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FISH LIES

      You fly into the airport and are met by Cap, who helps you get your bags into the pickup. It is midday, and the camp is an hourís drive away. Too late to float a full day, but thereís plenty of wade fishing, and Cap seems to think thereíll be a good caddis hatch this evening.

      When you arrive at the river, camp is ready: tent is up, cots and bedding ready, pickup camper leveled and packed full of goodies, beer in the coolers, boat in the river and tied to a tree ready to launch first thing in the morning. You put your stuff in the tent, pop a beer and wander down to the river. The water looks great, so you chizzy-foot back to camp where waders are donned and rods rigged. Cap looks over your fly selection, makes a few suggestions and points out a few good spots. While you fish, Cap is preparing the evening meal. This time itís baked chicken, rice and a vegetable, with cookies for dessert.

      Down at the river, you see no rising fish, so you fish a little beadhead prince nymph and immediately start hooking small rainbows and browns. Fish in the ten to fourteen inch range, they are all very healthy and very strong for their size. As the sun goes lower, you notice that the caddis are indeed starting to flutter over the water, especially near the bank and the bushes along it. You see several fish, they appear to be larger than the ones youíve been catching, and theyíre noisily taking caddis under and around the bushes. You stick the beadhead in your vest and tie on an elkhair caddis of a size similar to what you can see on and above the water. Thatís a pretty good fish off of the buffaloberry bush, but youíre a little nervous, and the first cast goes into the bush. Luckily, a gentle twitch of the rod tip frees the fly, and it drops into the water down from the trout you had intended to cast to, and is taken by a smaller but no less voracious fish, which runs toward you and shakes the hook free.

      False casting a couple of times, you get the range right and drop that puppy right on Mr. Troutís nose. He takes, and the battle is on. Itís a solid two and a half pound seventeen inch rainbow, and the first thing he does is explode from the water like a Polaris missile. The second thing he does is throw a loop of your leader over a willow branch, pull the hook out of his lip and escape. You shake your head and blink your eyes. Did that just happen? How could your heart start pounding so fast in such a brief period of time? Is Capís cooking any good? What do women really want? Is your stockbroker coming back from Rio? All these questions and more will fail to be answered in the next few days. All except the one about Capís cooking, and judging by the smells coming from that camper, the answer is that itíll do just fine.

      Weíre up at pretty early thirty the next morning, and hot coffee and cocoa are served up with oatmeal, raisins and brown sugar. Then itís load the boat and shove off. Your companion and Cap had taken two trucks downstream to the takeout yesterday and brought one back, so thereís a pickup waiting for you ten miles downriver.

      Ten miles of water is a lot of water to fish. Cap knows where to concentrate your efforts, and for the first couple of hours you and your friend fish from the boat, pounding streamers, drifting nymphs and dry flies as Cap puts the boat in position for casting time after time. Soon you come to a wide place. There is a nice run, some flat water above it, and a few rising fish. The water is perfect for wading, so you head up as your friend goes downstream. Cap and his faithful hound stay at the boat, Cap whipping up turkey sandwiches on sourdough while his dog makes sure the whole operation is environmentally friendly by quickly scarfing up any errant crumbs.

      You fish for an hour and a half or so, then have lunch. The sandwiches, some chips and beer, maybe a candy bar or an apple. Cap rolls a cigarette. You figure this guyís never been politically correct in his life, but he sure knows where the fish are. After lunch the three of you get back in the boat and resume float fishing until a couple of hours before dark, when Cap stops the boat at a perfect evening hatch dry-fly stretch of river. Your friend gets out on one side of the river, you get out on the other. Cap tells you both to wait until the hatch commences, warning that it may not really come on until just before dark, "when the big ones come out". Sure enough, bugs start appearing, more and more in number and species, heads and dorsal fins breaking water all over the`place. You see the head of a large fish just up from you. The lightís fading fast, and you tie on a small mayfly pattern, maybe an Adams in size 18. The fish slashes at a fluttering caddis. You break off the Adams and manage to find a caddis to tie on. Perfect cast. Now the dirty so-and-so is sipping mayfly spinners that have started to appear in great numbers. Okay, longer tippet, finer line, flashlite between the teeth as you try desperately to thread the eye of the size 24 hooks. No joy. Itís too dark, and Cap is picking up your friend. Time to go, itíll be late by the time supperís over, and the thought of that plate-sized T-bone and the salad Cap mentioned sets your mouth to watering.

      Contact: Capt. Harv {cap@lipripper.com}