Idaho Fish In



Ron Eagle Elk - November 8, 2010

The 2010 Idaho Fish-In started early for VEE and I. As part of the advanced party we left a few days early to make sure there was ample water in the rivers, the bugs had their schedules for hatching and that the fish were not on strike. When we arrived at the Three Rivers Resort, we checked in and drove to our camp site. Though we had an RV space we were tenting it, if you can call it that.

Idaho Fish-In HQ

We unloaded the car and I sat down to take a break when I was sideswiped by a small brown truck moving at a high rate of speed. No wait, it wasn’t a truck but a Tucker, the Chocolate Lab owned by David L and his lovely wife Diane. Tucker and I made fast friends last year and he remembers that Uncle REE usually has a doggie treat somewhere on his person or is more than willing to spend half the day giving scratches and pets to good dogs.

David came around the corner of his camper laughing; knowing Tucker had almost taken me out of the chair. He did promise fresh, hot sticky buns the following morning. He also informed me there was a problem with the fish, and we needed to check them out in the morning.

Jack Hise’s brother, Ron tried to add a touch of class to a rather fishy affair.

After getting camp set up, we headed for the café and had pie and coffee before heading up the Selway Road to visit Z in his usual before the fish-in spot near what we now call Z’s run.

Z and his fishing dog, Miss Lady, land a fiesty West Slope Cutthroat at Z’s Run. (Photo by Foo)

Friday morning after a hearty breakfast we headed up the Selway Road. VEE was pretty tuckered so she let me fish our favorite little run by myself. On a bright, warm, sunny day, I took 15 nice cutthroat trout out of our favorite spot. I also had 7 decide to release themselves early. Okay by me, saves washing off the fish slime.

Saturday folks started to arrive and after fishing a bit I started handing out the Idaho Fish-In 2010 hat pins provided by Jack Hise. I found that the pins added considerable fish catching mojo to a fishing hat. Thus, they were very popular. Thanks, Jack.

Then the weather changed. We went from warm and sunny, to cool, cloudy and rainy. The fish went from eager to bite to lock jawed. They would still attack a fly but you really had to work at it

Sunday VEE and I headed to Missoula, Montana to pick up our daughter, Melissa, at the airport. She was able to get time off from work and came out west to fish. This Fish-In was the first time in over 20 years that she and I fished together. A quick stop for waders, wading boots and a wading staff and we were off to Lowell. Monday through Thursday was the same for everyone I think. Fish until your arms fell off, then go tie flies in the Rumpus Room or sit by the campfire and tell lies – er – ah fishing stories while enjoying a beverage of choice.

A beauty of a West Slope Cutthroat (Photo by Foo)

Friday was a short fishing day for most of us. Casting contests and our infamous BYOM (Bring Your Own Meat) potluck and cook out. Our Accuracy Casting Contest was won by none other than Jack Hise. Jack took home a beautiful red/brown cape and saddle from one of Denny Conrad’s JV roosters. The distance contest was won by Steve Hall. Steve took home a very nice Grizzly JV Rooster set.

During the cookout VEE and David’s wife Diane made fry bread (Thank you, VEE, Sweetie) while I tended the steaks that were on the grill. Diane had made some Wojapi (berry soup) and we had to have fry bread to go with it. The bread and wojapi disappeared as fast as the ladies could make it, so it had to be popular. There were also several nice salads and pastas to add to the plate. Steve Hall was conned into making his famous dutch oven corn dish again this year. By the way, Steve, David is the one that started the e-mail campaign to get you to make it again. Thanks to all who brought all the good eats.

Melissa Higgins tries out Dad’s (REE) cooking.

We also took a few moments to remember a couple of FAOLer’s that passed away this last year. Our friend and fellow fly fisher Cary Moran and bamboo rod maker John Channer, a true craftsman. The world was a much nicer place when they were here.

As most folks would be leaving on Saturday, VEE, Melissa and I said our goodbyes. We were leaving Lowell at 3:00 AM to get Melissa to Missoula to make her flight back to Maine.

We waited in Missoula until Melissa got onto her plane after a waaayyyy to short a visit. Then VEE and I fished our way back to Lowell on the Lochsa River, a beautiful river if ever there was one. The weather was back to warm and sunny and the bite was back on. We managed a few fish along the way, but we were dead tired when we got back to a deserted camp. There were only a few left, Akidatheart, Ffb, and us. There were a few other folks there, but no fly fishers.

Sunday morning, as I was headed for the ….well, never mind where I was going, I was met by a young man who introduced himself as Thunder Thumbs, AKA Hugo. He wanted to make the entire Fish-In but was asked to play the bagpipes at a funeral. Being a gentleman, he accepted the task and couldn’t make it to Lowell until the day after the Fish-In was officially over.

After breakfast we took Hugo out and fished a couple of runs on the Selway. That’s when we found out he had never caught a cutthroat before. After a missed strike, he said that was worth the 8 hour motorcycle ride he made to get to Lowell. A bit later though, he managed to hook up with a nice fish and his cutthroat ticket was punched. Later that day, VEE and I had to break down the tent so it would dry, clean the stove and stove pipes, so we called it a day for fishing. Hugo climbed back on his bike for another 8 hour ride back to his home in Montana.

Monday morning we bid a fond farewell to Lowell, Idaho, population 23, for another year. We hope you’ll join us for next year’s Idaho Fish-In. The dates are set for September 17th through the 24th. See you then.

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