While the rest of us were hunkered down in a ground blizzard, the Rodfather flew to Reno and fished Pyramid Lake. Standing upon a ladder, the two fishermen from Casper caught dozens of big cutthroats. I'd be lying if I said I was happy for him. I am not. I am one of those people who struggle with others' success. Pyramid Lake is a unique fishery, to say the least. But there is a price to pay. And I'm not just talking about cold hands and lost egg patterns. The Rodfather is stuck at the airport for the rest of the week, delayed. His phone is running out of charge. He refuses to eat fast food. I'm finished up here at the college (we're reading Ray Carver) and then I'm out on a self-funded adventure to catch a huge trout from my local water. Pictures to come.
It snowed. Then it stopped. It snowed some more over night. I decided to go out and see the river, see whether the big fish were on the redds yet. I was tired of reading the guide reports. Some things you have to test for yourself. I drove through knee-high snow drifts to get to some of my sports. The snow, over layers of wet bentonite, was slick, and walking on any degree of slope was ridiculous. My boots snowplowed as I tried to keep from tipping over. Rocket sprinted up and down the bank looking for a stick he could harass me with. He puts it on your feet until you give in and throw it in the river, ruining a good run for fishing. I didn't catch a bunch, but a few. They were fat with roe, and colored-up. I saw redds with no fish on them. Any day now the whole system is going to switch over to the spawn, even down low, where I fish. The water was extremely clear. The moss was all but gone. The flush has done its job. Now we just need the snow to go away.
The Rodfather has been kicking ass and taking names. The flush is over and the North Platte is hot right now. I suppose if you are "retired" and have all the money in the world, you too can catch rainbows like this one. I've been suffering head colds and English Department meetings. But tomorrow might be my day. In other news, I've been living off that rag horn elk I took this fall. You can eat these, you know. This particular elk has been delicious. I just fry it up with mushrooms, garlic and onions. You can sprinkle taco seasoning on it as well. Roll it up in a tortilla while you listen to NPR.
I went out on the North Platte March 4, 2016, and to my astonishment, but perhaps not to others, I was skunked like back in the old days. I was in the river casting by 9 a.m., had a few on, but never landed a fish. I looked deeply and lovingly into my fly boxes, but couldn't figure out what the trout wanted. One would think--with all the expensive equipment, variety of flies, years up and down this river--that a guy of my experience wouldn't get skunked. There was almost no wind, perfect temps. I saw no fish on the redds because I was fishing twenty miles down from the dam and the spawn starts a little later here. I threw a stick for Rocket. Blasting James Brown on his truck stereo, The Rodfather showed up around 2 p.m. with much needed food: smoked salmon, cheese, crackers and two bottles of stout. He caught a few. By then I had switched over to a goofy streamer. I had all but surrendered. Fighting a cold, I stumbled along the mossy rocks, confused, snotty, and perplexed. I'm heading to Mexico this week, so trout are going to be out of my mind. And the annual flush is supposed to happen between the 7th and the 17th of March. But I'll be back when the water clears.
A couple of months ago I realized that my subscription to Gray's journal had expired-- about ten years ago. So I re-upped.
Nothing happened for ~two months, then last week I received three issues, one ever other day. Crap, my whole year's subscription almost. Gray's Journal is a lovely fistful of a magazine and I was thrilled to have three new issues.
Anyway, this morning I grabbed one and headed into the sauna. The first manuscript I read was yours, and it truly evoked kindred spirits and places. And dogs.
I too had a warm water slough on the North Platte south of Lingle, that I hunted a lot when I was in high school and at EWC. It too was sold, and I was no longer the waterfowl and pheasant custodian.
January 2016 found me at Lewellen, Neb. hunting ducks and geese on the only warm water slough for miles around. The local warden and the property owner hunted with me and it was simply world class company and shooting. Those late season drake mallards are stunningly beautiful. I thought about that slough 150 miles up the same river, and forty years of shooting over the same watershed. Probably some of my empties floated and flooded all the way down to where I was currently sitting. Then more ducks came in and I forgot about it all until this morning when I read your work.
I look forward to reading more of your work. You are welcome in my camp or blind, anytime.
Happy March. It's still windy and chilly, a season author James Babb calls "Farch." Winds blew 30-40 miles an hour up in Montana, where I went this weekend for trout. The browns were biting, but so were the temperatures. Attempting a lame roll cast, I hooked myself in the forearm with a size 14 Ray Charles flashback. I couldn't get it out for hours. I had to watch a youtube video to see how it was done. And when you're in Fort Smith, MT, your cell phones and hardly anything else works right. I managed to catch a nice brown on a size 20 griffins gnat. but that was before the wind. Everything else was nymphs.