Posts Tagged ‘Nebraska Game And Parks Commission’

A “Good Stick”: A term for an excellent angler; who can catch fish regardless of the circumstances…

One of my life goals is to have someone refer to me by this phrase.

I know a few good anglers. Several of them I grew up around; including my old man and his friends. I found my passion for fishing in my late twenties, and never really appreciated the knowledge they had to offer. I a lot of my fishing knowledge (and virtually all my fly fishing knowledge) comes from the school of hard knocks. But I grew up listening to their stories; and they inspired me to reel in a few of my own.

Another angler who has had a huge impact on me is a bit of a local celebrity here in Nebraska. Our Game and Parks Commission here in Nebraska has a fisheries biologist that writes a local fishing blog as part of the Commission’s public outreach mission. Daryl Bauer and his “Barbs and Backlashes” blog ( has inspired me in numerous ways. First of all, the guy is a heck of an angler. Second, he gives out tons of Nebraska fishing tips… if you are willing to read between the lines (no pun intended). And third, his wiliness to share his passion with the world was a huge influence on my creation of this blog. He takes a much more scientific slant on his blog; and by no means can I compete with that. I focus much more on the emotional aspects of fishing. But I have read every one of his blog posts since I rediscovered fishing…

I had a chance to introduce myself to him at a kids fishing tournament two years ago. I took two seconds to thank him for sending me some trout fishing info I emailed him for. That info lead to a great February tail water fishing trip that cured some mid winter fishing blues. I am sure he doesn’t remember me. And even though I only had a chance to say my name and thank you, shaking his hand was like meeting an idol of mine…

He has inspired me to fish, to write about fishing, and even to start the process to become a certified youth fishing instructor and teach others.

The weather here in Nebraska has taken a turn toward fall weather… cold, windy, and overcast. Today, I didn’t let this stop me. I had a couple hours to kill, and I had an itch to hit the water. Seven layers of clothing later, I was standing waist deep in Bowling lake casting right into a 30 mile per hour wind.

Less then ideal, but fishing is fishing. I love it even if I spend half my time fighting wind knots and horrible casting conditions.

Despite this, I read the water and devised a strategy. A stiff 8 weight rod, heavy jig head flies to bounce the bottom, and a painfully slow retrieve. The combination lead to a solid strike on the very first cast…

Despite the cold, wind, and less then ideal conditions, I kept fishing on. Several times I stopped and looked around. Even though I was at a very popular city lake, I was the only one on the water. Not many other people are brave/crazy enough to brave these conditions. I waded through the vegetation from hot spot to hot spot at my own leisure. I slowly worked each spot I knew on the lake; knowing that today I did not have to share it.

Alone on the water. Just me and the fish.

Bowling Lake could have skunked me, and I would not have cared…

And instead, the lake rewarded me with bite after bite…

The lake even rewarded me with a rare catfish on the fly today. I even had to reel him up.

When I got home and packed all my gear away, I started a general reading routine that I go through almost daily; which includes Mr. Bauer’s blog. On Friday, he had written about how although fish are affected by the weather and cold fronts, good anglers can still get a fish to bite. Bad weather does not always mean bad fishing…

He didn’t need to tell me. But a little confirmation brought a smile to my face. Catching fish on a day that most anglers wrote off provided a healthy boost to my ego…

I fish because I enjoy fishing. I don’t need external verification to know I am a good fisherman. I am a good fisherman because I enjoy fishing… rain or shine, skunked or once-in-a-lifetime day.

I am pretty sure that Mr. Bauer does not read my blog. Heck, I am not sure if anyone does (kidding). But how cool would it be if he did? And how awesome would it be if your idol thought you were a “good stick” too…

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Flies Over Nebraska has picked up a couple big bumps over the last 24 hours, which is super exciting. It is nice to see new followers on the blog, and the increase in traffic. Writing a fly fishing blog would seem to limit my audience; and while I do have quite a few fisherman following me, my goal is to share my love of fly fishing with a wider audience. Fly fishing is a beautiful art, and you don’t need to fish to be able to appreciate it. To those of you new to the blog, Little E and I would like to welcome you!

The new followers and traffic is due in large part to two bumps I received yesterday…

The first was thanks to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. The fact that the organization responsible for present and future of outdoor activities in my state thinks my blog is worth sharing is mind blowing. I was beside myself when I received the tweet asking if it was okay to share my blog. Without the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and all of their hard work, I would not be able to enjoy this sport that I love so much. To be acknowledged by Nebraska Game and Parks and recommended to fellow sportsmen and women of the state validates and solidifies my dedication to this blog.

The second bump was from Lamarr Womble and his company Passion For Leadership. I saw Lamarr spoke at a work conference last Thursday; and he delivers a great message about finding your passion in life and making that your life’s work. I work in higher education, and it is a great message to pass along to young adults beginning their lives. It’s also a good lesson for those of us who are a little older… If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, why are you doing it? Find you passion in life, pursue it, and you will be a lot happier.

While I do not expect that I will become a professional fly fisherman or blogger in the foreseeable future; I do believe that there are lots of lessons from fishing that can be brought to young adults. I try to bring fishing into my office whenever possible. However, sharing my passion with my students is not enough… and thus why you are reading the blog today.

Fly fishing has had a tremendous impact on my life. It is relaxing, frustrating, challenging, rewarding, fascinating, and artistic all at the same time. It is this passion that I seek to share on my blog.

Yesterday was the busiest day ever for Flies Over; shattering my previous single day hit record. Today has followed suit with an extremely strong day. Thanks to both the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Lamarr Womble for helping me to share my story with a greater number of people.

On a related note, a fellow Nebraska blogger also received a big bump today. Friend of Flies Over Nebraska, The Cheeky Diva, was “Freshly Pressed” today; which for my non-blogging followers means her blog was featured on the main page of This is a HUGE honor for a WordPress blog. Make sure to check out her page and support a fellow Nebraskan. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

Back in June, I launched this blog in order to share my passion for fly fishing. So far the ride has been great, and I have no plans to stop. As I said on that first day, “This is my journey through fly fishing. I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I do.”

See you out on the water…

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When I managed to sneak out to Bowling Lake this weekend, I was greeted with a pleasant surprise… and it was not that I was about to get skunked!

In the corner of the Bowling Lake parking lot, I saw the above picture. It seems that a local girl scout troop had taken it upon themselves to volunteer their time cleaning up Bowling Lake park.

The young ladies of Girl Scout Troop 20298 deserve a big pat on the back!

It is wonderful to see a group of youngsters pitching in; not only to protect the environment, but also to protect our fisheries. As an angler, I am all about conservation of our natural resources to maintain open, and free, access to fishing opportunities for the public. Projects like this make our city parks more enjoyable, make healthier lakes and waterways, and helps to maintain a high level of civic pride in our community. Taking care of our parks and waters shows that our community values resources like Bowling Lake, and shows our city government and the Nebraska Game And Parks Commission that money spent on these parks is money well spent.

These young ladies are a shining example of why Nebraska is the home of the “Good Life”…

And as their full garbage bin clearly shows, they put in a lot of work… and that keeping our parks and waters clean is an ongoing job that is never done.

Great job ladies. You made one fly angler’s day when he saw this. It made getting skunked a lot easier!

I posted this picture Sunday, but take a look again. Doesn’t Bowling Lake look great???

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