From my perspective, this trip ought not to have happened. It seems impossible that despite so much "progress of man," we may still have friends, places, fish like these. The state of the world can erode the soul. But then,
I had never been here before, but have had dreams for years. There is something about high desert rivers.
We wanted to see the whole deal and did a 2 dayer down from the dam to see the “famous water.”
The canyon water was beautiful, and of course loaded with trout, but we took one look at the sports and their ounces of lead and balloon-sized bobbers and said “nah.” So as Michigan bred trout fisherman are apt to do, we just kept on downstream. And it just so happens that big brown trout hate clusterfucks as much as I do.
We got surprised by a few days with plenty of rain. The clouds were a terrific relief from the sun, and even though the succession of storms put the fish in a bit of a sour mood, we welcomed them. The dry ground, grass, and sage fairly exploded with scent, and on our morning drives we ran full speed with the windows down, taking it all in.
I did not take many pictures during these few days, anyway not nearly as many as I should have. Sometimes you are just having too much fun to stop and bother with it.
The two degenerates I was fishing with maintain a tradition called “draining the net.” Nolan discovered his new net handle was water tight, so now each morning it gets filled with cheap tequila, and left out in the sun all day to warm to coffee temp and take on a nice, metallic taste, and then the first person to put a “day changer” in the boat gets berated into “draining the net.” On this trip the otherwise day changing type fish were coming in such quick succession that the net was getting refilled and drained again and again. My stomach would still be twisted in knots from the last round, when another moss-backed denny’s-grand-slam-eating slob would emerge from behind a boulder, or from beneath a seam, or from absolutely nowhere to drift cross-eyed beneath an ant, or a small hopper, and then stick its fat alcoholic’s nose up out of the greasy water and sip it like it was exactly what he thought it was. The fisherman would be laughing with joy, the oarman would be giggling with disbelief, and the netman would be cackling evilly, with the net in one hand, and a bottle of cheap tequila in the other.
And so it went.
By the time we arrived to the actual luau, I was feeling things had peaked. How could it possibly get any better?
Well. To start,
[Pizza night not pictured because I ate my whole pizza in seconds like a fucking animal, taking a pic never crossed my mind. It was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had anywhere.]
And, Lando’s “town water”
Fishing with Randall.
It was like what I imagine staying at a fishing lodge is like, scenic accommodations, your breakfast made, lunch packed, and dinner and cocktails ready, and your water and flies picked out for you. The only thing it lacked was the type of people who stay at fishing lodges, which made it even better.
The time passed, as it does. 9 days of fishing gone by in a blur. Fortunately we saved the best for last. “Go up the south fork,” Lando said.
It was *the best* single day of trout fishing I have ever experienced. The trout were numerous and hard-fighting, desperate to eat foam bugs, and the river valley was absolutely beautiful. We’d intended to find cutthroat, but coming from Michigan, I will never, ever complain about browns eating dry bugs so hard they flip end over end out of the water.
The next morning it was trout and eggs, and then the usual, depressing, long, end-of-trip drive to the airport.
As a first time Luau-er all I can say to others is “go.” There won’t always be a “next year.” Happenings such as these are a confluence of things, an emergence. Friends, places, fish, they can’t and won’t come together in the same ways forever. If you’re feeling like the optimist in you needs reassuring, if you are doubting trout still look up, or hell, even (or especially) if you’re just hungry, go. Life is short, the luau is fun. And we all ought to have more fun.
Thanks to all who made this one possible.
They don't wanna have to die