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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.

by Randal Sumner

January 7, 2003 at 9:15 AM, here I sit watching an old Gunsmoke episode with the sound off, drinking coffee trying to forget that the paint is peeling off the house. Next spring for sure, thatís my mantra, next spring for sure. Itís distracting me from hacking out this article; I can almost hear the paint chips hitting the ground. Like snow flakes but louder. Next spring for sureÖ.. I sense you donít really care about my domestic chores so let me tell you about our last fishing trip.

Picture this Trout bums: The sound of rain on a blue tarp, the crackle and illumination of a cedar campfire, the smell and smoke of pork ribs on the BBQ, all this after a long day of fine fishing. We had the ribs the last night out on our fall trip to the North Fork of the Clearwater River in Idaho. This is my old friend Royís recipe for ribs and includes par boiling them in beer, brown sugar and Louisiana hot sauce for an hour then finishing them on a hot grill with gobs of BBQ sauce. Oh mama this is the way to happiness.

The last night out is usually a little more subdued as we consider returning to the long bitter grind to death, but this trip I think we were glad to leave. Chris, Mark and myself had fished like animals for six days and were more than tired and a little beat up. From time to time Mother Nature reminds me I am over the hill. Not out of the game but defiantly not aging gracefully. The North Fork of the Clearwater is a big wide Man Eater in the middle of nowhere, down thirty miles of gravel road. Driving in, at each turn is another gorgeous riffle, run, or pool its only after walking and wading it that begins to make some sense of scale. Those rocks that look like great pocket water from the road are the size of boxcars. This is big country; full of wildlife we saw Moose and Bear up close. The fishing itself is classic cutthroat fare, just find the right water at the right speed and depth and youíre into fish. For some reason we decided to fish the big dry bugs most of the time, but that last evening Chris and I were getting nymph withdrall. We rigged up a stone fly pheasant tail combo and proceeded to get strikes on almost every cast. In one pocket the size of three garbage can lids we hooked up fourteen times, some were big white fish, all were satisfying. Our camp was located at the confluence of Kelly Creek and the N.F.of the Clearwater, the campground was full of anglers from back east, all having spent time and money to ply the sacred waters of Kelly Creek We also took a day to fish the world famous Kelly Creek. I will admit it was pretty and we caught a lot of small fish but it would never be destination for me again. I never got that feeling in my bones that there were lots of lunkers lurking about. Besides the fishing what I most remember about this trip is Marks horrific coffee. Over the years in fishing camps Iíve had weak coffee, strong coffee, nasty coffee and cold coffee but nothing close to this harsh swill. Mark suggested that if I had smoked a few cigarettes the coffee would have improved dramatically. Chris did get him another kind of coffee maker for this year, were hoping for the best

I have been taking a Trout Bum fishing trip for the last twenty years and I would recommend it highly, especially to you younger bums. Make a trip part of your new years schedule, trust me the house will still need painting when you get home. Oh, and in case your wondering a nice sturdy Zinfandel is the appropriate wine to have with ribs.

More Trout Bum Articles:
05/01/2015: The wolves will always eat the sheep by R.Sumner
11/17/2014: Red Fish Redux by R.Sumner
08/01/2014: Retirement by R.Sumner
07/02/2013: Custom by Randal Sumner
05/01/2013: Subaru Magic by Randal Sumner
01/19/2012: Ding Ho by RandalSumner
04/06/2011: A Cautionary Tale by Randal Sumner
01/26/2010: Redfish Round-up by Randal Sumner
11/24/2009: Kentucky Don and English Bob by Randal Sumner
08/25/2009: A word about Bears by R.Sumner
06/30/2009: Polar bear hugging by Randal Sumner
01/27/2009: Christmas letters by Randal Sumner
11/25/2008: Trip to Eden by Randal Sumner
08/07/2008: Mime Time by R. Sumner
06/02/2008: fuel vs fishing by R. Sumner
05/01/2008: Long sleeve Hawiian shirt by R.Sumner
02/07/2008: The Empire by R. Sumner
11/29/2007: Troutbum self-help by R. Sumner
09/04/2007: The Perfect Client by Randal Sumner
07/02/2007: High Anxiety by R.Sumner
03/29/2007: Grasshopper by Randal Sumner
01/25/2007: Chinese food by R. Sumner
11/30/2006: Old Whitey by R.Sumner
09/28/2006: Chief Holland USN retired by R. Sumner
07/10/2006: BBQ by R.Sumner
05/30/2006: Cashmere by R. sumner
03/30/2006: Sterling Choices by Randal Sumner
01/26/2006: Tying with Pablo by Randal Sumner
12/01/2005: Brrr by Mark Littleton
11/24/2005: Thanksgiving 2005 by randal Sumner
09/01/2005: Anchors Away by Mark Littleton
07/01/2005: Some kinda fun by Randal Sumner
05/01/2005: The Base Lake by Randal Sumner
04/01/2005: Humble Pie by Mark Littleton
03/01/2005: Dance monkey dance by randal Sumner
01/01/2005: Where are the Instructions? by Randal Sumner
12/01/2004: Das Boat by Mark Littleton
11/01/2004: What me Worry? by Mark Littlton
10/01/2004: Priorities by Mark Littlton
09/01/2004: Falling In by Mark Littleton
08/01/2004: Ice Fishing by Randal Sumner
07/01/2004: Honey, I flooded the basement by Randal Sumner
07/01/2004: Elvis Lives by Randal Sumner
06/01/2004: Coyote by Randal Sumner
05/01/2004: Redfish and Capt. Dan by Mark Littleton
04/01/2004: Vested Interest by Randal Sumner
03/01/2004: Are you a Troutbum? by Mark Littleton
12/01/2003: Christmas presents by Mark Littleton
11/01/2003: Oklahoma by Randal Sumner
10/01/2003: Steel heading JuJu by Randal Sumner
09/01/2003: Motor Home by Randal Sumner
08/01/2003: Life is Funny by Mark Littlton
07/01/2003: Deschutes by Mark Littleton
06/01/2003: Class of 2002 by Randal Sumner
05/01/2003: BOAT FISHING by Mark Littlton
04/01/2003: ALASKA, LAND OF THE MIDNIGHTBLUE TARP by Randal Sumner
03/01/2003: MARCH BROWNS by Mark Littleton
01/01/2003: TOP TEN by Mark Littleton
12/01/2002: SAN MIGUEL by Randal Sumner
11/01/2002: DISNEYLAND by Randal Sumner
10/01/2002: CAMPING by Mark Littleton
09/01/2002: MMMM MAYFLIES by Mark Littleton
08/01/2002: CARNEGIE HALL by Randal Sumner
07/01/2002: CRAWFISH PIE by Randal Sumner
06/01/2002: Sons and Pals by Mark Littleton
03/01/2002: Visitation by Randal Sumner
02/01/2002: Ouch by Mark Littleton
01/01/2002: Death by Randal Sumner
11/01/2001: Leakers by Randal Sumner
09/01/2001: Poser by Randal Sumner
08/01/2001: Snake River Diary by Mark Littleton
08/01/2001: It's Hard by Mark Littleton
07/01/2001: Etiqutte by Randal Sumner
06/01/2001: June by Mark Littleton
05/01/2001: Road Trip to Paradise by Randal Sumner
04/01/2001: What Are They Doing Up There? by Mark Littleton
03/01/2001: Gear by Randal Sumner
02/01/2001: Soft Hackles by Mark Littleton
01/25/2001: Motivation by Randal Sumner
12/28/2000: Winter Fishing by Mark Littleton
11/30/2000: Old Blackie by Randal Sumner