Friday, January 7, 2011

Coming up in a time of worms.... Part 1

Becoming a fly fisherman wasn't easy in Spokane in 1984.. I was twelve years old, I cut my teeth as a fisherman in the murky waters of Deep Lake Washington on the Canadian border, Fishing was good back then. Every morning of our summer camping trips I would rise before anyone else and scour the shore line rocks for as many Helgramite and dragonfly nymphs I could get my hands on and then march down the t shaped dock, My wonder rod and zebco 202 in one hand, a butter can full of bugs in the other. It was a time in the lakes history of rare native rainbow and plentiful cutthroat trout that averaged 2 lbs and often pushed 5... and I owned the lake, walking out on to the dock to the cleaning station ( don't see many of those on a dock anymore ) the water was only a foot or two deep there along the dock, I would carefully hook a nymph as to not kill it, then with no weight I would bullshit the little bug by releasing him hook in tow into the murky pollen stained water... and like the fool he was he would dart under the dock.. and as soon as he was out of sight kaaaaaaaaaaawaaaaaaaaaaam... one less empty spot on the stringer. Sadly in those days I kept everything, because much like today.. no fish- no credit, unlike the magic of today's camera it would have required a trip to Kmart and two weeks later.. proof, instant gratification for catches was big to me in those days so my first couple thousand fish appeared in photos like old west pictures of the James Gang... bloody, dead and stiff as a board. Then the resort sold, and the new owners turned it into condo style lots and my lower income family was no longer welcome at the resort, but that's OK because it ended with the lake falling into a steep decline and the fishing was starting to get a little tougher anyway. Enter the era of the middle fork calispel creek... a small stream tea colored and choked with brush, a complete mystery to me.. the nymph style fishing I had mastered so well was over, outdated... useless as a barbed hook on the Madison river, It was then that I discovered the cased caddis, one must first peel the little feller out of his rock fortress, then thread him on to an eagle claw egg hook, drifted without weight.. deadly. This was also where I caught my first Bull Trout.. and well..ummm ate him ( I have since learned what an expensive dinner that could have been ) I apologize sincerely, my Vietnam veteran dad apparently had very little use of troublesome government regulations... I'm claiming being 9 and ignorant on this one. One day while shucking caddis my dad looked at me and said why don't you just use worms... they are everywhere, and I catch more fish than you. I turned and trying to muster a retort worthy of my caddis effort.. simply said, well... because maybe I'm a fly fisherman........... to be continued-

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