Too hot. Africa hot. Tarzan was never this hot.
Just finished this blue heron painting, but I’m about to dive back into the fish art in a big way. You’ll see.
I also recently donated several prints to the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation, an organization which does tremendous work in preserving some of our state’s most beautiful wild settings. For the past couple of years, they’ve used my painting “Brook Trout Study” as a gift for some of their biggest supporters, putting my artwork in the possession of some very inspired people who appreciate our natural treasures as much as you and me.
Speaking of Greenways, we’re just under two months away from the Greenway Arts Festival (Sept. 18). Last year’s event was flooded out, so they’ve moved the site of the festival from the flood-prone edge of the Stones River and placed it at the nearby Old Fort Park in Murfreesboro, just feet from the site of the Civil War's Stones River Battlefield and the famous Fortress Rosecrans. It should be a great festival this year, and I’ll share more details as we near the date.
My favorite river – the Caney Fork – has fished OK at times, but most of the trout are found in the upper six miles of the tailwater. While the fish are willing to eat, you’ll have to share the river with everyone else, as the kayak and canoe hatch is at its summer peak. The fish don’t seem to mind, but if you like to enjoy solitude with your fishing, it’s best to go elsewhere right now.
The lower section of the Caney (below Happy Hollow) is fishing poorly, although a few resident fish – including some larger ones – are still around. But, you’ll have to be very, very patient (a tall order when it feels like you’re fishing on the sun) and very, very persistent.
Getting fed up with the Caney’s crowds and inconsistent fishing, I initiated a summer fishing “tournament” with a few of my buddies. It’s a “back to the basics” fly-fishing tourney, which concentrates on bass and “rough” fish. Categories include largemouth bass, striped bass, carp, gar and skipjack (among others), and it’s provided a nice alternative in what has proven to be a difficult summer to fish. I call it the “Trash n’ Bass Tournament Series,” and it runs through Labor Day. Right now, we’ve got entries in all the bass species and the skipjack category, but carp and gar have proved elusive for everyone. But, I’ve got my eye on a good spot for both. Here’s the current leader in the largemouth category (a 18 inch fish caught on a hand-tied popper).
Last weekend, Betsy and I traveled west to visit with my family and to do some fly-fishing on the Little Red River in Heber Springs, Ark. As always, it was a big time and the fishing wasn’t bad either. It was also great to visit with Mom, Dad, my brother Tim and the Best Dog in the World, Bumper.
While over in Arkansas, we drove up to Mountain Home to see my uncle, and enjoyed a great day with him and the Second Best Dog in the World, Misty.
We also toured the Fish Hatchery near the North Fork River (Norfork, as they say) and were teased by the humongous trout in the nearby Dry Run Creek. The crystal-clear waters of the creek are filled with healthy rainbows, browns, cutthroats and brook trout. While fishing it is limited to children under 16 and physically-disabled individuals, anyone can walk along its bank and marvel at the colorful fish living in the water. Too cool.