by Richard Grover
Went fishing for the first time this year last Saturday afternoon in the rain. I had to check out a beaver dam I discovered on a local brook during deer hunting last fall — a mere 15-minute walk from where I parked my truck. This was my first time fishing a small beaver dam with a nine-foot fly rod. I learned right away that I need to get a shorter rod for these small ponds surrounded with bushes!
I carried the four pieces of rod in a fabric case, with the reel still attached, and when I slipped the base section of rod out, the hook caught about six inches down inside the sleeve of the fabric. As this was a narrow sleeve, I had a devil of a time turning the sleeve inside out so I could get to the hook. That was about a 10-minute project. Then, the fly and leader were so tiny I lost them in the ground clutter of leaves an sticks, and when I flipped the rod tip up to locate the fly, the rod tip got entangled in a tree branch, and the leader disappeared into the foliage! After getting that mess un-tangled, I kept the fly in my left hand while I climbed onto the beaver dam, slipped on the wet sticks and tangled the line among the sticks on the dam as I fell. The rain came down harder. When I fi-nally got atop the dam and at the edge of the water, I let go of the fly and flipped it a few feet out into the water in front of me as I stripped a few feet of fly line and let it coil about my feet. With exqui-site care, I finally figured out how to flip the fly a fair distance to first right and then left, avoiding tree stumps and alders and slowly retrieving it.
Suddenly, a bite! A too aggressive yank swung a three-inch minnow over my head and over a fine fir twig, the now invisible leader winding quickly around the twig. Damn! Teetering on the brink of the wet, slippery pile of dam sticks and mud, I was barely able to reach the minnow and break off the twig. After a few more successful casts I landed a couple small but legal size trout. By then, my pants legs were soaked, my poncho dripped, the cuffs of my sweatshirt stuck wetly to my wrists and time was getting short for getting home for supper. I decided I’d had enough fun for one day, threaded the nine-foot fly rod through a stand of fir trees (not easy) to a small opening, stopped to disassemble the fly rod and return it carefully to its fabric sheath. Snuffy led the way back to the truck.
One day while attending Census School again, I had about an hour to kill while other Census stu-dents were getting finger printed, so I decided to visit Phil and Juanita Korhonen, long-time friends. The conversation drifted to the warm weather and gardening. I explained that Mona and I hoped to have a good successful garden so we could replenish our supply of frozen and canned veg-gies. I am especially eager to have a good crop of sweet corn, but troubled by crows the past couple years. Crow repellent on the seed and scarecrows have proven disappointing, as the crows still pulled most of my corn seedlings. Juanita told me to try stringing string about two or three inches above the planted rows before the seeds emerge from the soil. She says this sometimes discourages crows, which seem to avoid putting their heads between the seedlings and the string in order to pull up the tiny corn sprouts. They like to snip off the seeds and drop the stalks on the ground. I wonder if the crows think the strings are snares or some other kind of trap! Anyway, I’m trying everything this year — string, crow repellent and scarecrows. I’ll even shoot if I get a chance, but crows rapidly become leery of guns!