October 6th, 2008

Idaho Woods
By James Castwell

"Ah ha", I thought, as Steve told us about this new place, a new 'mile marker.' My wife and I had been fishing the Lochsa for a few years but had never gone exactly there. Somehow we had just not heard of that location. It seems we may have been some of the last to have heard of it in fact. When we finally did drive up there we found a well beaten path from the road pull-off to the stream.

This is how the river is laid out. It comes tumbling out of the mountains of central Idaho for over a hundred miles. All down hill of course. It's in a canyon all the way and there is a very nicely kept up highway following every inch of it. The road has to because of the canyon. To say it winds like a snake would be a gross understatement. This is a prime white-water rafting destination in the springtime.

Every so often, every other mile or so, there are those little road signs reading, 'mile post whatever.' Sprinkled all along the river are places where one or more cars can pull off between the road and the river. Extremely well thought out and well done. When telling anyone of where you fished or should fish you simply tell them the mile marker and whether it is a spot above or below which ever number. Works fine. So he had let us in on a new place (mile marker) we had not been to before. We were excited and the next day we took off for it. But we had to be back by early evening or miss some casting games at the campground and it just would not do for that to happen. In the past we had fished many of the pull-off's along the way but had never gone quite that far upstream, usually finding some section from Lowell north that looked good to us at the moment.

It took longer to get there than we had figured it would. Once we found the exact place (you know I can not give you the exact mile-marker, right?) to pull over and readied our gear we realized we would have little time to actually fish the spot and make the return trip back to camp in time. Oh well. Into the woods we charged. It was not far actually, certainly not over an eighth of a mile on a well worn path. A path through tall nearly old growth forest. I know they weren't, but they were tall and big anyhow. I was carrying my new Pentax Optio (very slim) camera in my hip pocket just in case of a nice shot of a fish or something.

We made it to the stream, fished for a while to some very uncooperative and persnickety cutthroat trout but it was getting late and we decided we should get back to the car and down to the campground. It was great looking water but our timing had been exactly the worst and we didn't get a hit on anything. As we all say though, we had a great time even though we didn't catch anything.

That evening back at our cabin I was lamenting to my wife how actually stupid I had been that afternoon. As we had made our way through the woods, with my camera in my hip pocket, we had passed perhaps the wildest assortment of mushrooms and fungi type things I had ever seen in my life. Now, we do know a bit about those things having taken a class and purchased a few books. Just enough to sometimes be able to pick a few of the safe mushrooms. My lament was that I had not taken a single picture of anything. We were in too much of a hurry to hit the stream.

Had I packed even one of our mushroom books? Of course not. Who would ever think one might find mushrooms in the middle of Idaho in the fall. I hope I remember next time. In fact that is my whole point. I was in so much of a hurry to fish that I failed to really notice everything leading up to it. Even the blue mushrooms. Yes, blue. Really.

So, what did we do? The next day we drove all the way back to take pictures of the trail and what lived along it, just for you. Here is Deanna with our fly rods just entering the trail.

Here are some of the things along the trail. And at the end is a shot of one of the boys with a fish on and then one of him about to release it, and a couple of the other guys too.

~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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