Our Man In Canada
December 28th, 1998
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Some reflections on 1998. . .
What will 1999 bring?


By Clive Schaupmeyer

I'm writing this on the Sunday before Christmas. I am feeling a bit down. Our wonderful late-fall weather was blown away a couple of days ago by a bitter cold front that blasted onto the Canadian Prairies. It's cold. And the weather folks say we had better get used to it.

 The certainty of winter is aggravated because (I confess) I am not a Christmas kind of guy. . . never have been. Clivenzer Scrooge, that's me. Yet it is still a special time of year and I get a tad melancholy as the year closes and we look back over the past season, and try to foresee what lies ahead. Sometimes my funk over-rides the many things I should be so graciously thankful for. Maybe it's just the weather. Did I say it was cold here?

The past year was different for me. In 1997 I wrote the book, The Essential Guide to Fly-Fishing, so I was supposed to have loads of time to fish in 1998. Well, I caught fish, and Willie (my wife) would say I fished more than I deserved. But I fly-fished far less than in recent years. I don't keep a diary, but doubt if I managed 30 days on rivers this year. Far less than in the past few seasons. But I was blessed with many enjoyable experiences.

Thank God for prairie pike. They are close to home and were a significant part of my fly-fishing this year. FAOL chat-room guest Jeff (Grizzly Hackle) Fields came up to Alberta in May to catch a few of our Northerns. And, as you can see in the photo of Jeff, pike were caught. The pike fishing here was outstanding this season, extending well into August.

Later in May, Willie and I drove to Vancouver Island to a writers' conference and to visit Dad. That consumed two weeks of my vacation, and we had a tight schedule so I only fished one day. Of course, the trip was well worth it. We see Dad once or twice a year when he comes out to the Prairies, but it had been two years since we had been to his home.

I fished two nights on my Hexagenia spring creek three hours from home. Once I fished alone and once with a friend. Handsome browns were caught both nights. It's always a treat to be on that stream and cigar smoke tastes sweeter there.

Our two boys started their own adult lives away from home a few years ago. I gave them both new fly-fishing outfits this year. It was a treat to take Evan (our oldest) to a small trout pond near his home to help him learn to fly cast. He dun good. He never got into fly fishing when he was younger so it was a special time for me.

I also took three other novices fishing in the mountains and, as always, it was a delight. It is a reality check when I see beginners struggle with the huge information overload and demands to learn new psycho-motor skills. It's a challenge to keep things simple so that their first day on the water will be a learning experience and enjoyable. I think we succeeded.

Willie and I spent two glorious weeks in the mountains in September in our fifth-wheel trailer and many cutthroats were landed. Pretty country. Great water. Took a few great photos.

Fall is usually my time of year for serious fishing, yet after mid September I got out only twice. At least the Blue-winged Olives cooperated and both trips were with John. He and I are partners and he's not been well. They were excellent trips.

John Leitch

A two-week working trip to China in mid October seriously cut into my fall fishing. Although it was a short trip, there were reports to write and de-briefings. Plans have been made for follow-up work and a trip in 1999. China might cut into fishing in 1999. If the project does not happen I won't be too sad.

Clive and Chinese Farmer

I did not fish in 1998 as much as I would have liked, but it was still a great year. They are all great years. And I have some wishes for 1999. In keeping with my general lack of materialistic desires (how many rods do I really need?), all of my hopes are for memorable experiences, health and peace for family and friends.

I promise to get out fly-fishing with our two sons once or twice. Evan lives three hours away, but only 20 minutes from my Hexagenia stream. Now that he has a new interest in fly-fishing, it would be a crime not to go out with him late one July evening to hunt down some big slurping browns. Little Mike (our youngest) was a great fly caster when he was a teenager. We've not been out for years. It's time.

In the past few years John, my partner, and I have fished about 30 days annually on the Bow River in the Siksika (Indian) Nation. For the second year in a row, non members were not permitted to trespass in the Nation to fish. About 75 miles of this premier trout river flows through Siksika, which is just a one-hour drive from our homes. Other trout streams are three hours away. Access to this great rainbow and brown trout fishery is of monumental importance to John and me. I am hoping for a break in the moratorium on trespass permits. Letters will be written.

John continues to be plagued with health problems and it goes without saying that I wish him well. I have missed fishing with him.

A more immediate personal desire is for a return to more hospitable winter weather so perhaps I can get down to the Crowsnest a few times between now and spring. Did I say it was cold here?

To my all of my friends, may 1999 be prosperous for you all. That you, your family and friends find peace and happiness, and that you create many memories.

Clive in China

Closing thought comes from the wonderful mind of Albert Einstein. His thought has special meaning to those who enjoy life for its experiences and not just for the stuff we accumulate: Albert said, "Not everything that can be counted, counts. And not everything that counts can be counted." ~ Clive Schaupmeyer

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Bio on Our Man In Canada

Clive Schaupmeyer is an outdoor writer and photographer. He is the author of The Essential Guide to Fly-Fishing, a 288-page book for novice and intermediate fly anglers. His photo of a boy fishing was judged the best outdoor picture of 1996 published by a member of the Outdoor Writers of Canada. He fly-fishes for trout in Alberta's foothill and mountain streams and for pike near his home in Brooks, Alberta. For information on where to find, or how to get a copy of Clive's book, Click here!

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