Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Anticipating the Next Cast

The Kennebecasis River is a scenic river and participants enjoyed casting throughout the evening.
The air was un-seasonally cool and a steady breeze was blowing.  A swishing sound could be constantly heard as I stood along the banks of the Kennebecasis River as my eyes watched flies skit over the water and a number of birds flit through the willows.  It was an idyllic scene as participants in the Kennebecasis Watershed Restoration Committee's "Beginner Fly Fishing Workshop" practiced fly casting.

Along the parking area behind the Church center participants were able to practice their casting without getting a line caught.
I was very fortunate to aid in putting this great event together and couldn't help but smile as twenty participants lined the banks of the Kennebecasis River to try their hand at catching speckled brook trout using fly.  Most participants had never cast a fly until the night before when we all met to go over some basics at the St. John's United Church Center.  The purpose of the event was to give anyone who wished to try fly fishing an affordable and enjoyable means to do so. 

Some people learn quickly while others a bit less so but one of the best things about fly fishing is that if the fly is on the water you have a shot at catching fish.  Another enjoyable fact about fishing is that it is great just being on the water.  Many of the participants were smiling even as they untangled their lines for the umpteenth time. 

There is something simple yet difficult about fly fishing and it reminded me somewhat of golf.  I can play a whole round of golf and curse the whole way around the course but if, suddenly I make a great shot, I fall in love with the game all over.  Similarly with fly fishing, just as you are tiring of it, you'll suddenly make a great cast or see a trout turn on the bottom and you make that next cast and then another and another.

Fly fishing is healthy for you and for the fish, especially if the angler uses conservation based angling methods such as barbless hooks, catch and release, and active retrieve.  These methods also make it more sporting as it makes it harder to catch the fish.  Let's face it, in today's society if angling was about truly catching dinner, it would be easier and cheaper to go to the nearest grocery store and buy fish.  Fly fishing also forces you to observe what is going on around you.  What are the trout eating?  Where is the best trout habitat? And what kind of nymph are under that rock you just accidentally kicked?

The twenty participants at this event signed up with no illusions of being able to take a trout home.   They all wanted to come and learn the artistic skill of feeding brightly colored, floating line, with a small hook dressed to look like a fly, through tiny eyelets spaced along a thin, light rod.  When done right, there is a tight loop of line and a rhythmic swishing that result in a feeling of anticipation every time the fly hits the water.  I think many of those who were on the river tonight were not only anticipating the bite of a trout but also the next time they could try fly fishing.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Near Perfect Sunday II

A perfect spot for a Sunday lunch.  I don't know if it can get better than this.

"Note: This is a version of a column that I had published in the July 5th edition of the Kings County Record.  It is part 2 of 2 part series on a hike my brother and I completed across the Parlee Brook and Upper Trout Creek watershed.  It was a great day and I hope you enjoy the read.

You'll have to wait for my next column to hear about it though."  That is the way I ended my last column where my brother and I were hiking across the Parlee Brook watershed.  We had walked from Friar's Nose across a open rock ridge and just explored a great waterfall on an unnamed tributary to Parlee Brook.  We took some photos and video of this waterfall and now I can tell you about the rest of our near perfect Sunday.

There are 5 sets of falls through this short reach of Parlee Brook, each with a deep cold pool
We continued down the tributary until we met Parlee Brook and headed upstream to have lunch at the large waterfalls I knew were there.  The cold, deep pools, at the bottom of the falls were crystal clear and looked like an impressionist's painting.  We enjoyed our lunch and thought briefly about taking a swim but knew the water was much to cold and the air not near warm enough.

One of about 20 grave markers in the old cemetary, this grave held a two year old girl who died in 1883..
After our lunch we made our way down Parlee Brook to the Donaldson Road crossing.  We struggled up a small tributary with some interesting geology that if it was a larger stream would lend itself to a great water slide.  We came out to the Walker Settlement Road and paid our respects at the old cemetery there.  It was humbling to read the grave markers and see how young some of those who died were and how long ago it was.  We wondered what the area would have looked like back in the late 1800s. 

These falls are scenic no matter the time of year you venture in to see them.
We were now heading into the Upper Trout Creek watershed and were going to follow yet another tributary down to the Creek.  I have walked this tributary twice before in the winter and I was looking forward to seeing it under spring conditions.  A short distance down the stream we encounter another waterfall that cascades down more than 25ft in two stages.  The topography and geology are rugged and steep on both sides and we are continually drawn down stream to see what is around the next turn.
Sometimes when you venture down an unknown stream, you have no choice but to get your feet wet.

Suddenly the already steep terrain narrowed in and the only way to continue down the stream was to get your feet wet.  We pushed a bit further until suddenly we looked over yet another waterfall.  We had to back track to a point we could scramble up and around the steep valley and then we could resist sliding back into the ravine to view the falls from the bottom.  The narrow ravine held a deep pool that is well hidden like natural jewel and I was again feeling blessed on this nearly perfect Sunday.

This narrow ravine held a cascading ribbon of white water that likely has been cutting away at the conglomerate rock for centuries.
So why was the day only nearly perfect and not perfect?  Well, once we finished up the hike just before sun down we drove into where my brother and parked his truck only to realize, for some reason his electronic lock wasn't working and we had to break into the truck.  This was just the right amount of humor and humility we needed after such a great day.

The last stretch to home was through some scenic farm fields that overlooked the Chamber Settlement area in the upper Trout Creek watershed.
Are you looking for a near perfect way to spend a couple of evenings?  There is a Beginner's Fly Fishing workshop being hosted by the Kennebecasis Watershed on July 13th and 14th.  For more information, check out the Kennebecasis Watershed Restoration Committee on Facebook, or call 433-4394.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A cool link to find new trails

I feel like I have been trying to provide this service for years but now someone else found a way to get paid to do it.  This is an awesome resource for those looking to get out and explore some of our great trails and amazing places.  Remember when you're out there though to respect it and trash it in trash it out.

The Bay of Fundy has been getting lots of accolades lately with the "New Seven Wonders" and the UNESCO designation on the New Brunswick side.  Hopefully this will lead to more people wanting to conserve its biodiversity and wild places.

Check out the link here.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Not Just Another Day

I feel blessed to be Canadian and to live my life, but even more so on Canada Day 
Canada Day is not just another day.  It has become a day that I anticipate every year.  It is a day that always turns out to be enjoyable and eventful, no matter the weather, or circumstances.  For the last number of years I have spent it with virtually the same people.  A combination of family and friends come together to catch up, swim, and eat their fill at the Reicker residence.  This year was no different for my family, but that doesn't mean it was just another day.  Canada Day has become THE day for summer fun.  We cram an enormous amount into one day.  A good breakfast, a parade, bouncy castles, water balloons, music, swimming, swings, food, and last but not least fireworks,  Yep no doubt about it, Canada Day is just another day, but just a bit more active than normal.

I hope you had a great Canada Day. 
We had a full Canada Day and all of us from the smallest up felt incredibly fullfilled but tired in the end.