Vacation II

Now that I’m in charge of my time (much more than one year ago), I’m on my second vacation of the summer. More to come. I will see James McCann in July at Cincinnati. He should be healthy by then. He said he’d leave tickets for Jean Ann and me.

I made it to Loveland last night and have rested today at the Gage home. Jim Daniel is swinging by this afternoon and we will head Northwest to Walden.

There is a chicken fried steak with my name on it at the Antlers Inn.

Then on Wednesday we will head north to fish the Big Horn for two days with guide Michael “Fly” Graham. We were going to do the Miracle Mile one day but Fly said they are cutting back flows this week and it’s not perfect. So we opted for two nights in Thermopolis and “the Horn” because it’s supposed to be fishing awesome. Listen to your guide when he suggests a change in plans.

Jim and I may wade the Encampment River on our way north on Wednesday. Gonna check it out for sure.

Had a real treat today in Lyons. Went by South Creek Limited Fly Shop. Bamboo rod maker (major legend) Mike Clark came out from his work shop to visit for an hour. I basked in his glory.

We talked about the many fine cane rods for sale there, most 60 to 80 years old. No, I couldn’t afford them. But I looked. Many were well over $5,000.

There were no Mike Clark rods for sale. You can pay for one and might get it in 3 years.

I did buy two of his ball caps with his logo. And I bought a book.

I did not get to go into the work shop but I looked in. Iconic place.

There are lots of split cane rod makers scattered around but he’s one of the most famous. His rods can be plain or incredibly ornate. He asks only one thing when he hands you one: please fish it.

Translation: it may be pretty but don’t hang it on the wall like a painting. That’s where a lot end up but if he hears about that, he may take it back.

Back to the July trip, Jean Ann wants to spend one day at a massive flea market (or antique warehouse depending on your point of view) in Springfield, Ohio. She likes old Fiesta Ware. This place has literally tons of it. There is a huge TV lounge with recliners for people like me to read books.

We will spend at least one day there. I hope she fills up our truck quickly and we move on.

Next stop is Boiling Springs, PA. We will stay three nights at Allenberry Resort and I will fish the Yellow Breeches. We may also tour nearby Gettysburg for the second time.

This all precedes my elk hunt in September with Jim Daniel.


Wonderful Clay. Enjoy every minute. You’ve earned it. Give my regards to Jeremiah.

Oh, forgot this, Jeremiah and family in Europe. He’s been there for last 5 weeks. Ginger and Wyatt joined them this week.


Where are you going to catch the CWS?

I am not planning on going to games but I won’t rule out an Omaha trip. I have been assigned a few days to hang with our lab next week but there are lots of folks who would volunteer to keep her (and not give her back).


Breakfast at River Rock Cafe in Walden was excellent.

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If you come back through Golden/Littleton area on way out and have some time stop by my showroom. I can hook you up with lights for your adventures.

Hope you got a nap after that feast….

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Waded the Encampment for a bit today. Flows too heavy. Highlight was seeing two big mule deer while putting on Jim’s hip boats. Pretty drive on about 50-60 miles of dirt roads.

Made it to Thermopolis tonight. Will float the Big Horn tomorrow. Flows high here, too.

Ate dinner at One Eyed Bison close to some broken hearted Ohio natives who got turned around at the east gates of Yellowstone. That place is a horrific mess.

Whatever we face on the Big Horn will be fine. Sounds like Jim and I will be throwing streamers tomorrow.

Makes my mouth water, make sure to have 3-4 eggs. Small little suckers.

Clay, enjoy your well deserved vacation(s) in turning a page. The three chapers (Colorado), (Ohio and PA) followed by the Elk Quest, will no doubt be a published journal by mid Spring. I can hardly wait for these tales from your retirement trail. Have a great adventure and be safe!!! I am sorry to hear Gage is aboard for this one.

Dufushog .

Gage is in Holland. I am with Jim.

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Big Horn rainbow. Right after the launch.


Ok, Tom, I just figured out who you are. Occasionally slow but I get there.


Encampment River. About 8,500 feet. Photos courtesy of Jim Daniel. It was nice and cool. That’s a fleece lined shirt and it felt good.


Great pictures. Beautiful place and doing what you enjoy with good friends. Life being lived in the moment.

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Clay, you have that peaceful easy feeling look on your face. Have fun!


Jim and I did not get to do Miracle Mile of North Platte. Pathfinder Dam releases dropped to 500 cfs and it was unfloatable and too warm to be safe for fish.

So we did the next tailwater down, what is called the Grey Reef section of North Platte.

Fish were caught and it was great fun. The guide will send me some pics later. I did snap one of a rainbow caught by Jim Daniel. Guide Mike Graham is holding it for Jim.

The highlight was the one that got away. I made a long cast to a hole that was hard to reach because wade fishers blocked the boat drift. I hit the bucket and hooked a HUGE cutthroat that put on a great aerial show. It charged the boat. I caught up with it and then it made a long run where it came from. It threw the size 20 fly on the third huge leap maybe 3 feet out of the water.

It was exhilarating. It got the best of me. It’s colors were vibrant with orange and bronze hues.

I caught several rainbows well over 20, maybe some as long or longer than the cutty. But that was the fish of the day and worth all of the driving.

I failed early on in that fight trying to put it on the reel instead of stripping slack line. I did get tight to it. Might have given it a hard set when I got it tight before the exit run.

It was probably a fish that exceeded the 6-pound tippet. But I still should have given it a second set while tight.

Fishing size 20 flies is full of issues. But that’s what it took today on the North Platte.

Jim will probably add his thoughts at some point.

I will hustle home tomorrow in time for Father’s Day.

The fishing was fun but it did not top the beauty of the drive or the visit with Jim in between all the George Strait tunes on the truck stereo (turned up loud). Jim and I added to our many rich experiences that make us close friends.

There was much talk about the September elk hunt.