Thursday, April 28, 2022

Fishing the Dream Stream

In the arid plains between the mountains is a stream that connects two reservoirs. A dream stream, The Dream Stream. We hired a guide from the Tumbling Trout in Lake George to take us there and show us the ropes. It was my first time fishing in the mountain west and I learned a ton from Tad. In September, the hopper-dropper was the hot rig. Or so we were told. The Dream Stream is by no means a secret.

A hot-air balloon drifts across the landscape.

I love visiting new biomes so removed from my Upper Midwest experience. We saw prong horned sheep and mule deer everywhere. It was amazing how flat and open is could be in the middle of a mountain range. 

These bison got out of their pasture and were being chased by a cowboy in a Jeep. They're a lot closer to us than they look. He did get them rounded up and back with the herd in short order.

The Dream Stream is really just an engineered stretch of river that starts at the Spinney Mountain Reservoir.

Every bend of the stream is filled with cold, nutrient rich water that grows huge trout. 
The ripples in this picture are the backs of trout.

The spillway.

Tad, our guide made us a delicious lunch and we spent the afternoon fishing the reservoir. We never did catch fish. They were either keyed in on some super specific bug or busy spawning. It's not unusual to run into fish that just won't eat and on this highly pressured water I bet it happens more often than not.

The whole environment was just so foreign to me that I loved every second of it, 
even if the fish weren't biting.

Water in an otherwise arid land.

The folks at Tumbling Trout were great and worked hard to get us on fish. Tad was a fantastic guide, very knowledgeable and a fun guy to hang out with for the day.
- Ride North

September 10th 2021

Eleven Mile Canyon, Colorado

Last September my father-in-law and I packed out bags full of camping gear and flew out to Colorado for a few days of fishing in the eleven-mile canyon area. I haven't spent much time in the Denver area before our Red Rocks trip earlier in the year. I was keen to explore the area just south west of the metro.

Driving through the mountains on our way to Woodland Park.

We turned west towards the hills at Sedalia. 
Once we gained a little elevation, the road quickly narrowed and turned to gravel.

The South Platte was waiting for us on the other side of the pass.

What a beautiful river.

Standing in the South Platte for the first time.

67 north of Woodland Park

From there we turned west to Lake George where we would be camping in Eleven Mile Canyon. I booked us a spot at the first campground from the entrance. There's not a ton of flat ground but the spot is beautiful. (trailer camping is also available)

The river at our campground was amazing.

Eleven Mile is, by far, the most beautiful place I've ever fished.
Because we were camping there, we could head out after dinner and fish until dark.

Deer visited the campground every morning.

Home sweet home, almost enough room for two.

We did catch fish in Eleven Mile but it full of anglers. I hooked into a really big one (by Minnesota standards) on the first night. I was able to watch it move out of its cover and gobble up my fly but after a few good tugs, it was off. In the Canyon, we found good fishing in the pools behind boulders. They weren't the prime spots but I bet they saw fewer fishermen.

Fish came out of here.


The fly-and-camp trip was a huge success. My new backpacking air mattress made sleeping on the ground pleasant and a small stove meant we could cook our dinners without starting a fire. (important in the dry and windy west) Flights from MSP to Denver are cheap, our biggest expense was the rental car. We did have to stay in Denver one night so we could catch a 6AM flight the next day but the shower was appreciated by all.

-Ride North

September 9th - 12th | 60's | sunny

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Minnesota trout fishing

Spring was not is the air this week but it was here none the less. Minnesota's torut fishing season opend up the day before Easter signaling the official start of the saeson. Every year my father-in-law and his buddies spend the week after opener in southe east Minnesota. I try to join them when I can.

I had dreams of taking the motorcycle down there this year but high winds, rain, and cold tempratures ment it would stay safley tucked in at home. We had high tempreatures in the 30s but the sun came out to visit us on Tuesday. Despite recent rain, streams were low and mostly clear. 

Easter Sunday (evening) saw some fish to hand.

Monday was cold and rainy, not a lot of green polking up on the river banks but the birds were in full swing. I probably spent half my time looking at the king birds instead of fishing. I caught more than one fish while distracted by birds. 

Not much bug avtivity which ment the fish were hungry.

Lots of cattle on the landscape.
On most farms, new-born calfs we bounding by their mothers.

Big fish on Monday, almost all were put right back into the stream.
I did have fresh grilled trout for dinner last night.

The Shack in Pilot Mound.

When you fish with the guys, you eat well.
A goose (Canadian) pastrimi ruben for lunch, ribeye for dinner.

Tuesday the sun came out and warmmed us up, the only sunshine all week.
I had to head home that afternoon, lucky me.

The spots were really good.

Big fish of the trip, quickly returned to the water. 

The Driftelss landscape is still amazing and the roads are in good shape too. I sould be out on the Guzzi really soon! It may not seem like it but, spring is here.

- Ride North

April 117th - 18th |  30f-40f |cold and windy (with some well needed sun on Tuesday)

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Maine - the Harpswells

 August 2021 was a busy month in the best way. For the past five or six years Mrs. North and I have been running away to the Portland Maine area. This year was even more special because Jr. North would be joining us for the first time. 

Maine is a largely out-of-doors trip and we felt confident that the fresh air would keep any viruses away. The airport and plane were another matter all together but the N95 masks stayed on and we dodged any rouge RNA that may or may not have came our way. It's impossible math at best but, in the end, more a game of chance than anything. 

This year we rented a house in the Harpswells, an hour north of Portland near the town of Harpswell. If you're visiting Maine, I highly recommend this area. It's away from the big attractions like Booth Bay Harbor or the shopping district of Kennebunkport, but near enough to everything you'll want to visit (Pemiquid Point). The real beauty of the Harpswells is the abundant public trust land and their quiet hiking trails, beaches, and rocky shoreline.

Devil's Back Trail

We took a day trip with Maine Kayak to paddle the Pemaquid River and Harbor, putting in at Fort William Henry. Our guide was excellent, giving us a history of the harbor while taking us on a bird and seal watching tour. The two and a half hour trip was a moderate effort, not too bad but something you should be prepared for if you want to give it a go. 

Jr. was unimpressed with the history lesson and wanted to explore on his own.

But I was driving.

That evening we had dinner at Pemaquid Seafood. Our lobsters, fresh from the Pemaquid Co.Op., were swimming free in the harbor eairlier that day. We dined overlooking the bay we had just spent the day exploring.

For dessert, ice cream from Wicked Scoops in Damariscotta.

One of our favorite spots in the Harpswells is Pott's Point, a finger of mostly public land stretching out into Casco Bay. It's a beautiful walk from the small parking to the tip of the point with plenty of rock hopping and tide pools to explore. 

Potts Point, Harpswell, Maine.

If you've been to any of these natural areas in the past few years you know that they've been over run with rock piles. Sometimes a comical number of piles have been built, taking away from the landscape. Please, kick over your piles before you go, there's no need to leave your mark everywhere. (they are fun to build though)

More Pott's Point.

Chasing crabs in the tide pools.

Just outside of Freeport is Wolf's Neck State Park. State Parks in Maine are free to visit, somewhat rustic, and beautiful. We picked up dinner at the Shaw's in Freeport and had a picnic on the rocks overlooking the bay.

Osprey island

Rock hopping.

Osprey island, as seen on the park brochure.

Hiking at Wolf's Neck.

As always, the beer selection in Maine is top notch.

One of our annual adventures is to take the ferry out to Peaks island and rent bikes. The ferry ride is well worth doing, giving you a tour of Casco Bay's lighthouses and historic forts. 

"Dad pic"

Brad's Bike Rental - Peaks island, Maine

More rock piles.

The Atlantic facing shoreline of Peaks Island

A WWII bunker turned nature preserve.

Some artwork from the inside.

The view from up top.

I just like this house.

This kid's name is Rooftop Tommy.

Fort Georges, Casco Bay.
Kayak tours available.

Back in the Harpswells, we end our day with a swim.

Maine is full of nooks and places to explore. Just north of Portland are the White Mountains. One of these years I'll have to fly out early and explore in interior on two wheels, you can get a direct flight from MSP to Portland if you're interested.

- Ride North

Wednesday August 11th  - Sunday August 15th