Monday, November 14, 2011

Back From The Babine River

Back to the shop today after 3 weeks at Steelhead Camp. Kind of a cool trip this year,with great groups made up of returning anglers, a few new additions, and a final week of couples fishing.

Looking upriver from camp.
The first week gave us weather more indicative of September than late October, a nice bonus. The inaugural "Horseshoe Award" went to David Crampton, who took up Spey Casting just a few weeks before heading up to camp. This was also David's first time ever fishing for Steelhead. He pretty much lit 'em up, averaging 3 or 4 fish landed every day. We were glad to get him on trip, our October 19-25 week has had the same anglers for several years, with nobody missing a year. 

Les continues his reign as "The Dredger", with no tank deep enough to stave off his 9140 and T-17.

We get to see our friends from the U.S., Gene, Gary, and Steve for the first time in 51 weeks. A name is missing from this list, our thoughts go out to John and his wife. We hope you can make it next year, we missed you! 

A quick note of welcome, and thanks, to Missy, who took great care of us this year. Always in good spirits and a pleasure to be around! Maureen commented at one point " Missy is the only person I've ever met who's in a great mood even when she's mad".

A lot of good people on this week, I always feel a little sad when we send them off at the end of the week. This emotion is somewhat lessened by two things .... for the balance of the day Darren, Riley, Missy, and I are likely the only anglers on the entire Upper Babine and we get Larry's famous Cheeseburgers for supper. Like every changeover, we fished until we couldn't see and after supper the staff was in bed almost as early as me.

Colours of the October Babine.
A light dusting of snow.
Wednesday, October 26 sees the excited second group of anglers arrive in camp. There was obvious relief on a couple of their faces when they saw I was only joking about meeting them on the beach in my Simms thong. Our second group saw another Babine first-timer, Tom Hirst. Glad to finally get him up to camp and hope he enjoyed it as much as we do. 

Another great group of people make up this week. Kevin continues to impress us with musical talents I had no idea he had. Not only is he a great guitar player, but he can sing as well, even coming up with new Blues licks with Babine themes. "Got no eggs" is likely to be on radio in the near future.

Got to watch a couple of guys, Darren and Terry (both who started with the Spey rods in the last few years) casting and fishing. Both of these guys have developed into very nice casters with the two handed rods.....a pleasure to watch.

Doug, as always, tells a great story, keeping everybody laughing through the week. His ever present grin almost allows me to forgive his diabolical snoring.

A little snowy...Steelhead weather.
Third week sees a little bit of a change up. Maureen and Anita Clegg come into camp along with our Austrian friends (Eugen, Hans, Gerhard, and Luis) and Dwayne, a neighbour of Pierce and Anita at Trout Camp. The weather was a little cooler for this third week, but still a lot nicer than normal.

For the first four days Pierce and I played guide to our wives. This included an overnighter down to satellite camp, an absolute blast. In over 20 years this was the first time Anita got a chance to come and just fish for a few days. I hope she makes it an annual event.

It was kind of fun just playing guide for Maureen, I actually lasted a couple of days before finally breaking down and fishing. Without question Pierce enjoyed it, getting to spend some time with Anita after months of Trout and Steelhead camps. Anita hooked a ton of fish, particularly during the first two days, showing both a complete understanding of fly swing and long distance release. Unfortunately, Anita maintains a key role in the operation of Norlakes and she had to head back Smithers after only four days. By this time Maureen was getting used to things, having already landed a very big Buck of around 20 pounds so I got to do a little more fishing for the balance of the week.

The Austrian National Fishing/Schnapps Team was, as always, a lot of fun. Luis was a new addition and we hope he comes back. Hope Hans likes his Birthday Intruders!

Dwayne, it turns out, is an outstanding singer/guitarist. He can do Ian Tyson tunes and you swear you're listening to Tyson himself. He was good enough to do play for the campfire one night as well as the Norlakes "Closing Dinner" hosted by the Cleggs in Smithers.

So, after about 21 straight days of fishing, the terrible day arrived....time to go home. We all helped close down camp, a traditional part of close week involoving winterizing and storing boats, loading up everything to return to Smithers, and closing up camp (not a happy day for me). Back to Smithers with an evening dinner thanks to Anita and Pierce and the thought that it's only 49 weeks to go and counting!

The final campfire.

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