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Catch and Release - Food for the Soul
Fly-fishing the Henry's Fork of the Snake River
Fly-fishing the Henry's Fork of the Snake River
Cutthroat  trout rising for a Caddis Fly
Cutthroat trout rising for a Caddis Fly

First a dimple like a tiny drop fell from a leaf onto the almost still but moving water. The gurgle below reminds me I am in the water.  Just above my knees.  The pressure of the current sealing my waders around my legs like shrink-wrap. Cool but not cold. Tight. A nice snugness. To me a feeling of security.  I’m being held in place by the nature I love even if it’s unforgiving at its best. Today it holds me to the bottom of this river and surrounds me with awe and exhilaration and privilege. ~ Excerpt from “The Rise by Ronald G. Bizick, II”

Yep, there is a little more to fly-fishing than just catching fish. Upon my arrival in Jackson Hole one of my first purchases was a fly rod because, once again, I was in trout country.  I do have to say that while in California were a few nice trout live, I had gotten discouraged with California fishing because I got spoiled while fishing in Alaska. Wyoming was a different story; fly-fishers have been traveling the legendary rivers of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem waters for over a century.

Silver Salmon Harvest, Little Tonsina River

I fished in Alaska, but I wasn’t a fly-fisherman there, fly-fishing is a bit different. I didn’t get out a lot in the early days as passions were leaning toward exploring the Gros Ventre Wilderness by horseback, and training my horse to not kill me; oh, and my original mission, to photograph the area.

As time went on, I got out to the Snake River a bit more, I caught fish despite my half cooked linguini style cast, and my complete absence of knowledge of entomology, because the abundance of stupid baby trout there were in the river. Fly-fishing takes much concentration and while doing so, you seem to become one with the river and all around you. You are either wading up and down the stream or floating in a drift boat, all the while looking then casting to where you figure a fish might be waiting for a meal or currently rising for flies.

Then one day I was hired to photograph the One Fly Fishing Contest and the organizer and fly-tying legend Jack Dennis put me in a drift boat with a guide so I could shoot the contest from the river.  When there wasn't anyone to photograph, it was OK for me to fish.  My guide Jeff Miller, after gaining composure from laughing at my limp wristed linguini cast commenced to instruct me on how to rehabilitate my deplorable fly-fishing technique.  Boy of boy, for the next several hours, while not shooting fly-fishing contestants, Jeff rode my ass like Bill Belichick while down 24 points in a superbowl.  I wasn’t having fun; however, I was taking notes.

Daryl L. Hunter guiding on the South Fork of the Snake in Swan  Valley Idaho
Me guiding on the South Fork of the Snake

In the ensuing month, I put together all what Jeff stressed on me, I bought a bowling wrist brace so I would quit bending my wrist which straightened out my linguini style cast, and I started reading water like a fisherman instead of a whitewater guide. I started catching the parents of the baby fish I had restricted myself to before.   I became a fly-fishing addict, the good kind of addiction.

I was on a hiatus from horse ownership, so I had more time to fish, I had been working for a whitewater company part time so my new love was whitewater and fly-fishing was an integral part of it.   I started learning about entomology.

My fly-fishing obsession went into overdrive; my enthusiasm despite my elementary level accomplishment landed me guiding positions for several outfitters who couldn’t find real guides.  I was making money fishing beautiful rivers and sharing my love of the beauty of my mountains and rivers.

Actress Heather Thomas making fly-fishing look like a fashon show, She is a very good flyfisher.
Actress Heather Thomas making fly-fishing look like a fashon show, She is a very good flyfisher.

In the early 90’s Brad Pit starred in the now classicmove, A River Runs Through it” The cinematography of fly-fishing scenes captivated all who watched, then everyone wanted to learn to fly-fish.  Many a client were disappointed to learn that we don’t cast 60-yards to the opposite side of the river, cinamaphotographic magic looks great but doesn’t really catch fish.  The Rockies were full of Brad Pit wannabes discovered where we catch fish is only about 20 to 30 feet out from the fisherman.

Over the next several years, I not only got to spend my summers close to nature, I also got to meet many movers and shakers of the world. I got to fish with senators, vice presidents, congressman and more interestingly, their staffs. Show biz folks came often as well.

Our rivers of eastern Idaho and Western Wyoming are wild trout fisheries, some of the most famous fishing streams in the world.   Most fly fishermen value this so we practice, “Catch and Release” fishing.    This keeps our fish counts up naturally so the fish and game won’t have to ruin our rivers with a bunch of genetically inferior, lazy, planted trout.  

Many can’t wrap their head around catching a nice fish then returning it to the water, as they are so good to eat.    I tell these folks; “Catch and Release - food for the soul!"

Fly-fisherman relaeasing a cutthorat trout on a Absaroka Mountain trout stream.
Fly-fisherman relaeasing a cutthorat trout on a Absaroka Mountain trout stream.
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