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From the Mouth of the River

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Photo by Ward Tollbom Photo by Ward Tollbom

The only thing better than fishing is posing with someone else's catch!

Good morning, all. How the heck are ya?

I woke up one mornin’ a little while back and it was raining! That was a good sign that spring was actually coming. The warm rain took the frost out of the ground and finally melted the two foot of snow and ice in my yard. Because this snow had been there so long, it was like pack ice - it melted slow, even with rain.

The run was fairly normal, with out flooding. The replenishing of the earth was in full swing.

If you didn’t have all your trees pruned, you were in trouble! In our case, the elk and deer pruned everything in sight. Because of the deep snow that was packed up to two feet, they pruned everything two feet higher than usual. And because it had stayed on the ground so long, they ate all the limbs as well. So by spring, our place looked like a drunk had planted fence posts randomly all over the place.

Not to worry, though. We had fenced in certain fruit trees and flowers that were dear to our hearts, much to the chagrin of the wildlife.

Spring rains and snow melt go a long way to nourish all the timber in our forest. It dose take a lot of water to raise a tree. And the runoff brings new life to our streams, flushing the Bull Trout back to the lake, along with nutrients and food. It also triggers the Rainbow to spawn upstream while the water is high.

 I went out on the lake this spring with Ed Hairlipper, the fishing guide out of Hope. He wanted to check out his boat to see if it still floated. Ed had been working to try and stop an oil leak. Said it looked like the Valdez with the oil slick that followed him around. He did a good job, no more oil slicks. He also wanted to check out his electronics so we put out a couple of lines and Wham! A nice Brown. Actually a large male. We released him after Ed twisted my arm to the breaking point. And while I was rubbing the circulation back to my elbow, Wham! This time it was a nice Rainbow! When Ed picked up his kill club I released the fish. “What did you do that for?” he asked.

“Because my arm still hurts from the last fish we caught,” I said. “And I’m not taking any chances.”

Wham! This time it was a table Mac. Out came the club.

“You ever eat one of these,” Ed asked. “Nope,” I said, “Fish and Game and sport fishermen here on the lake say they’re a rough fish, like carp and suckers.Which brings up the question,” I asked, “why do people fly all over the world and pay good money to fish for them?” No answer.

Ed’s boat checked out, along with all his electronic gear. Ed’s stories were ranging from 60 to 70 a minute, but he should have those regulated down to 45 or 50 a minute by now, for the tourists. He was a little off being frozen up like that all winter. His fishing buddy, Fritz, is hard of hearing and therefore can’t help regulate how fast Ed talks. Ed’s lovely wife Drew is no help because she, like most wives, simply ignores him.

Ed and Drew have been guiding on this lake so long they can remember when there was Kokanee here.

I asked Ed how hard it was to get people to pay him to take ‘em fishing when the state Fish and Game was paying big money to out-of-state netters to catch and kill the fish his customers are trying to catch.

“I tell them a lot of stories,” Ed said. “Did I tell you the one about what I can do with a coat hanger and a down rigger? Keeps ’em busy for hours.”

I love to fish, have all my life. I have fished for all kinds of fish in America and three foreign countries. From trot lines to fly fishing, from seining to noodling, from netting to gigging. Bow fishing to rifle, worms and lures. It all has its place and time. And it all has to do with trying to outsmart a creature with a brain the size of a pea!


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Boots Reynolds Boots Reynolds The "internationally-renowned cowboy artist" Boots Reynolds has moved his comedic interpretation of life into the writing field with his regular column in the River Journal - From the Mouth of the River.

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