The Trout Also Rises

"A blog upon my estutcheon" A weblog about fishing, hunting, hiking, cycling, books, beer, and other random musings. Any humor contained in this site is entirely unintentional and has not been tested on animals. e mail aaaaargh at msndotcom

Location: California

A hunter and fisherman, fascinated with books and history.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Indian Country Bars

My advice: never go into one.

Several years ago, Mike, Steve, and I wandered into a bar in Parker, Arizona after a hot morning of dove hunting. With the temperature hovering around 110', the seductive pull of a tavern with cold beer and icy air conditioning was to strong to resist.

Parker is adjacent to the Colorado River Indian Tribe reservation. When we entered the bar, it looked like a lot of indians had decided to have a pool tournament on this day, one of the hottest of the year. Trying not to look out of place with our pale faces, we meekly sat at a table and quietly sipped some beers. Within fifteen minutes, a huge indian had taken the fourth chair at the table and accepted a beer from our pitcher.

The conversation with the large indian soon veered into the strange and bizzare. He was a Vietnam veteran suffering from the effects of Agent Orange. He made his own arrows. He had used said arrows to pin his son-in-law to a tree after the son-in-law mistreated his daughter.

The correct response at this point is to nod politely, finish your beer and make a hasty exit. However, my fellow palefaces had other ideas. They started asking him about good dove hunting spots. Naturally, these secret locations were available in exchange for money. A deal was made, and we all piled into my van. I let it be known that I would drive them to our dove camp, after which they were free to continue with Steve's vehicle.

That they did, and our hunting party was agog at what would happen next. While we were eating dinner, Steve's rig drove past, heading back to Parker. We couldn't see who was inside. Was it was the same trio who left? Or just Steve and Mike? Or the huge indian by himself? Images of Steve and Mike pinned to trees with handmade arrows entered my mind unbidden. I shrugged my shoulders and continued to eat.

About 9:30, Mike and Steve returned, Mike drunker than a marine after a year at sea. The story slowly came out. The indian showed them several doveless stretches of desert and farmland after receiving the money. They dropped him off at his trailer, drove back into Parker, and ended up at a Mexican restaurant where they drank long and deep.

Steve has a great story about a bar he frequented in the 1970s in Willow Creek, near the Hoopa Indian reservation in northern California. This bar contained nothing that could conceivably be used as a weapon. Drinks were served in plastic or styrofoam cups. Tables and chairs were bolted to the floor. Ashtrays were screwed into the table tops (back when smoking was allowed in California taverns). Naturally the pool tables had no cues or balls.

So travel carefully, and watch out for those home made arrows.

Monday, January 16, 2006

January Surprise on the San Gabriel River

Being one of the government lackeys who had Monday the 16th off, I headed up the canyon to spend a few hours on the water. Arrived around noon to gin clear skies and vodka clear water. Any negative effects of Saturday's storm on water clarity were not to be seen.

Averse to walking, having cycled 130 miles the previous three days, I parked near the oh aitch vee area and fished the pools there. Expecting microtrout and mutants I was surprised when a healthy 8" wild trout hit my bead head rubber legged hare's ear. Yikes!

Two pools down yielded three the same size, all bright as a new dime, and full of fight. The last take was a much larger fish, that bulldogged my line, made the reel sing, and cleverly got off the barbless hook before I got more than a glimpse of him. The same pool had some surface activity, but I stuck with what was working.

All this took about 2 hours, and then the bite turned off. I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of trash and noticed only a few bits of urban hieroglyphics, hardly worth mentioning compared to a mile upstream.

Not a bad start to 2006.

2005 had some memorable moments, though: a beach full of thousands of elephant seals near San Simeon, the airborne Mojave Green rattlesnake near Rockhouse Basin, the pair of juvenile mountain lions at Canebreak, the perfect shot on a chuckar in October, some great times with the Troutkids in the Sierras (think fish and horses), and marriage to the esteemed Troutwife.