A Fly Fishing / Business Trip I will always remember with a smile until the day I die…


  • 5 days
  • ~600 miles travelled in rental cars
  • 6 flights
  • 2 stressful technology presentations
  • A handful of exciting and somewhat stressful wilderness and travel incidents
  • A bit of stress on Kelly and the kids because of my 5 days away: mostly without cell or internet
  • 5 famous rivers
  • 3 states
  • 2 National Parks
  • Multiple wildlife encounters
  • 4 hours average sleep per night
  • Multiple missed meals
  • Countless hours alone in the wilderness waving a stick on a river


Hello fly fishing friends and others I think might be interested in this. I recently completed a fly fishing trip I will always remember…with a smile… to the day I die…and I travel a lot over the last 10 years, all over the world, so that is saying a lot.

A year ago I managed / lucked out to get presentations at Microsoft Events in Billings, Montana and Fresno, CA in a 3 day stretch. That means they pay for flights, hotels and a bit of t&e. it was also over the Labor Day weekend so I didn’t have to miss much work and could turn it into a real adventure….which I did.

This thing is long; 6000 words. I don’t mind at all if you skip it. If you are not a fly fisherman some of this won’t make sense; except to understand my obsession.

I mainly wrote this:

  1. For posterity and think that my grandkids will read it one day. 
  2. Although I have written hundreds of published works I rarely get to do it anymore – about 2-3 published works a year as my job has evolved.  And because I never have been a “real writer”.  My dad is a “real writer”.  Writing technology is not being a “real writer”.  This type of thing gets me closer to being a “real writer”.
  3. My buddy Mary tells me over and over I need to write my fly fishing stories. And I have a lot of them.


A Nice Cut-bow I caught on the Madison River

My Story

I arrived in Bozeman, Montana around 1:30pm on Sunday September 6th, 2009. My priority was to get on the water ASAP and fly fish until dark. But not on just any water…The Gallatin River in the stretch where “A river runs through it” was filmed.

The Avis rental car place is off site and the 7 minutes (I was watching my watch) it took for the shuttle to turn up really pissed me off. I even called them. But, when I did finally get there they gave me a Subaru Outback, and I knew there was dirt roads in 4 wheel drive and hundreds of miles ahead of me so I adapted and became excited and pleased again.

My GPS took me straight to a heavily recommended fly shop in Bozeman, “Greater Yellowstone Flyfishers”. It’s like paradise in there….huge.  But, I’m on a budget because my credit card it at its knees and Kelly is not pleased at all with my fly fishing spending. I get recommendations on where to fish and flies from a nice older gentlemen working at the shop. I also learn I need a special fishing license for Yellowstone. It adds up. I already fear Kelly’s wrath. She really should be with me on this trip, but her responsibilities with the kids…first day of school and such preclude her from joining me…well that and the fear of Camille, now 17, throwing a party for 500 at the house while we are gone too.

Anyways… the 75 year old guy helping me is fantastic– he has a ton of great information for me. But, I’m gnawing my arm off wanting to get to the river and he keeps talking…well into stories about his grandson. I’m polite, though and listen. Everything is slower in Montana…and bigger…and I want to be at NY pace… At one point he says, “You really need spruce moth imitations for the Gallatin, but we are out of them. So throw big elk winged caddices.” That comes into play just an hour later.

I set the GPS to where I think my buddy Chuck’s place is…because there is no address. But, I did stare at the satellite image so I’m pretty confident I can find it. and I do. I’m met there by the caretaker, Bruce, who I can now call a friend. Chuck’s place is on the Gallatin River…and it’s not a cabin. It’s a huge home and it’s gorgeous and it is on the Gallatin where they filmed “A river runs through it”. But, I don’t get to see it yet because like a true Montanan, Bruce wants to see the flies I brought with me. I love that. He says, “take these” and hands me two Spruce moth imitations. “They should do well here.”

We enter the house from the garage into room whose purpose is to change in and out of your waders. This pleases me. As I walk in the house my jaw drops. I would have been fine in a sleeping bag on Chuck’s giant redwood deck overlooking the river. But, chucks place is so nice I am afraid to touch anything. And I don’t. I walk back through the awesome kitchen to the “waders room” and suit up. It’s now about 3:30pm and I have plenty of daylight to fly fish.


The View of the Gallatin River from my buddy Chuck’s living room as the sun comes up

The Gallatin

I string up my 4 wt and am in the swift current of the river quickly. I tie on the Spruce Moth imitation that Bruce gave me, zing a not even close to perfect cast and poor drift and boom, I get a fish to rise right in front of Chuck’s house in the riffles. It looks to be a “cut-bow”.- A native Cutthroat and non native rainbow mix.


Gallatin Cut-bow fooled on a Spruce Moth imitation

I take a quick picture of the trout and let him go quickly. Now, I’m really happy. Now that I have overcome of the fear of the skunking, I take a deep breath and take in the beauty of the surroundings…and I’m shocked. I snap a few pictures from the middle of the river. And I look upstream and can see “Brad Pitt Rock”. It is the rock Brad Pitt stood on from the famous scene (and cover shot of the movie) of “A River Runs Through It” directed by Robert Redford. I start casting again and move my way up river. Even though it’s September and the flow is low, the current’s pull, especially in waste deep water, makes it hard and it’s slippery and I almost go down numerous times. I’m huffing and puffing and loving every minute of it.


The view up river on the Gallatin

I find some pocket water that looks really “fishy”, cast, miss a fish rising, set the hook too late and too violently and the fly flies backwards zooming by my face downriver.  Out of the corner of my eye I see a large bird coming up river.  It gets closer and closer and coming right at me.  At about 200 feet, it’s pretty obvious that it is a huge bald eagle.  I fumble for my camera…and  I just smile as it cruises about 20 feet over my head and up river until it disappears.  For the next 30 minutes I cannot get a fish to rise and I know exactly why – the bald eagles are much better “fly fisherman” than I am…and the fish know it so they are now hiding…and it’s totally cool by me. 

Well, I work my way up river about a mile to the bridge that Bruce told me about and the sun is going down.  And the fish are rising like crazy!  Nothing huge, the Gallatin is not known for huge fish.  But, I am seeing a ton of action and catching fish.  I’m having so much fun that I completely lose track of time and now its pitch black dark, around 8PM.  Now I have to figure out how to get back to Chuck’s place. 

About a year ago I got a lecture from my lifelong friend, Tim Hoffmann, about being safe.  I have known Tim for over 40 years.  His dad taught me how to fish.  “Sloffy” as I call him lured me to fly fishing 5 years ago and taught me tons about it.  He switched to fly fishing a few years back because, in his words, “Regular fishing became too easy”.  I like that. He should be on this trip with me.  I practically begged him. But, the demands of 5 kids, 12 hour a day work shifts and a wife who started her own business was too much.

So, I have put myself in some pretty crazy and somewhat scary positions on fly fishing adventures over the last 2-3 years and have made significant strides at being safer. Because of that I now carry lots of “in case of disaster” stuff in my pack.  I remember that I have a small headlamp in my pack and I’m going to need it for the 100 foot climb up the side of the riverbank / cliff through the brush and trees.  Going back downstream in the dark is not an option; too dangerous.  It’s quite the challenge and I make it huffing and puffing up to the road.  I keep the light on as I walk back on the road because the cars are zooming back and forth between Bozeman and Big Sky as I walk the mile back to Chuck’s house.


Bald Eagle Cruising up the Gallatin

Walking back, I come to the sobering reality: I have not eaten all day.  It’s 8:20PM and in a place like this even the fast food restaurants close early. And I do not want to be reduced to fast food.  Upon getting back to Chuck’s house, without even washing the trout smell off my hands, I quickly get out of the waders and into some jeans, get into the car and race towards Bozeman to try to find something open.  I make it to the local pizza joint at 8:57 and they close the door behind me. Thank God.  Kelly has trained me like a dog not to eat fast food anymore. I get a meatball sandwich, a salad and a local beer. I’m a mess I am so tired, but the recollection of the session on the Gallatin makes me smile. I also have cell phone access so I can call Kelly, tell her I’m safe and then read as many of the 100 emails as I can. Yes, it’s not a work day so I only got 100 emails.

I’m back at Chuck’s place by 10pm and need to get some work done on my presentations.  I think I made it to 1:30AM and then collapsed on the couch in total exhaustion.  No TV, no internet, no cell phone.  I don’t even make it to a bedroom and I still have not seen the majority of this awesome house.  I do manage to set the alarm, though, because I have a big day ahead of me: floating the Madison.

The Madison

On Labor Day, I wake up with the sun and my alarm at 5:30AM.  I scamper to get ready because I have a 20 minute drive up river to Wild Trout Outfitters.  This is the only part of the trip where I splurge.  Upon a ton of research and recommendations I made the judgment call to use a guide and float the Madison.  They are not cheap…and totally worth it.  And it’s not just any guide.  It is the world famous Dave Williamson.  He seems legendary in Montana.  And I’m pretty sure all around the world.  Because of that I “treat myself” to a new pair of contact lenses.  I want to be able to see as well as I can today.  As I blow out of the house my left contact is really bugging me.  I keep having to wipe my left eye from tearing up, but I don’t have the time nor the patience to deal with it.

Dave greeted me at the shop.  He’s a genuinely nice guy which makes it that much more fun.  We take off in his truck pulling his drift boat.  We have an hour drive from Big Sky to the headwaters of the Madison where we will fish.  On the way he wants to stop at the “real headwaters” where the Madison flows into Hebgen Lake.  He explained it’s one of his favorite spots and he has not fished it in a while.  It’s a dirt road in 4 wheel drive and Dave is pointing out all the indicators of wildlife and the hunting season.  Upon parking the rig we hike about a mile to the river through the forest.  Occasionally Dave shouts out “Bear, Bear, Bear”; but in a monotone voice.  He’s making sure if we run into one, we don’t startle it.


The headwaters of the Madison looking at Hebgen Lake

Well, Dave is shocked at how high the water level is.   I’m just in awe of the beauty.  It’s crystal clear and it’s stillwater because of it so Dave rigs me a nymph behind a strike indicator.  We spook one fish and I miss on another one partially because my left eye is killing me and I can’t see a thing.  We only spent 20 minutes there.  Dave didn’t like the conditions so we got back in the truck and headed for the put in location for the boat on the Madison.

On the way Dave points out all the places he likes to fish and points out the characteristics of the area like, “I saw a mother Grizzly bear and it’s cub right there last week.”  We go through the corner of Yellowstone National Park which is cool.  We also go by Earthquake Lake.  It was just the Madison River until a huge earthquake in the 50s damned the river with tons of rock and killed numerous people camping.  There is so much rock and debris from the slide it entombed them. 

When we do get to the put in at the river there are 4 other boats getting ready to put in, so before we take off Dave takes me across the river because – I didn’t know it at the time – he wanted the river to ourselves and wanted to kill some time for those boats to move downriver.  He wants me to fish one of his favorite riffles and to give me a little lesson.  Now, I have been obsessed with fly fishing for about 2 years now and have averaged 20-30 days where I have fly fished in some form, but the more I learn the more of an amateur I realize I am.  Well, Dave shows me how he wants me to cast and present the fly and how he wants me to strip-set the nymph…and, of course, on his very first cast, which is perfect, he catches a fish, hands me the rod, says, “See.  Easy.  You reel it in.”  I laugh and can’t help but think it’s going to be an action packed day.  And it is.  We take off and within 5 minutes I have my first fish to net.  Within 20 minites, I have missed numerous fish, but also caught a few including a brownie worthy of a picture.


A Madison River Brown Trout

For the rest of the day the action never stopped.  Dave is like the “Fish Whisperer”.  He knows every inch of the river and how to fish it.  Unfortunately, my left eye has now teared so badly for so long it stings badly and I miss on setting the hook a number of times because of it.  I just could barely see.  But, I am having such a blast I only notice when I do miss on setting the hook.  At one point I got hit so violently that when the fish ran, the fly line burnt my finger to bleeding.  It hurt like hell.  And Dave liked that.  For the rest of the day I had to strip with a different finger. 

Well you get a full, action-packed day when you fly fish with the world famous Dave Williamson.  Dave says I landed 8 fish of size.  That’s all he cares about and I definitely am not a “counter”.  But, I estimate I probably landed 20 in total and easily lost 40 in some way shape or form.  We roll off the river after 5pm and I am exhausted.  My arms and back hurt from fighting fish all day.  But, not so exhausted to get in the last 25 minutes of daylight on the Gallatin in front of chucks house before it went pitch dark on me.  This time I went down river to explore; didn’t do so well, but I wasn’t in a canyon so getting out of the river and up to the road was not so hard.  Then I was another mad rush to get to Bozeman to a local steak joint before they closed.

When I got back to Chuck’s house it was a similar routine.  But, this time I had a presentation the next day and needed 2 more hours to prepare.  So I did.  I made it until 2am….collapsed….  set the alarm for 4:00am to get a couple hours sleep and crash on the couch.  I figured since I was only there in Chuck’s house 2 nights anyways I might as well not mess up a bed.  At 4am I get in another hour of work.  When I do leave in the morning around 5:30am, it’s as if I was never there.  I truly could have just slept in a sleeping bag on his deck.  Maybe I will next time.

Yellowstone / The Lamar

Well I have a big day ahead of me.  Being so close to Yellowstone, I decided early I had to figure out how to get there to visit and to fly fish and the best way is just to do a 4 hour detour through it on my way to Billings; essentially turning a 200 mile trip into a 350 mile trip.  I have a presentation that night and I am prepared.  But, I also know this is a work day and I’ll get 300 emails I have to deal with, plus the ones that have queued up from the holiday weekend.  And I’m losing a lot of sleep each day and know that the crash is coming.

I planned the logistics for this day carefully because of the presentation in Billings at 5:30PM.  I know I have to get to billings at least by 4:30pm so I can shower up before.  The plan gives me 2 hours to fish on the Lamar River.  What I don’t know or anticipate is…well, let me tell the story.  I know the west gate of Yellowstone is closed.   Were it open it would have saved me an hour.  I have to essentially detour North, through Livingston and then all the way back to Yellowstone.  But, the time in the car goes quickly because I’m excited and I follow the Yellowstone River for a major portion of the drive.  And it is beautiful. 


Bison Grazing in Yellowstone

Once in the park I was in awe.  There were Bison everywhere.  As you know, Yellowstone is a huge place and I had a very specific route to cut through: one small (50 mile) part of it on the way to Billings.  There were elk, and geysers and tons of stuff to look at, but I couldn’t stop because I was on a schedule…a schedule of obsessed fly fishing.  I have an obsessed need to add that bedpost notch of “fly fishing in Yellowstone”.   Because of that most of my Yellowstone pictures were taken while driving.  When I arrived at a little visitor center junction within the park, I found that a huge amount of elk had taken up residence there.  And in my staring at them I missed my turn.  Normally you wouldn’t think this would be a problem.  It’s off season and there are plenty of places to turn around.  But, I didn’t realize I was off track until 5 miles up the windy road in the mountain as my GPS went “crazy” and then I waited 20 minutes at a “bison crossing”; and then got stuck again behind the bison as I doubled back.  It cost me an hour of fly fishing, but it was a pretty amazing hour.

Back on track I was headed for a stretch of the Lamar River that was recommended to me. When I got to the stretch of river I wanted to fish, where there were parking spaces, there was a huge group of people.  As I got closer I could see it was a number of amateur and professional photographers.  The park rangers were there too, trafficking the tourists.  I felt lucky to get a parking spot because there were cars and people everywhere…in the middle of nowhere.  I was determined and I didn’t care if there were Grizzlies in the river, I was going to fly fish it.  And I only had an hour.  So I scrambled to get my waders on.  As I was “gearing up” I walked up to one of the photographers and said, “What are you looking at?”  And he said as he pointed, “Wolves.  There is a mother and its baby right there. And the rest of the pack is right there.”  I had no idea what he was looking at, but it was because his camera was like that of those Sports Illustrated photographers.  Wolves are quite the hot topic in Montana so I now understand why there were so many people.  Anyways, it turned out the wolves were 400 yards away.  I was pleased because they were at least 1000 feet from the river where I wanted to fish.  And I did.  As I hiked out in front of the hundred or so people holding my 4 Wt,, I could feel all their eyes suddenly on me and their thoughts of “what the hell is that guy doing?”   


This guy was so close to me driving in the car I was tempted to pet him

Well, when I reached the river it did not appear to be a good stretch that held fish, mostly fast moving riffles, but I fished it anyways as I moved down river.  Boom!  A huge fish rises for my fly and I miss him. Frustrated, but encouraged I start fishing downriver away from the wolves.  I love to explore as much as I love to fish so I start doing what I call, “Huck’s Extreme Fly Fishing.”  It breaks all the rules of fly fishing and catching fish… I walk as fast as I can down (or up) a river and cast while walking; the balance of my rate of pace and casting upstream of the current means I get a decent drift as I catch up to my fly.  The trick is it is pretty impossible to keep a tight line – one of the principle rules of fly fishing.  Well, I also break some other rules like scaring the fish instead of creeping up on them.  And as far as casting goes, it’s not pretty: kind of like a right handed quarterback rolling left and throwing across his body.  But is consistently works!  I have no idea why.  But I do have speculations like fishing waters that most people just pass up. 

Well in my 45 minutes on the Lamar I got 5 fish to rise but, never managed to land any of them after hook ups.  I wish I could have fished that river all day and hiked miles into the Yellowstone wilderness in the process, but I just can’t risk being late for my presentation and the real reason that I got to visit Montana.  So, off I go, following my GPS out of Wyoming and back into Montana…  little did I know I had to cross the continental divide on a number of dirt roads. Now I know why Dave Williamson questioned my route when I mentioned it to him.  Talk about stress.  But I did make it in plenty of time for a shower at my hotel in Billings.  My presentation went great.  But, in the beginning I did “come clean” to the audience by telling them the truth, “I have been trying to get Microsoft to pay for me to come out and speak to you for 3 years….because I am a fly fisherman.”  That got a smile out of the audience.  I am in Montana after all.  I continued, “So, if any of you want to blow off the first half of work tomorrow to fish the Bighorn with me you are more than welcome.”  I saw a hand raise in back and didn’t think anything of it over the next hour and a half as I presented, but when I was done, Brad Pascoe, who I can now call a friend approached me, said he’d need to check with his work, but was pretty sure he was in.  And thank God for that.  I didn’t know it at the time, but Brad has fly fished his whole life and knows the Bighorn well. He is like a guide.

The Bighorn

The opening of my favorite fly fishing show on TV, “On the Rise” always starts with the dialog, “The Bighorn is an amazing place.” So I’m pretty excited when I meet Brad at a Gas Station on the way.  I did a bit of research and asked around but Brad suggested a stretch he was intimate with.  There’s nothing like fishing with someone who knows what he’s doing.  After the hour drive we 4 wheeled it about 1/2 mile, parked in the dirt and then hiked in a mile or so.  Brad not only told me where to start, but he gave me a few flies that he hand tied.  I rigged them up in a dry-dropper formation and started to fish.  He then told me, “No, fish up a bit farther.  Right on that seam in 2 feet of water.”  It just didn’t seem like a place that would hold fish, but I obliged….And had 3 large fish to net within 20 minutes! 


A Bighorn Brownie that I tricked in 2 feet of water

Well I insisted that Brad take his own hole at that point and he caught a nice fish immediately.  When it slowed down we moved up river.  And it was quite the hike, often in waste high water or through the brush.  Brad knew all the holes and we had action all day.  Brad was fishing one of his favorite deep holes and he told me to try around the corner where I tricked a large fish who ran immediately into the tree liimbs and snapped off.  arrggg!  Totally my fault.  It would have been better to lose him trying to muscle him away than to lose him like that.  I typically remember the fish I lose more than the fish I catch. No, I always remember the fish I lose more than the fish I catch.

Well, it was past mid-day and my flight was at 5pm and we were up river a couple miles so we hiked our way back down to the original spots we did so well in the morning and decided to end it there.  It was a bit slow because it was mid day; the first time all day.  I tried the exact same spot I caught the 3 nice fish in the morning… and boom!  I got hit so violently the fish hooked itself and was on the reel running before I had a chance to blink.  My drag was tightened down pretty hard, but the reel was still singing: Weeeeeee.  I knew right away it was the largest trout I had ever hooked.  It was running downstream and towards the middle of the river.  It seemed like slow motion, but happened so fast.  My first panic was running downstream 200 yards to land it.  My second panic was that the fish could actually spool me.  I have never heard of that happening in fly fishing and didn’t want to be the first.  So, I palmed the reel right before it went into the backing.  I palmed for a good 10 seconds then, the tension of the line went limp.  There was not really a “snap!”; just the line going limp.  Devastation. “He’s gone.”  I really did not have that much pressure on it and there was easily 200 feet of line out…maybe 250.  I sunk to my knees in despair.  Brad looked at me and said, “That looked like a big fish.”  I reeled all the way back in.  I wanted to examine the knot as soon as possible fearing the worst.  My fear was that I tied a foul not.  But, alas, no.  It was broken for sure.  It must have been weakened for fishing the same setup for a long time; for over an hour, catching a lot fish, dragging in the rocks, etc. It was still devastating.  But, what a thrill.  And that was the memory I am possessed with upon leaving Montana. In fact, it still haunts me to this day.

As Brad and I drove back to civilization I could not have thanked him enough.  I never would have come close to as much success without his guidance.  I owe him forever.  Not many fly fisherman can say they had the pleasure of fishing the world famous Bighorn; let alone had so much success. 

You would think my story ends right here.  But, I was headed from Montana to Fresno, CA to speak at another User Group.  I had a long set of flights through Denver to prepare for my presentation the next day.  It was my master design and a lot of luck to get these two trips back to back within a couple days of each other.  From Fresno, the Western Sierras are very reachable.  Last year I fished Kings Canyon National Park.  I got into Fresno around 11pm and into bed quickly.  Tomorrow was a big day.  My target was Yosemite. 

Yosemite / The Merced

The drive from my hotel in Fresno to the Merced River in Yosemite seemed to take forever.  It should have been less than 2 hours, but there were cars and trucks all the way there.  There was traffic inside the park where it was a beautiful day and the views of El Capitan were too good to resist slowing down and getting out to take pictures. 


El Capitan peeking out above the Merced River

So, that was a bit frustrating.  I wanted to maximize my time on the Merced River and I didn’t have a lot of it.  I didn’t expect to do too well on the Merced because it was September just isn’t a stellar fishing month in Yosemite.  Well, as soon as the Merced peaked out next to the road, I found a parking spot immediately, geared up and was standing in the river.  I surveyed the river and did not see a single bug, nor any rises, nor any fish.  Not a surprise, but I really wanted to dry fly the river.  I also didn’t want to get skunked.  So, I tied on the old standby when you have zero guidance: the elk haired Cadis, size 18.  And, the lord looked down on me and I caught a small rainbow quickly right in front of where I parked.  Then I had a decision to make.  Which way to work the river: to work upriver towards El Capitan or downriver back towards the entrance, but away from the road.  I chose up river, which I normally do because I don’t want a huge hike up river back to the car at the end of a fly fishing session when I’m dead tired.  For pure fishing reasons, ultimately upriver was the wrong choice.  For pure beauty in nature reasons it was the right choice.  Being in Yosemite for the first time in 35 years I was completely unfamiliar with it.  Although I caught another nice fish quickly the next mile or so I was in the Yosemite Valley – completely still water – crystal clear.  Not a good place for fish.  There was not even a trail anymore.  And the still water…as it usually is, was totally overgrown on the banks and way too deep to wade in.  As I bushwhacked, I ran into a huge male deer with a big old rack.  It scared the hell out of me, but scared the hell out of him even more.  I fumbled for my camera as it ran away freaking out.  So, I pressed on another half mile.


A nice view above the Merced River looking east towards the Yosemite Valley

The only fish I did see in this still water stretch was an absolute monster.  I saw it from 50 feet above him and negotiating down through the brush was not an option.  To get to it was a real chore.  I had to walk up stream on the cliff a bit until I found a place to get down to the water.  Then I had to wade carefully towards it as not to scare it, chest high in completely still and clear water.  And then cast over 100 feet to where I thought it would be.  Suffice it to say I did not get that fish to rise.  There was a reason that fish was old enough to grow to that size.  It would have been epic though.  Fooling a fish on a dry from a long distance is the ultimate.  This was one of those times I really needed one of my fishing buddies as a spotter.

I only had 3 hours to fish, though.  And time flew as I hiked and bushwhacked through “bad water” fishing here and there in a few spots I thought a fish may hide.  So, I had another decision to make.  Up river it looked like the Yosemite Valley went forever and a crystal clear and still Merced was still following it.  I crossed the river in chest high water and then bushwhacked back to the road I assumed was about 300 yards from me – it was.  Then I hiked all the way back to my car, re-entered the river there and gave about 1/4 of a mile downriver the fly fishing I could squeeze into the 25 minutes I had left before I had to head back to Fresno.  In my haste to squeeze in as much as possible I slipped and went down…of course.  I took a rock to the ribs, but more importantly I saved my precious 3 wt.  I might have gone on suicide watch if I broke my 3 wt.


A another nice view standing in the Merced River looking East towards the Yosemite Valley


As I hastily walked back to the car, stripped off my boots and waders, broke down my 3 wt, I smiled as I recounted the last 5 days.  Truly a five days of fly fishing I would remember forever with a smile:  Five unique days where I spent most of my time alone; alone in cars; alone at night; alone on a river, waving a stick. Alone in pure bliss; mostly in really beautiful places.  I also knew the party was over.  I was staring at another presentation and then a ton of work for the rest of the week and through the weekend.  And I knew I wouldn’t get to fly fish again for a while.  “Oh wait.  Yes I will.  I have a business trip to Microsoft in Redmond, WA next week.  And my buddy Reg and I are drifting the Yakima River Friday afternoon.”  I am obsessed.


“Of course now I’m too old to be much of a fisherman.  And now I usually fish the big waters alone.  Although some friends think I shouldn’t.  But, when I’m alone in the half light of the canyon, all existence seems to fade to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four count rhythm; and a hope that a fish will rise. 

Eventually all things merge into one.  And a River runs through it.  The river was cut by the world’s great flood; and runs over rocks from the basement of time.  On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops.  Under the rocks are the words.  And some of the words are theirs.  I am haunted by waters.”

Robert Redford as Norman Maclean in “A River Runs Through It” 1992

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