Sunday, May 03, 2015

Reading Room: Bluelining 101 by Steve Hudson

Evenin’ Folks,
The hike in.
  One of the best things I've learned about fly fishing over these past few years is that it is a hobby that can be tailored specifically to you, and there is a world of information out there no matter which direction the fly takes you.  Whether you’re into freshwater or saltwater, classic bamboo rods or ultra-modern carbon fiber, fishing from the bank of a small pond or from the bow of a flats boat on a rushing river, there is something in fly fishing for everyone.  For me, the big draw to fly fishing was being able to combine my love of fishing with my love of hiking.  I spent a lot of time thinking about being able to hike through the woods for a few hours to find a small stream full of native trout that aren't so heavily pressured that everything has to be perfect to hook them.  I've decided that 2015 is going to be my “Year of the Bluelines”.  This is the year that I wear out a new pair of hiking boots trekking through the national forest in search of the streams that only show up on a topo map as a blue line. 
There isn't much better on a rainy night than a good whiskey,
a good pipe and a good book.
  Now, I've always been the type of guy that has to exhaustively research an endeavor before I let myself embark on it.  Lucky for me, I've befriended the guy who wrote the book on bluelining in North Georgia, literally!!!  At first glance this looks more like a pamphlet than a book, but prolific outdoor writer Steve Hudson has managed to cram an extensive amount of information from his more than 40 years of experience into these 76 pages.  “Bluelining 101: How to find unspoiled wild trout fishing far from the beaten path” covers every aspect of bluelining from the definition of a blueline to reading topo maps, to what gear to take and what flies to pack.  There are even sections in the book on approaching the stream, casting in cover and reading the water. 
  After reading Steve’s book, I really feel much more prepared to tackle some blueline streams this year.  His enthusiasm for the hobby really shines in all of his writing and when you finish reading this book you’ll be ready to lace up your hiking boots, grab your ultralight fly rod and hit the woods with a topo map in hand.  You can find Bluelining 101 at most local fly shops in North Georgia, a selection of them are now listed on Amazon or you can order directly from the publisher, Chattahoochee Media Group.
  I hope you’re all doing well, I’ll see you in the woods,


Friday, May 01, 2015

GA DNR Press Release: Seasonal Trout Streams No Longer Seasonal

Seasonal Trout Streams No Longer Seasonal - But Now Year-Round

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (4/30/2015)
Trout season opened this past March, but unlike previous years, they will no longer have a closing date.  Beginning April 21, 2015, state trout streams will remain open year-round, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. 
“The Board of Natural Resources recently approved the lifting of seasonal restrictions on approximately 1,600 miles of trout waters,” said John Biagi, Fisheries Section Chief of the Wildlife Resources Division.  “This decision, which initiated as something that anglers had been requesting for many years, comes after many months of research and analysis and extensive public outreach and we anticipate that trout anglers will eagerly welcome this additional time on the water.” 
This change in trout fishing regulations only eliminates the dates of “trout season.”  So, come this October, the season will not close as it has in past years.  
“We are grateful for all the feedback received during the public outreach process. We sought input from anglers through public meetings and surveys and worked closely with trout conservation groups to ensure that we had support of this decision,” said Biagi.  “We feel confident that this change will not negatively impact trout populations, but given the fact that our agency is charged with conserving and managing the wild trout resources of Georgia, we will continue to monitor wild trout stream populations as we have for decades and will respond accordingly to any changes.” 
The daily limit is eight trout on general regulation trout waters. Anglers are reminded to respect private property rights along streams flowing through private lands and to obtain permission before fishing on private property.  
Anglers must possess a current Georgia fishing license and a trout license to fish in designated trout waters and to fish for or possess trout.  Anglers must also possess a wildlife management area license or Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass (GORP) in order to fish on certain WMAs.  Find a list of designated areas .  

Monday, April 06, 2015

The Winston-Salem Fly Fishing Show 2015

Evenin' Folks,

  I know I'm about a month and a half late, but I wanted to make sure and tell you guys about my trip to The Fly Fishing Show in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  It got off to a pretty rocky start, which, unfortunately, put a damper on the whole weekend, but I got to meet some cool people and sit in on some awesome lectures.
   In spite of some cooler temperatures being forecast, I opted to take the tent and camp at a nice little campground called Midway about 25 minutes outside of Winston-Salem.  It gave me the opportunity to put some cold weather camping techniques that I've wanted to try to the test.  A few sock-covered Nalgene bottles full of boiled water tucked into the sleeping bag a few minutes before bedtime makes a world of difference!  I stayed comfortably warm, even when waking up to 12° F and ice in my mustache!!
  The Winston-Salem show was a Friday and Saturday event.  I got up the first morning and stopped at a McDonald's on the way in to grab a hot coffee and a breakfast sandwich.  Unfortunately, I didn't get much further that morning.  As I was leaving the restaurant, a driver in the oncoming lane to my left fell asleep, drifted into my lane and took the front end off of my little Escape.  I spent the next 4 hours in the McDonald's parking lot calling insurance and car rental companies trying to get the ball rolling and trying to figure out how the hell I was going to get home!  I want to take a moment to say a huge and very well deserved THANK YOU to Mike from Mike's Wrecker Service in Mocksville.  If any of you reading this are ever in need of a tow truck in that area, give Mike a call.  He helped me out a lot, did a great job towing my car and really gave me some great advice on the whole process.  
It was a good little car.
  I'm very thankful that I wasn't injured at all in the wreck, but it certainly made me think hard about attending the second day of the show or just driving home.  Well, I guess I'm a glutton for punishment, because I stayed two more sub-freezing nights in the tent so I could get my fly fishing gear fix.  To say that I wasn't in the best frame of mind for attending a show is a bit of an understatement.  As a result, I'm afraid I didn't take as many photos as I wish I had.  
   The thing I enjoyed most about the Winston-Salem Fly Fishing Show was the number and variety of presentations and lectures offered.  From fly fishing in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Bahamas to Alaska, and those are just a few of the presentations I attended.

 One of the most fascinating was a presentation from a gentleman named Ozzie Ozefovich on The Underwater World of Trout.  Ozzie has combined his lifelong love of trout with his lifelong love of the video camera and through his camera's lens he sheds light on the secret world of his favorite fish.  Not only does he study and explain the habits of the fish themselves, but Ozzie also runs tests to determine how the water currents change through the water column and how different structures affect the stream flow.  Ozzie had compiled his research and footage onto 4 dvds that are available for purchase through his website.  I plan to order them, so look for a review here later in the year!
Cecilia "Pudge" Kleinkauf
  A highlight of the show for me was meeting and speaking with Cecilia "Pudge" Kleinkauf, the director and guide of Women's Flyfishing Alaska.  She's such a wealth of information and experience and her passion for the sport is contagious.  Pudge has authored several books and many articles on flyfishing in Alaska, she has hosted a podcast and been interviewed by the Ask About Flyfishing podcast.  I got to speak with Pudge while she was working her table on Tier's Row, she told me she's a regular at The Fly Fishing Shows.  I feel very fortunate that I got to meet and speak with her and I hope I get the opportunity again some day.
  Even though things got off to a rough start for me with this trip, I thoroughly enjoyed attending The Winston-Salem Fly Fishing Show.  If there's a show in your neck of the woods you really ought to check it out.  The lectures, the exhibitors, and the fly shops that are represented really make for a great show.  I'm going to try to attend again next year, but I might have to get a hotel and I won't be going to McDonald's for coffee!!!
  I hope you're all doing well,
     Tight Lines,

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Fly Fishing Film Tour Atlanta 2015

Evenin' Folks,
  First off, I'd like to apologize for the unplanned hiatus.  I've had a helluva couple months here lately,  after my trip to North Carolina, but I'm back now and I've got lots of posts in the works!                                                                     The guys at F3T sent me a media pack and tickets to attend their film showing down at the Buckhead Theatre.  After watching the preview DVD (and enjoying all the beer they sent!) I was really excited to attend the show.  The show has a long list of sponsors and the presenters do some pretty awesome giveaways during the intermission.  They even truck in beer from Oskar Blues Brewery, so, naturally, I got myself a Dale's Pale Ale to enjoy during the show.
  I've got to say, I was really quite shocked to be one of the first people in attendance.  I like to get to shows like this early, to ensure I get a good seat, but it seemed like the theater didn't really fill up until after the show started.  There were several empty seats around me until well after the films started.  Perhaps because it was a Wednesday night in Buckhead and the after work traffic was awful as usual.  The other thing that surprised me was the lack of energy in the audience.  I mean, come on Atlanta, we can do better!  The response from the audience just seemed lackluster at best and I felt that the F3T guys deserved better than that.  I hope the Cartersville audience in April is a lot more lively!!!
  Now, as for the films, they were really amazing!  Each film gave a look into some facet of fly fishing around the world.  All of the short films shown this year were exciting or thought provoking to watch and absolutely worth checking out.  The three that I seemed to enjoy the most were 90 Miles, a film that discussed the relationship between the US and Cuba and moving forward in cooperation for fishing and conservation; Yow: Icelandic for Yes, was a stunning film that introduces a pioneer of surfing in Iceland spending time both surfing and fly fishing in some incredibly scenic places.  Iceland was on my travel wish list before, but I think it moved up a couple notches after seeing the film!  And Mongolia, this film was an introduction for me for fly fishing in Mongolia for the world's largest trout species, the Taiman, and the innovators and guides who are trying to save the Taiman by attracting fishing tourism dollars to their corner of the world.  
  If you've got a Fly Fishing Film Tour coming to your neck of the woods, I definitely recommend you check it out.  It makes for a great evening out with awesome giveaways and good beer!  If you can't make it to one of the shows, check out the F3T website.  They've got trailers for all of the year's films on the site.
  I hope you're all doing well, and now that winter is over in most of the country, you're getting out and catching some fish.
   Tight lines!

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Winter Camping Checklist

Evenin' Folks,
  For the first time in a while I didn't do any fishing this weekend (haven't been doing much catching lately, anyway!).  Instead, I've been working on getting organized and getting my lists made for my trip to North Carolina this coming weekend.  I'm going to be attending The Fly Fishing Show in Winston-Salem and I'm very excited!  I'll have a full post up after the show with tons of pictures and my experiences at the show.  Make sure you're following me on Facebook and Instagram because I'll be live posting photos there all weekend.
  There was a special rate offered at the local hotels for show attendees, but a hotel room is way outside my budget.  I've never been a big fan of sleeping in a bed slept in by a few hundred strangers before me either! So, I'm camping!  I'm packing up the tent, sleeping bag and chuck box and enjoying a weekend of sleeping in the great outdoors.  I've found a nice little campground about 25 minutes from the convention center and, fingers crossed, the weather should be fairly cooperative for the weekend, according to current outlooks.  Being that this is the beginning of February, North Carolina does get pretty cold.  The night of my arrival the meteorologists are predicting snow flurries and weekend lows in the low 20s.  Since I'm car camping, I don't have much concern for the weight of my gear, but I want to make sure that I am well prepared for whatever the weather might throw at me.  In doing my research, Googling "camping checklist" seems to assume warm weather camping and searching "winter camping" assumes back country snowshoeing or cross country skiing trips.  None of the lists I found seem to be tailored to winter camping in the southeastern US where it could rain, it could snow or it could be 70 degrees all in the same weekend!  So, I've put together my own list and I thought I would share it here with you.

Tent stakes
Floor pad
Kitchen shelter
Door mat
Wisk broom
Tent light
Cell phone charger
Extension cord
Power strip
Cold Sleeping
Sleeping bag
Sleeping pad
Sleeping bag liner
Extra quilts/blankets
Specialty Clothing
Long johns
Heavy socks
Knit cap
Henley shirt
Gloves knit & leather
Rain gear
Plastic utensils
Plastic cooking utensils (spatula, spoon, tongs)
Matches/lighter (plus extra)
Plastic cup/mug
Paper plates/bowls
Paper towel
Plastic pot scraper
Scrub pad
Dish detergent
Dish cloth
Wash basin
Kitchen knife
Cutting board
Hot dog forks
Small trash bags (used grocery bags)
Nalgene style water bottles
Aluminum foil
French press
Can/bottle opener
Kitchen towel/pot holder
Measuring cup/spoons
Zip top bags
Cooking oil/spray
Spare mantles
Spare Batteries
Multi tool
Duct tape
Fire starter (homemade or store bought)
Firewood (extra)
Folding table
Camp chair
Fire poker
Soap w/box or zip top bag
Wash cloth
Shower shoes
Eyeglass repair kit
Contact case
Contact solution
First aid kit
Lip balm
Personal medications
Laundry bag
Throat lozenges
Antacid tablets

  My Winter Camping Checklist isn't a whole lot different from my regular checklist, except that I've added a few "extra" and "spare" designations that may not be as important in warmer conditions, and the "Specialty Clothing" and "Cold Sleeping" categories have been added.  I've left out categories for clothing and food because those are very individualized for each person and each trip.  I'm going to keep this as a "live list", as my camping experience grows and different pieces of kit are tested and tried, things will be added and deleted.  I'll also continue with the Seasonal and Specialty categories to tailor each list to each individual trip.  I'll keep the list updated on the blog, so make sure you keep checking back and let me know if you think I need to add anything, I'm always open to suggestions!
  I hope you're all doing well.
     Happy Camping!

Monday, January 19, 2015

We Have A Winner!!!

Thanks to everyone who followed, liked and shared!  This giveaway was a lot of fun for me!  Thanks so much for all the support!  Instagram follower @dcasto128 is the lucky winner of all these goodies!  Just shoot an email with your mailing info to and I'll send it right out to you!
Huge thanks to Tacky Fly Box, ARC Fishing and Fly Box Outfitters for donating to the giveaway!!  And thanks, too, to all the vendors I was able to get the decals from!! 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Umpqua Feather Merchants

Huge thanks to the folks at Umpqua Feather Merchants for the pile of gear to test and review!
Evenin' Folks,
  If you follow me on social media then you've already seen these pictures, but I wanted to make sure and get them posted up here for those that don't.  Back at IFTD I had the pleasure of meeting the folks from Umpqua Feather Merchants and I had the opportunity to check out the soon-to-be-released gear they had in the works.  Fast forward a few months and I had a nice, big box waiting on the front porch full of a few pieces of that new gear that impressed me so much!  Keep an eye here on over the next few months as I do my First Cast review and follow ups.  I've already mounted the Tailgater on a storage container and filled a few of the pockets and I can tell already that it's going to become a vital piece of kit for me!
  I hope you're all doing well and staying warm this winter!

The Tailgater locked and loaded!  There are still a lot of empty pockets to fill!