Monday, 30 May 2011

The Smithers chicken run and cutthroat slayfest

In my temporary period of unemployment I decided to head to to the Clong forced labour camp near Smithers, for some poultry-related construction. The view from my holding cell was terrible.

The coop was already built, but they still needed a run to add some range to their freedom. Posts went in first, to a depth of a couple feet. This image of the newly installed posts does not capture the effort involved in the pounding. Alana had attempted to capture the action, but the images were so graphic they self-deleted from her memory card.

Next came the badass homemade door. Somehow it fit flush, and is seriously solid.

We salvaged chainlink fencing from the dog run left by the previous owners, and connected it all up. Chicken wire will be added to the top to get it up to the height of the posts. Lastly a trench needs to be dug around the perimeter, and wire mesh buried a foot or two deep to keep the predators from a tunnel assault. The holes in the chainlink are still too large to contain the chick(en)s, so they are under house arrest for now. Plus, they seem afraid of the outdoors.

Our reward was a cutthroat slayfest on a nearby lake, followed by the discovery that their property has morels. This was after a bit of trial and error in the morel hunt on the way home.

After finding where the fish were, it was non-stop. They weren't big (1st and 2nd year stocked), but were acrobatic when hooked, and we could have easily filled double our limit.

Pan fried cutthroat trout, fresh pasta with morel (and other mushroom) cream sauce, blanched fireweed shoots (very bitter... maybe blanching longer is the ticket).

A good end to the trip, and there is an open invitation for me to sleep in the chicken run whenever I return.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Caw Ridge Day 1.

How our quad got there.

I got the other quad a third of the way up the mountain and hiked the rest -it sucked.

The herd of caribou is the redrock prairie-creek.

I believe they are considered 'stable.'

Where they go, the wolves follow.

Caw Ridge in May...

is bad ass.

But slow internet.

Starting to see more sign of bear, but no sightings yet.

It's also a very french crew this year, so D you better brush up on your conversational french.

A few questions, maybe you all can help me with as a non-cervid biologist.

i) Are caribou legs evolved for running in snow?
ii) Is their natural anti-predator response to run at you?
iii) Is it too early to have velvet on antlers?

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Obama's new digs

It may be a step down from the White House (a little dirtier, too many roommates, not as nice of a view), but he/she gets fed regularly with fresh clean water and it's a consistent temperature throughout the day.

We were supposed to wait until June 22nd for our order of chicks, but we were able to get some heritage breeds (21 barred rocks, 4 buff orpingtons, 1 buff Brahma) about 10 days ago and I got impatient. So far we have lost an orpington (we named it stink eye due to the nasty abscess around its eye) and named the Brahma, Obama. Hopefully, it doesn't end up being a cock/meat bird.

The past week has been crazy because the coop was not complete... until yesterday. However, I'm happy to report that they are out of the house and into their new digs.
Note faux hardwood, linoleum floor.

I scavenged all of the wood for the coop, but I had to cough up some money for some insulation.

Ventilation. Tin roof I was able to get from a friend's old house.

I also caved and bought new plywood for the interior walls (easier than puzzling it all together). I haven't given them full reign of the coop yet, so they are in an area coop for now.

Obama Brahma with its' feathered feet.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Great grey

Driving back from exploring new waters rear Rocky Mountain House, saw this guy perched on a fence post. He was scanning the field, and didn't seem that concerned with me.

Owls are badass.

Monday, 16 May 2011

My Sunday afternoon

So, I have a new camera, and I've been teaching myself how to edit video. The biggest thing I've learned so far is that I need to get a tripod. Anyway, this is how I spent yesterday afternoon.

In addition to grayling, this:

Sunday, 8 May 2011


I talked myself into getting a new flytying vice, the conversation going something like "there isn't going to be a time in the future when you won't use a flytying vice, and you have a real job now, so might as well get a good one". The result of my discussion (with myself) is this:

It's pretty good - I wasn't sure I'd use the extra bits (bobbin holder, material clip), but they're actually pretty handy, and the cam-based vice closure is easy to use one-handed and holds solidly. The rotary bits are still a bit stiff, I'll have to work out exactly how to adjust them. Anyway, with a fancy new vice, I've been tying these:

Intruders (this fly) are a long step from #12 pheasant tail nymphs, and I've yet to finish one in under an hour. Losing one on a rock is going to be painful. Still, I've convinced myself that these are going to work really well for steelhead (and all the other river salmonids), and they're fun to tie, so I'm going to try to amass a bunch of them for a return to the Skeena system this fall.

I spent Friday and Saturday ostensibly conducting angler interviews at Johnson's Crossing, about an hour out of town, but as the weather was lousy, the days mostly consisted of sitting in the truck and waiting for anglers to show up (which, on Friday, they didn't). Luckily, I came prepared:

Monday, 2 May 2011

Fishing Inquiry

I've been meaning to post this for a of couple days. D, your post got me to do it.

So Dre and I are moving to Pincher in 1 month. Most mtn water opens for fishing shortly thereafter and I figure I'd like to try my hand at fly fishing this year. I'd like to get a jump on sorting through the myriad of info on the subject and give myself time to hopefully find a used set up to get me going.

My inquiry is simply: what do I need to get started? I am aiming to get everything or most everything used, but what pieces of equipment are more vs. less important--i.e., what should I spent more/less time/money on finding and getting?

Also, I'm planning for a trip Racehorse Creek first or maybe Allison or Star if RH is too busy. Any takers on mid June trip for a few nights?

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Home waters

I'm back in Ontario for a visit, and returned to the creek that taught me most of what I know about flyfishing. Namely, bring quadruple the number of flies you think you might need, and a lot of extra tippet.

The creek was running with a tinge of clay, probably from an artesian spring blowout upstream. Some tiny midges were hatching, and I saw a few rises, but didn't bother trying to match them. I don't think I have flies small enough.

Oliver will recognize this bridge. Surprisingly, nothing under there was interested in what I was throwing. The creek gets quite a bit of pressure during the first few weeks of the season, and the fish may have moved out into shallower riffles until it dies down.

Nymphs were the choice of the day; bead-head pheasant tails.

The poodle was very interested in the apparently untapped food source that was hiding in plain sight all along.

Hopefully I'll manage a few more hours on stretches of water that I haven't seen for years. This is one of my favourite times to fish the creek, before the leaves fill in, and the grass and nettles reach head height.