A little backstory on what inspired this particular cartoon:
* August 2-6 – Missouri River – Pat and John Steele
John and I hadn’t made long range plans for this trip, but fellow SCFF member Bob Peterson raved so much about how well the Missouri was fishing that we jumped on a plane and went. Bob was right, the rainbows were fat, feisty and hungry. We didn’t have any top-water dry fly action, (fishing was all subsurface with a sow bug and some little purple thing called a “two-bit hooker”) but what we did have was epic. There was no trouble catching fish, the problem was in landing them on teeny tiny hooks. I had to learn to keep my paws off the reel and just let them jump, gator-roll, head-shake and do all their shenanigans until they tired out enough for me to land them without breaking them off. We did the first day on the lake at Holter dam, the so-called “Land of the Giants”, and Captain John Hall and his jet-propelled boat put us onto more big fish than we had ever caught in one day.
The second day, we launched from Craig and did a river trip. Along about 11 AM, John had hooked a nice big rainbow, was bringing it up to the surface, when we felt wings flap over our heads, from the stern of the boat, and to our absolute amazement, saw an eagle snatch the hooked fish, line and all, and fly off with it! The eagle broke the fish off, flew with it up onto some old, unused railroad tracks, proceeded to stomp and peck at it to subdue it, then flew up into the cliffs above, to share it with some eaglets that were nested up there. I was too stunned to take photos or video of the event. Later, when we met with our outfitter, Ed Lawrence, he told us that the eagle is a repeat offender, that other people fishing at that very spot, have experienced the same theft. There is even a video on YouTube featuring the thieving eagle. For a short, unplanned trip, this junket proved to be productive, enjoyable, and surprising!
P.S.-On August 5th, the Mann Gulch Fire, which happened in 1949, was commemorated at the lake. Thirteen smokejumpers lost their lives in it, and there is a memorial to them at the lake. The story is told in a book, “Young Men and Fire”, by Norman McClean, who also wrote “A River Runs Through It.” It is a riveting, tragic tale, and anyone who visits this area should read the book.
Posted on May 25th, 2021