Floating a couple stretches this year the fish would give our crew plenty of opportunity to ply their skills against finicky trout.
This year found the Boys at their usual camp site located at the base of Holter dam on the famed trout waters of the Missouri river. The ideal location for a bunch of weary educators who have spent months reading 7th grade papers, dealing with “helicopter parents” and needy staff, no you can’t go to the bathroom because you are bored etc. Needing some well-deserved river therapy we made our way to the “Mighty Mo” Included in this year’s annual trip are the usual suspects. Our steadfast leader Mr. Dan Kimzey and his cohort Eric Larson, yours truly Chad Williams and Shawn Goll round out the veterans of the classroom each of us professional educators. Dirty Steve “Dan’s” father in law an excellent white water guy, His brother Kelly Kimzey Fly fishing guide extraordinaire, and rounding out the group future educator and already a seasoned fly fisherman my son Devan Williams.
Devan and I showed up a day earlier than the rest of the crew for a little scouting and one on one father and son bonding. We decided to keep it close to camp and fished what is commonly referred to as the dam to dam float. No need to pay for a shuttle and the proximity to camp insured that we would not run low on beer or snacks. Right off the bat the kid showed up with the hot hand. Once we rowed to the cable Devan was “fish on” with the typical zebra midge and scud pattern nymph set up.
Devan turned out to have the hot hand throughout the trip reminding me constantly of his apparent fishing prowess. There was hardly a time that we did not hear his announcement of “fish on” much to the chagrin of his seasoned mentors. As a father I couldn’t have been more proud. He even took on himself the role of instructor giving his old man all kinds of advice. Its fun to watch my son step out on his own and create his own style. He fished with his own hand tied bugs and was very successful! He found his own rythym, the rythym of the river.
The rest of the gang finally arrived Thursday evening and Dirty Steve and I prepared for our brethren a feast of Elk burgers. Food always takes on a special meaning when cooked outside over a fire and especially when you can put food on the grill that you have caught or killed yourself. Each meal takes on a buffet style as each member contributes to the feast and none are left wanting. In fact many average humans would founder on the abundance of food we each consumed. We spend as much time enjoying the food and company as we do catching trout! Devan and Shawn Goll even caught a mess of mud bugs and boiled them up for supper one night. They were lights out fantastic!
Nights are spent around the campfire regailing each other of past exploits and future dreams. We eagerly await Dan’s stories. He has a special flare that always entertains and never fails to bring about a hearty laugh. If your lucky Steve will bust out the mouth harp and start jamming an old blues tune accompanied by some kind of box drum concoction Dan came up with that every one wants a turn on. We keep things rocking late into the night and our nieghbors don’t seem to mind.
Dan got out his new 10 ft. 5wt and tangled with a few good fish. I would manage to wrangle a couple good trout on a dry and even flirted with a heart attack as a behemeth took a swipe at an oversized streamer that I tried for “kicks and giggles”. Most of the fellas got into fish and even Eric a notorious Pike fisherman had a good time working out the bugs on his technique. Shawn brought his shiny new drift boat that he refurbished last summer and his partner Eric managed to keep the 360 degree turns to a minimum. But mostly this trip is about the healing waters and the therapy they provide those of us that make our profession in education. The comaradrie that we share here creates a bond between us that is hard to describe but can be summed up with one word. “PALS”