Established January 2009

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2011 Firearms Deer Seasons

Since October Ive done quite a bit of hunting within the WV Firearms seasons for deer. On opening day of rifle season I was fortunate enough to harvest a small spike making it the first buck I have killed since 2009. Granted he wasnt big, but he was perfect table fair. Following antlerless season, I got the opprotunity to hunt during muzzleloader season with my father and together we killed a nice big mature doe. I say together because while slipping through the woods, we jumped this deer from her bed and while on the run, I shot and hit the deer but far back. Immediately following being hit, she bedded down and then my Father finished her off with a well placed shot behind the shoulder.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Stick and String #2

Today I made it back to the tall maple tree with my bow in hand. I had watched the weather channel and the weather report was calling for snow tonight, so I assumed the deer would be up and feeding. The snow started flying about 4pm and by 6pm the deer were on their feet and moving. I noticed the first deer was a small yearling spike I had already passed on 2 times earlier this week, and then I noticed a nice yearling doe and decided she wouldnt get passed up. I patienty waited on a broadside shot and when the time was right, I released the arrow and it immediately passed high but through the spine and upper lung on the opposite side dropping the doe in her tracks. After a quick dressing I drug her to the nearest logging road and loaded her in the truck.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Turkey Season

Fall Turkey season opened this past Saturday the 22nd, and I could not go out due to work. Today I made it to the turkey woods just before daybreak and headed for a large stand of Cherry, and Scarlet Oaks that I know the turkeys like to roost in. This is also the same stand of woods I was fortunate enough to kill a bird in last fall. Shortly after first light, I found myself leaning against an old cherry tree that was as broad as my shoulders listening for the tell tale sounds of turkeys on the roost. It wasnt long before I thought I heard some soft tree yelps coming further down the ridge. As it turns out I wasnt wrong so I immediately put my gloves and facemask on and sat down against the big Cherry tree I was leaned against. I got out my custom cherry slate over glass and began making some yelps. It wasnt long before turkeys started flying down from the roost. I immediately saw a brood hen and following behind her was at least 8 young of the year juvenile birds. The brood hen was searching for the pleading kee kees and when she made it to 30 yards, I dropped the hammer on her with my Remington 870 and a load of Hevi-Shot #4s. Turkey season opened and closed for me in less than 1 hour.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October... The Time to Hunt

October arrived in Preston County with a horrible rain/wind/fog and a general disregard for any outdoor activity. October 1st was also the opening of the WV archery season. After an uneventful first week of not seeing much, I finally connected on a nice mature doe. The shot was made quickly as this doe and 3 yearlings came into my shooting lanes on the trot. Luckily for me, I was already standing and ready due to me having been busted by these same deer a day earlier. Today at 6:25 I was ready for another encounter and at 6:30 the doe and her yearlings trotted by at 25 yards. I couldnt have asked for a better shot as the Rage 2 blade punched through both of her lungs and she never made it more than 50 yards before piling up.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

September Action

Late September marks the beginning of the 2011 hunting seasons with Squirrel season opening on Sept. 10, and special antlerless archery and muzzeloading seasons taking place the second and third weeks of September. I did not get out for the early archery, but did get to get out with my Dad as we hunted my cousin's Lewis County farm. The hunt started on Friday evening the 23rd with me being able to take a yearling with my muzzeloader. I had to shoot him twice, but as a rule of deer hunting I got him on the ground, and I will eat whats leftover. Saturday morning I decided to go out for a squirrel hunt since I was tagged out for deer. I started at just past 9AM and finished by killing a limit of grey squirrels around Noon. Good start to the hunting season.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dry Flies & Blue Lines Pt. 4

Day 4 began with a slower than expected start, but after a good breakfast at camp, Chris and I headed south for lower Pocahontas County and the Elk River watershed. We had plans on fishing some tributaries to the Elk River then fishing the main Elk later that evening. Those plans changed quite a bit after talking to a good friend and finding out that the #18 sulphur spinners were not hatching during the evenings like I originally expected. No worries, though we had plenty of water to fish and made a decision to fish a tributary stream that I had been told was full of Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout. After spooking a thick water snake from his perch on a rock, we headed up stream for parts unknown. Chris and I did have a few missed hookups and we moved a nice fish, but no trout were landed from this stream, so I will not write this stream off yet, just have to visit it another day. As the day went on, we decided to head to the headwaters of the mainstem of the Elk River. We arrived at the parking lot and decided to eat a bite for lunch before making the 3 mile hike downstream. We were headed down river for a tributary that is not named on some maps, but has been rumored to have an extremely thriving population of wild Rainbow Trout. During the first mile of walking Chris and I either stepped over or dang near stepped on 5 different snakes. We couldnt positively ID any of the snakes, but then again we weren't really trying to stick around to find out either. After trekking through waist high vegetation, nettles, briers, etc., we finally located the mouth of the stream we were looking for. As soon as we started up into the mouth of the stream, we started prospecting pools and it didn't take long until we found out the rumors of wild Rainbow Trout to be true. This stream was extremely steep and loaded with plunge pools, pockets, and riffles. I honestly dont know how many little rainbows we caught, but as the daylight started to fade, we reached a stopping point and began the long hike back to the truck. Another day on another fine WV wild trout stream.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dry Flies & Blue Lines Pt. 5

The last day of the June brookie extravaganza arrived and sadly Chris and I had to pack up camp and head back to the usual drag some of us call work. It had been a long week, but not long enough and I guess it had to come to an end at some point. We decided to try and make the camp cleanup as quick and thorough as possible making sure we didnt leave anything behind. We had plans to visit one last brookie stream that both Chris and I had fished only a handful of times before. As we left the campground, we headed north and crossed into Pendleton County and cut down a forest route that is well used, but man is it secluded. As we were driving down the forest service road, I spotted a fairly big coyote running hard up the mountain. Add that to the growing list of wildlife seen. As we reached the last point of access on the forest service road, we got out of the truck and I realized I had forgotten my reel for my fly rod. No worries though, Chris and I would just share his rod as this was a small stream. We began working our way upstream and it wasn't long before I hooked up on the first brookie. Chris followed suit shortly thereafter, hooking and landing a nice brookie as well. The fishing wasn't spectacular by any means but we attributed that to a quick thunderstorm that rolled through earlier that morning as we were packing up camp. We did spook several fish that werent caught, but we also caught a few more before we decided that we would have wrap it up. On our way back up the mountain on the forest service road, we spotted a young Black Bear running strait down the middle of the road. We both thought it was about 100 pounds, not big by any means, but it topped of the pretty vast list of wildlife we had seen this week. It was time to put another great trip in the books and go our separate ways.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dry Flies & Blue Lines Pt. 3

Day 3 arrived with bright skies, and mild temperatures. Today Chris and I planned on fishing some new water on the top of Cheat Mountian. We were headed for the Shavers Fork of Cheat River and some of its tributaries. The Shavers Fork is a truly unique place due to its high elevation spruce forests and its very colored history. At one time this river which has been claimed to be the highest elevation river East of the Missisippi was once home to vast stands of laurel, virgin Red Spruce, Balsam Firs, Rhodadendron, Birch, Beech, and Maples. After the logging boom of the late 1800's and the early 1900's the virgin timber was gone along with much of the river structure, and consequently the Brook Trout that Shavers Fork was famed for went along with it. Timbering coupled with coal mining has taken its toll on this special place. Today the DNR along with other conservation minded people have begun to implement plans such as dumping limestone fines into the headwaters to improve water quality, and their is currently a mitigation plan in place to attempt to restore habitat quality to the river and hopefully alot of Brook Trout habitat will be restored along with the Brook Trout. Chris and I began our exploring on a stream that neither he nor I had ever fished, let alone seen. It is a major tributary of the Shaver Fork that receives limestone fines. It wasnt long after we had strung up the rods before we found our way upstream picking through pockets and in short order Chris caught the first brookie of the trip and out of this stream. Filled with tannin colored water, the Brookies were very colorful. The tannin water is attributed to the vast spruce and decaying vegetation that gives the water its color. Speaking of Spruce, Im not sure I have ever fished a stream with so much downed timber, mostly old spruce, laying across the stream. It made upstream travel for us difficult, and because of that, we decided to head to elsewhere. Further down river, we found ourselves at another smaller tributary. This stream is a stream that I had fished briefly the summer before, but it deserved another shot. We began fishing upstream and I hooked up on a smaller brookie, then I caught a nice little Brown Trout. Chris hooked and landed a few Brook Trout as well. We approached a nice pool from the tail out and I laid a nice gentle cast out on the pool near the head of the pool and out of nowhere a nice 14'' Brown Trout(monster for this stream) slammed my Stimulator. I fought the fish for a few seconds as it got closer to me, the fish threw the hook. Needless to say I was a little dissapointed. Several pools later we moved another fish that was in the 12'' to 14'' range, but he would have nothing to do with our flies. So, later that day we found ourselves at a trailhead that would take us to the mouth of another tributary and the main Shavers Fork. As we were hiking down the trail, we spooked a mother hen Turkey and her one and only polt. I honestly think she scared us as bad as we scared her. We finally made it to the mouth of the tributary we had been parellelling and decided since the evening time was approaching we decided we would take in the scenery and fish the main stem of Shavers Fork. Chris and I split up fishing picking the fast water and pockets. We missed several fish and spooked more, but I did manage to land a nice little Brown. It began to get dark and we had to hike a fur piece to get back to the truck.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dry Flies & Blue Lines Pt. 2

Day 2 of the adventure began after a hearty camp breakfast and a drive over the mountain into Pendleton County. Chris and I planned to make a long hike from one side of the mountain over the the other traversing 2 completely different watershed drainages and attempted to catch brookies from both of those watersheds. To do this we needed to park his truck near the top of the Allegheny Mountain at one trailhead, and park my truck near the bottom but on the other side of Allegheny. We quickly loaded up our packs, strung up our rods and looked for pocket water on the Cheat Drainage side of the mountain. It wasn't long before I spotted a nice brookie for Chris from the trail, and after 2 casts he had fooled brookie #1. I tried my hand at a few pools, but the low water and smaller sized stream made some pools difficult to approach without spooking the whole pool. Finally farther up the trail, I connected on not one, but two brookies that were full of life, and color. Decidedly we'd had enough and moved it on up the mountain and after a longer hike than Chris and I planned for, we finally topped out on the top of Allegheny Mountain. After a brief break and lunch, we descended the mountain on the back side headed for a stream that is a personal favorite and we were trying to catch another brookie from anothe watershed. After finally making it to the stream, I tried the first pool, and on the first cast, I hooked a really nice brook trout with shoulders that measured 10.5 inches. Brook Trout in my opinion seem to be the novelty of this stream and are rare anymore, but this guy is by far my best Brook Trout from this stream. As we progressed forward upstream, we hooked and caught several more rainbows, but neither Chris nor I caught another Brook Trout. We leapfrogged one another for the rest of the afternoon slowly working our way up the mountain again headed for his truck, and finally after approximately 9 mile of walking/fishing/wading, we made it to the other trailhead where his truck was parked.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dry Flies & Blue Lines Pt. 1

Early this Spring, my cousin and good fishing partner Chris Mitchell and I made a camping trip during the first few days of April and with snow on everyday of that trip, the weather was less than desirable. We made plans for a june trip that would rectify the awful weather the first go around. Well June finally made it, and we agree on where we would meet at. I arrived at the Island Campground in northern Pocahontas County about 12:30pm on Sunday. Knowing that he wasn't going to be arriving until close to 4pm, I decided to unload my truck and try my hand at a few new streams. After unloading my truck, I headed east over to a stream that Phil Smith had told me about earlier in the Spring. I untubed the rod that he had made for me, my 6 foot 4 inch hand split custom bamboo rod designed and built specifically for what I was about to do, explore blue lines on topo maps for brook trout and other wild trout. I started up the small tributary and not long after I started, I spotted, hooked, and landed, the first trout of the trip, a nice little brookie. I followed that fish up with a suprisingly different species, a wild brown trout, and I could only assume that the brown had came from the larger stream that this tributary flowed into. It wasnt long before I had breezed through a couple of hours in a hurry, and I needed to make it back to the campsite to meet Chris. After him and I talked for a bit, we unloaded his truck and then we decided to fish a stream that makes a major contribution to the Greenbrier River. This stream is on the fingerling stocking list, and we had to see if we could catch some of the browns that are planted every year. As luck would have it, 2 other fisherman had fished about a 1/4 mile of the water we had planned on fishing, however, we did see several good sized fish up to about 16 or 17 inches, and we even hooked a few and did manage to land a couple.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lambs and Lions

Well March was ushered in by beautiful weather so I guess it was only fitting that it go out with a bang. You know the old saying, "If March comes in like a lamb, it goes out like a lion". Well out like a lion it did, only it lasted until the 3rd day of April, and I found mysefl deep in the Monongalia National Forest for this wonderful weather. I had planned a camping trip with my cousin and faithful fishing partner Chris Mitchell. We decided no matter what we were going to have a good time and thats exactly what we did.

I arrived at our camping area on Friday April Fool's day and set up shop with a little time left to fish before we were supposed to meet. I decided to hit a stream that makes up part of the headwaters to one of the headwater forks of the Greenbrier River. I rigged my bamboo brookie rod up with a big bushy #14 Usual on top and dropped a #16 Green Weenie off the back. After fishing a little bit, I caught my first fish of 2011, a native Brook Trout, and immediately followed it up with another one. I did fish for a little more upstream, but the results were nill. I headed for the campsite and meet Chris and help him unload his truck.

The next morning, we awoke to 4'' of fresh snow and decided we would chuck some salmon eggs and catch us some dinner, or so we thought. More on that later. We fished 4 streams that were stocked only 2 days prior. We thought this would be easy pickins', but we found out we were wrong. I also was reminded of how much I hate stock trout fishing. Anways, after a long day and a lot of water covered, We did manage to catch 4 trout. I had parked my truck about 1/2 mile down the road from where we exited the river. I wanted to put my hands in my pockets to warm them up, so I layed the trout on the bank next to a guard rail and covered them up with snow. When we returned with the truck, the trout were gone, stolen. The nerve of some people. Oh well, we grilled some deer meat that night and I didnt have to clean any fish. After dinner we stoked the fire up pretty good and hit the sack.

The next day we awoke to blue skies, and the sun slowly cresting the ridges in front of the camp site. After breaking camp, we headed south for a tributary of the main Greenbrier river that a friend had told me about. After a bit of discussion we formulated a game plan and hiked down river on the old railbed and tracks. The scenery was impecable along with a vivid glimpse into a history of days gone by. What I would give to see this place in its prime. After rigging up our fly rods, we headed upstream into the unnamed tributary. It wasn't long before Chris had hooked up with a dandy Brookie. We switched places and I was also into a nice fish. Pool after pool, we continued to catch fish as we went further upstream. When we reached the headwater forks of the stream, we decided we needed to be making our way back to the trucks. The final day of this trip was the pinnacle of the entire weekend and a great way to start the year.