Category Archives: Wandering

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For the Love of Creeks

For the love of creeks and what they do for me.

Was going to launch into what a beautiful day it turned out to be today.

Was going to talk about the beneficial health affects wandering creeks has on me.

Was going to go on about the 100’s of bullfrog tadpoles.

About the sights and sounds and smells, especially of the honeysuckle.

Was going to mention all of the birds seen, especially the hawks.

Was going to go on and on about how far up the creek the gar have gone this year and how the removal of the 175 year old, eight foot tall dam a couple of years ago has been a raging success.

But the hell with all that, here’s a bunch of pictures instead.

For the love of creeks and what they do for me.

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A Hike in the Woods

Going out fishing was really an excuse to get out for a hike in the woods.

There was more skim ice on the bird bath Sunday morning, I think that’s 4 days in a row and one of those froze it solid.

This has done a pretty good job of stopping the smallie migration up the creeks in it’s tracks. Water really cooled down fast. I didn’t expect to catch anything inland on one creek and I didn’t.

Saved the day on another creek and fishing closer to the mouth. Wound up going 7/1 with one of those being the smallies sluggish cousin.

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I would probably be pretty good at Tenkara fishing. As it is I find myself fishing with 10 to 12 feet of line out and swinging my usual small lure into little pockets of water. One of the nice things about fishing like this is that smallies of all sizes tend to hit with the same amount of power. You don’t know till you set the hook with a sharp snap of the rod what size fish you might have on.

Was doing this in a small spot where I recently pulled out a smallie that was a good 16 inches. With my go to rod still in two pieces, I switched to an older rod that I had retired. This one too once had a fast action tip, but the top six inches was sacrificed to a sliding van door years ago. Now it’s a medium action rod and it’s been a good three years since I’ve bothered using it.

Remember, I also only use braided line, no stretch.

So, with 10 to 12 feet of line out I get a hard smallie hit. I set the hook with a sharp snap of the rod and the next thing I see is a smallie about 6 inches long come sailing out of the water, still hooked, and sails over my head, landing in the water behind me, still hooked.

Oops, sorry about that. You hit bigger than you were.

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I went inland on the first creek mainly to see if the big flood plain was filled with flowers like usual. A few more days will have them looking better, but I can’t get there in a few more days. I thought they didn’t look half bad today. Not sure what I’m trying to achieve with the shots in the gallery below, but I’m fascinated by how this flood plain gets covered with these flowers this time of year.

Their presence is fleeting. Barely a two week window of opportunity to see this before the flowers fall off and the plants are eclipsed by the undergrowth.

Came across a lone skunk cabbage plant. I believe it was Mary Anne from Alaska that asked if they smelled like skunk. Since I never bothered finding out all these years, I took off a tip of one of the leaves and inhaled deeply.

Smells like earth, but also has a distinct skunk like smell to it, but without the gagging produced by a hefty whiff of skunk.

Also checked out the one spot where I know morels grow. No morels yet, but all around the same area quite a few other mushrooms were starting to poke their heads out from under the leaf clutter.

Had two more mornings of skim ice and frost since Sunday. Getting a little tired of that. Evenings are supposed to start warming up soon and that’s what will finally get the smallies moving up the creeks.

Guess I’ll have to go Wednesday after work to find out.

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Walking and Fishing

Got out a couple of times this week walking and fishing.

One evening after work I went out walking with the hopes that the sunset would turn out better than it did.

Another evening after work I went out fishing, which requires walking.

I don’t understand how you can do the former without the latter.

I’ve always been intrigued by the abstract qualities of my surroundings. This goes back to my painting and drawing days 30 odd years ago. I have no clue if I successfully capture what’s in my minds eye, but I keep doing it. That probably accounts for the fact that I never get bored while out and about. Probably also accounts for the fact that others get annoyed with me if they happen to be out and about with me.

I’m easily distracted and tend not to pay attention to company very well.

As I look at the thousands of pictures I have laying around, I have hundreds of ways I want to see them put together. Combinations, associations, computer painted and played with.

I’ll get around to it some day, maybe.

Since I don’t seem to have the interest in reading and writing words lately, here’s a bunch of pictures from my two days of walking and fishing.

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I was Going to go Fishing

I was going to go fishing, but I knew the creeks were running crystal clear and would be devoid of fish.

I was going to go fish the Fox River, but the wind was howling with gusts up to 40 and where I wanted to go would have me standing out in the open facing this head on. With the bite still virtually non-existent, hardly worth the effort.

I was going to go for a walk, but after 100 yards I couldn’t get out of that relentless wind.

I thought of sticking around for the sunset, but the wind had blown all the clouds away. As beautiful as a sunset with sky blue skies and gold on the horizon can be, I’ve seen enough of those. I wanted more.

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I wandered over to the abandoned bridge over a creek and stared down into the water.

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I looked behind every rock for life, for a fish holding out of the current. Not a thing.

Then my mind went blank.

I know I’m thinking, of something, at that point, but it’s undefined.

My dad, my ma, the wife, the kids, the job, the car, or am I just thinking about the creek.

The play of light over running water over rock.

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Maybe it was muslims, Iran, Israel, Indiana, LGBT, Jesus, Easter, bunnies, employment counts, bank accounts, terrorists, methodists, baptists and the KKK.

Or maybe it was just the play of light over running water over rock.

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I was going to go fishing. In a way, I guess I did.

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Gnats Enougha Gnat

Gnats enougha gnat… I crack myself up. No wonder I’m always giggling in my head.

The gnats have actually been around for a couple of weeks now. Living a couple of blocks from the Fox River, small clouds of them have been floating around the yard and they love plastering the sides of the house that sit in the sun.

The cats have been having a field day with them, chasing them from window to window and fighting for the occasional one that makes it into the house.

Ran into a few clouds of them while out creek hopping over the weekend. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Took a walk along the river the other evening, waiting out the sunset. The gnats were no big deal, till I started walking across the footbridge over the river. The dense cloud of them extended all the way across the bridge, nearly 100 yards. By the time I got to the other side, they were crawling all over me. In my eyes, nostrils and mouth. Down my shirt and in my coat. I can only imagine how many wound up lodged in my lungs.

Of course I had to do this four times in order to truly savor the experience.

Tried to capture the gnat clouds, but the real clouds were low and gray and there wasn’t enough contrast between the two for a decent exposure.

It’s been 24 hours since I was out there. Looking at the pictures, sitting here thinking about it, my hands instinctively start rubbing my arms, legs and scratching my head.

I swear I can still feel them.