Monday, October 7, 2019

JEFF KENNEDY - Gates Lodge "Artist in Residence" Journal #5

I know it may seem like we're taking our time publishing these "Artist in Residence" posts from Gates Au Sable Lodge and admittedly, I am.  Artist Jeff Kennedy was great about getting them sent over to my inbox and I've been filtering each one into the T.F.M. post flow every few days.  These are all worth waiting for and if you missed Journal #1, Journal #2, Journal #3 and Journal #4, circle back to those posts before diving into Journal #5.

I rolled out of bed a bit later since we had gotten in late from mousing the night before.  I noticed the temp dropping while out mousing and sure enough, I woke up to a chilly 37 degrees.  

I headed out to the Board Room, passing through the bacon cloud on my way.  The Board Room has a huge fishing library along with a deer mount in the corner of the room.  I am not sure why but I always feel like I am being watched.  I decided to use the deer mount for my warm-up sketch and my mind started to drift head to tonight.  It was going to be a fun night for me.  I had booked a mousing guide trip with Denny and we were going to set out at 8:00 p.m.  

I set up outside the fly shop today to sketch and converse with all who visited the lodge.  Between discussions, I sketched up the old guide shack that lives off the side of the parking lot.  While outside sketching, I met Karen Harrison, who is the President of the Griffth-Mason Chapter of Trout Unlimited #001.  

For those of you who do know, Trout Unlimited was established in 1959 along the banks of the Au Sable River by a group of sixteen anglers.  One of those anglers was George Griffith, famous for the Griffith Gnat fly pattern.  Karen was there meeting another artist to give her some prints of George Griffith so she could color them up.  The prints will be used at the upcoming annual banquet auction.

While we discussed the different mediums that could be used to color the prints, Karen also suggested I give it a go.  She left me with some prints and said she would be by Saturday to pick them up.  Challenge accepted.  

Next thing I know it was time for dinner, a quick nap and then it was mousing time!  Denny showed up promptly at 8:00 p.m. and off we went.  It was another moonless night and the sky was filled with stars.  The number of galaxies you can see when you are in the middle of the woods away from city lights is incredible.  We moved a fish off right away.  Denny back rowed so I could take another shot at it.  Another cast and BOOM!  The water exploded and it was fish on!  

We got the slab of butter in the net, snapped a picture and I slid the brownie back into the river. Denny knows this water well.  You have to under completely pitch-black conditions.  He knows every stick, log jam, and sweeper.  He would call out, “We might brush something...”.  And sure enough seconds later we did brush a small dead head in the water.  

The night was a complete success!  We moved seven fish and landed two.  It was close to 1:30 a.m. and the float was drawing to a close.  We trailered the boat and Denny dropped me back off at the lodge where I fell asleep dreaming of brown trout.

Jeff Kennedy unplugged his website but the Drawing Flies 365 blog is a great trip down memory lane.  You can follow along with his latest fishing exploits and studio news on Facebook and Instagram

Gates Au Sable Lodge is on the banks of the Au Sable River outside of Grayling, Michigan and has a longstanding history as a mecca within fly fishing.  If you haven't been, plan to go, fish, eat and stay.  Following along on Facebook and Instagram is a good idea too.

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