Tuesday, February 17, 2015

We Fish - Part 1

      We fish. That’s what we do in our family. Fishing is a big deal, and the Cutt-Slam is a REALLY BIG deal. In fact, it’s such a big deal that the kids in our family talk about it year round. The mountains and the waters of the Green, the Snake and the Wind are home for my family and me. Like the cutthroat trout we pursue, we’re natives here. I wish I could say that our kids were born that way. Maybe they were – they certainly came from native stock on both sides. But Mama B. and I agreed early on that no kid in our family was ever going to suffer from insufficient time in the backcountry.
        Preparing our kids to catch four subspecies of cutthroat trout was no overnight process. We put in long hours at the pond in our local park. We started with Spiderman rods and Barbie tackle
boxes. As time went on, the casts got longer and the kids got better. The more we talked about our goal of finishing the Cutt-Slam, the more excited the kids were about it. It became a milestone, a rite of passage for them. By late summer, they were like something out of a Jason Bourne movie - highly trained and ready for anything. I remember asking Spunky right after her seventh birthday what she wanted to do and her response was immediate: “Its Cutt-Slam time!”
         Our base camp would be the same place it always is – the cabin in the Wind Rivers. We planned to fish near Big Piney for Colorado River cutthroats, over the top of the Wyoming Range and into the Greys River for Snake River cutts, and over South Pass to the Wind River for Yellowstone cutts. On the night before our first day, the kids were like bird dogs on the eve of the hunt, quivering with excitement. They couldn’t eat, they couldn’t sleep. If I could have turned them loose on the fish at 11 PM, I would have. 

      Breakfast is hot chocolate and homemade scones from Mama B as we head for the door. We load the little ones in the pickup, scrambling and scuffling like coyote pups in the early morning light. It is simply priceless. These kids are doing something most kids will never have the opportunity to do. They are on the road and headed for adventure. We see a cow moose, a whole hayfield full of sage grouse, a pair of sandhill cranes and a bald eagle. Each one is like the first one ever created for these little ones – something to be oohed and aahed over, something to be treasured. And before you know it, we’re there. And we’re actually fishing.

-Long Rifle