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Monthly Archives: December 2012

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Balance Four

If you are like me, the exercises explained here seem quite simple. The motions involved simulate movements needed  to stimulate the muscles controlling balance while building the strength necessary to complete the motion.

I hope following along has not been too painful. Some of the muscles being stimulated may not have been used for quite some time. Drinking an extra couple of glasses of water each day will help flush the lactic acid out of your system. This lactic acid is the by product of the energy produced by muscle use, and when it remains in the muscle tissue, results in discomfort, or pain. The extra water introduced into the blood stream will help dissolve these acids to be flushed through the kidneys. The link above is an article in Scientific America that kind of refutes this belief, but not completely. I do know from experience that drinking water relieves the discomfort much faster than not drinking enough water!

My experience of following along with these exercises every day (I am up to doing them every day now) is that I hardly even have to rely on the chair for support at all now.  I have also begun doing each movement with my eyes closed, and I want to tell you this adds a complete new dimension to explore. I began this with the picking a spot and staring at it while completing each movement. While staring at the spot my focus kind of didn’t recognize the spot anymore. I was concentrating on the mechanics of motion, and wasn’t paying any attention to my sight. To follow this up, I just began closing my eyes. If you attempt this be sure to hold on to the chair at the beginning. As you get more confident with your balance, release the grip gradually until only your fingertips remain in contact. When you are comfortable with balancing there during the exercise, complete the motions “No Hands”. Big Rush.

Hip Extensions

This next balance exercise is for building strength in the lower back, hips and buttocks. You will want to make sure the back of the chair is no lower than your hips. This will help prevent stress to your lower back.

Since the muscles of your lower back are partly abdominal, I am going to introduce some easy, don’t have to get down on the floor, exercises in the next segment of this series. But now for Some Fun!

  1. Get that glass of water and take a gulp
  2. Stand behind the chair with feet flat on the floor less than shoulder width apart
  3. Take a couple of steps backwards while keeping your back straight
  4. Begin your breathing exercise and lift your leg up from the floor keeping the back and knee straight
  5. Inhale and exhale with each movement
  6. Do this motion slowly 3 to 5 times, drink some water, and repeat with the other leg
  7. Do 3 sets of these hip extensions. When you finish the water should be finished as well!

In Summary

This forth exercise is the final step for our first phase of balance motions. You should be comfortable doing some, or all of them while not using the chair for all of your balance. This exercise is incorporating the abdominal group of muscles with the buttock, hip, leg groups in a proactive way. We will begin some ab exercises next time.

I hope you have enjoyed these exercises for balance, and have found personal value from my instruction. Feel free to comment in the space below, or e-mail me at And please let me know if you feel more confident wading into the stream for that special honey hole fish. You can upload the pictures here too!

Mr Hook

Silvers to Redsides

I was ready for the run of silvers come the next season. I had studied the possible tributaries running into the Sandy River with great care, and came to the conclusion that the only place they could have gone was up one or two small creeks, I had identified, where the school of silvers disappeared the previous season.

One of these small creeks was home to the Sandy River Hatchery. Of course that is where they were going to go, duh. At that time I really didn’t have any experience with the biology of the fish other than how to pursue them. The revelation I received from chasing the school of silvers would open new avenues of learning to me, and I began studying more of the biology of the fish I was trying to catch. These fish were hatchery spawned for the most part, and would always return to the water they were imprinted with as fry.

I did catch the run at a holding pool below the hatchery. There were six or seven of the other lockjaw guys I had been fishing with the past couple of seasons with brazen smirks on their faces, but they welcomed me into the drift warmly.

Finally Found It

The pool I happened upon was about 120 feet long by about 40 feet across at it’s widest, and just seethed with fish! I did have both rods with me, and there was one of the fellows fly casting, but after looking at the fly he was using I knew there wasn’t anything in my box even close. I decided on my spinning rig with a 1/2 oz Steelie lure. This lure is a dimpled brass spoon, and I liked the lure with two fluorescent orange stripes that sold for $.89 a copy. Cheap lures are a plus when drifting snaggy places. Steelie 2

I casted out into the tailout of the pool and felt a couple of thumps as the lure settled into its motion just above the cobbled bottom. Three cranks on the reel and whamo. Fish ON! It went like that for a couple of hours. Just crazy fun. There were so many fish there it was almost impossible to not hook one, be it snagged or legally in the mouth. My smirking fellows just kept smiling, and welcomed me into the fold!

Deschutes River Redsides

Stories of the beautiful, powerful Redsides rainbow trout had reached my ears throughout the summer preceding my Sandy River silvers pursuit. These tales came from fellow fly fishers I came into contact with in the sports shops around Portland, and the tales intrigued me so much I began cruising over Mt Hood into the desert to fish for them near Maupin Oregon.

Maupin is on the lower Deschutes River not far, maybe 70 miles, from the river’s confluence with the Columbia River near the Dalles. Maupin is a community dedicated to the tourism offered by the lower Deschutes. White water rafting, and fishing are two of the most prominent recreational features, and there is even a fabulous handicapped fishing access facility and park there.

A BLM access road runs right next to the river all the way to Sherars Falls which features a class 6 rapid, and Native American traditional fishing. The entire river between Maupin and this massive rapid is fishable, and pretty easy to access for bank side anglers. Much of the run is also wader friendly, but Not All. The current is extremely swift, and the cobbles large and uneven with sudden pockets of deep water that is hard to see.

The next installment of this story will feature how I finally began hooking fish. It did take a few trips to get hook ups, and taught me how to begin nymphing techniques to fool these beautiful rainbow trout so I could answer yes when asked; Ketchinnee!

Mr Hook

Inspiration to Keep Going

I just read a post from a woman who was a girl a couple of years behind me in school. Her family was always athletic, and I most remember how well they dominated the ski slopes. That kind of dominance requires huge dedication to being a life long athlete! As the following review will reveal, this woman has carried her desire for continuing athleticism all the way through into later life, and revels in the joy being fit brings.

This reposting of her review provides a great snapshot of the will to keep aging at bay, and might act as a benchmark to work towards in future fitness for anyone with the desire to Keep Going.

Mr Hook

Please click on this link;

Report for Trinity River at Indian Creek

The Indian Creek Lodge sent me this report yesterday so the information is current for the Trinity River near Douglas City, CA.  I thank John and Elena for keeping me updated about the river near their lodge.

Beautiful Place to Stay

Indian Creek Lodge entrance


As expected the great runs of Chinook we saw earlier in 2012 are being matched by the fall steelhead run. Steelhead have been arriving in good numbers since mid-October, and the rain we have received over the last week will undoubtedly bring a lot more. Last week the anglers who were willing to brave some rain showers continued reporting good numbers of hook ups, and then the big rains hit and the river was unfishable for two days, with the flow momentarily spiking up to 6,000 cfs at Douglas City last Sunday. Then we were back down below 1,000 cfs for a couple of fantastic fishing days, then rain last night created another surge up to 2,400 cfs. We are “blown out” as I type, but should be below 1,000 with good water clarity in the upper river tomorrow.  The one drift boat report we had from ICL guests yesterday was epic: 17 steelhead landed by noon, with a few more and some browns in the afternoon. All indicators (pardon the pun) point to an exceptional year for steelhead on the Trinity, and so far that’s spot on.  As always, feel free to give us a call for current reports.

Riverbank Steelie Tacos

Trinity River

Great steelhead run above and below this swimming hole

On a beautiful fall day in early October a couple of friends and I went fly fishing in a favorite run on the Trinity River near Hawkins Bar of Northern California. The water had just cooled a few degrees. The buzzards had left. The riverside blackberry brambles had begun dropping their leaves, and most importantly, the half pounder steelheadhad begun to show up.

Keepers for the fillet board

Fillet board now? Please.

Half pounder steelhead are rainbow trout that are anadromous, which simply means the fish are spawned in fresh water then leave for salt water, and then come back to spawn after feeding and growing in the ocean. The half pounder steelie just doesn’t spend as much time in the ocean, and comes back as a juvenile instead of an adult. Basically these fish can not spawn.

On this day my friends, James and Randy, were ready to try catching them using fly fishing gear. Both fellas were pretty new using this technique, but I had a feeling if they began hooking these nice little fish they would get hooked themselves.

By the way, when I say”little fish”, a typical half pounder will be in the twelve to nineteen inch range, and be about a half a pound to 1 1/2 pounds. Pretty fish, and they love to go airborne. It isn’t uncommon for a native fish to jump 5 times before coming to hand.

After a hour of rollicking fun, and gleeful whoops, James set about making these fish tacos right there on the riverbank. What follows is a recipe he sent me this morning so I could share it with you. We are talking yum, yum here folks!

 Blackened Steelie Tacos

by Grasshopper

First thing is you have to catch a steelie, this dish cannot be properly enjoyed with anything less than a still wiggling trout. I enjoy the half-pounder variety for this dish.

Fillet, debone and skin (if you don’t like to eat this part of the fish) liberally coat the fillet with your favorite concoction of blackening seasoning mix. There are several premixed, or mix your own variations out there. Experiment with the seasoning until you get it the way you like it.

Then it is as easy as building a fire, chopping some cabbage, cilantro, onions, grate some cheese, and open some fresh made salsa.

After this preparation is completed the fire should be just about right to cook on, so take your favorite camp skillet and get it smokin hot on that bed of coals. Add a little oil (grape seed takes the most heat without smoking) throw the fish in and let it go until the seasoning forms a blackened crust, 2-3 minutes on each side. Warm some tortillas, melt a little butter over the freshly cooked fish, and build a taco. mmmm.

Now if the pan isn’t hot enough you won’t get the full flavor profile of a truely delicious blackened fish, so don’t be afraid to burn that fish a little around the edges. This is where the flavor is. A squeeze of lime, or lemon will also go nicely in your taco.

I tend to do all my prepping at home, and just take everything with me on my favorite steelie runs. Seems like no matter how good the fishing is, there is always time and opportunity for some really tasty tacos……Quit wishin and go fishin!

Just thought I ‘d put the ingredients for my blackening seasoning mix. This is a 3 to 1 ratio blend.

3 parts paparika

1 part each; cayenne, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, black pepper and salt to taste

The above blend can be used for all kinds of blackening preparations, and these tacos can be made with a multitude of fish species….enjoy!

This next blend is one we used on burgers in Baja last year and was really good too!!

1 tbs paparika

1 tbs garlic powder

2 tsp crushed dry thyme

1 tsp oregano

1-2 tsp lemon pepper

1/2 – 1 tsp cayenne

1/2 – 1 tsp black pepper

Balance is Key Number Three

I hope the first two exercises in this fitness segment were very easy for you to follow and achieve. There will two more exercises in this series, and one will follow here in a moment. This exercise will be Key Number Three for helping to prevent debilitating falls from lack of strength and balance.

The next exercise is called side leg raises and will be the first one of these where you will be asked to actively use your balance to complete the movement. We will continue to use the chair for support. Please remember it is always there to lean on.

These balance exercises will also help to build strength in your leg muscle groups. Doing them on a regular basis will also bring back muscle memory very quickly. I would like to interject some caution about muscle memory right here. Just because the muscles help you to go on autopilot is not a sign to forget to focus on the action that is stimulating them to do so. Yes these exercises seem pretty easy to do, but it is the repetitive action that is creating muscle memory. So focus on each movement in a slow deliberate manner that includes controlled breathing.

Now for some Fun

  1. Get that glass of water and take a drink
  2. Stand beside the chair with one hand on the top of the back. (either side, we will switch)
  3. Keep your legs straight with toes pointed forward, take a nice breath, and exhale as you lift the outside leg straight out to the side. The leg does not have to go up high, only until you can feel it working.
  4. Hold the pose for a few seconds (maybe a three count), breath again and slowly bring the leg back to the starting position on the floor as you exhale.
  5. Repeat the action for the other leg by turning around.

Once again this seems to be a really easy exercise to do. As you gain confidence in the motions,(this will be at about the third or fourth repetition) begin relaxing the grip on the chair back where only one finger will be holding you there. Try to do two sets of these leg raises with about a 2 minute rest between sets, and more of your water. The water should be finished by the end of the second set of five alternated leg raises.

 In summary

  • Drinking the water is hydrating the blood, and enhancing the volume.
  • The breathing is providing the blood with oxygen to feed the muscles.
  • The exercises are short and repetitive thus helping with muscle memory.
  • The relaxed grip on the chair is stimulating a need to use balance.

This completes the third entry of this series about balance. There is one more exercise to follow in a couple of days. Be sure to stay tuned.

Mr Hook

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