“It is by a river that I would choose … to revive old friendships, and to play with the children, and to confess my faults, and to escape from vain selfish desires, and to cleanse my mind from all the false, foolish things that mar the joy and peace of living.” – Henry Van Dyke, Little Rivers
It’s that time again. The third annual good old fashioned family Independence Day vacation to Paxson was definitely another success. For the second year in a row, the weather was a little foul, and this time, the cold and the rain didn’t thwart the throngs of mosquitoes from joining the party. Regardless, we all had a fabulous couple of days, good rides to and from town, and the usual battery of large, hard fighting grayling. Because we had two newcomers to the “gentle art,” Grandpa and I didn’t fish as much as we guided, but the results were the same as in years past, and putting new anglers on fish was more rewarding that hooking them ourselves. The newbies were, of course, Gigi and Rosemary. Gigi was just coming off a less-than-stellar introduction to fly fishing, and was in the mood for some real casting, drifting, and naturally, catching fish on the fly. She is a natural. The first, and usually most productive hole was invaded by a large family of humans that forced us to head upstream from our favorite spot to another riffle chock full of suicidal finny prowlers. Her most successful approach involved drifting a PT nymph under an indicator, and she landed two 16-18″ brutes like a pro. Congratulations to her, and hopefully, we’ll be able to get her out a few more times before the end of the summer. The other novice angler, coming off some early lessons with the rod and reel in scattered bathtubs throughout the south, was none other than my little Sugar Bear, Rosemary. We set her “Cars: The Movie” Zebco up with the same nymphing rig, and Grandpa helped with the casting and the hookups. Once the first grayling was on, a heart-pounding fight ensued, and with a little help on the reel from dad, Frog landed her first fish. She was more than happy to let me hold the fish while she examined it (misdiagnosing the predator as a salmon), and within seconds of the release, cries of “want another fish” rang throughout the Gulkana Valley. After one more, Rosemary seemed content to play in the shallow shoals, and the fishing for the trip was complete. She has now correctly identified her catch as grayling, and is telling everyone. This, of course, will not be her last outing, but it was one to remember indeed.
She’s got the stance …
… and the pose!
Rosemary’s determination is almost scary.
Still concentrating on the fish.
This hole wasn’t as productive as some of the others.