A neat thing about being in the heart of the fly fishing world is that you make a lot of friends that trade out their work skills to you if you help them catch more fish. My doctor for example trades me a check up for a day of fishing. Providing the local bar tender with up to date fishing info gets me a free beer. The list of swaps goes on. The best tradeoff ever was with my friend ken Holder. Twenty or so years ago, Ken, who works for United Airlines, was a customer of mine at the fly shop in Jackson, Wyoming. He became quite the regular and I set him straight on all his fishing needs for years. Ken not only spent a lot of money at the shop but he often brought us lunch when we were busy and all kinds of simple acts of kindness that meant a lot. Then one day he wanted to build me a website as a favor. Ken convinced me it would be good – just a couple pages about me and something to help promote my books and artwork. Well, ten years later, 250 web pages later, my site is like a second job for Ken. So every time he visits Jackson I take him fishing.
Today I took Ken and his girlfriend Nadi on the Sveum River. Surely the Snake or South Fork would be a better choice but lots of small fish and no other boats to contend with sounded best to all of us. After a big breakfast we were floating downstream by 9 AM. The skies were clear of clouds but hazed by smoke. There wasn’t and ounce of wind and temps were a comfortable 75º.
Ken hasn’t fished since last time I took him. That was slightly over two years ago – a terrible thing. Yet despite the lack of recent practice he casted well and right away he landed a nice little marvelously camouflaged rainbow.
Ken caught about a dozen or so small rainbows and brook trout, all on dry flies. Fishing was decent for sure. The highlight however was the wildlife. As always there were plenty of great birds including a great horned owl that we woke up several times as he kept moving downstream of us. Best of all we saw about six moose. Last month when I was here with Granny and her friend Jessica, we floated a fly past the knee caps of a velvety antlered bull moose. Today we saw another, might even have been the same one only this time he was laying down in the shade actually in a foot deep of water. He was cooling off. We floated nervously right by him – literally twenty feet away from the massive animal. We had to get past him. Amazingly, he stayed laid down right in the water and cautiously watched us float by.