Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fishing Grouse Creek

Grendel on Grouse Creek
Todd Casting, Grendel Sniffing
Fishing with GSPs
Picking Flies
Cool, Clear Water
An Itty Bitty Fishy
Bobo Sniffing out the Good Rocks
Waiting for Trout
Drooling on Grouse Creek
Our GSP Water Sprite
Seriously, When Did This Dog Start Liking Water?
But What's Not to Like About This Water?
My Feet Are Submerged in a Mountain Spa
That's a Dog Smile
Driftwood the Size of a Small Car
Bobo and Her Best Buddy
Casting Over Dog
Trout are Biting
Beautiful Afternoon Skies
Blue Goose
We pile the dogs into the backseat of the Blue Goose, and head to Samuels Corners for breakfast at the Blue Heron. We even see a great blue heron fly over as we eat omlettes out on the patio, overlooking Walsh Lake. It's exactly three miles south of Elmira Pond and both waters are deep blue in the blowing wind this morning.

Instead of driving into the maw of the Pack River canyon with its massive peaks of weathered granite, gneiss and swift-tumbling waters, we go the opposite direction, heading east into the Cabinet Mountains that span across northern Idaho and western Montana.

We get lost.

If it's not battery cables, it's a wrong turn, but such is the stuff of great adventures. It's not like there's a lot of roads in Kanisku National Forest, so we explore the ranch-lands and make a mental map to make up for our lack of one on paper. Before long we cross the forest service road and travel along a meandering creek, smaller and not as turbulent as the upper Pack River.

Todd can't stand it. He's seen too many fishing holes, so we cut short our drive to go to Big R in Sandpoint. A fishing license turns into an elk and deer tag, too.

Somewhere between the canning supplies and the gun counter, I take a wrong turn and come face-to-face with a retail wall of "bear deterrent." For cross-promotional purposes, Big R should sell "Depends" on this aisle. Seriously, if I come close enough to a grizzly to annoy it with a spritz of cayenne, I'm also going to need an adult diaper.

The attendant at the gun counter is helpful. He even suggests that I shoot the buck eating my strawberries, as it is a known fact in Bonner County that the circuit judge refuses to try locals for poaching deer. He doesn't even try to sell me a license. It seems I have quirky rights as a local gardener; the local deer have none.

Yet, leaving Big R, I realize that I've spent more on pectin and jars than Todd has on his multiple licenses to pack our freezer with protein.

Thus we return to Grouse Creek armed with fly-rod, elk-hair catis flies and dogs to point the way. I have packed my essential gear, too--book, camera, picnic food, kibble for "good dogs" and a walking stick that also serves as my imaginary bear-nose-buster.

If a creek were ever perfect, Grouse Creek would take top honors. Gurgling clear water, melon-sized rocks of metamorphic minerals and biting trout.

Grendel, our male GSP, used to loathe water. Somewhere between Lake Superior and northern Idaho he morphed into a water sprite. The dogs splash every potential hole and riffle for Todd. Nonetheless he catches (and releases) a dozen trout and only loses one fly to a willow.

We walk back to the Blue Goose happy for our day. The dogs are blissfully exhausted, my pockets are full of rocks and my feet still tingle from soaking in a cool mountain spa. We eat tuna fish sandwiches and peas from the farmers market, watching the sun set behind the mountains.

Life is good even 10 miles from the pond.

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