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Sudden Thaw Leaves Anglers In A Foul Mood

Thu., Feb. 23, 1995

This is an uneasy time for anglers.

Emotions are riding the ups and downs of the rivers like the float in a toilet tank.

A week ago, the steelhead were perking up in the Snake. Gray drakes were getting a notion to hatch on the Clark Fork.

Even reasonable people were giving serious thought to joining the rod-to-rod combat at Rocky Ford.

Then the untimely February thaw flushed our hopes down mud-choked streams.

We could take this like grown men and women. But we’d rather whine.

Let it flow: I’ve always admired fellow columnist and angler Jim Kershner for his ability to produce really funny stories while sitting in a trance with no detectable pulse.

Because he’s a man who loves fishing for the sake of fishing, I wanted his opinion of a book called “Flywater,” by Grant McClintock and Mike Crockett (Lyons and Burford, $40).

I plopped the photo book of Western trout streams into his lap to see if he thought it was worth donating to the Discovery School auction.

Showing signs of life for the first time in hours, Kershner turned the pages slowly as though he had found a long lost childhood scrapbook.

“Did I tell you about the trip with my son to Cutthroat Creek last summer?” he said, pausing as the book made the transition from mountain streams to spring creeks.

The story spilled out before I could answer.

“I’ve never caught a steelhead,” he said, a few pages later. “I’ve got to do that.”

Within 10 minutes, Kershner had planned several years worth of family vacations, all centered around fly fishing.

He gradually turned out an impressive review of “Flywater,” without saying anything specific about the book.

It’s apparently worthy of donating to the auction, if I can pry it out of his hands.

Curious: Why don’t bass fishing books move people this way?

Knock ‘em dead: Have a home video of your summer fishing trip? Want to show it to fellow fly fishers?

Think twice about the content.

A recent Inland Empire Fly Fishing Club program featured footage of fishing the backcountry of Yellowstone.

The scenery was spectacular, the fishing sublime. But the flick received less than rave reviews after esteemed members were shown beating the snot out of splendid wild cutthroats.

Trout after trout was hooked and played, then dragged onto the shoreline to smack their heads against the rocks before being picked up, squeezed, manhandled - and fumbled to flop on the rocks again.

Then in the tradition of fly fishing, the fish were gently released.

The groaning in the background was so intense, you’d have thought some sort of poison had been served for dinner.

Booked solid: Coulee Playland, the major private resort and marina on Banks Lake was booked more than a month age for the Memorial Day weekend. The resort will be the holiday headquarters for the state Bass Anglers Sportsmen’s Society jamboree.Word’s out and many dinner invitations are pending from fly fishers who’d like to see if the goodness rubs off on their spouses.

Peterson passes: Next week, for the first time in nearly 30 years, The Outdoor Press will be mailed to its 5,000 subscribers without the assistance of its founder and publisher.

Fred L. Peterson, 69, died comfortably Tuesday night after a long illness. The weekly newspaper he founded in 1966 with his wife Gwen will continue to be produced under the direction of Fred Jr., his son.

Peterson was a delightfully irreverent writer with an incurable fascination with fishing, shooting and gadgets. He sounded strong and thoughtful when I interviewed him late last week.

The story from that interview was written and went to press before Peterson died. But the Outdoors & Travel section is pre-printed and will not be distributed until Sunday.


The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review

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