I was a lucky kid. I was able to train my folks to always take me with them when I went fishing. Dad started me out fishing for crappies at Sauvies Island north of Portland when I was ten years old and from there we graduated up to fishing for trout.
Our early endeavors were with worms or salmon eggs but in 1936 the so-called fly casting champ came to Portland and my dad paid for casting lessons from him. Week after week dad would get his lesson at Laurelwood Park, come home and have mom and I get out our fly rods so he could teach us his lessons for that day.
Our favorite haunts were the Deschutes river in the Maupin area or the Clackamas river up above the town of Estacada. My parents had a bakery in southeast Portland where I worked for them before and after school and all night on Friday nights. One of my tasks on Friday nights was to fry the donuts and maple bars and during that period I would start talking about the joys of fishing and it would often get my dad so excited that near the end of the morning he would call mom to tell her to pack up the gear and make a lunch as we were going to go fishing.
On one trip to the Deschutes river I came across my high school history teacher who was fly fishing the same area. When he opened his creel to show me, he had one of the prettiest catches of redside rainbow trout I had ever seen. He was using a blue upright artificial fly fished wet and was really knocking 'em. History classes were never the same after that. I was a devious kid and soon learned that during class I could get him talking about fishing and history went out the window. My fellow students loved it. My grades were pretty good, also.
On another trip to the Deschutes I found that artificial flies are not always the best for trophys. I was working a particular riffle when a guy went by on the trail with a casting rod and a big wobbler type lure tied to his leader. I made some remark about no bass in that river. Later that morning he came by on his way back to his car with a fish as long as his arm. It was a steelhead trout and it was my first experience of seeing the effectiveness of a Flatfish lure. Although I still love fly fishing I have taken my share of some nice trout, steelhead and salmon on that weird shaped lure.
In future blogs I'll write about more of my experiences in the sport fishing world as those experiences were a big part of my life and that of my family.