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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.

Long sleeve Hawiian shirt
by R.Sumner


            One of my little rituals is getting the mail from the mailbox everyday, I like checking to see if  anyone has sent me anything, Itís kind of reassuring , like Iím still alive.

             This week I received a beautifully designed brochure from Portland State University titled, ďAlumni work to expand PSU Art Community.Ē  PSU is where I went to graduate school. I received my masterís degree in 1978 and now, 30years later they had finally caught up with me, I found it disturbing, especially the photoís of people I actually knew thirty years ago.  Why, I asked, are they still hanging around the hallowed halls of academia? And why are they reaching out to me?  A lowly, lowly old Trout bum?  When they were kids, did they dream of being on committees and ďgenerating new relationships and networks?Ē

            When we lived in Omaha, my brother and I had pets. I had fish and Gary had turtles; we also had the evil dachshund Hans. Once in a while, one of my brotherís turtles would wander off and expire, turtles are pretty quiet so we could never hear them calling for help. Later we would find there remains in weird places, like Dadís shoes, that is if the Dog didnít find them first and have Turtle taretare.

            When Gary would find a turtle corpse, he had a funeral. First he would construct a casket out of a match box with a cotton ball liner and special masking tape seal; then the casket would go into a small plastic box with more tape and, finally into the flowerbed with a little Popsicle stick marker.

             I would guess Gary was about seven at the time he began with the turtle funerals; thirteen years later he was the youngest licensed funeral director in the state of Oregon.

            Really you canít make this stuff up.

            So I ask myself, what are the first indications of becoming a future Trout bum?  If you could catch it early, maybe a life spent chasing trout could be turned into some productive and positive vocation. Iíve made an extensive and for me fairly scientific study of the subject. (well I mean I did ask my Trout bum community a few questions about there childhood propensities and the connection to there adult fishing life.  What I found out is that most of these guys canít remember what they had for lunch let alone what they did as kids.)

             My conclusion is that you can be struck down at any time by the pure joy of fly fishing and after that the Trout bum life is just around the corner.

            I e-mailed the PSU Art dept. committee with my updated information; they want to know how my PSU art education has affected my life. I would say it has been as useful as a long- sleeve Hawaiian shirt, but that I, too, dream of generating new relationships and networks. On rivers I have yet to see.

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
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
02/01/2003: DEEP IN THE HEART OF IDAHO by Randal Sumner
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