The Snag Hole
Two historic bridges in Madison County are scheduled for demolition soon. The Blaine Spring Ck. Bridge and the Varney Bridge will be torn down and be sent to the old bridge rest home...or the trash heap...or the graveyard. They say these old bridges aren't safe anymore...a hazard...even a menace?
I, of course, will be sad to see them go, having crossed over them many, many times over many, many years...fished off of them...floated under them...marvelled at their classic looks...old school masterpieces of concrete, wood and steel.
Both bridges were built by the King Bridge Co., Cleveland, Ohio...the Blaine in 1892, the Varney in 1897. Not sure what will replace them...have heard "they" will try to replicate the original design...I won't hold out much hope for that.
Bridge photos by Jeanne Kimerly Singleton
One of these early mornings I will sneak down there and steal a piece of each...maybe a chunk of cement from one of the pilings at Blaine, where once I sat and shot a couple rolls of film on the rising trout below.
If you see me down there don't get too worried...just trying to stay one step ahead of the Grim Reaper.
My 1970s fly box for the Rogue River
Spent a lot of time on the Rogue River in the 1970s...chasing steelhead up and down...staying in Gold Beach, Oregon. One of the fun sidelights was cruising the estuary where the Rogue fanned out into the ocean. Putted around in a little skiff looking for "dimples"...sea run cutthroat trout feeding on the surface. We would motor up, shut down, and drift into the spot...then chuck our Coachman wet flies out there with our fiberglass fly rods and Pfleuger Medalist fly reels. The take was vicious and these fish pulled hard! A dozen or so cutts on a calm morning or evening was pretty standard. And they grilled up real tasty!
Sea run cutthroat trout on the fly...Randy Brown, Gold Beach, Or., 1973
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Great to see old friend Peter Matthiessen here in Ennis...author of "The Snow Leopard", "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse", "Killing Mr. Watson" and many others. He writes about So. Florida and the Chokoloskee-Everglades country like no other. Three time winner of the National Book Award...and he casts a mean dry fly!
photo by Anni Shores
Happy fifth year anniversary to Pennsylvania Power and Light. It was five year ago today, August 30, 2008, that your Hebgen Dam stop logs busted up sending a 4000 cfs wall of water down the Madison River that resembled the Banzai Pipline.
A lot has happened in the last five years:
Osama Bin Laden was snuffed out.
Andy Rooney passed away.
The Iraq War came to an end.
The New York Giants won two Super Bowls.
Facebook reached over 1 billion users
The new 1776 foot tall World Trade Center tower was completed
I-phones and I-pads have become a way of life for millions.
A lot has happened...but fixing the Hebgen Dam isn't one of them.
The flows have pinballed...the water temps have risen...there have been talks, meetings, press releases, newletters, texts, tweets, photo-ops, emails, proclamations, promises...next year, next year, next year...but next year never comes...the dam is still broken. The Hebgen Dam has become like the old Brooklyn Dodgers..."Dem Bums"..."we'll beat the Yankees...wait til next year."
The old grandpa brown trout in the Madison is telling his kids and grandkids, "hang in there chillins, help is on the way."
And mama rainbow in the riffle is keeping the family cool and in the shade for as long as she can hold out.
And there is a very small group of Rocky Mountain Whitefish that still remember "The Great Flood of '08".
With the water temperatures in the Madison rising every year, how long will it be before "next year" is too late? A lot is riding on this one, PP&L. Let's make this anniversary the last one.
Generations are depending on you.
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The Madison River Foundation is looking for a new leader...someone who cares about the river more than playing politics...someone who will get down to the core issues: protecting flows, protecting water temps, protecting the trout. It's not easy...but you are out there...the right person to lead...the right person to fight...the right person to take the challenge.
All of us who love the river and the trout are hoping that person will come forward. We are all tied to the river in some way...work, play, beauty. It's time to put away personal agendas...if the Madison River thrives, we all thrive.
I have a good feeling for the future. Let's roll!