Sunday, January 31, 2016


Part of being a Dedicated Hunter in Utah is doing volunteer hours. Honestly, I think this is what keeps more people from joining the program but in my opinion it's just not a big deal. Especially when your brothers arrange to do a project for hours that incorporates what we do, woodworking. Most people know me as more of a music guy, but my whole family has worked in woods of some form so building some stuff for the DNR to get our hours was the perfect opportunity. 

There's a hundred cut and drilled, probably four hundred more to go....
To say these things are tedious to make is a bit of an understatement, but I'd still rather be working in the shop than stuffing envelopes. Lots more to do, but it's a good start. 

The wife and kids took the trip up North with me and wanted to spend the night at my sister's house. So I talked my Dad into hitting one of the rivers up there that I don't get to fish often.

You know it's cold when I don't want to touch 'em
It was pretty freakin' cold, but the fish didn't seem to mind. Picked up the first fish I've ever caught on one of my new rods (see rod pics HERE). I'd love to tell you it was the brownie in the pic above, but it was a small whitefish. But that's the name of the game when you fish certain rivers with nymphs, and we were happy to find some willing fish. Dad was having some issues with tangles (cold hands weren't helping) but the fish seemed to be hungry for a Hare's Ear as long as it was near the bottom. 

This one was pretty thick with that hump-back
As always, Dad was being a little hard-headed when it came to changing flies, adding weight, or getting in many casts. I think he might just enjoy being out there, seeing some fish, and being my camera man. Maybe not, maybe he's just not that into nymphing for whitefish....

I'll take fish like this any day!
The top of the run produced the most fish and we were actually seeing more browns than the whities we were expecting. Finished out the run with the fish of the day, a nice brown that fought like a champ. 

Probably the best fish I've caught on this stream
We figured that if we hurried back to the truck we might still have time to hit another spot before I would try and beat the weather home. That was, before we came up behind a Union Pacific truck and watched it get stuck in the snow. After watching him try and rock his way out we decided to get out and lend a hand. After digging him out, pushing his truck, and watching him get re-stuck after traveling about 10 feet a few times he finally got past the worst spot and it was our turn. My Dad knew I was in a hurry, so he managed to only get stuck once and not nearly as badly as the Union Pacific guy. 

Fun in the snow
Still, all the digging and pushing cost us what little fishing time we had left and so we headed back to Dad's house. A good day of fishing on a day that most people wouldn't have even headed out with some really good company is a win in my book. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.

- Kidder

It was a long drive home...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Going Glass

I like building stuff. I like fishing. I love lamp. So, it just seems natural that I would like to build flyrods. I've been building rods for about 9 years off and on, with the number of rods completed growing a lot lately. The latest build is a three piece, seven and a half foot, four weight built on a fiberglass blank from that came at a ridiculously low price. I ordered the blank a while back but got distracted by another build that I thought would be put to use a lot sooner (you can see that rod here) but it turns out I haven't put it to water yet...

A couple coats with light sanding in between and these end up smooth as glass

I started out having to finish a reel seat then do some serious reaming on the handle because of the thicker-than-graphite diameter this actually took me quite a bit longer than usual. 

I'm going to need a bigger reamer if I do another glass rod
As with all my builds it takes longer to make the decisions than it actually takes to wrap the rod. In an attempt to get some feedback I posted a pic to instagram & facebook showing a couple of the ideas I was entertaining. Everyone that responded said the same thing, so I went with chestnut wraps without any trim on the guides.

Could've just done every guide with all three colors....
Didn't take long to get all the guides on, and since I was planning on keeping the rod for myself a little crosswrap seemed like a good idea.

Not perfect, but it's kinda cool
Time to apply the finish and be done! Pretty exciting really. I decided to try out U40 Permagloss for the first time. Learning from a couple of trial runs, I did a double coat of color preserver because this stuff will seriously darken your thread (like everything turns black, just the the Stones always wanted). After signing the rod I put my first of two coats of the U40 on and watched it lift the signature. I've never encountered this problem before and it really made a mess of things.

Pissed off doesn't begin to describe it
I managed to wipe it all off before any damage was permanent and decided to come back to it the next day. This time after signing I sprayed the signature with a clear coating hoping to create a barrier between the ink and the finish. Well the spray itself managed to ruin the ink job and, again, I was left trying to clean up the area. Not a huge mess, but this was getting pretty discouraging. Next attempt I made sure that the ink had plenty of time to dry, lightly sprayed the clear coat from a safe distance and waited overnight to apply the finish. Again the ink lifted and ran, this time the damage was more widespread and it looks like some serious cleanup is going to be needed. Feeling fed-up I left the rod for another day when my patience had returned. This afternoon I decided to see if the damn thing would even cast halfway decent before putting anymore effort in. 

I think he's hoping one of these will end up being for him....not yet!
Atley and I both agreed it was a sweet little rod that wasn't a complete noodle while still displaying that softer action of a fiberglass. Couldn't get a real feel of it without taking it on some water but I feel like a little more effort to get a decent signature & rod info on there will be worth it. I'm glad all these screw ups were on a rod for me! No more messing with new finishes, I'm going back to using flex-coat two part epoxy! It's not as easy, but it hasn't let me down either... Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.

This next build is gonna be sweet!

Monday, January 18, 2016

New Plan

Around Christmas by brother-in-law Courtney and I made some plans to get on the ice together before his second child was born. His family lives all the way up in the Northern part of the state so us getting together takes a little more planning than is convenient, but it's always a great time. We had some great fishing two years ago when we headed down South so we planned on a repeat performance (read about our last trip here). Unfortunately, at least in terms of fishing, baby boy's getting impatient and Courtney had to stay close to home. With plans to visit as soon as the bundle arrives it didn't make sense for us to head up and instead we canceled the trip.

A couple of days worth of indecision were weighing on me when Luc dropped by to pay for a fly rod that I'm going to build him (more to come on that). Turns out he wasn't doing much Saturday and so we made plans to head out. There was little discussion on where since he hasn't done much ice fishing and I still had that return trip on my mind. With very little persuasion Luc's brother Ross decided to join us and then we knew it was gonna be party. 

The snow was deep around the lake, but not impassable, and soon we were cutting our first holes to check water depth and if there were any fish around. Too bad I forgot to check the batteries on the finder. Oh well, we cut a few holes in a direct line away from shore and had some fish come to hand pretty quickly. Both Luc and Ross had their first splake to hand before the cold had really set in.

A nice way to start the day
Several of the splake were looking healthy like this one
After a few minutes we could tell that setting up the shack was going to be needed if we were going to be able to stay out there. We decided on which hole had the most action and tried to set it up so we could all fish comfortably. Once the shack was up the boys found their first ever perch and we had a blast sight fishing in the crystal clear water. Inside the shack was warm enough for us to lose the heavy coats and pull in lots of fish. It was a mixed bag of splake (how do you tell if it's not a lake trout?) rainbows and perch. The fishing would go in spurts with schools of the different species coming through which made for some really fast fishing at times. 

The boys were happy to have a chance at so many different species
Some of the prettiest rainbows around
Fishing stayed pretty consistent until mid-afternoon when Ross and I couldn't seem to buy a fish. Once things slowed down we looked outside and realized that a storm had moved in. Despite Luc still seeing and catching a few fish it was time to go. Ice fishing can be a lot of fun, especially when you can see the fish come in and take your jig, but I'm definitely feeling the itch to get back out fly fishing. In doing some research to write this post we found a website that has been copy and pasting all of my posts. Not cool. Please make sure you visit to read. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.

- Kidder

I managed to catch my personal best splake!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Beginning

When I woke up this morning I couldn't believe that we were ten days into the year and I still hadn't been fishing. There were a few reasons I hadn't made it out, not the least of which were the sub-freezing temperatures outside. Even without the weather's deterrent my schedule is picking back up with the restarting of school, my wife's last hurrah before her return to college was to spend Saturday afternoon at a painting class (that's also conveniently in a bar) with my sister and sister in-law. Spending an afternoon watching football and some kids at my brother's house wasn't exactly a horrible thing, and Deli gave me her painting as recompense.

I think she did a great job!
A late night of driving home helped to ensure that we'd all be sleeping too late in the morning for me to make an attempt to break in my new fly rod that I'm yet to break in on a fish. So instead we had a relaxed family breakfast and made plans for the boys to go harass some trout through the ice. I rounded up the gear that we'd need while the boys tracked down some warm clothes. At the lake we made the short walk out to set up in 11 feet of water. Before I had cut a hole for little brother, Atley was already reeling in his first fish of the year.

Atley sure knows how to work the short rod
As always, Atley had the hot hand on the ice but little brother wasn't too far behind in finding his first fish of the year. 

Hold it a little higher Caden
The action stayed pretty consistently inconsistent with the fish coming through in schools, but fish could only hold the boys' attention so long. Luckily we had some diversions in the form of a thermos full of hot chocolate, a football to toss around and of course letting the boys play in the snow. 

Give him a little liquid chocolate and he's happy
Just chillin with some cocoa
The boys are obsessed with Zelda
This smiley face isn't the most convincing I've seen
We were only out a couple of hours but had plenty of action & lots of fun. Hopefully it's the first of many days spent out in nature with my boys this year. Speaking of this year I'm looking forward to doing a lot of fishing, camping, hunting and everything that comes with it. I've got a few rods lined up to spin, some flies to tie, and a few projects to build (with any luck a few nets will be on that list too...). Hope you can get out, be safe, enjoy nature, and make 2016 one of the best of your life. 

- Kidder 
I caught my first fish too, a tiger trout

Book Review: One Small Trout

One Small Trout
by R. E. Long

This year I was lucky enough to receive an early Christmas present from an unexpected source. Now, Ralph over at Ralph's Fly Box (check out his blog here) didn't exactly call it a Christmas present when he sent out a signed copy of his book, but a gifts a gift and towards the end of the year they're all Christmas presents. If you haven't checked out his blog you've definitely been missing out. There are tons of fly patterns including how-to videos and even some how-to's for things like twisted leaders. 

The problem with this book is you'll find it goes too quickly. Meaning you sit down to read a chapter or two and next thing you know half the book is gone and it's way past your bed time! Two chapters stood out as a cut above the rest in my mind. The first was "When Bass Get Bored" which tells about a day spent on a bass lake when the fish were impatiently awaiting the angler's offering to hit the water. Sounds like an epic day and is a story that leaves me wishing for warmer weather. The other was chapter was called "One Small Trout" (the title track) which recounted a day on the water spent with his son. Anyone that's hung around here knows I'm all about getting my boys out into nature and I love hearing about other's doing the same. Here's an excerpt:

He looked up at me puzzled. "What do you mean?" he asked. "We caught fish".

"I know," I acknowledged, "but maybe next time we'll catch better fish."

He never even blinked with his response, and while still staring straight into the fire answered "Did you SEE those fish Dad? They were beautiful. Do the colors get better when they get bigger?"

. . .

Only a child could see through the peripheral to find the true reason for the game in that way. Thanks Ralph for sharing. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.

- Kidder

Buy "One Small Trout" by R. E. Long HERE