The Trout Also Rises

"A blog upon my estutcheon" A weblog about fishing, hunting, hiking, cycling, books, beer, and other random musings. Any humor contained in this site is entirely unintentional and has not been tested on animals. e mail aaaaargh at msndotcom

Location: California

A hunter and fisherman, fascinated with books and history.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Something different

The Free Church of Country Sports is worthy of your support. Sign the register!

Thanks to An Englishman's Castle for the heads up.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Kern River report

This past Friday my fishing partner Mike and I packed down to the Kern River downstream from Kern Flats, which is some miles above the Forks of the Kern in California's Sierra Nevada range. We used the Lion Meadow trail, which is five miles long with an elevation change of about 2,200 feet.

We left the trailhead at 11:45 in the morning. The trip down was quite uneventful until we crossed Soda Creek, when we ran into a mother bear and two cubs. One of the cubs had climbed an oak tree just as I came over a rise in the trail. Mike had his Ruger .357 out before you could say "oh @&*#!" Unfortunately, the trail went under the tree the cub had climbed, and the area all around had high brush which could easily conceal a whole army of bears. With me blowing my whistle and Mike at the ready, we advanced very slowly on the tree and eventually determined the bears had moved on.

We reached the river around 3:30 and I did a bit of fishing after we set up camp a few hundred yards north of Soda Creek. Dry flies like the Elk Hair caddis and Madame X got a few rises but no takers. I switched to a rubber legged bead head Hare's Ear and landed one about eleven inches, a very healthy rainbow. No other fish were landed on Friday.

Mike and I fished most of Saturday and landed another seven trout, the largest being around twelve to thirteen inches. We both lost several more, including one that I could not move off the bottom of the pool. That fish tired of the game quickly, shook his head, and the fly came out. All the fish caught on Saturday were caught with either the enhanced Hare's Ear described above, or on a size 10 Mormon Girl.

The river in this area is really great for fishing, with lots of deep pools and fast riffles with fine pocket water. The area clearly was affected by the fire, but most of the large trees have survived, and there are extensive areas of unburned brush. Downstream from Soda Creek, the river runs through a steep canyon, and is basically unfishable. Mike worked his way about two miles up from our campsite on Saturday, and reported great water the entire length. I don't think he made it all the way to Kern Flats, but he must have been close.

We left early on Sunday morning and got back to the trailhead after a bit of huffing and puffing. There is no water on the last three miles of the trail, so we filled up at the Soda Creek crossing.

I would not recommend this trip for anyone who is not in good condition. You should also be an experienced backpacker, and have stout boots. We are both forty-nine years old, but work out fanatically. The Lion Meadow trailhead can be reached by driving towards Beach Meadow near the Blackrock ranger station, west of Kennedy Meadows.

I don't have a photo of the Mormon Girl fly, but here is a description of the pattern from an old book:

Tail: None
Tag: Scarlet floss
Body: Yellow floss, ribbed with silver tinsel thread
Hackle: Grizzly
Wing: Gray mallard breast

Monday, September 20, 2004

Highland humor

Two lady tourists were taking a small open steamer across a highland loch. Suddenly the sun vanished and it began to rain heavily. One of the tourists got out her raincoat, but the second lady had no foul weather gear and was getting uncomfortably soaked.

The lady with no raincoat asked the captain if he had a spare one. He said he did not, and called out to the stokers belowdecks if there was a macintosh to cover the lady.

After a pause, came the reply "nae, but there's a MacPherson willing to try."


A chimpanzee escaped from a circus touring the highlands and was found dead in a ditch by two ghillies employed at a nearby estate rented out to a shooting party from London.

The ghillies had never gazed on a chimpanzee before and were unsure of what it was. At last the elder said to the other "It's ower hairy for a MacPherson, no broad enough in the chest for a Fraser, and too long in the lip for a Cameron -- away with you up to the big hoose, Erchie, and see if one of the gentry's missing."

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Backpack to the upper Kern River

Next Friday will see me packing to the upper Kern River in California's southern Sierra Nevada range via the Lion Meadow trail. My fishing & shooting partner Mike and I will stay for two nights and hope to catch a lot of big trout. The area can only be reached by trail and is too far for a day trip, which limits the number of anglers. The area is home to large predators such as bear and mountain lions, which adds a frisson of fear to the whole enterprise.

It's strictly flyfishing for us, and your humble correspondent will be feverishly working at the fly vise the next few days. Dry flies such as the Elk Hair Caddis are called for. The Kern is known as a fall fishery, since the river is in spate much of the spring and summer.

Beer has a poor weight to volume quotient for backpacking and trekking, so we will probably chase the mountain chill away with small doses of Rebel Yell, a fine bourbon whiskey.

Thanks to Matt for this photo of the Kern. He has a great post on a recent trip he took to the area, including a video.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Pheasant and Dove Map

With pheasant and the second dove season opening on November 13, southern California bird hunters should find this map very useful. It shows fields that have been planted with milo, sunflower, and other grain crops for bird hunting in the Niland area near the Salton Sea.

This could be you:

Quail hunting looks to be very good, as shown in this report from near Inyokern. This year looks to be better than last year, when I had a limit of quail by 1:30 in the same area. The strange thing was, last year there were no hunters. I was walking down a huge wash on opening day with quail getting up in waves. My partner Mike decided we were in heaven.
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


Its a sad day for individual liberty in the UK. Britain's Labor-dominated Parliament has voted to ban foxhunting with hounds. Tony Blair did not show up to vote, and did not interfere with this exercise in the tyranny of the majority.

The fact is that foxes need to be killed in the countryside, one way or another. They will still be shot, gassed, and trapped, but there will be no toffs and farmers riding to hounds in the centuries-old way of the chase. The mere thought of anyone enjoying themselves while performing vermin control is anathema to the sour, bitter Labor backbenchers. It's really a class thing.

To enforce the ban, video monitors will be installed throughout the countryside. Unbelievable.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Flashman Triumphant

Harry Flashman - gentleman, soldier, duellist, lover, imposter, coward, cad and hero - returns in a triumphant new book, Flashman on the March.

Harper Collins has announced the publication of a brand new novel in George MacDonald Fraser's bestselling Flashman series. Publication in April 2005 will see Flashman on the March in Abyssinia in 1868.

Further details will be posted as they become known.

The author is a subject of Her Brittanic Majesty, and his books are published in the UK first. US publication usually follows some months later. One way around this is to order the book online from Canada, where the UK editions, not the US editions are sold (sometimes).

Port or Starboard?

The trip to northern California included a visit to Quady Winery north of Fresno in California's great Central Valley.

Quady has been making port and other dessert wines since the mid 70s. Some years ago, Andrew Quady stopped making "port" and began calling his port-style wines "starboard" in a clever effort to differentiate them from the real Oporto of Portugal and the mass market port-style wines of California, South Africa, and Australia. My favorite was the '96 vintage starboard (dryish with no raisiny overtones) and we left with a bottle destined for the cellars of Trout Manor.

Port is always a welcome finish to a game dinner. The rules are simple. Don't park the bottle in front of you, and always pass it to the right.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

A trip to northern California included a visit to Chico and the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Chico is a medium sized university town in the part of California that every sportsman wants to visit. The nearby Feather River teems with salmon up to 70 pounds, and the hills are full of deer and quail.

Whilst at the brewery's restaurant, I tried their Oktoberfest ale. Aaaahhhh! Sehr gut! Ve haff some goot beer in ziss place! I also had a second type of beer, but my skills as a reporter fail me here. I confess I do not remember what the second beer was. But the Oktoberfest beer was very nice, with a nutty flavor and a wonderful amber color. Vaiter, you vill bring some more of zat Oktoberfest beer!

Prior to the the departure of myself and the Troutfiancee from The Great North, we also visited River City Brewing Company, a mall-based brewpub in Sacramento. The food was a bit on the pricey side for pubgrub, but the beers were OK. We sampled their Belgian White Beer, which was a bit like lemon barley water left in the sun too long. The Kolsch was pretty good, balanced and aromatic, and I must say I appreciate the effort to perpetuate a relatively obscure regional German beer in the wilds of Sacramento. The lovely Troutfiancee enjoyed the "Vienna" style beer offered. It was an acceptable facsimile of Bavarian beer or beer of the Alps.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Bird blogging

One of the benefits of cycling along the San Gabriel River is seeing lots of birds. All are attracted by the water in the river channel, and many are drawn by the tilapia that are stocked to control mosquitoes. There are numerous ducks, egrets, and quite a few great blue herons.

Yesterday's ride was special, though. An osprey was flying slightly ahead of me and made a number of powerful dives into the water in plain sight. I believe the last dive was successful, since the raptor flew away from the river. Most of the tilapia are not trophy-sized, so I could not be sure.

Ospreys are officially a species of special concern in California. While they are numerous in northern California, they are only occasionally sighted in the southern part of their historic range.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Doves, doves, doves - The Dove Report

The conditions were perfect this year for an incredible opening day of the 2004 dove season. The desert thunderstorms which usually arrive in late August to disperse the birds did not show up this year, and there were enough grain crops to draw them to the fields.

I just got home from Arizona with a limit of doves, including some of the fearsome white wing doves. I am a happy man, except that this is only the first game book entry for the year. No winter pheasant or late spring hare, alas.

One hopes the great dove shooting augurs well for the remaining birds seasons. Quail and chuckar partridge open in the middle of October.

There are an estimated 450 to 500 million doves in the United States, and about 25 million are shot annually. Doves are easily the most popular game animal. Properly prepared, they also provide fine fare at table, particularly with a robust red wine.