Trout Bums at Large is a monthly column appearing in the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Seattle Times. The column is written by Randal Sumner and Mark Littleton. We will be keeping an archive of these articles on this page.
Polar bear hugging by Randal Sumner 06/30/2009
I have been
fishing the Yakima River since 1978. So when I tell you
that the 2008 winter and the 2009 spring fishing were the worst seasons on the
river in 30 years, you will understand that I am not Johnny- come- lately whining
about a bad month or two. It all began
last winter when the temperatures plunged, causing the Yakima
to ice over and produce massive ice dams that forced the water over its banks,
flooding the areas next to the river.Iím pretty sure that some of my trout found themselves eye to eye with hungry
coyotes, trying to figure out how they got stuck out in the sagebrush.
this happen in the Golden Age of Global Warming? (Or is this the Silver age of
Global Cooling, Iím so confused)
Then late this
spring the Cascades were dumped on with huge snowfalls, well, as soon as the
ice melted out of the River, the runoff began. This was spring runoff on
steroids; I think we had about two weeks of decent conditions in April, itís
now the middle of June. I thought that Global Warming was going to turn Central
Washington into a little Arabia. How can
I saw an actress doing a TV spot on the plight
of Polar Bears and how they are losing there range because humans are burning
fossil fuels, and if we would just send some money it will all be OK for the
bearsÖ hug hug. (As my old Dad the Chief would say ďJust cause you can sing and
dance doesnít make you smart.Ē)
So here we
are, Troutbums, with too much time and water on our hands. What to do. Well, we
have already tried ballroom dancing so that was out and, besides I have been
banned for life from the ballroom. I put
in a call to Monte the Juggler to see if he had any spots open in his juggling
class but his number was disconnected.
desire to see some clear moving water with a chance at catching a fish, we took
a trip to the BitterootRiver
in Montana. Chris Bolm, Jim Hopkinsand I loaded up the boat and headed east. The
Bitterroot is a nasty little river full of downed cottonwood snags; the week
after we left, an experienced Bitteroot guide drowned in one of those piles of
brush. Needless to say all I got was large dose of high anxiety rowing the boat.
Trust me I donít need life threatening high adventure anymore.
needed was a hobby, but when you own a house or two, do you really need to work
at finding something to do?Chris and I
patched, painted, repaired, did some plumbing and fixed all the small, annoying
jobs we had put off around the old homesteads. Not that satisfying really, but
at least we were burning up some non- productive fishing time, and our wives
Hereís a tip: when you canít fish; work on
your marriage, the river wonít be screwed up forever.
One sunny May
afternoon I got a call from Chris, he said he had something new to show me. I
figured it was some fly tying stuff or another home project. When I walked into
the kitchen, there he was standing over a collection of liquor bottles wearing
a white dinner jacket mixing something called an Old Fashioned.Ē Care for an
Old FashionedĒ, he says.
what ever it is Iím in.
So this is one Troutbums new hobby:
Cocktail-oligist. He is making all the famous cocktails from the 40ís and 50ís;
like a tasty nostalgic trip through a much different time.He looks a little like a Swedish Rick from
the movie Casablanca in that white
jacket, and from the back he reminds me of one of those polar bears that will
soon be living in my backyard.