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Think of this blog as a comfy room in an old hunting shack. A bunch of pot-bellied guys are sitting around a big pot-bellied stove shooting the breeze about our outdoor exploits, some of which may have actually happened. Several dogs of indeterminate lineage are lying around under our feet, and we’re probably having a drink or two.

How was your duck season? Where’d you shoot that big buck? (besides in the shoulder). Got any hero pictures of the monster trout you caught recently? How’s that new dog working out? Got any good turkey or pheasant stories? Any fly patterns you’d like to share? Read any good books about the outdoors lately? Planning any trips to the San Juan? The White? Canada?

That’s what this blog is all about. What this blog is NOT about is POLITICS unless it pertains directly to outdoor sports. I’m sure you’re not interested in my political opinions and I’m not interested in yours.

So pull up a chair. What’s on your mind?

Two Glorious Days On The White River

Let’s get started!

After spending three days in Little Rock Arkansas attending the annual Outdoor Writers Association Of America conference Dave Zumbaugh and I headed north for Mountain Home and the fabulous White river.

Headquartered at Riley’s Station where the Buffalo River meets the White, Miles’ son Gavin drove us up to Rim Shoal. Dave and I stayed out of the way while Miles and Gavin launched the battered 20’ johnboat.  With Dave and I safely aboard we motored upstream through heavy fog to Redbud Shoal, then started our drift back downstream throwing two-fly rigs…and catching trout.

When we had drifted through a particularly productive piece of water Miles would fire up the 9.9 hp Mercury and take us back upstream so we could drift it again…and again…and again until it stopped producing and we moved on downstream to the next hot spot.

We fished through the popular Rim Shoal area, on down through Lower Rim Shoal, catching and releasing 11’ to 16” rainbows with an occasional cutthroat or brown in the mix. Dave and I both playing a trout at the same time and keeping Miles busy with the net became almost commonplace.

The afternoon fishing was cut short about 2:30 when a violent electrical storm sent us grabbing for rain jackets. Our race downstream was briefly interrupted when the cowling blew off Miles’ outboard motor. After a few unsuccessful circles trying to find it we gave up and hauled ass for the safety of Riley’s Station.

Fishing in the fog

Hot flies of the day were red San Juan worms tied on jig heads by the Riley’s twelve-year-old daughter Jalen, orange egg patterns and #16 zebra midges. And they proved just as effective the next day.

Dave fighting the big one

This little White River cutthroat fell for an orange egg pattern

Dave displays his rainbow trout tattoo

One of many “Twofers”.

 

Even Geezers can catch fish on the White.

We had hoped to spend Day Two between Buffalo Shoal and Riley’s Station but the storm that had driven us off the water yesterday had turned Crooked Creek into a torrent of mud so once again we put in at Rim Shoal and immediately started boating and releasing trout. Looking for shade anyplace we could find it we pulled to shore at mid-day and once again enjoyed one of Miles’ (or maybe Michelle’s) gourmet lunches.

Somehow during our downstream float, happily bouncing off rocks and catching trout, Miles discovered the entire lower unit of the Merc was missing. This didn’t mean we were dead in the water but it did mean less power. So Dave and I continued to catch fish while Miles deftly maneuvered the big johnboat around rocks to avoid further damage. When we reached Crooked Creek and the inflow of muddy water we stowed the rods  and, tired but happy,  limped on down to Riley’s Station.

It’s always fun to spend a day on the river with outfitter/philosopher Miles Riley. This was Dave’s maiden voyage on the White. He’s already scheming to go back and I hope I can tag along. Meanwhile if you’d like to catch a mess of trout, see some beautiful Arkansas scenery or just relax in a nice, quiet cabin, check out Miles and Michelle’s website www.rileysstation.com. They’ll be looking for you!

 

 

This way to Riley’s Station

Mile’s and some old geezer.

Miles & Dave. Lunch break

The old man and the river

All but three photos by Dave Zumbaugh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outdoor Communicators of Kansas Conference

I love it here in Florida but one thing I miss about moving from Kansas is the Outdoor Communicators of Kansas twice a year. It’s always fun to get together with old friends. Especially when they’re people whose work you admire and respect.

El Dorado, KS hosted this year’s conference May 3 – 5th. A hardy welcoming dinner kicked off the festivities Friday night followed by a business meeting. Saturday and Sunday were devoted to the important things: fishing and turkey hunting.

A crappie tournament was being held simultaneously with the OCK conference. I’ve never attended a crappie tournament, but if they’re like the three Bassmasters Classics I attended where the contestants had to release their catch, it’s a travesty of justice. Crappie are DELICIOUS and should be filleted, rolled in cornmeal , fried and EATEN!

Fishing was difficult due to recent rains and high water, but the winning team in the Kansas Crappie Club Big Fish tournament had one 2 lb. fish. 

Doesn’t sound too good to me.

I’ve attended many Outdoor Communicators of Kansas conferences in the past. In May of 2008 photographer Blumb and I boated an obscene number of crappie on Clinton Lake near Lawrence with the help of a local fisherman. One crisp November morning in ’09 I lay on my back in a frozen field near Larned and listened to thousands of snow geese squawking overhead and never fired a shot. You can’t shoot what you can’t see and the fog was so thick I could hardly see a nearby treeline. So as you can see, being guided by local “experts” doesn’t guarantee success.

But it’s always fun.

I’ve asked some of the current attendees to send photos about this year’s conference to my blog. Let’s see what happens.

Blumb writes ..”Fishing was difficult due to recent rains and high water, but the winning team in the Kansas Crappie Club Big Fish tournament had one 2 lb. fish. 

Sunday Josh Peck and I went turkey hunting, guided by Jason Barnes of Whitewater, KS. We were near a flock, but the gobbler and jakes ignored our calls, and drifted away with numerous hens, out of sight. We moved to another farm, located a distant solo gobbler, and proceeded to try to sneak closer and call him in. He drifted away, and we had a 1 mile hike back to our vehicle.

To finish the morning, we returned to the area where we started, and Josh attempted a sneak with a fan blind. Still no luck, so we called it a hunt and unloaded our shotguns. The temperature had risen to 72 degrees by noon, and we had walked a total of 4 miles, so I was ready for a break.”

Many thanks to Jon Blumb and Dave Zumbaugh for the photos.

Brad Loveless and Mark Murrell show off a pair of keeper walleyes. Some uninformed people call walleyes walleyed pike which is incorrect. I call them FOOD!

A real wall hanger

I have five beautiful, talented nieces.

Okay, I can already hear the bitching. “I thought this blog was supposed to be about outdoor stuff. You know…fishing, hunting stuff like that”.

It certainly is,  and this post about my niece Mayo fits right in. Mayo made this big, beautiful FISH out of CDs! That’s right. Each scale is a compact disc. The kind old guys like me still listen to. It’s about four or five feet long, the fins and tail are bristles from a broom. The nose is a straw hat and the eyes are mini compact discs. Is that creative and original or what?

Mayo creates other interesting objects as well: bracelets, earrings, necklaces, pendants. In other words, “wearable art”. 

Check out her attractive, easy to navigate website http://www.designsbymayo.com.

Good morning at the Lone Oak Duck Club

The latest duck count at Four Rivers Waterfowl Management   Area east of Rich Hill, MO is 147 thousand ducks, most probably mallards.

It looks like a few strayed too far from the refuge . After breaking a hole in 1 to 2” ice and braving 17-degree temperatures this morning Jay Lang and son Chuck bagged a goodly number of birds.  Their many hours of work all summer on habitat at the  Club are finally paying off.

 Wish they could field dress one nice, fat mallard and mail it to me.

Back yard bucks

Long time friend and fellow Outdoor Writers Of Kansas member Dave Zumbaugh captured these whitetail bucks with a trail cam in his back yard. That’s right. His back yard! Dave lives in a semi-rural area of Johnson county, KS near Kansas City and is treated to sights like this on a regular basis.

No. He won’t let you bowhunt in his back yard.

 

 

 

 

Fishing On the White River

Long time, no blog. Apologies to my loyal followers …both of you.

Another fun two days on the White River with outfitter and philosopher Miles Riley. No huge wall-hangers but enough action…mostly rainbows… to keep the days interesting.

White River Beach

The first morning Riley’s son Gavin drove us to Rim Shoal where Raleigh Eggers and I stayed out of the way while Miles launched hi battered johnboat and we motored upstream toward Redbud shoal in dense fog, picking up a trout or two along the way. Floating back downstream, fishing was uncharacteristically slow through Rim shoal and lower Rim but picked up as the fog lifted. We finished the day in Riley’s home water. The bite had slacked off considerably but Raleigh and I were too pooped to care. Besides, a cold drink and a hot shower were beckoning.

White River Brown

Next morning, after a false start due to lightening, we motored from Riley’s Station upstream to buffalo shoal where we spent the entire day boating and releasing eleven to fourteen inch rainbows, most of which took a #16 sow bug imitation tied by Miles and Michelle’s 11-year-old daughter Jalen.

Lunch on the White River

After drinks in Raleigh’s “party room” at the Mountain Home Days Inn we headed for nearby Colton’s Steak House where we ate both nights. After dinner we retired to our separate rooms (Raleigh snores something awful) to rest up for the five hour drive back to Kansas City next day.

Want some beautiful Arkansas scenery with a mess of trout thrown in? Check out Miles and Michelle’s website at RileyStation.com. or email Miles at info@rileysstation.com.

It’s shed time

It was nice of this 6-point whitetail buck to pose for my friend Dave’s trail cam in his back yard. Actually there might be another tine hiding back there. Anyway now it’s a 3 or 4-pointer. It’s a little early in our part of the country for bucks to start shedding antlers but maybe this guy just wanted to get a head start and beat the rush.

End of a duck season

The season ended so suddenly at the Five Guys And A Swamp Duck Club that we didn’t even have time to pick up our decoys. Then we froze solid, and now the water has finally thawed and we can finally get in to do the job we should have done earlier. When we waded in hundreds of mallards took flight. Where the hell were they in November and December? With this fall’s weather they were probably still in Canada or North Dakota.