Tag Archives: going for a walk

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Not Quite What I Wanted

It’s not quite what I wanted, but at least it’s a fish.

The desire to fish the Fox River in the early months of the year disappeared a few years ago.

Now I wait till the conditions are right to fish the creeks that feed the Fox.

A few years ago, by mid March, conditions were perfect with an unusually warm March and the fish cooperated accordingly.

Not so lucky the last couple of years.

Got out today to do some creek hopping. Chose to hold off on baptizing the new waders yet, conditions aren’t right to be combing long stretches of creek. The weather has been a little colder than normal, so I opted to hit a few key spots from shore.

Wound up hitting three spots on two creeks. Both creeks are crystal clear and perfect depth.

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I think that’s a creek chub that I caught, but there’s something out of the ordinary about it, so I may be forced to look it up, some day.

This was nine miles up a creek. I didn’t expect to see anything moving in the water this early and this far up from the river, but minnows were in a few of the deeper pools and the gut on what I caught shows that it’s feeding on them. Plus, it hit the usual small twister tail I use, so that’s a good give away.

The next creek was more of the same. Clear, but only here there were no signs of life in the water. Walking the shore was made easier by the lack of growth. Normally the grass in this stretch is well over waist high and will be in a few weeks. At least now I could see all the ruts in the ground instead of taking a back breaking, bone jarring hike.

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Where the two creeks come together there were more minnows in the slightly deeper pools. With a warmup coming this week, next week may be a good time to baptize the waders and take this all a little more seriously.

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It was nice to see that after nearly 5 months of no fishing, I haven’t lost my casting touch. Forty to fifty foot casts were made with little effort. This called into question whether or not I will bother using a fly rod this spring. Over the winter I looked at a lot of other blogs and all the pictures they put up. The bulk of them are all fly fishing centric. I came to understand why so many fly fish. There was virtually nothing along the shores except rock or grasses. Trees were almost always far back from the shore. There was nothing hanging out over the water.

This is a far cry from the creeks I fish. Trees and high brush line the shores. The arching trees create a cathedral effect over the water with some nearly touching the surface of the water. Today I was standing in and under canopies of leafless trees on the shore. I had just enough room to flick the lure out over the water. The light gear and light lures I use are no different than a 5-6 weight fly rod and clousers. There was simply no way I could have done the same thing with a fly rod. Moving out into the water is not always a better option. Still no room for back casts and going too far over head is a recipe for disaster.

The efficiency expert in me won’t allow me to waste time and expend energy to make a simple cast for the sole purpose of catching a fish. In my eyes, they’re all just tools and the tool lends nothing to the experience of being out, enjoying the surroundings, fishing small water and catching fish. If you have nothing between your ears that will allow you to enjoy the experience of fishing and all that it entails, using an inefficient and clumsy tool isn’t going to fix that for you.

I think I just made a decision about how much I’ll be fly fishing this spring.

Well, anyway..

I’m enjoying taking these shots of light on shallow running water. I may have to play around with this some more. Maybe try a movie, add the sound of water over rock.

If I can find that damn feature in the camera menu somewhere.

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Like Watching Grass Grow

I’m sure to most, standing along a creek and watching it flow is a lot like watching grass grow.

For me, sight, sound and smell become engaged and the end result is intoxicating.

I have no clue what’s going through my head at that point. Hopes, dreams, possibilities and memories all become one long flow of thoughts and mental images.

Not much different than how the water is flowing.

The other day I stood along a creek and took about a dozen shots of the creek as it flowed over rock. I wanted to see if I could capture the flow and glare and play of the water.

I have no clue if I succeeded, but I like the end results.

These shots and this post is for me. They’re only sized to fit here and I did no other post processing to them. I wanted to see how they looked when I took the shots.

I get to take breaks at work and now I can come here, click on this gallery of images and slowly go through the them.

Possibly relive in my head what I enjoy doing more than anything else.

I’ll have to watch so I don’t become mesmerized and slack jawed with a bit of drool forming at the corner of my mouth that has to be noisily sucked back in.

I could only imagine the level of ridicule from my coworkers that I would have to endure.

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Testing the Water

When I walked out the door I had every intention of going out to a couple of creeks to start testing the water.

Got to the first creek to find a couple of cars parked there. Wandered onto the abandoned bridge to survey the water. Unlike the river it was in perfect condition; crystal clear, excellent level, but devoid of life. Not a thing seen in the water.

One of the anglers came back and we struck up a conversation. He saw and caught nothing and then asked my name. Winds up he reads here and he recognized me, not by my stunning good looks, but the cigar.

Not sure that’s a good thing.

The other angler shows up, more conversation with nothing to show for fishing efforts.

Two other anglers pull up and get out of their car. One looks familiar and I ask his name. Winds up it’s someone I used to run into on the creeks all the time, but it’s been a good decade since I saw him last. I mention that to him and say… “I assumed you got married, had kids or were dead.”

“Got the first two right at least.”

More conversation, then time to move on.

At the next creek I hesitated and went walking around before deciding if I wanted to go fishing. Couple of different bug hatches going on, but like the first creek, not a single thing seen in the water. I stood around mesmerizing myself with flowing water and tried to capture the why of it all.

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Back at the car, still debating, the bugs must have liked the warmth of my car. They were in mating position and covered it pretty well.

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Another angler shows up and a conversation starts. We had met at this same spot a couple of years ago. He was heading where I was thinking of going and he had been out there a couple of times so far this year. Barren water. I decide to wait another week or two and try again. A walk in the woods would be time better spent.

At a nearby big forest preserve, a hike through an area I haven’t done in a few years.

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Sometimes I take pictures of the things that trip me.

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The hike took me to still another creek that as far as I know has no name.

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This is a tiny little creek, shallow enough to walk through in most parts without getting your ankles wet. Neck down stretches that you can jump over and every now and then a deeper pool. Deep being relative and barely knee deep.

And yet, in these little pools, signs of life that weren’t in it’s bigger cousins.

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Since my plans had changed I decided to stay out till sunset to see if it was worth capturing. It was looking like the clouds were getting blown out of the area with nothing but blue skies. Not enough to make for an interesting sunset.

So I went home.

An hour or so later I was proven wrong. Enough clouds had stuck around on the south edge of the sun to make the sky interesting, nothing but blue skies on the north edge of the sun.

No time to hop into the car and go someplace with a vista view. Just enough time to walk down the street in this neighborhood full of light manufacturing and railroad tracks and see if I could get something interesting out of it all.

Not what I prefer, but it will do in a pinch.

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Spring Creek Skunk Cabbage

I don’t know why they call this Duck Creek. A duck would have to be a fool to go that far back into the woods.

As for moderate, that’s if you stay on the trail. I don’t know how to stay on trails.

Was going to make this a long post with pictures from last week and today to compare and contrast, but that would take too long and I’m tired.

Last week I stood on a high ridge overlooking a pretty little spring creek. Toyed with the idea of going down to the creek, but the woods were still filled with snow and I didn’t relish sliding down the hill on my ass.

This week I took a different route in.

Same high bluff, different location, all the snow for as far as could be seen was gone.

I thought it would be a good idea to follow a deer path down to the bottom.

Deer always take the path of least resistance.

Half way down the hill there were deer skid marks. I had a flash of wishing I had gone down the hill last week. Snow, mud, I’ll take snow.

Luckily there were strategically placed saplings all the way down the hill. I assume I looked like George of the Jungle swinging my way down. Gravity didn’t win this one and I made it to the bottom still standing.

Was worth the trip.

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When I got to the bottomlands I began to see things poking their way out of the ground. Green things, but they were mostly a beautiful deep burgundy. They were everywhere, skunk cabbage.

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I then remembered where I normally see skunk cabbage. Bottomlands, wetlands, flood plain, call it what you will, but it’s a swamp.

I did my best to tip toe around all the emerging skunk cabbage so I wouldn’t crush any of them. Try tip toeing through a muddy swamp. It doesn’t go well when from your toe to past your ankles you’re stuck in mud.

Walking in the spring creek took care of that.

Got to the mouth of the creek where it enters the river. Turned to head out and there it was, the high bluff I stood on the previous week to survey where I now stood.

I decided to skip following the deer paths and blaze my own trail up the slope.

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What to do What to do

One of these days I’m going to figure out what to do with all these pictures I take.

I find myself out wandering just shooting with no real thought given to them.

Most turn out quite bland and yet, in my head is an image stew.

Back when I used to paint I used to paint images over images over and over again.

My head is telling me to start combining these somehow.

Orderly, abstract, disparate, just put them up together somehow, one after another, above and below each other, nice neat lines, sporadic and let the images figure out whether or not they play well together.

I open folders and browse, couple of seconds per image. Playing the possibilities out in my head. Putting things together. Rotating them. Flipping them.

I have a memory for images, not words.

I walk away and they keep playing in my head.

Wake up in the middle of the night and the slide show continues.

One of these days I’m going to figure out what to do with all these pictures I take.

If for no other reason than I need to get some sleep.