I had under no circumstances been to Rock Creek without the need of my Missoula-primarily based brother-in-law, and—aside from the Spokane River close to my house—I had under no circumstances fished alone. Having said that, with any activity or location that often cycles by means of your daydream escapisms, at some point, you determine to just go.
Listening to the rolling hum of the creek even though getting swallowed up by the Sapphire Mountains delivers at least a couple moments of Zen. Fishing there in the fall, as the yellowing aspens and cottonwoods quake about you in a prophetic October breeze, is the closest I’ve ever been to feeling metaphysically transcendent. I craved that feeling, and so I drove 4 hours east with no strategy and absolutely nothing far more than my rod, reel, and a sleeping bag.
Even though I had fished the water a handful of occasions, as I took the exit just pass Clinton, I believed it most effective to pull into the Rock Creek Fisherman’s Mercantile for flies and a handful of final words of wisdom. It was a chilly and somewhat breezy morning, a day for sleeping in and watching the climate report. My car or truck was the only 1 in the parking lot, and I was the only buyer in the shop.
“Can I assist you?” The old lady from behind the counter asked. I stopped brief of the flies, and stared with widening eyes at the bear spray canisters.
Holding up a bottle, I responded, “Um, I’m fishing alone. Will I want this stuff?”
“Well, you may run into a bear, but I’d be far more afraid of operating into a moose.”
“What ought to I do if I run into a moose?”
“If you are fishing alone, speak louder to your self.”
Armed with her assistance, I decided the $40 bear spray would be most effective left for an individual else.
Rock Creek has far more than 30 miles of skinny road cutting by means of the Sapphires, and even though I had planned to drive deep into the valley to fish a section I had under no circumstances been to, I discovered myself pulling into the significant dirt parking lot off Valley of the Moon Road just two miles previous the Mercantile. The reduced section of Rock Creek, and particularly Valley of the Moon, hosts rather a handful of fishermen more than the season. It is simple to get to, and the trout see so lots of far more offerings they come to be pickier about what they’ll bite. Typically I wouldn’t cease there, but I doubted I’d see a moose or bear in a location that was generally busy.
Cutting down the effectively-worn path, I reached a plot of secluded bank. Cast immediately after cast scuttled across the water. A swift shot below the false bank across from me a gentle lay down upstream even though mending line above a deep pool. A rainbow, a brown, even a brookie would make this day a results. I walked the banks and waded into the middle of the creek, hoping that a various angle may lead me to results. Hours went by.
Deciding it was a superior tactic to modify my fly than my place, and getting also lazy to stumble across the smooth submerged rocks of the river to do so, I set to perform snipping the streamer and trading it for a purple haze patterned fly. It was in this vulnerable position that the sound of sticks cracking came from the thicket upstream.
I surveyed the dry creek bed that led into the tangle but saw absolutely nothing. Turning my interest back to securing a knot about the new bug, the slow breaking of brush was once again audible. “Hello?” I stated. No answer. Being aware of the water was also deep to get to the other side of the creek, but that I didn’t want to come face to face with a moose or bear, I did what I had been instructed to do. I started singing loudly to myself.
“Now I’m no cost, no cost falllllliinnnn’… Now I’m freeee! Freee falllin’!”
Out of the bushes popped an older gentleman, perplexed by a man up to his waist with hands complete of gear, singing Tom Petty in a cracking and nervous voice, staring appropriate back at him.
I nodded at him. “Thought you have been a moose.”
He waved an obligatory hand toward me, but shook his head side to side as he ambled down the creek toward fish un-spooked by my karaoke. That day, I under no circumstances did land a fish, but I did achieve an additional tale in a storied location. Occasionally, that is just as good—especially when you are unbothered by the black bears and moose.
Steve Hitchcock has been amassing stories for years in his time functioning for the SuperSonics, serving as a teacher, and going on a range of outside boondoggles. He is the winner of this year’s Get Lit! and OTO Outside Writing Contest.