Travis and I always threaten to stop and fish on the way home from Montana, but the drive is long and we easily talk ourselves out of stopping in order to make it home at a reasonable hour. Luckily we both had had a lot to drink that morning, so we stopped at a small launching point on the upper Salmon River that had a bathroom. Before returning to the car, we walked over to the water’s edge to stretch our legs before hopping back in the car.
“Let’s fish it!” Travis blurted out, as we looked over the river. “I have always wanted to stop and fish, and never do.”
“You know I’m in!” I said, as be both scampered back to the car quickly to rig up.
Travis handed me a small container of grapefruit, while he downed a fruit cocktail as we slapped the rods together.
I had tied on an attractor fly while Travis bit off the tag end of his spruce moth.
Travis’s spruce moth got hit almost immediately, but when he set the hook nothing was there.
I decided to head upstream and found a few rising fish of my own. I flicked out my fly and saw it was getting hit, but the fish were obviously too small. I switched to a smaller fly and, dare I say, hooked into the smallest fish of the year.
As the little fish darted away, I looked up and saw a much larger fish by comparison. By comparison, I mean the fish I just saw was easily four inches in size. I flicked my fly over to where I had seen it rise, and saw its head come up to snatch my fly. With the smallest hook set he was mine, and that made the stop worth it.
As I headed back downstream I saw that Travis was hooked into a fish, and even at my distance it looked like it was way bigger than anything I had caught.
“So how many did you get into?” I asked Travis as we packed our gear away to hit the road again.
“I got two.” He said.
“Me too, but they were tiny fish.”
“That one you saw me hook into was the big one, but it still wasn’t that big.”
“Where’s our next stop?” I asked.
“Geez…” Travis though about it for just a second.
“We could stop at the Big Lost, but that would add almost an hour to our drive.”
We sat in silence thinking about it, but then I said exactly what Travis wanted to hear…
“Screw it, let’s go!”
We pulled off the dirt road that followed the upper Big Lost River, and were ready to fish in no time. Travis lead the way down an embankment to one of his favorite spots to fish.
“This is the spot Reese and I fished, and I remember it being good.” Travis said as we stepped into the water. I had on a large attractor fly and fished a spot that looked good, but got nothing. Travis came in right after me and fished the same spot, but to my surprise a fish came up and took his fly.
“Whoa! What are you using?” I asked, as he fought his fish.
“Purple Haze, Baby! You always fish a purple haze when on the Lost.” He said, matter-of-factly.
“Good to know.” I said, as Travis’s fish danced around at his feet.
Of all the boxes of flies I had in my vest, none held a purple haze. You’ve got to be kidding me, I said to myself looking back through my boxes. There it was: one purple haze stuffed in between some darker mayflies… Thank goodness.
I tied on the little purple fly and a fish came up and took it like clock work.
“Purple haze, Baby!” I yelled with delight as I brought in my fish.
Nether Travis or I wanted to be the ones to say it was time to go, but after a few fish we promised ourselves it would be enough. There were no regrets as we pulled onto the main road headed towards Sun Valley and then Boise; breaking up the day with fishing made the day and drive go by fast. All was going good until we took the corner that over looked Phi Kappa Creek.
Travis slammed on his breaks and pulled over to the side of the road, and we both sprang from his car. It was like a storm cloud loomed over our heads as we approached the flipped truck, and we could see deep divots in the gravel road where the driver slammed on his break to avoid what had happened.
“Hello?!” Travis yelled as he jogged to the truck.
Everything was quiet, too quiet. If this had just happened there would be all kinds of creaking sounds protruding from the truck, yet seeing the shattered glass and caved-in cab was still a ghostly sight. Travis slid down the steep embankment like he had done it 100 times, and that’s when he saw the service sticker.
“Jeez, you would think they would put up a better sign than this.” Travis said, looking at the small white service sticker that matched the color of the truck.
“You would think…” I said rather happy we didn’t come across something worse.
“What a way to end the trip.” Travis said as we got back into his car.
“Right? I think we should just take our time getting back home.” I suggested as Travis started his car and drove away from the truck.
“Heck yeah.” He agreed, and we make it back to Boise in casual time.