Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Last Week #2

Saturday was probably the most recreationally productive day of the week. It was a dissapointing day hatch-wise, we only saw 2 or 3 rises, and it was pretty slow sub-surface as well, but the quality made up for all that....

Last Week #1

Last week was relatively slow when stacked up against the one before it. However, it was not without highlight. This unemployment thing is great, I can't imagine what it would be like to actually be on unemployment, like I could be getting paid for this madness?

Anyways, tried to round up a few more morels close to home. Only went out one day due mainly to shitty weather, picking morels in the rain gets old really quick. It seems like the blackberrys somehow increase there affinity to my pants, and likewise my pants seem much worse at keeping the blackberrys off my skin. Waaaah, waaaaah. While on the forage I saw a couple noteworthy things, one being this MASSIVE trillium, I don't know how big these usually get but this one dwarfs most of the others I've seen this spring. Granted it is a small backpack, but the flower is about 2-2.5 ft tall.

A little further down the "trail" that I wasn't on I saw this Verpa conica, edible but apparently not too coveted.
Last but not least, a nice fruiting of what I believe are Turkey Tails. I think I've seen more of these than any other mushroom this spring. Always on dead trees, usually dead and down, and sometimes on stumps.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Some friends of the leech found themselves knee deep in spring gold! Awesome find!!!

Round 1 of the yearly drying operation here at headquarters, trying a new method this year. Used a dehydrator last year...this batch still has a day or two to go, but so far so good and it doesn't smell nearly as bad as the dehydrator.

Good days....

Well it got cold. Not cold enough to freeze and whither the morels overnight, but probably cold enough to have restarted the morel season at a certain elevation. Its likely that the low stuff was spared from complete destruction, but probably was slowed way down and anything that had started popping above 1000 ft is likely gone. Nonetheless, we knew that there were morels to be had, so we went and got 'em. Went back to the same place I got the first haul late last week. We pulled about 3-4 more lbs. on Saturday and about 1 lb on Sunday morning (picking in the snow!). We scouted Saturday for some similar locales but found nothing. So yesterday afternoon we opted for some river bottom cottonwoods to finish out the day. We are happy we did!!!

Scouting the coast range

Saturdays take

The blacks on the top half are from the same coastal spot and the esculentas on the bottom are from "a" river bottom (whatever you do, don't ask where "a" river is)

Some art, courtesy of Kari...I wanna eat this picture

So right about now, there are about 7 lbs. of fresh morels in the fridge. Being that it's April 21st and I didn't even find one last year until May 13th I would say that it's looking like a good spring!

Bon Appetit!

Friday, April 18, 2008


Morels today. The shit that needed to align, hath aligned. Gonna try to get more before the weather freezes them out this weekend (let us hope that this doesn't really happen, cause I left a lotta babies out there today).

Here is the whole haul,

my first quad,

and the days all stars, which I may turn into money...hmmm, dilemma.

note: I am not eating (or selling) the raggedy ass curled up one in the bottom right corner, it was just a really cool morel, massive and starting to rot...had to get some pictures of that one. It was growing in a flat spiral under a big piece of fir bark.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Consolation prize!

Hunted morels for about 4 hours yesterday. Spring was well on its way here, several knee to waste high nettles, lots of old, mangy Verpa bohemica. Everything looked right, but, not a single morel was found. Luckily, I chose this spot because it was very proximal to some good steelhead water. I figured I might get lucky and get an early summer on the swing, if nothing else get some practice casting my new-to-me Sage 6126. I was fishing a type III and a sz. 4 Purple Green Butt, traditional style. I worked one large run and had several trout grab the fly, even landed one native winter steelhead smolt, chrome and fired up on its way to the ocean. I moved down to fish one small tailout before calling it quits and about halfway through, in the middle of the swing I got a great grab and it stuck. It felt like an old winter should, no screaming runs but it did have a lot more power than I would expect for a spawned out hen. She was good sized, maybe 31-32", had some minor wounds on her body just in front of her tail, from digging a redd I'm sure, but was in otherwise excellent condition, especially her fins. I was expecting it to take some time to revive her but as soon as I pointed her in the right direction she was gone with power.

A bonus fish like that is tough to beat!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Holy Money Quote, batman!

So, I am close to done with my first Haig-Brown book. Several times in the past year I have found myself wondering, why in the hell am I not reading Haig-Brown? I mentioned this to my friend John and he was kind enough to loan me Fisherman's Fall. Anyways, there have been several excellent sentences in the book, but this is one of my favorite.

writing of the sources of peoples' fascination with fishing...

"Highest among them I would place the impossibility, for nearly all of us anyway, of achieving anything approaching complete and regular success, in spite of the delightful delusion that success of this sort is never far away."

Thats good stuff.

Will I ever learn?

When the time is not right for something that depends on the right time, it is best if you just wait for it. Trying to make it be the right time is not humanly possible, for one cannot feasibly make the last two weeks warmer or wetter. In fact one cannot feasibly do anything to the last two weeks at all, except think about it, which is by definition not doing anything to it, but doing something of it. Nonetheless, I thought by knowing (without really knowing) that there were morels where we hunted them, that somehow one or two would appear. Unfortunately, nature was there to firmly put me in my place.

We spent about 15-16 hours over the last three days foraging river bottoms laced with cottonwood and maple, and a few mini-stands of fir and cedar mixed in, with nothing to show for it, aside from the large mental scar that is left behind. The scar forms slowly, very slowly, and doesn't become apparent until that one moment when you firmly call it quits and head for home. During that moment all the certainty you had that the morels were there winds itself into a mass of misinformed thought in your mind, you try to shrug it off to the "learning curve", but despite your best efforts it instantaneously solidifies during the nano-second of thought in which you accept that you will go home empty handed. The scar that is left behind is all consuming for longer than it should be, you poke it at, feel along its foreign edges for some clue as to how you let this happen. But there is no "clue", just a scar. Learning from the scar is the crucial part, I think. To make sure you come away from it with knowledge rather than a general distaste for its creation is key, in fact it may be the key.

Nonetheless, it was very nice to be out in the woods and it was not without some new experience. For instance, this may have been the first time ever that I mostly lost interest in fishing. There was an excellent trout river within sight or sound all weekend, yet I found myself nary thinking of pursuing the trouts. Instead my eyes were fixed on the duff, looking for a springtime secret to be poking its head out of the fallen leaves, when I did look up it was only to search for the next patch of promising ground, a big old growth cottonwood, or a freshly fallen fir.

To say that the weekend was a total loss on the morel front is a stretch. On the way to the hunting grounds on Friday I noticed a curious shape sprouting up from some mulch under a fence that creates the border of a road ditch and a front yard. Upon closer inspection we found loads and loads of morels had fruited in an apparently new (last summer/fall) area of landscaping. On the way back through that evening we stopped in and knocked on the door. I should say now that I had written off consumption of "landscape morels" for fear of undue exposure to unknown substances (the bark is often treated with undesirables and people have been known to lay down the pesticides in such areas) so my interest in these morels was initially academic. However, after yet another day of finding no true morels in the woods, I thought it would be worth checking into the large fruiting of mulchies that we saw. I was hoping to hear that they used organic mulch and didn't use pesticides, in which case I probably would have harvested the lot of them. However, upon speaking with the residents I learned they used the cheapest mulch available (I must admit, after hearing this I was still thinking of eating some of them) AND they had recently spread a very strong herbicide over the whole area. That pretty much put an end to any thought entertaining ingestion of these treats. So, some pictures and admiration of their akward beauty would have to do. I must say though, this find did nothing but accelerate my sureness that at least some morels would be found, which in the end only led to a bigger, more subtantial scar.

All that aside, these pictures are still very fun to look at! Enjoy!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Excuse my language, but FUCK YEAH BEYATCHEEES!!!!

got eeeem!!!! first morel of the year has been banked (<---- this is a triple pun!, never mind why, far too advanced for you), and is awaiting ingestion!
DISCLAIMER: eating the mushroom on the right side of the photo is not suggested...the verpas have been known to cause loss of muscle coordination, among other things.
also, for anyone who might care, i found the morel, the conica and another smaller morel that i left behind within about 4 feet of each other. left the smaller one behind, going to get a set of time-lapse pictures, will post here.
oh yeah, fuck yeah beyatcheees!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I did it once, and I will do it again

Sorry to get political on your asses again, but I just can't help myself. The wolf issue in Idaho is a real shitsandwich. Upon the wolf being de-listed Idaho, Wyoming and I believe Montana as well now have full control over their respective wolf populations. This is relatively good news but assuredly won't last long. Here are a couple money quotes from a CBS News article...

"Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter told The Associated Press that he wants hunters to kill about 550 gray wolves. That would leave about 100 wolves, or 10 packs, according to a population estimate by state wildlife officials."

and from the Govna' himself...

"I'm prepared to bid for that first ticket to shoot a wolf myself," Otter said earlier Thursday during a rally of about 300 hunters."

I would also like a share a brief excerpt from a related article put out by a local news source in Idaho (the "He" in question is the head of the Anti-Wolf Coalition)

"He says it is ruining the ecosystem, and kills wild animals and livestock not just for food, but for sport."

So, apparently, Wolves have sports! I am sure the large number of wild animals and livestock being killed were just a side effect of this years wolf olympics. I guess they hold them on the years with the most dipshits talking about wolves in the news.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Breaking the Hex(es)

I got lucky this Monday. The first summer steelhead was hooked, landed and harvested on March, 31 this year which puts me about 2 months ahead of last years mark. Apparently, according to a friend, I was "double hexed" (trout fishing = 1 hex, nymphing = 1 hex) but still managed to catch the damn thing. The steelhead juju is on my side, hopefully to stay but I know better, so I will take it while I can. This 29" hatchery hen took a sz 8 possebugger on 4x on the business end of a floating DT6 on a 5 wt rod, definitely the lightest gear I've landed a steelhead on. She cut deep, dark orange and ate like some exquisite french dish I don't even know the name of. Her eggs were minute, about a cup of volume total, and her stomach loaded with small nymphs. She was one of only about 500 fish over Willamette falls, which if you think about it, is akin to a needle in a haystack. There are hundreds of river miles (combining all the possible tribs and the willy itself) that those 500 fish could be in, so I suppose to say I was lucky to find her would be a gross understatement, really fucking lucky would be a little closer to the truth. Anyways...porn time!

Where's Waldo?

Blood in the water = food on the table

The boat's name, forever appropriate (we hope)