How To Fish Stillwaters

October 27th, 2003

Stillwaters, lakes, ponds and reservoirs are the most underutilized fisheries in the North America. Why? Because the average fly fisher doesn't know how to fish them, or where to start. Stay tuned, you too can master stillwaters! ~ LadyFisher

My Wife Doesn't Fish...She Doesn't Even Read My Books

By Marv Taylor, Garden City, ID

Over an evening campfire at a popular western Idaho trout reservoir, a few years ago, someone made the observation that the wife of the late Ted Trueblood, one of our truly legendary outdoors writers, used to write most of the Field and Stream columns credited to her husband. "She was," this literary critic told us, "A lot more talented than her marriage partner."

Having broke bread with both Ted and Ellen many times, I was shocked that either could have been party to such deception. I knew Ellen had been a reporter at the time the two first became acquainted, and that in the years just before Ted's death, had been working on a book on mushrooms (she was an acknowledged authority on the subject). But I had never even considered she might have ghost-written some of Ted's work; even during the last year or two of his life when he was so gravely ill.

When I later became acquainted with the late Peter Barrett (who had moved to Nampa, Idaho, Ted's home town, in 1988), also a long time editor and columnist with Field and Stream magazine (and one of Ted's closest friends), I asked if the charge had any validity. "Hell," Pete snorted, "Not only did she not write his columns, she rarely ever read them."

I know the feeling. My wife rarely reads my literary efforts. On occasion I do ask her to proofread book manuscripts for typos; But even when she does that for me, she isn't reading for literary content. While she may, on rare occasions, pick up mistakes in syntax, she rarely picks up on the messages I'm trying to get to my readers.

Let's face it, I write fishing material and my wife is basically bored with fishing. The closest she has ever come to enjoying angling was when we used to spend time each spring fishing Idaho's Snake River for channel catfish. Even then I think she was more interested in the "eating" than the "catching."

Vina loves to eat all types of fish. She thinks trout and salmon are gourmet foods. While I spend a great deal of time chasing trout, I dislike (most) trout flesh. On a scale of one to 10, I rate trout as about a one or two (even though my cardiologist insists I eat salmonid flesh at least once a week).

We both like bluegill and crappie flesh (eights and nines)... she more than me. I will admit I do enjoy cod, snapper, halibut, and most of the salt water bottom fish.

Fish, according to Vina, are meant to be caught and eaten. On that score, we have a fundamental problem. I believe most fish are meant to be enjoyed on a rod and reel; then released to fight another day. It isn't that I dislike killing fish so much. That's not really a major problem. The thing is. . .if I kill em, I gotta eat em (a house rule). It's a whole lot more fun, and less of a hassle, just to turn them loose.


During the early years of our marriage, I spent more time hunting than fishing. From the time our September elk hunts began in the Idaho back country, until the final day of duck hunting in January, I was busy trying to fill the family freezer with some type of wild meat.

Vina particularly loved to hunt mule deer. She wasn't a shooter; never carried a rifle during the hunt. As a scout my wife was very good at spotting game, and usually matched me step for step in the back country. After I had bagged game, she would carry the rifle and the heart and liver, while I muscled out the animal's carcass. As bonafide senior citizens, we now marvel at some of the hikes we routinely made in the name of sport three or four decades ago.

In the mid-60s, I got hooked on float tube fly fishing and tried to get my wife interested in this very interesting angling discipline. I even went so far as to buy her a complete fly fishing outfit for Christmas one year. Vina was suspicious of my motives since the outfit I purchased for her fit a slot in my equipment profile that I had been talking about filling. Although I tried to teach her to fly-cast, she quickly lost interest. She traded me her fly fishing outfit for a night out on the town.

I asked a friend who also had a non-fishing wife, what I could do to get her interested. He told me not to even try. "It's a lost cause," he counciled me. "Just learn to live with the status-quo."

What you should probably do," he added, "is buy a really nice R.V. and keep her comfortable in the field. You'll probably get to do a lot more fishing if Vina goes with you."

While I do make an occasional trip with the guys, most of the time our R.V. is parked at my favorite fishing spots. Vina enjoys camp life, our family feline, and socializes well with other campers while I'm out fishing.

While she continues to proofread my literary efforts from time to time, she still doesn't "read" them. Although she is becoming expert at preparing the many fish dishes I must eat in my diet, she isn't a bit interested in catching them.

Our 34-foot 5th wheel has become our second home, and Vina doesn't mind a bit that we usually park it somewhere near my favorite fishing holes. She's even suggested that it might be fun to become full-time R.V.ers for a few years. It could add dozens of prime fishing spots to my annual angling itinerary.

Boy was my friend right about buying a comfortable R.V. ~ Marv

About Marv

Marv Taylor's books, Float-Tubing The West, The Successful Angler's Journal, More Fragments of the Puzzle, (Volume I) and More Fragments of the Puzzle, (Volume II) are all available from Marv. You can reach Marv by email at or by phone: 208-322-5760.

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