Where to start; no idea. Too many things went on; head still
buzzin' with pictures, faces, places, flies, stuff that went
on. Overload. But damn; it sure was fun. Thank you so much to
all who joined. It was the last 'official' FI there, (the
regional for next year is already on the books) and what a
way to end a run of great times and even better friends.
We got there Monday evening exhausted from working long hours
here to get things ahead so we could get away and nine hours
pounding the road. Excited though, we had watched rises on the
stream for the last hour we drove along it. Windshield and
grill took a pounding from 'October Caddis.' The windows at
our cabin gave a fine view from both sides of the bugs. The
hatch was on.
Tuesday dawned beautiful. Bright day, prospects for a warm
day, even most of the week looked that way. We had no idea.
We were not in any hurry and took the day off, sort of. Met
with folks, played with the Casting Analyzer, chilled out
mostly. It seemed that the fish were not rising like we had
seen coming up the evening before, but we were not overly
"BANG-BANG-BANG!" (My cabin door, 9 am Wednesday)
We had planned to fish a section rather far up on one of the
two rivers which joined right at our camp, actually the Lochsa,
about thirty miles upstream. But, that was not to be. The banging
was Benjo (Ben Hart) a guide from Missoula, Montana. We had not
met him before and were pleased he had driven the distance to
meet up with the gang. We were even more pleased when jabbing
with his thumb he indicated that the raft on the trailer behind
his big crew-cab truck was to take the two of us on a float trip
on the Clearwater River.
Talk about "Make my day!" Boy, did it. Within an hour we were
packed and geared up and ready to spot the truck nine miles
down river. Well before noon we had put in at our camp site
and were giddily bobbing along down one of Americas 'Wild
and Scenic' Rivers. Who could ask for anything more. Me.
Fish. Something was not going as anticipated. The river was
gorgeous. The weather magnificent. The guide well experienced.
One thing was off. The fishing sucked. On the trip I did have
a brief acquaintance with three 'something or others' which
did not fasten themselves well enough to my fly for me to get
to know them any better. Obviously young and inexperienced
fishes of unknown linage. Not that they got off, they never
hooked themselves. Fish that untalented I do not bother with
or count. One other was successful and did manage to impale
a borrowed fly neatly in the corner (where it should always be)
of his jaw and swim a somewhat meandering and devious route to
Ben's landing net. With Ben's talent as a guide and my
intimidating presence the fish had no chance whatever.
Nine miles of river and one fish. Big deal. What was wrong.
We were to find out later in the week. The insects were not
in evidence. Oh, a few size 16 PMD's, a few caddis (smaller
than the 'big-uns') and no fish rising to anything. It was
like the fish were gone. And the bugs too. Later Ron Eagle
Elk heard from a Fish and Game guy that the fish had all
run up river during the hot weather in the fall and had not
come back down yet. Great! Not only that, the warm water
had triggered the 'October Caddis' a bit early. Great for
the bugs, they had hatched and laid their eggs when the trout
were cooling themselves upstream. I figure the fish went
without one section of normally consumed food. Hope all
goes well. The Rainbow I got seemed in perfect condition
by the way.
During the week the guys who did go way up either of the
rivers did rather well. Mostly ten fish a day or better.
Often it would require a hike of a mile or two, other
times none at all. Like any fishery, it takes the right
fly at the right place and time to make the magic happen.
Speaking of that, Ron's wife Vicki was the 'hot rod' for
the week although no one actually keeps a record of the
fish caught, it was the general agreement that she had
landed the most and was awarded the prize of a full set
of prints donated by the fine rod maker Ron Kussee.
They say you are never too old to learn and Benjo was asking
a bit about the double-haul and the Ladyfisher was happy to
answer. The result was a 'new and improved' double-haul. He
said he may need to switch to a heavier backing. It seems,
"the twenty pound hurts my fingers." Here are a couple of
him and Deanna.
Now let's spend a little time on that 'Casting Analyzer.'
It works. Everyone who went through it agreed. Even those
who were at first skeptical. I bring it up again as I am
still solidly behind it's value to any caster. I will
stress again though, it does not show how bad you are.
It shows how good you are. It compares your cast to the
Sage Expert in both graph and text. He is a real person,
not a cyber-caster who is un-matchable. I encourage you
to find a way to utilize it. You may find that some elements
of your cast are as good as they can get. This happens often.
You can 'beat' the expert. And some distinct parts of
your cast might benefit from some degree of attention if
you want to. Below is Ron Eagle Elk going through and
then seeing the results.
Here are a few of the guys who used it during the week.
From top to bottom; Denny Conrad, Les Young, Mark Killam,
Steve Zweber, and Terry Taterus.
Oh, and a shot of some wild turkeys that are seemingly
everywhere in the area.