Al Campbell, Field Editor

July 12th, 2004

What did I do for three weeks?
Al Campbell

Most of you already know I managed to enjoy three weeks off from my writing here. It was a joy I won't forget. Funny thing is that I took a few days to go to the Bighorn, but that was about all the time I really got to spend fishing. I was busy, but fishing wasn't part of that busy stuff for the most part. I'll tell you more about the fishing next week, but this week I want to tell you about things I planned to do but didn't get the chance.

First of all, I planned to fish. Boy, did I ever plan to fish. I had a total of 12 days off over 2.5 weeks to fish. I fished 6, and two of those were just a couple of hours. Not that I didn't have a good time fishing, but other things just popped up to consume the rest of my time. Heck, I didn't even get some of the other chores around the house finished. I ran out of time.

My first "fishing day off" was spent working on my grandson's computer. As miracles sometimes work, he managed to fry his hard drive, and I was just available for the work. I spent two hours working on the computer, and 8 hours looking for the info for the motherboard someone managed to lose. I got it working, but there went a fishing day.

The next day I spent most of it with the wife's family. We had a great time, but it wasn't fishing. I was just hot to go fishing too, but some things just have to wait you know. I did get to visit the local stream for 3 hours that evening, and caught 11 fish, but that is not the way I had planned it. I wanted to go for a day. Oh well, there was still a fishing trip coming up, so all wasn't lost.

Wednesday was the first day of my planned fishing vacation, so I spent all morning getting stuff ready to go. By early afternoon I had everything ready to go and checked twice. I even spent part of the afternoon remodeling the upstairs of the garage so I could move around up there easier. Shelves were hung and stuff was placed on those shelves to open up the floor. I barely finished in time to take the wife out to eat. The taking out to eat was my idea. Just something I think makes the days apart a bit easier to handle.

My normal fishing partner for the Bighorn is a dentist. That usually doesn't matter much, but it did this time. By the time I got back from dinner with the wife, there was a message waiting for me on my answering machine. My fishing partner (Erik) was going to work the evening and next morning doing an emergency identification and toxicology study on a foreigner who happened to die under strange circumstances. Drugs will do that to you folks, even if you aren't in your home country. We left at about two in the afternoon.

By the time we arrived on the Bighorn, it was about eight in the evening. There was plenty of light to fish, but neither one of us wanted to waste a day for a couple of hours getting our flies wet. Instead, we went to visit the lake, visited friends and got everything ready for the next day. In case you didn't know it, our area of the world is in the midst of a long run of dry weather. Except for one month in 1999, we are in the seventh year of drought. It is so dry around the Bighorn, that the grass is still brown. The water level in the river is down about 8 ft from the normal June full rate.

We fished the next 3 days. Most of the people on the river were crying Bambi tears about low water and few fish. I'll fill you in on the details next week, but Erik and I had a great time. By noon of each day we had caught at least 100 fish apiece. They were trout, but most lacked the normal size, running between 8 and 15 inches. We each caught fish over 20 inches too, but most were small. Funny thing is, we each caught more fish over 16 inches than the others did; but we did it differently. I'll fill you in next week.

Erik had to leave Monday afternoon, so we were forced into a short session. I'm not complaining though. I'm guessing I caught at least 450 to 500 trout in those days. That is more than I have ever caught on that river in so few days, and far more than the others there had been catching. Erik had similar results. I had numerous times when six casts resulted in six fish, and sometimes another fish would replace a missed fish before I got my line in. It was worth it.

Tuesday I fished at home for about two hours before it started to rain. I got the garage upstairs fully ready for future installments and watched a lot of TV. I think I needed that too. Sometimes you get so wound up in the other things of life, that you forget to take a moment for yourself.

I'd love to tell you I got to fish the weekend of the 4th of July, but that didn't happen. We had a house full of visitors (seven). The wife went all over the hills showing visitors the fun things we have here for kids. I stayed home and watched TV, mowed the yard and hid from the rain. In fact, we have had about half of our annual rain this month. My grass is green and growing. If it keeps up like this, we will actually catch up for the year. Maybe the drought is about over? I guess we'll wait and see. In any case, it is a relief.

So, did I have fun? You bet! And, I owe a lot of it to a friend who does some of the best writing I have seen. Charlie Place is a great writer, and I would assume that he could take my place any time without a missed stroke. Thanks Charlie. You filled my days with some peace of mind. I owe you buddy. ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns

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