Bucket List

  • Fish, see and photograph Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.
  • Fly fish with my three best fishing buddies on the same trip.
  • Catch a giant char in Labrador.
  • Visit (and fish!) Alaska with my wife.
  • Write a book that people would actually read.
  • Sell a photograph for an absurd amount to someone who really loves it.
  • Catch a wild 15 inch native Southern Appalachian Brook Trout. (* Note: probably impossible.)
  • Find a job I love, that pays enough to live on.
  • Meet Nick Lyons
  • See Brett Favre play football in person. ( *Note: almost assuredly impossible)
  • Speaking of football – See the Atlanta Falcons win it all.
  • Take my wife to Niagara Falls. ( She’s always wanted to go there…)
  • Make my mother proud of me.

7 responses

30 12 2010
TippinTaco

Those are all respectable goals Owl. Dad always told me to never make a list completely impossible to accomplish, that way when you achieve one or more of them the rest seem to be easier to attain. Keep up the great work with your blogs and stories. M dad always told me before we would go hunting: It may be really quiet out there, but that doesn’t mean no ones listening.

30 12 2010
Owl Jones

Thanks Taco! Good to see ya here man! 🙂

2 01 2011
Jay

Did you steal that giant Labrador char idea from me? Only kidding… I think that’s on a lot of our lists. I think the wild 15 incher in Southern Appalachia sounds perfectly feasible now that all of the Brook Trout restoration programs are in place. It’s just a matter of time. I lived in Knoxville from 2002-04 and the whole time I was there Brook Trout were still off limits in the GSMNP. All that has changed, so things must be looking up.

2 01 2011
Owl Jones

Thanks for the comments Jay. Actually, the brook trout here have always been in pretty good shape, aside from their being pushed from the lower elevation streams a century ago. The remaining populations in the higher altitudes here never threatened with extinction or anything like that. They were just reduced to a much smaller range than their historical expanse. I think there was a little bit of an (understandable) over-reaction from the park service in making so many brook trout streams off-limits for so long. A three year study on a few streams opened up to fishing(that weren’t open previously) showed that fishing made little to no impact on the brookie populations. Additionally, it’s been a big misconception that there was no brook trout fishing in the park until they opened them up a few years back. There were always streams in the Park that had brook trout and were open to fishing. It was only most of the highest altitude brook trout streams that were closed, I suppose as stalwarts against some impending doom that never happened. However, you can’t really blame the park service for taking an over-reactive approach to it – if acid rain and overfishing had decimated them, we’d be screaming our heads off for justice over it. So, in the end I think they did the right thing – but things actually weren’t bad and now “are looking up” – the park service just used science to establish that the brook trout population in the park wasn’t in any danger from fisherman. Unfortunately, acid rain and naturally occurring stream erosion are still a bit of a threat to the remaining brook trout range. Brook trout streams are common in northern Georgia and western NC. Most are simply too small and over-grown to be fished effectively. Despite what is some rather inflated hype over “saving” them, they are doing very well on their own in most places. Sorry for the length of the reply, and I’m hoping you don’t take my attempt to explain as too corrective or haughty. It sounds a bit like I’m Cliff sitting at the bar in Cheers, but it’s not intended to sound that way.
As for the 15 incher, I’m not sure any high elevation stream in the Southeast has the insect population density to produce a fish that size. Combine our low levels of stream life with the brook trout’s short life, and it would truly be a miracle! 🙂 OH, and that Labrador char thing – I once saw a television show where they were fishing for them with “mice” flies. I was hooked the first time one of those big monsters blew up like a smallmouth bass on it! 🙂

4 01 2011
Jay

I saw that same show… it was “Canadian Sportfishing” with Italo Labignan. I think it originally aired in 2002 or maybe 2003. If you read my bucket list from back in November on my blog I make reference to that being the inspiration for #6 on my list. Funny how convincing that show was that we both have that on our lists. It was truly amazing to see.
I knew there were some streams open back when I lived in Knoxvegas, but it seemed like the park service didn’t even want you to put your hands on Brook Trout so I just avoided it altogether. I think now you can even keep some… maybe? I just spent most of my time fishing for Smallmouths in the lower elevations. When I did go to the park to fish for trout I went to the places where I knew there weren’t likely to be many Brookies… like Greenbrier.

4 01 2011
Owl Jones

Wow. Was it that long ago!? How cool…and depressing at the same time! ( that I haven’t even come close to making it up there to do that)

Yes, you’re right – they weren’t very helpful whenever I asked about brookies. In the park now, you can keep brookies just like you can the other species. Size limits apply still, but the brookies are doing pretty well. Of course, local TU chapters and the Park service keep an eye on their habitat and they are still continually trying to restore water back to the brookie that was once within their historical range. This last year, one restored stream was found stocked with rainbows and they are reworking it now I think, to try it again.

The main thing is…it’s good to have people that care about them, and about making sure future generations get to see them, and even cast a fly to them if they wish. Now, about those big char….. 😉

16 02 2011
ArlingtonGreg

Great list. Seeing Favre and Peyton Manning live were on my list, so this season I got tix for when the Colts and Vikes came to beat my hapless Redskins. As a fan of football generally, it was time and money well spent. As a Redskins fan, I should have been chasing 15″ brookies in the SNP and enjoying less-than-$8-beers. I came here through the OBN, by the way, so a shout-out to Joe and Rebecca is in order.

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