Back to Pyramid Lake

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Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
Lahontan Cutthroat Trout

The sun was just starting to go down as we packed up the last of the gear in the back of the truck on Wednesday evening. We turned on to the 93 and set our sites first on Vegas and then to Reno. The conversation was entertaining to say the least, but around 1am things got quiet and passengers started drifting off to sleep. We made good time and we positioned our ladders deep in the lake sand and were ready when the sun started to come up again.

Then we spent three days fishing in the howling wind and cold water of Pyramid Lake. The fishing ebbed and flowed as it normally does. We bounced around to different beaches, and ultimately found a couple spots that gave up some nice fish. No true 15 or 20 pound monsters came to the net, but overall we were pretty happy. Most of our fish came on heavy sinking line and beetles being stripped along the barren bottom of the lake.

What stands out more to me about this trip was the atmosphere. We had good food and laughed to the point of exhaustion. Couldn’t ask for much more than that. Here are a couple of pictures from my camera.

Also check out:

Alex Landeen Photos

Sleep When You’re Dead

Rod holders
Fly Rods
The Ladder Line
The Ladder Line
Pyramid Lake
A moment of calm on Pyramid Lake
Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
Release
Release
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake

 

 

Arizona Urban Fishing: Lunch Breaks and Picnics

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Casting
Casting

My work is a block down from one of the local urban ponds, and everyday as I drive by, I see a few anglers working the water from lawn chairs. My wife and daughter have started the wonderful tradition of coming down for a picnic once a week, and after my wife’s prompting (it truly was not my idea), I brought along the fly rod. Not much is happening at mid day on these cement bottomed ponds, but here the little girl and I talked about fly selection and she critiqued my cast. There was time for a little midday siesta before I gave them each a kiss and headed back to work. If only every day was picnic day.

fly selection
Deep discussion on fly selection
Urban Pond
Passed out from too much picnic

Shimmy Caddis Nymph

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Holoshimmer
Shimmy caddis

Ingredients -

  • #18-12 curved caddis hook
  • Gold bead
  • 8/0 Uni thread (Brown or Black)
  • Small Ultra Wire (Brown or Black)
  • Green Holoshimmer tinsel thread (available at your local craft store)
  • Haretron Dubbing (Brown or Black)
  • India Hen soft hackle

Finding myself at home this winter with our new baby, I’ve been spending some more time at the vise and filling a few fly boxes. While working on some caddis patterns, I found myself wanting to tie something a bit flashier, and after pawing through materials I found some Holoshimmer tinsel from a while back. I give you the “Shimmy Caddis.”

Shimmy Caddis
Tie in Holoshimmer tinsel and wire
Shimmy Caddis
Wrap thread back to the bend of the hook
Shimmy Caddis
Wrap tinsel forward
Shimmy Caddis
Wrap wire forward
Shimmy Caddis
For stability, coat with Clear Cure Goo and cure with light.
Shimmy Caddis
Dub small thorax
Shimmy Caddis
Tie in softhackle
Shimmy Caddis
Wrap hackle and whip finish
Shimmy Caddis
Finished Shimmy Caddis Nymph
Shimmy Caddis
A batch of Shimmy Caddis nymphs ready for the water

 

Rambling Review – Wright & McGill Grindstone Reel Bag

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Rambling Review – Wright & McGill Grindstone Reel Bag

Wright & McGill Grindstone Reel Bag
Wright & McGill Grindstone Reel Bag

Why:

I don’t know how it happened, but all of the sudden I found that I had a bunch of different reels for my different weight lines and fly rods. I’m not what you would call an organized person (ask my wife), and I often found myself frantically searching for a specific reel the night before a fishing trip. I started storing them all in the same shoe box and that worked for a bit, but I took several road trips where I was going to fish different waters. I was going to bring multiple rigs and really wanted a way to keep my reels organized and protected in the bed of the truck. After a bit of searching, I found the Wright & McGill Grindstone Reel Bag which met my needs on several levels.

Wright & McGill Grindstone Reel Bag
Wright & McGill Grindstone Reel Bag

First impressions:

Size – The Wright & McGill Grindstone Reel Bag measures out at 10.5″ Wide x 5″ High  x 13.5″ Deep and is designed to hold up to 9 reels.

Construction – The reel bag is constructed of a heavy duty nylon exterior with a molded bottom. A foam handle and removable shoulder strap give you a couple of options of how you can carry the bag. The interior boasts heavy padding with adjustable Velcro dividers for different size reels while the top flag has a clear plastic zipper pocket for tippets, tools, or any other odds and ends you might want to keep in there.

Price – Compared to it’s competitors, the Wright & McGill Grindstone Reel Bag is arguably the best bang for your buck on the market.

Wright & McGill Grindstone Reel Bag
Wright & McGill Grindstone Reel Bag

Field Use:

As stated before, the Wright & McGill Grindstone Reel Bag serves two main purposes for me. The first is organization. I have my 2 weight reel all the way up to my beefier 8 weight Galvan Rush. The adjustable inserts allow me to get a snug fit for each reel so they don’t bounce around. I do like the clear plastic pocket on the top panel. I found this to be the perfect spot for, leaders, receipts, and warranty cards for my nicer reels.

The second purpose of the Wright & McGill Grindstone Reel Bag is for protection. On a couple of different occasions, my journey was a bit open ended and I didn’t know exactly what fly rods I would be using. Since I had the room in the truck, it was easy and hassle free just to grab the whole reel bag and give myself some options for when I arrived at the water. I never gave a second thought to the reels in the bag, as I knew the foam padding would keep them safe and secure.

One thing I will add. When comparing the Wright & McGill Grindstone Reel Bag to some of the big name companies’ reel bags, like Orvis or Fishpond, there is some differences in quality. In my opinion, if you are using the bag for the purposes that I described above, I don’t think the extra cash for the big name is worth it. I can justify putting money on equipment that get’s beat up in the field (waders, fishing packs, etc), but reel bags rarely see that kind of treatment, and it is tough for me to let that extra money go.

Wright & McGill Grindstone Reel Bag
Molded bottom of the Wright & McGill Grindstone Reel Bag

Pros:

Holds up to 9 reels

Quality construction

Great protection and organization for reels

Excellent price point

Cons:

Overall not as nice quality as some of the competitors

Prognosis:  The Wright & McGill Grindstone Reel Bag is an excellent choice if you are looking for a quality bag to organize and protect your fly fishing reels.

 

Disclaimer:

The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. Arizona Wanderings is not sponsored by or associated with any of the stated companies and is accepting no compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review.  My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.

Fly tying with a baby…

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Fly Tying
Tying flies, while the boss looks on from her throne

The sunlight filters through the east facing windows and warms the tile in the kitchen. The baby swayed rhythmically in her swing next to me as I spend the morning attempting to refill a few different boxes. She’d gurgle, and occasionally squawk, when I would show her a finished fly, which of course I took as her approval of my technique.  I certainly didn’t maintain my usual speed at churning out flies, but having a cute partner at the table was worth the decrease in output.

Shimmy Caddis
Shimmy Caddis
Sculpins
Sculpins

Book Report: 50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish

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50 Best Tailwaters to Fish
50 Best Tailwaters to Fish

Terry and Wendy Gunn are household names here in Arizona. The Gunns own and operate Lees Ferry Anglers Fly Shop and Guide Service in Marble Canyon, Arizona. In conjunction with their extensive personal knowledge, Terry and Wendy have worked diligently with local experts and guides from around the country, to put together an amazing lineup of rivers to fish called 50 Best Tailwater to Fly Fish.

This 250 page anthology is broken down into four categories – East, West, South, and the Rockies. Each section highlights multiple tailwaters in that region and details the nitty gritty on each river. Important information such as access, hatches, regulations, gear/tackle, fly shops, guide services, and even where to wet your whistle are organized for quick reference. Each page is complimented with quality, high resolution photos and maps to be sure to whet your appetite for slipping into a pair of waders and getting to the water.

I’ve really enjoyed thumbing through the pages of the 50 Best Tailwater to Fly Fish, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had fished several of these well known waters. Rest assured though, I marked several pages for reference, and it is my intention to try and steer a family vacation to a couple of new areas in order to try my luck on one of these beautiful tailwaters.

50 Best Tailwaters to Fish
50 Best Tailwaters to Fish by Gunn and Gunn
50 Best Tailwaters to Fish
Detailed description of each tailwater
50 Best Tailwaters to Fish
Intricate maps with public access for each river
50 Best Tailwaters to Fish
Local knowledge
50 Best Tailwaters to Fish
Hatches
50 Best Tailwaters to Fish
Good info to have

 

Mixed bag in the Sonoran Desert

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Gambel's Quail
Gambel’s Quail

This Arizona quail season ended way too fast. Truth be told, with my wife being pregnant for the bulk of the season, I did more quail hunting than fishing this fall because hunting quail keeps me closer to town. I explored a bunch of new area though, hunted with some different buddies, and even though the numbers weren’t spectacular, I had a great season overall.

I hunted the last Saturday of the season in a relatively new area, and after loading up and and cinching the vest buckle tight, the desert erupted with the sounds of three distinct coyote packs. I don’t know if the desert dogs had anything to do with it, but it took me a while to find birds. When the covey scattered, I was able to knock down one male and put him in the bag.

In wanderings around looking for quail, I was able to kick up a half dozen cottontails and connected on two of them. I had stopped shooting rabbits in the past, because I wan’t too fond of the meat. That was the case until this season when I came across an amazing recipe. My friend Rohan writes a blog called Whole Larder Love and has written a book by the same name. Rohan Anderson is an artist when it comes to cooking and lives his dream of gardening, hunting, and living off the land. I tried his “Finger Lickin’ Rabbit” recipe and loved it. My wife, who is not the biggest fan of wild game, especially small furry creatures, loved it too.

At the end of the day, it’s always tough to see the season fade away. You’re left alone with a few pictures and the fleeting memories of wild birds flushing, and the promise of a new season only 8 months away. Until next time.

Sonoran Desert
Sonoran Desert
Arizona Mixed Bag
Arizona Mixed Bag
Sonoran Desert Landscape
Sonoran Desert Landscape
Finger Lickin' Rabbit
Finger Lickin’ Rabbit
Finger Lickin' Rabbit
Finger Lickin’ Rabbit
Rabbit
Rabbit

Rambling Review – REI Revelcloud Jacket

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Rambling Review – REI Revelcloud Jacket

REI Revelcloud Jacket
REI Revelcloud Jacket

Why:

Pretty much every outdoor clothing company these days is making an insulation layer out of Primaloft.  My wife and I each bought ourselves one of the REI Revelcloud Jackets as Christmas presents in 2012 and have put them through the ringer. Ultimately, a lightweight insulation layer can be the difference between staying warm in the field, and being miserably cold and heading home.

*REI has since redesigned their Revelcloud line so it looks a bit different, but appears to have roughly the same specs and features.

REI Revelcloud Jacket
REI Revelcloud Jacket

First impressions:

Material – The REI Revelcloud Jacket is manufactured from Pertex Quantum which is a recycled ripstop polyester. This material is fairly water- and wind-resistant.

Insulation – The insulation for this jacket incorporates a synthetic material called Primaloft. Primaloft is a synthetic that is similar to down. The positive side about Primaloft is that it still provides some warmth when wet, unlike down which loses all warmth when wet. The downside is that it does not pack down as tightly, nor as lightweight as down. 

Packability – Although not as tight-packing as down, the Revelcloud does pack pretty small. It comes with a small stuff sack that is roughly 9 inches long with a 3.5 inch diameter. Pretty nice when you think about it.

REI Revelcloud Jacket
REI Revelcloud Jacket

Field Use:

I have literally beat the crap out of this jacket this past year and a half. I have hunted, fished, and backpacked with it all over the southwest and it still looks pretty good. Here is what I really like about the jacket:

Number one is that I can wear it as an insulation piece under a shell or as a stand alone jacket. The Revelcloud is form fitting and lays very flat under an outer jacket. I would often use this jacket as a layer underneath a heavier coat while glassing hillsides during hunting season or underneath my waders and softshell while fishing. I provides a great amount of warmth without a ton of bulk. There were also times though where I’d arrive early to fish a canyon and it was still pretty cold (30s or 40s), but I knew that it would warm up considerably once the sun was high in the sky. The REI Revelcloud is sturdy enough to be worn with care as an external jacket in the morning and then stowed in the stuff sack once the day warms.

The second thing that I really like about the REI Revelcloud jacket is that the Primaloft still provides warmth even when damp or wet. I have a very distinct memory of stumbling hard on the stream and dipping the entire right arm of my jacket in the cold creek water. Once I rung out the water and gave it a couple of shakes, I didn’t have any other choice than to put the jacket back on. Although it wasn’t perfect, the jacket did continue to hold some warmth even though it was soaking wet. My limited experience with down has shown me that it does not react in the same way as Primaloft.

Finally, the REI Revelclouds ability to pack down into a very small stuff sack makes it ideal for an outdoorsman who is trying to save on space and ounces. At roughly 12.5 ounces, it is a really nice insurance policy to have just in case the weather turns cold and windy. From October til April, this jacket stays in my fishing and hunting pack for those moments when I need the extra warmth.

REI Revelcloud Jacket
REI Revelcloud Jacket and a bent rod on Bright Angel Creek

One thing does stand out as problematic when talking about all lightweight Primaloft or down jackets, and the Revelcloud is no exception – Durability. Although I do often wear it as an outer layer, I wear it carefully. This is not the jacket to bushwack through raspberry bushes or thick pokey tree limbs. I do try to be gentle with it, as the material can be torn rather easily. I have two small holes in the jacket that I keep an eye on, although they do not compromise its performance.

Pros:

Lightweight

Extremely packable

Water- and wind-resistant

Bunches down into its own stuff sack

Extremely warm

Great non-bulky insulation layer

Made from recycled material

Easily machine washed

True to size

Cons:

Made in China

Not ideal as an outer layer as the material can be easily torn

REI Revelcloud Jacket
REI Revelcloud Jacket makes a great piece of insulation at Pyramid Lake

 

Prognosis:  The REI Revelcloud Jackets quickly became and remains one of my favorite pieces of gear during the cold months of the year. It is worth its weight in gold as an insulation layer when it comes to staying warm in the elements. 

 

Disclaimer:

The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. Arizona Wanderings is not sponsored by or associated with any of the stated companies and is accepting no compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review. My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.