Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Hell of A Day... Wyoming-Style!

Tonight, I'm really tired and my writing juices have coagulated making a gooey mess somewhere between my elbow and my left wrist. So, as with an any other mediocre writer with delusions of grandeur, allow me to resort to the old good news/ bad news cliche'. Like I said, I'm beat and not feeling too creative, but this was one hell of a day!
Back to my cliche':
The good news is everything worked. I fished at approximately 8000' for native cutthroat trout. Everything worked... I mean everything:

Sipping midges in the eddies.

Indian Paintbrush and Cutthroat trout... that's Wyoming!

Grabbing caddis from the shadows

Size 20 parachute Adams took 18" sippers from the foam lines, #12 red-leg hoppers killed cutties from the riffles, beetles were simply unfair, a hooper/dropper seemed like cheating ( I actually had two, three and four 16" cutties chasing the dropper as it rose on the swing), the list goes on and on... I must have caught 30-40 fish over 16 inches and started pulling the fly away from any fish under 16 inches. It was truly absurd... and it was dead calm with blue skies! Prefect right?
OK, so here is the bad news:
As I was working on an 18" fat boy that had a great lie under a congested undercut willow bank, I heard a mewing sound. It sounded like a depressed cow calf. Since the fate of the Western world hinged on my catching this cutthroat, I ignored the sound until I heard a larger splashing sound from around the bend upstream. This completed some cognitive synapse in my fish-addled brain so I sought out the source of the mewing sound downstream. 

She looks up...
Then I get "the look"! I hate that look.
She ponders her options....

...and decides to come across the river!

Finally cooler heads prevail!

What I saw was an adorable month-old, cinnamon moose calf mewing for its mom who was now obviously upstream making splashing sounds in an effort to test the relative intelligence of one fairly stupid homo sapien. Just then, the mother rounded the bend, saw me and more importantly, just beyond me, her calf looking all cute and adorable. Moms, being moms, hate it when anything with a pulse gets between their progeny and their motherly need to protect such progeny.

I backed up saying,"no problem mom, your baby is so cute, I am no threat, she is adorable and you are so FRICKING big". These by the way, were my exact words although the pitch of my words were a bit higher than you might imagine!

Mother moose, found no solace in my generous compliments and bluff charged me. I hid behind the biggest willow bush I could find. Mom stopped and turned back towards her baby, I resumed breathing... all was good. Soon, the calf found her mom and he immediately tried to nurse by ramming his comical moose snout in her mom's belly. While junior could only think about food, Mom still had issues with me. So, and here is the really bad news, she really charged me this time. 

I, at 150 lbs., was giving away conservatively 650 lbs. so I backed up again...VERY FAST! I clambered up the bank, stumbled in the mud, fell and instead of elegantly breaking my fall my with my arm, my arm kept going and plunged down a beaver hole. My arm twisted and I yelled "shit"... very loudly. Apparently, the cow moose figured she had now gotten her pound of flesh. She waded back across the river, nursed her calf and I took photos knowing my arm would be hurting tonight either way. I might as well have a few photos to show my wife!

After the adrenaline began to wear off, my elbow really began to hurt. I decided it was time to turn around, head for the car and hope nothing was broken.

Hoppers tight to the bank!

Tonight my elbow is swollen and it hurts. I have eaten three Advil, iced my elbow and wrapped it in an ace bandage.
By the way, even with one arm, the fishing on the way back the car was absurdly good! I think I'll go back again tomorrow!


  1. Living in Wyoming you have to know better than to play chicken with moose. You'll be getting no sympathy from me. Great story tho and glad Mama Moose decided you were harmless before she stomped a mudhole in you.

  2. I got ambushed! .. then I got lucky!
    I have had more problems with moose than with bears and lions combined! No contest, moose... mother moose, are mean critters!