomaly. I called the Herp lab at Iowa State and left a message.
Sometimes there is fishing. Sometimes fishing is all there is.
Bri and I continued our annual tradition of hitting the Icebreaker merino wool sale in November.
This one has a tarpon head on it. A face on it only the screech of your drag could love.
A very recent drawing -- Life is Funny.
By this we do not mean funny. We mean all emotions all at once. All the time.
I have been doing a lot of home inspecting and not a ton of fishing. Thats how life is right ? We are all so afraid of being poor that all of us get out there and work almost every single day. We might all mostly squelch our real talents for fear of poverty but maybe sometimes we don't crush ourselves with fear all the way. We are still an animal creature somehow. Sometimes inspiration creeps out. Forces itself out into the light of day. Or is it panic....that sets in. The feeling that I wont get to catch another Steelhead before death and we run outside and go fishing. Who can say.
I see seagulls in the flat mowed grass in the park across from my condo in portland - hunting worms. I used to see gulls at the park that I would fish at in the 1980's in Musactine, Iowa. I am always impressed at gulls strange inland flyways - and where they will stop for food. Even if that means eating parking lot fries sometimes.
Death of a salmon. Big carcass providing nutrients to their future young in these cold clear nutrient poor rivers. It would be so much easier to spawn at sea like everybody else ? I have no idea what the baby salmon - or alevins are eating to grow to 8" and then leave freshwater. Seems miraculous to me that these young fish gain nutrients in these cold clear rivers. Startling to find out how much the nitrogen and other nutrients in the dead fish plays a role in riparian tree growth as well.
In May of 2003 I took a road trip up the east coast from Miami to New York stopping 6 or 7 places along the coast to camp and fish. It was an ill advised trip as I had $500 to my name at the time and somewhere in central Florida I lost my jeep muffler on a mud road and put it back on with bungees. But the trip overall was a great experience. I have a many distinct memories of landing different fish on that trip. One that stands out is casting to these little mangrove snapper and sheepshead in a tiny mud creek through the marsh grass from my kayak and catching a Spanish Mackerel ! An electric blue fish of deep wide open salt water - waaaaaaay back up into a brackish marsh creek. It is really for these kinds of impossible surprises that I fish.
Taking in some Portland Trailblazers
A hero Bluegill locks eyes with a Snapper in a drawing.
How we live now. All 440 square rad feet of our tiny condo.
A creature of halloween dance party.
I have never had anything but positive experiences with octopi - with the 3 experiences I've had. But this drawing needed conflict. But I hope no young landlubbers get the wrong idea.
I bought some egg pattern flies and am getting new waders and will be back in the river soon. Right now Portland is in the middle of getting a ton of rain. We are at 10.3" for just December 1 to 12. The rivers are all blown out and ultra muddy. The eggs laid in the fall wobble down in between the rocks in the river bed. Circle of Life dude.
I will catch up with you all via this blog - WITH some fishing next time - the early part of next year.