2009 IDAHO FISH-IN WRAP UP
This year’s Idaho Fish-In was different somehow. Not only in the regulars that were absent, but by circumstances as well. There was some heavy road work being done along Highway 12 as it follows the course of the Lochsa River. Many of the favorite spots were blocked by heavy machinery and those who drove the highway to fish the Lochsa met with traffic delays that lengthened their driving time considerably.
Those of us who fished the Selway found tough conditions as well. Not in the form of road work, but in water that was lower and warmer than the trout liked. It had been a really pleasant summer for the human beings, but a bit too warm for the trout. The fish were hanging out in different spots than in previous years due to the water conditions. There was also a controlled burn being conducted along the upper Selway Road making for some very smoky conditions.
With some regulars absent, folks like Denny, Ken, and Les Young, to mention just a few, our ranks were swelled a bit by some new members who joined us. Jack Hise’s Sister-In-Law, Kat, joined her husband Ron Hise at this year’s event and caught her first fly rod fish at the Fish In. Also new to the Fish-In were Kelly (Flyfisher121) and his wife Jeanene (HookedForLife). Up from Oregon were Steve and Linda, friends of David L and Diane. Jerry Rector (Forthebirds12), a new member, joined in too. I can’t forget to mention Rick and “the Gator Boyz”. While they aren’t FAOL members they time their vacation to coincide with the Idaho Fish-In and join in. A great group of guys. (They ride John Deere Gators up and down the Selway Road, hence Gator Boyz.)
The trip was made especially nice because our friends David L from Oregon and Judy (Flychick) from Washington were able to attend and get some fishing in. Both have been battling cancer and both looked terrific (Okay, Judy looked more terrific than David, but they both had HAIR!!).
All together we had 31 folks in attendance in 2009. Considering the economy, the price of traveling these days, not to mention the hassle of flying, not too bad a showing.
My lovely wife, Vickie, and I showed up a bit early and established FAOL Base Camp at Three Rivers Resort. We passed on the cozy cabins we’ve used in the past and set up our “Condo” in a camper space. Okay, with the guy ropes and all, it was two camper spaces, but who’s counting. Yes, that is a stove pipe; nothing like a wood stove to keep out the evening chill.
The row of spaces usually occupied by tent folks was filled with the trailers
of road construction workers. While it was a bit inconvenient for tent campers
it did keep the FAOL crowd pretty close together, which was nice.
This was a very unstructured Fish-In, as it always has been. We have three events that are placed on the “Announcement” white board; The Ladies Fishing Day, the Casting Contest and the BYOM (Bring Your Own Meat) Cookout/Pot Luck. The remainder of the time it’s all about the fishing Decisions about where to fish and with whom are made at the campfire in the evenings, in the Rumpus Room during the nightly tying sessions or over a cup of morning coffee.
Speaking of evening tying sessions, Ron Hise’s wife, Kat, said she wanted to try fly tying so I offered to let her try my tools and vise. I was playing with the idea for a fly to try when they came into the Rumpus Room. I showed her how to tie the fly I thought up, then had her sit behind the vise and talked her through tying the fly. The lady is a natural tyer and Ron Hise won’t have to buy any more flies if she really gets going. The next day she took her very first fly to the river and connected with this fish. The smile says it all.
The really big event is Ladies Fishing Day. The women folk lay claim to a day on their own and woe to the gent who tries to invite himself along. Sometimes they just want to fish without us men folk around. Don’t blame them either. This year Wednesday was the day. The Ladies gathered up in the early morning, commandeered a pick belonging to Steve and Linda Hall and headed up the Selway River Road. They never really tell anyone where they fish; they just bring back photos of them holding big fish to taunt the rest of us.
One interesting note, Judy (Flychick), during the morning, did see a black bear at the river. During a lunch break, the ladies heard something crashing through the brush, heading downhill towards them. According to the Ladies themselves, thinking a bear may soon burst upon them, the fishing gear, chairs, etc were loaded and they were all headed down the road in double quick time.
As usual, the casting contests are on Friday afternoon, just before the BYOM Cookout/Pot Luck Dinner.
The accuracy Contest was won by newcomer Jerry Rector (forthebirds12) to claim the prize of a Red Shed Fly Shop ball cap and a very nice dun mature hen cape from Conranch Hackle. Jeff Winikoff (JeffW) claimed the victory in the distance contest winning a Red Shed Fly Shop ball cap, a Three Rivers Resort T-Shirt and the rod everyone used in the contest. A very smooth casting Redington RS-4, 4 piece 5 weight.
On the final Saturday, the crowd at the resort started to thin out bit by bit as we waved good-bye to old and new friends alike. By evening there just a few hold out trout bums still in camp. We fished a few more days then packed up our tent and headed home ourselves. Already wishing it was September 2010 and we were heading to Lowell, Idaho to do it all over again.
Our thanks to all those who attended this years Fish-In. The fishing may have been tougher this year, but the folks were just as friendly as ever making this another great Fish-In.
Mark your calendars for September 18th through the 25th, 2010 for the next Idaho Fish-In. See ya there.