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Angling Firsts! Freshwater to Saltwater.

Rita Schimpff with her first redfish on the fly!

Angling Firsts!  Freshwater to Saltwater on the fly.

Trinchera Ranch & The Lower Laguna Madre

We set our minds to it and got it done!  An IGFA Trout Super Grand Slam at Trinchera Ranch and my first Redfish on a fly on the Texas Coast were my goals.

My freshwater first!

We once again enjoyed a wonderful stay and great fishing on 185,000 acres in southern Colorado – The Trinchera Ranch.



The gathering room at Trinchera Lodge
The gathering room at Trinchera Lodge


The sprawling ranch offers 4 species of trout – wild trout – on gorgeous improved streams in the heart of the Sangre de Christo mountain range.

I wanted to catch all four in one day and I knew if anyone could help me it was our friend and guide Doc of Doc Thompson’s High Country Anglers.

We have fished with Doc for 4 years now and he knows this ranch well.


Doc Thompson guided Rita Schimpff to her IGFA Trout Super Grand Slam at Trinchera Ranch.
Doc Thompson guided Rita Schimpff to her IGFA Trout Super Grand Slam at Trinchera Ranch.

Doc also knows I only want to fish with only dry flies.

  So the 4 trout I caught were: a Rainbow, Brown, Brook and Rio Grande Cutthroat.

I made the above vignette combining my photos with my paintings of the trout.


IGFA trout super grand slam IMG_5707
Special thanks to my husband, Skip, who gave up valuable stream time so I could attain my super grand slam goal!

Meanwhile back at the ranch…..the Lodge at Trinchera Ranch…….


magnificent artwork surrounds your soul at Trinchera Ranch and the superb food & service feed your soul!
magnificent artwork surrounds your soul at Trinchera Ranch and superb food & service feed your soul.

The art!  Remington, Bierstadt, Rungius & N.C. Wyeth originals for me to enjoy!

I was in hog heaven.


Stack stone fireplace at Trinchera Ranch - fabulous taxidermy
Stack stone fireplace at Trinchera Ranch – fabulous taxidermy

Both of these handsome rams were taken within an hour of each other in huge snow!


Quiet spaces are designed for guests to relax, read or journal.


Every hallway, room and corner are thoughtfully designed and appointed with vintage sporting collectibles.


In this hallway, one expects Hemingway to return shortly and put the final keystroke to paper.

Now to my saltwater first!

fly fishing with Rita Schimpff and Ben Paschal.
By the dawns early light, Capt. Ben Paschal leading me to my first redfish on a fly.

A redfish on the fly has eluded me for many years.  Skip and I journeyed to Arroyo City on the Texas Gulf coast and the pristine saltwater flats of the Lower Laguna Madre.


Rita Schimpff with her first redfish on the fly!
Rita Schimpff with her first redfish on the fly!

 We enlisted the services of Capt. Ben Paschal owner of Lower Lagana Outfitters for help with this seemingly impossible task.

He made it happen!

We returned two months later and a heated competition ensued whereby I beat my husband 8-7!

Skip has thrown down the gauntlet and vowed it won’t happen again!

Ben fishes in Louisiana from November thru March – now I want a super sized Red – stay tuned.





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BRING THE WILD INSIDE: The Angling Lifestyle

This time of year I turn my attention to cool streams, lazy lakes, sweet tea with mint and angling.  There is always a way to bring the joy of the wild inside – so be it FISH and The Angling Lifestyle!

I collect.

I save (part of the Heritage thing).

I fish.

I come from a long line of ‘savers’  (some may have been hoarders, but I am glad they were!)  Both sides of my family and my husband’s had places like farms and lake houses to save generations of goodies, and all sides loved the outdoors.  I never turned down anything or any opportunity to scour an attic or barn and be gifted (often with laughter at ‘that ole thing’) my finds!  I saved therefore, I collect.

 To save and cherish items that family have touched is a Southern thang!

I love to fish, especially fly fish.  My mate has made sure I have premier equipment- some of my favorites are my Sage 5 wt. and my San Miguel Reel.

You need not fish to enjoy it in your decor — if you have it use it – if you don’t, collect it!  It is soothing decor and it need not be expensive.

Shop flea markets, estate sales, thrift stores and your partners tackle (with permission).

The lamp is new.  The wicker shade makes a nice contrast with the rock wall and the scale of the net in the vintage fishing net, a gift from my best friend’s grandfather who used it in the 30’s &  40’s.  I found this old duck call at an estate sale (yes we have family one’s too) and decided it needed to accent the lamp shade like a finial would.  How about a colorful self hooking lure instead?

I collect.

 I collect antique wooden ice fishing decoys.  They are each tiny works of art as varied and individual as the carvers who made them: catfish with metal whiskers, a turtle and even a frog I have found.  The aged paint and sometimes whimsical nature made me display them on our coffee table ‘swimming’ toward an antique English bait bucket.  The lid is open and perfect for a green plant surrounded with spanish moss (please do a better job than I did covering the plastic pot!!)

We save.

Make an interesting display in your bookshelves, include family memorabilia and at least 3 fish related items.  Here we have a framed fish etching I did long ago, fishing books, a vintage creel* and a carved wooden crappie I painted as a gift for my husband.  You could also use a reel (doesn’t have to be old) and some colorful lures.  The old metal trade sign, German figural beer steins and antique fireman’s hat are all family relics.  *CREEL – If you recall my Post BRING THE WILD INSIDE – Christmas   I filled a creel with red poinsettia and another with red berries, feathers and greenery.  For summer try some silk or real yellow and white daisies for a picnic feel inside.

Don’t overlook the tops of cabinets for display space.

I think a bit of the outdoors makes the indoors more fun!  How about this carved bass nestled with greenery and old duck decoys (use your current decoys-it is out of season) atop a cabinet filled with gleaming silver?   Again, the contrast makes things interesting – like wearing denim and pearls!   The bookcase is an early Texas piece by Otto Brinkman of Comfort, Tx.  My grandmother saw it for sale in 1936 and purchased it for $45.00 and saved & loved it all these years – just as I do.  (See where I get it?)   How about a fishing trophy made out of paper?  GirlHunter  author & cook, Georgia Pelligrini told me about this new store on her blog.  Red    New and vintage  China  have an abundance of fishing themes in plates and platters that not only make a pretty dinner table, but make a wonderful display alone, on a stand in a bookcase or countertop  or hanging on the wall!

Dinnerware by Portmerion  and Red Cabin Pottery ( made in Texas!).

You always have room for a pillow or two – bring the wild inside with color and rich trims, velvets, and suedes.  I handpaint each one on lambskin using different techniques and metallics – then I finish by hand sewing into pillows.  Each one is unique.  The fine leather gives a great texture that mimic the fish skins.  These are available now and will be featured on my new updated website.

My hand painted tin rainbow by Stephanie Woolley of Tailwater Gallery and Flyshop in Taos, NM.
I save, I collect……and I fish.

Here I sit on my vintage 60’s Water Wagon, originally made in Amarillo, Tx!

Be it old or new—–find it, fish it but by all means