There’s something magical about being on the road. Of course it’s all about the journey, but the destinations provide the anchor to the voyage. This trip was to be no different. Ultimately the common theme of meeting amazing people and discovering new places still brings a thrill.
Starting off the voyage I decided to stop over at one of my favorite rivers that harbors some of the best Brown Trout fishing I have ever seen. Most of us call it the “O”, and there are many who refuse to talk about it because they don’t want it to get over-fished. It’s the Owyhee and the average fish runs around 18 inches making it a favorite spot for a wide variety of anglers.
Reaching the canyon after driving through an onslaught of birds along the Malheur River, scoping out a campsite in the dark, and putting some deserved food in Dannyboy’s bowl – I toasted up some sausage and dropped a couple beers I got from a buddy at 10 Barrel.
Waking the next morning to the splash of a beaver and the coming sun, I observed behaviors I hadn’t seen before and began to think about the upcoming regulation changes that are being proposed by ODFW. Some of the changes that are being proposed include removing limits in some areas for Brown Trout and Brook Trout since they are non-native species. I would say that may be an extreme measure for these fish. In talk that I have had with others, many of us agree that a slot limit would benefit these species and continue to allow for trophy size fish as well as harvest for Browns on the Owyhee.
After spending the morning fishing in the cool of the canyon, I decided to hit the road and make my way into Utah from Oregon, traveling through Idaho. Expecting a little rain and wind, I tried to give myself enough time to make it into Salt Lake City and find a place to stay. Mother nature decided to slow me down a bit with 3 concurrent severe thunderstorms along the way with winds in the 60’s over 10 miles which slowed me to a crawl for a bit.
Having passed the test, I ended up parking near a truck stop and settling in for the night with the promise of brighter skies and some fun visiting the Outdoor Retailer show that was going on. I am no newb to the Trade Show circuit, as I have been going to these things since I was about 15. This show wasn’t much different, but I noticed a serious lack of representation of fishing specific industry at it.
Meeting up with some friends I knew would be there, and meeting some new ones, I spent half the day here and decided it was time to get back on the road and head to the main destination for this adventure – Heber Valley and the Fly Fishing Festival I was invited to attend and talk about the Trout Bus.
Meeting my hosts for the weekend, Jason and Julie Zicha of Midway who make custom rods under the Fall River Flyrods name. Bringing beers from Oregon is always a great way to break the ice and offer something to those who are helping you out with a shower and some local pizza.
Waking early the next morning it was time to put together the tables and tents for the 2 days of people who were coming out to see their friends and families who are involved with Fly Fishing, Conservation, and Youth Education from around this majestic area.
Now those of you who follow me on Instagram got to see some amazing things from these trips, but nothing compares to the types of people you meet at these events. They are friendly, caring people who love the outdoors and the resources they provide to recreate and make a living on.
Watching these people take of their time to speak with each other, and groups of kids wanting to learn about the sport was amazing. The camaraderie of this sport is undeniable. The feelings we have for these special places that hold the fish we chase provide a gift to our soul which seeps into our interactions when presented the opportunity to teach and speak to new people.
Beyond those people lie some truly amazing people who never get the credit they deserve. These people take it to the next level. They actively seek out opportunity to create programs and events like this one this weekend. Giving rise to discussion of the larger issues, while providing the opportunity for children to win prizes for casting and even throwing a fishing derby for them.
For me, being able to talk to these local groups and hear their stories is becoming more important as each day goes by. Most of the issues revolve around the standard tail-water issues of access and recreational use. It appears the species present are healthy and happy, but overuse and trash continue to be pervasive.
As much fun as it is to teach kids to cast, and give them prizes – the opportunity to reach out and touch a young family and let them know about the Trout Bus provides as much joy. Letting a young woman know that even though there are huge issues out there to tackle, but the easiest place to start is by organizing a stream cleanup – and seeing that process begin in her mind is priceless for me.
All things being equal, that is why you continue to support me. Those of you dedicated individuals and businesses who have taken of your hard earned incomes to keep the bus rolling down the road. I can never express to you the amount of gratitude I have for you. I suppose the best thing I can do is keep on trucking down the road – even with a beat up transmission and all.
Your support and help is making a difference in the world. Not just for me, but for each person I come into contact with. The point is now, and always will be – GET INVOLVED HOWEVER YOU CAN. If you choose to support the same organizations and businesses I do, great – if you choose different ones, great. Just remember that each time to take a step forward in conserving the resources we enjoy, I feel your spirit filling up my Trout Bus with your efforts. That keeps it running.