September 2021

I fished the Snake River today.  It is my first time in Wyoming and what a beautiful state, with plenty of open space and few drift boats on the water.  This morning my host and friend Erik gave me a Jackson Hole cap to wear, and then we were off, first stop after breakfast was to meet Nick, the fishing guide and to drop his driftboat into the Astoria Elbow stretch of the river.  Nick is a long-haired, gentle soul. He quickly immersed himself in tying the appropriate fly to our five-weight rods and before we got in the boat, he cautioned us not to stand at any time as there had been a drowning this season and he wanted us to return.  The water conditions were clear, and the clouds gently rolled across the sky. An eagle watched us along a stretch of the river, looking for a dinner treat I presume. Erik sat in the front seat and led the catching with an 18 “and then a 16“cutthroat trout. I was casting from the rear and landed a few minors.  They went right back in.  The flies were basically chubby Chernobyls and small perdigons. Nick worked hard rowing us from side to side to look for fish. Plenty of takes but only a few brought to the net. Nick is barbless, meaning the fish have an equal chance of mouthing the fly or letting go.  The conversation among us in the boat was about fishing of course but a bit of politics worked its way in.  Nick informed us that his wife recently left her job at an outfitter because of the political tension.  He believes that politics have become too all-consuming in people’s lives. Quite a comment from a 20-ish free living young person who loves nature and the boundless lifestyle of Wyoming and the west. Most of the talk aside from “strike” and “missed” was about the impact of climate change on the rivers.  Nick was constantly checking the water temperature to indicate his concern.  His enthusiasm for what he does is extraordinary.  A cool morning in Jackson hole renders the water temperature 69 degrees –perfect for cutthroat.  Eventually we got to talking about the philosophy of fishing and like most young guides who haven’t become grumpy yet from years of rowing people around a river, Nick has his words of wisdom: “Fishing is good because you have women to go back to.” Well that’s some philosophy. I suppose it means being in the wilderness makes you appreciate the comforts of home.  Nick said that as Erik struck another 18” fish.  Right now being in the wilderness is just fine. 

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