White-tailed Deer in a Pine forest

Large white-tailed buck

Big buck in November forest.


I went wandering down this trail looking for a moose that has been hanging around the area. I couldn’t find the moose, but this big fellow was out and about. He let me snap a quick shot before he raised his white flag and took off.

Remember Summer?

North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River in July

Sunny days on the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River


All right. I’m already tired of the snow. To get out of the winter funk, I looked back to last July and better days. I feel better already.

Seasons Change

November Snow

Early snow means winter is right around the corner


You think there will be time to rake those leaves and get ready for another winter. But sometimes Mother Nature just doesn’t let you relax. That is the case this Veteran’s Day. A harsh reminder that even though there are still leaves on the trees and the grass is green, snow can still fall and winter…well it could just be here already.

Cortland Line Cleaner, Goodbye to the Old

Cortland Fly Line Cleaner

The original and still the best line treatment

Since my first fly line, I’ve used Cortland Line Cleaning pads. They included one with a new line to get you hooked on it, and in my case it stuck. Since I use a dry line 99% of the time, I usually start my day with a quick pass of the pad over the first 25 – 30 feet of line. A couple times through the day, I’ll notice the tip of my line starting to sag into the water, so another quick swipe and I’m back to floating like a cork. I love those little circles of felt with embedded paste floatant.

Every few years I’d buy a handful. They came three pads to a zip lock bag. Perfect to throw in a vest or wader pocket. Weighs nothing, works great. The ideal product.

Except they don’t make sell them any more. The last time I looked, they were out of stock everywhere. I didn’t panic because I still had three new bags so that would last a couple years. But now I’m down to my last new bag. (I know it doesn’t LOOK new, but after years of floating around my other gear, the printing is nearly rubbed off.) So I started looking again in earnest. This time I found a new product, the Cortland Pro fly line cleaner applicator. My wife wanted to know what I was yelling about. When I explained, she looked at me like I was an idiot, but refrained from saying more than, “that’s nice.”

Even better, they stock them at Walmart. I couldn’t wait, so ran into town to pick up a couple of the new plastic containers that hold two, instead of three of the pads. But at $2.00, I wasn’t about to complain. Getting into my car, I opened the package. That’s when the smile left my face. The new product may work fine to clean a line, but the pads are about half the thickness of the old felt pads. And the cleaner is a thin substance that doesn’t even soak to the edge of the pad. In practice, it doesn’t help nearly as much with floatation as the old pads.

My wife tells me to make my own pads. I might have to do that, but I have flies to tie, books to read and other pressing business. I didn’t want to have to re-invent the wheel. I just wanted to pick up another handful of the old pads. Just too much to ask, I guess.

You can see the difference between the pads in this picture.

Using the Cortland Pads

See the difference in the pads.

New and Old Fly Line Treatment

Side by Side, Old and New