Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Flowing Lake Yields Nice Rainbow on First Trip

When I stuck my head out the door at 6:30 yesterday morning to check the weather for possible fishing, it felt very cold and it was raining steadily. A perfect reason to head back in for a few more winks.

But by noon the rain had stopped, and the sun, trying to peek through here and there, had warmed the temp a bit. I decided that an afternoon trip to Flowing Lake (see Jan 21 post) might be in the cards.

Finally got there around 3 p.m. only to find the “free” dock loaded with more fishermen than it was designed to hold. So I went back around the lake to the State Park at the north end where I had to pay a small fee to park and fish.

But I was then the only one on the dock.

The top pic, taken with my cell phone cam, shows how beautiful and peaceful it was from that vantage point. I was actually fishing by 3:30 and enjoyed a very quiet 30 minutes with nothing but an occasional dog bark in the distance.

I decided to move the bait a few feet along the bottom (a technique used to sometimes arouse a fish’s interest), and it wasn’t five minutes till the pole tip was twitching furiously.

The fish felt good, so I loosened the drag a bit and let him make several tiring runs. I was then able to ease him out of the water onto the dock to get a closer look at what I had caught. Not spectacular, but it was a very nice 15” rainbow trout (yes, I measured it – 15-1/4” actually – see photo above). He was what we call a “pounder” (weighs about a pound).

I left him in the water on the stringer to swim around until I gutted him just before leaving for home. That kept the fish nice and fresh in case we want to cook him up in a day or so. All in all, it was one of the best “first-time-at-a-lake” experiences I think I’ve ever had.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Underwater Excitement at Seattle Aquarium

Yesterday Kay Lynne and I had a chance to meet up with our son and grandson at the Seattle Aquarium, right on the waterfront. I snapped the above pic with my cell phone just before we entered.

We had a great time trying to keep up with our grandson as he wanted to see everything and is getting really fast on two feet. He loves to watch any living thing, and fish are among his favorite things to observe.

In one section of the aquarium a large, underwater dome lets you view just about every fish and sea creature said to swim in Puget Sound. Seeing the underside of a large sturgeon provided the biggest surprise (for me, at least); it almost seems as if they have four “legs” on their belly (I think they’re actually stabilizers). Hmmm.. wonder if they once walked around the area. They are said to be prehistoric, you know.

Anyway, we had a great time. I think the boy did too. He was asleep quickly once in the car on the way home.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fishing Bug Causes Me To Check Out Nearby Lakes

The fishing bug has been annoying me a lot lately, and it usually takes a catch or two to assuage it.

Rather than actually going fishing today (I did throw the pole in the car, however) I visited three lakes within a 30-mile radius of home for the purpose of doing some reconnaissance work. On my leisurely drive, I stopped at Lake Stevens, east of Everett, Flowing Lake, north of Monroe, and Blackmans Lake right smack dab in the city of Snohomish.

The first stop was at Wyatt Park on the west side of Lake Stevens. There is a beautiful fishing dock there alongside the boat launch but the wind was kicking up quite a bit and I found no one fishing. The largest of the three, Lake Stevens may offer some good trouting later on toward spring.

I then went to Flowing Lake, a beautiful spot tucked into the back roads on the north side of Monroe (on US Hwy 2 about 20 miles east of Everett). There are both a State Park (fee based) and a free public boat launch that have nice docks for fishing. At the free dock I met a very interesting, 80-year-old retired Chicago chef (top pic), who told me that he fishes “eight days a week,” mostly here at Flowing Lake or at nearby Tye Lake. My kind of guy, this man named McCann.

During our conversation I discovered that we had a lot in common. We’re both retired, both lived in Chicago, both spent a lot of time fishing in Wisconsin and Michigan and we both are writers of sorts.

But the astronomical-odds occurrence was that he went to high school some 65 years ago in Eau Claire, Wisconsin with a brother of my late Aunt Beatrice who grew up on a farm near Eau Claire that was actually closer to the little town of Mondovi.

My cousin Linda (Beatrice and Bill’s daughter) and Linda’s daughter Kelly and son Erik all live nearby in the greater Seattle area. I can’t wait to let them know of this wild coincidence to see if there’s any name recognition with the man I met today. (I guess they might see it here first. :)

Final stop was at Blackmans Lake (above), a watershed basin within the city of Snohomish. Three guys were fishing on the dock, and I saw a very nice 13” rainbow reeled in while I was there.

I’ve made this conclusion: all are good lakes for trout fishing from a dock (which is what I was looking for), and I plan to return to all of them. All are good for trout fishing with a boat, if a person has one (I’ve long since sold my last boat but one of my sons does have a beauty). Flowing will have the best tasting fish (from what my new friend said), Blackmans likely has the largest fish but it’s a shallower lake and the fish quality can deteriorate in the summer, and I’m sort of in the dark about the quality of fish at Lake Stevens.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Independents Gaining Influential Political Strength

Republican Scott Brown (above) captured the hearts and minds of Independent voters in Massachusetts and last night won the late Ted Kennedy’s – er, the PEOPLE’S – Senate seat.

In watching post-election TV wags of all varieties, it became apparent that, right now, if you win over Independents, you’ve got a shot at winning an election.

Massachusetts has more than twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans but the overall plurality goes to registered Independents. Brown won them over and won the election.

Apparently, that’s been going on for a long time in the Cape Cod State – rather unnoticed, I might add. It does explain how an electorate can at the same time vote Ted Kennedy and Mitt Romney into two of the top three political positions in the state some years ago.

Barack Obama won the Presidency by getting overwhelming support from Independents in ’08, and many Democrats were swept into power at the same time with the same formula.

I guess now the question is going to be whether or not Democrats in the elections this Fall can continue to do what they did in the last election year or whether enough Republicans can win over enough Independents to change the balance of power in Congress?
We better stay tuned.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Figuring Things Out at Grandma's & Grandpa's

All three of our granddaughters and now our grandson have had fun with the “Push-Popper” that we’ve had for almost 15 years. It’s part of the toy menagerie we keep at hand for when our grandkids visit.

Today our grandson discovered the popper and put things together real fast. By the time I snapped the bottom pic he was already right in the groove – navigating it around a strange house (and sometimes putting it on the floor :-).

"Hmmm… how does this thing work?"

"It’s a “Push-Popper!”

"Wow, I can do it!"

Saturday, January 02, 2010

My All-Time Favorite Pie

My mom’s apple and cherry pies were pretty much unsurpassed. Many times in my youth when folks came over for dinner I heard, “That’s the best pie I’ve ever had.” If mom had been business-wise, she could have made money with her pies like Marie Callendar’s does.

But last night, I guess as a New Year treat, my wife made a pie which beats anything mom ever made, in my estimation. It’s coconut custard pie, which has become my all-time favorite over time. It was especially good because it’s been a long time since we’ve had any.

The photo above is a pretty good representation of Kay Lynne’s version (though it is not hers), but at that it doesn’t quite convey the melt-in-your-mouth, toasty goodness of the piece I had last night after dinner. My wife cuts the sugar content quite a bit, and so it is a bit healthier than most recipes.

I couldn’t think of a better treat with which to kick-off the New Year.