Great day of float/fishing
Last year at this time of year residents in my hometown were fighting to keep the place from being washed away by the mighty Upper North Platte River.
This year if you’re trying to float the river, it’s fish awhile, drag the boat, fish awhile and drag the boat.
The Platte and Encampment Rivers and surrounding streams have forever been the life-blood of this valley, not just for ranching, but for recreation and domestic use as well.
Float fishing for trout is tops among dudes as well as locals.
Folks here often combine their regular jobs with that of being river guides. Such was the case of a local hydrographer. He not only measured and regulated irrigation water, he also ran a guide service and was known for his wild tales about both.
When asked about the difference between a hydrographer and a water commissioner or ditch rider he reported, “It’s about $400 a month more.”
Folks still relate one of his greatest float and fishing escapades.
On a beautiful day in July, the guide was floating a couple of paying know-it-all dudes down the river for a day of trout fishing. His clients were inexperienced, plus fishing was slow to start. “Jerry” was rowing to all the hot spots, but the fishermen were unable to cast into the holes or would snag in the willows or hang up on the bottom.
Of course, the high-paying clients began to complain about poor fishing and doubted the “oarer’s” skills. Jerry was working hard, putting on minnows, hitting riffles and hot holes, showing them where to cast, untangling lines and clearing hooks of moss or debris, but to no avail.
Following lunch and a few beers, catching started to improve. After each decent cast it was, “trout on.” As fishing improved, so did the disposition of the anglers.
A great afternoon on the river was developing and, in a gleeful shout, one dude asked, “I wonder what the poor people are doing today?” to which the guide replied, “Rowing this (bleenkity-blankity-blinking) boat!”