The Voices Of Rivers

Matthew Dickerson was a June 2017 artist-in-residence at Glacier National Park. In May 2018 he was artist-in-residence at Acadia National Park. If you dream of fishing for native trout in some of our country’s most beautiful places – and protecting them – you will fall in love with his latest book The Voices Of Rivers.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

Dave’s dog Mota

My friend Dave Zumbaugh has a German Wirehair Pointer named Mota. This loveable dog is the quintessential all around sporting dog. Dave uses her for upland bird work, waterfowl hunting, and for all I know she fetches the morning newspaper.

These photos of Mota were taken on a frosty morning at Clinton Lake near Lawrence, KS in 2014 when Mota was still just a pup.

Mota on ice

Good dog!

 

 

Heart Of America Fly Fishers One Fly Tournament

The Heart of America Fly Fishers held their annual One Fly Tournament Saturday, June 17th at the Timber Ridge Adventure Center. Timber Ridge is a beautiful 200-acre park managed by the Johnson County Parks & Recreation Dept. It is located south of Kill Creek Park near De Soto, KS. Two small lakes on the property are open one day each year for public fishing. Reservations can be made for special events by phone (913) 831-3359 or email registration@jocogov.org.

The One Fly Tournament is an actual tournament, with rules, winners and losers, and prizes for largest fish and most fish caught. Contestants are allowed to use only one fly. If the fly is lost another of the same pattern may be tied on.

The guys who got there early caught quite a few bass, bluegill, and even a couple of big channel cats.

I got there just in time for the mid-day picnic.

 

 

 

 

 

A Bionic Pheasant Hunt

This story was originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of Pheasants Forever Journal.

 

bionic hunt

It was barely dawn when Bob pulled my truck off to the side of the road. We had left home before daylight so I let Bob drive because he can see better in the dark than I can. He’s had his cataracts removed and I’ve still got mine.

“It’s good to be pheasant hunting again”, I said as I eased my bulky body out of the truck. I was anxious to run a few rounds through my new ultra-light 20-gauge. The Doc had suggested I trade in the trusty old twelve after my rotator cuff surgery a couple of years ago. I had missed last season because of Tommy John surgery. I should have known not to keep yanking that damn rope when the chainsaw wouldn’t start.

We both had trouble finding hunting clothes to fit because we had gained a lot of weight over the years. I had to leave my pants partially unzipped but Bob had a new pair that fit him perfectly. He pulled up his coat and I could see why. I didn’t even know they made maternity brush busters.

It’s a good thing my old setter Maggie was still snoring in her crate, otherwise I might have forgotten about her.

“Rise and shine, old girl”, I said as I unlatched the door. She opened one eye, stared at me with that “leave me alone” look, then closed it and started snoring again. I decided to let her snooze a bit but I left the crate open so she could join us when she was ready.

We sat on the tailgate and rested a while. It takes a lot of energy for guys our age to get out of a truck.

I noticed Bob rubbing his knees.

“They bothering you?” I asked. ”I thought you had them fixed”.

“I did”, he answered. I could hear his knees creaking as he flexed one leg, then the other. “But they need regular maintenance and I’m overdue.”

“Time to go back to the Doc, huh?”

He slid off the tailgate and hobbled around a little. “Nope. The Doc put these things in.” He pulled one pant leg up to show me.

“Grease nipples. I get the old knees lubed every time I take my car in for service. Works like a charm but I gotta get them lubed every 6000 miles or six months. Don’t want to void the warranty. “

Maggie stood up, yawned, and stretched on the tailgate, her signal that she was ready to roll. We hefted her down and she looked around but couldn’t find anything stinky to roll in so she lay down and went back to sleep.

I put an electric collar on her and we headed out across the field. Since I started wearing support hose and arch supports in my boots I could walk almost thirty minutes without wheezing.

We hadn’t gone fifty yards when we heard the wail of a siren.

“What the hell is that?” Bob wondered aloud.

I grabbed Maggie and turned the knob on her collar down. “Sometimes my pacemaker creates some sort of electronic field with her e-collar and it winds up on the local sheriff’s frequency. Picks up 911 calls too.”

After I adjusted the collar we could still hear a squeaking, grinding, clanking sound.

“Now what?” grumped Bob.

“The squeaking and grinding is my artificial hip”, I said. “It does that at times like this when I’ve walked too long. The clanking is Maggie’s Kevlar stifle joint. She’s had it so long it’s starting to rust. The vet says I should mix a little WD-40 in with her kibbles.”

Suddenly Maggie stopped walking and sat down. “She’s getting birdy”, I whispered.

Bob stared at the dog. “Isn’t she supposed to point?”

“She did when she was younger”, I said. “Now she just sits down. I guess you could say she’s more of a sitter than a setter.”

Bob wasn’t convinced. “How do you know she’s not just resting?”

“When she wants to rest she lies down.”

Bob took a step forward and a cock pheasant burst from the underbrush thirty yards away. We both shouldered our shotguns but not a shot was fired as the bird sailed off into the distance.

“Why didn’t you shoot?” I asked.

Bob swore at his shotgun as though somehow it was the gun’s fault. ”I couldn’t get the damn safety off. Why didn’t you shoot?”

“I forgot to load my gun”.

Maggie gave us a dirty look, then lay down and immediately started snoring.

“Oh well”, I said. “There’ll be more chances.”

I fumbled at the loops on my vest, trying to remember which side the shells were on. I keep shells in the loops on the right side and suppositories on the left. Or is it the other way around?

I woke Maggie up and then, squeaking, grinding, creaking and clanking, the three of us marched off across the field together.