|Column nr.10 2003|
| LAST FALL RIVER THOUGHTS
My time on this wild trout sanctuary has come to an end as I pack fly rods and gear and prepare to experience other waters. A journal full of wonderful moments electric motoring up and down the middle portion of this 17 mile river of endless dreams will forever remain special to me.
When I lay out the many photos of perfectly colored healthy trout along side the breath taking sunsets and mist covered morning shots, it makes me a little sad to move on. This adventure has been an eye opener in several respects, especially the levee break and its impact on all the creatures and full time residents. The levee break may be a first warning shot across the bow of all agencies who are supposed to be guarding Californias remaining rivers and streams. In my laymens observations the levee break could have easily been prevented by addressing the insidious river weed growth several years ago. Those state, federal, local agencies involved have the usual tired old bag of excuses for lack of foresight and action. Tight funding, other priorities, and a host of excuses have been thrown around as the buck has not yet found a desk to stop at! Bottom line seems to be a collective feeling it was kismet, natural causes, tough to foresee, cant fix every potential disaster and so forth.
This group mind set may work for the humans who are supposed to be looking after this river, it is quite weak in regard to the many fish, birds, insects, guides, fly fishers, farmers, and the overall commercial impact on this tiny community. One other sobering fact will continue to haunt me, local ranchers and farmers continue to abuse their water rights without being taken to task. Water is routinely taken from the river to flood Alfalfa and other crops which are crop dusted with various chemicals and then allowed to drain back into the river. I witnessed this countless times in my four months fly fishing. Perhaps citizens from Californias cities would be better served to start asking hard questions and demanding more responsible care of the states precious waters...
Bottom line for me will be the beauty of this river and the fighting spirit of its wild strain of rainbow and brown trout. In the first weeks attempting to learn the best ways to work tiny flies and where the pods of fish congregated, I was humbled and left holding my beloved bamboo rods while serious bows over five pounds hit and ran breaking 7 weight tippits and doing aerial ballets. Many mornings were spent endlessly searching for and not finding these highly educated fish. The few times I fooled and had the honor of playing fish over three pounds were as exciting as the King Salmon I landed with light bamboo at Lake Marie in Alaska. The vivid sunsets and generous treatment by Fall River locals was grand. The single fly invitational for womans breast cancer this June hosted at the Pitt River Lodge is the highlight for me. A special thanks to the ethereal Karen Graham my co-host for the event, my time fly fishing with Karen was sublime. The Bald Eagle nesting in the tree next to the cabin and three domestic geese were my favorite companions. One magic moment will always be with me, on a misty morning when I had the river all to myself after dropping anchor a tiny new born Mallard swam out of the brush and stayed with me all morning.
Fall River Mills is one of the last near perfect remote areas in California and I can easily recall my first night in the little cabin near the river with snow falling and wild geese honking. Sunsets of such vivid color that even digital cameras cant capture all the colors, and the people of Fall River. People who live in a state of constant bliss, yet welcome strangers with calm kindness.
A resident and migrant bird population of incredible diversity from Bald Eagles to endless flocks of migrating geese. On the other side of the river across from the cabin herds of cattle and lone coyotes patrolling the waters edge. One morning my sleepy eyes were widened as I stepped out the cabin door and almost stepped on a little snake curled on the door step. An ancient barn in ruins next to the cabin that held several species of owls who were as stealthy and deadly in their nightly hunting and stalking as one could imagine. Two does that each had twins and would come into the yard and munch on apples each evening. I watched the sets of twins learn how to follow their mothers when they had to find their way around fences too high to jump. My memories of the bird population and how often I saw species that I had to look up and identify are pure gold. The old white washed church with its tall steeple across the meadow that cast otherworldly shadow some evenings. Night always brought a kind of stark silence city people never enjoy, when the birds stopped their endless songs and moonless blackness covered everything!
Mornings watching the river and my three domestic geese friends welcome wild geese and their young who stopped by to bath and say hello. Evenings when Mt. Shasta was the best stage for sunsets, and of course the river itself. A river of endless dreams where I saw frogs (healthy) turtles, river otters, and witnessed cruising brown trout that looked like mini submarines. Most mornings at around sun up my little 12 foot boat and its quiet electric motor would allow me to glide silently as the rivers residents began to come alive. The way the light and shadows played and created photos anyone could easily capture. It was like living a dream within a dream as this fly fisher will never forget. Thank you Fall river for letting me spend wonderful moments riding on your shimmering waters...
"ADVENTURES OF FLETCHER QUILL"
Fletcher Quill and his long time companion Timba an Abyssinian cat with more class than many humans Quill has run across, are spending whats left of their first afternoon without guests watching hawks glide and dive. Fletcher thinking out loud as he combs Timbas purrfect coat "Never again will I subject us to the insanity those spoiled models brought to Ravens Heaven. Now if we can possibly survive her blondness Sharon and the baddest of the bad boy rockers, the unknighted Glimmer Twin?" Staff quietly interrupt, "Excuse me sir, I believe its Jive Boy". "Quill, dude whats shaken, long time no hear?" "Jive what a zoo its been around here with those chain smoking models, I threw them back in the ocean and they are gone my main man!"
"Sorta figured that might happen, they were hotties though. I want to come hang and get zen zoned dude. My parents have thrown me out for the 1000th time." "What pulled the trigger this time?" "My Dad flips out when I bring home anyone who looks like they may not have an MBA in their back pocket. So I take a chance and let one of my surfer buds come hang and he makes a little noise and they freak!" Jive, listen dude any minute Keith Richards and Sharon Stone are due in and I really need some help buddy?" "Whoa, dude, you are nuts, they are so not alike and you just tossed the models. By the by, did you hear the King of Pop is gonna have to learn to moonwalk on the cellblock? Oh yeah, back to his old tricks." "Listen Jive, do not ever let that noseless creature have my phone number, dig?" "Have you heard any noise from your new famous X President neighbor Phil.?" "That loud a--jet of his comes and goes, he sticks his head in the door and we chat." "Did you hear California now has a new robot in the state house?" "Man, all news from the sunshine state is weird dude. Maybe he wont get sucked into the bottomless pit like all the others." "Dude, lets talk fly fishing for a change. I got word your up for taking the Irish peace team on a fly trip and I do want in on that and we gotta get back to Alaska and do some serious bug throwin." "Im sure after Keith and her blondness get through pushing all my buttons, it will be go time." "Quill one more piece of trashy gossip. My old man who works for the State Dept. Says your good friend the cowboy was visited by the peanut grower from down south and it did not go well. They got into a scream fest over the mid east thing." "No surprise there, Jimmy dont like no one messing with his honest good work. I will ask the cowboy about that, thanks jive. Now get your skinny a-- out here pronto dude!"
Timba and Fletcher adjourn to the fly tower and begin tying eight streamers black and red tied with the last few strands sent by Pope Johns family estate. These strands were saved from an early trip to the barber by a doting aunt. Quill had some reservations about selling flies tied with the Holy Fathers hair, the going price of ten thousand a fly put a damper on that reflection! The fly tower is surrounded by passing dark clouds as the seasons first big storm approaches in more ways than one. Each order is filled with an expensive Arabian parchment detailing the exact authenticity of the fly and its material. A laser tracking etching is scribed on the bare hook before tying. Timba suddenly stops playing with his favorite Marabou feather and his ears cock toward the stare well. Lilting sounds of a famous female voice wind their way up the tower stairwell...
"Oh my god this castle is more perfect then I imagined, the stain glass and the view, the view is like a Ravens Heaven!" Quill and Timba descend and find Sharon Stone bathed in the last bright shadows before the storm hits the Irish northern coast. Hugs and real Hollywood kisss all around as Timba jumps right into Sharons Prada clad arms. "Finally we meet, Fletcher this place is wonderful and I cant stop looking at that view!" "Sharon, Timba and I have had our paws full the last few days with misbehaving models who ran amuck!" "I promise my stay will be like a church mouse on downers." "You have the run of the castle and staff has FYI on your diet needs and so forth. One little surprise I hope your cool with. Keith Richards is due in this evening as well. He was a guy pal of one of the models and wants to chill here after 12 months rolling the Stones all over creation."
"Your kidding me right, the notorious glorious Stone coming here while Im here." "Sharon hope its not too much of a surprise, he seems like a regular dude on the phone and I thought..." "Hey, its fine with me, so give me the tour, cant wait to see this place. How old is it?" Several hundred years and not getting any younger. Lets start up on the fly tower and work our way down shall we" Timba seems quite cozy being hauled around by her blondness and Quill is glad she appears to be very sane so far. Staff interrupts with a phone, "Quill its your neighbor, hey is that who I think I saw climbing out of that launch a few minutes ago?" "Yes Mr. President it is her blondness in the flesh and I suppose you might accept a dinner invite this evening?" "Except, man Im more excited than I was after the impeachment fell apart. Tell Sharon I cant wait!" "Heads up we have another guest due in this evening who may not sit as well with you, Keith Richards no less." "Wow, Quill you do mingle in the A league my man can I bring anything?" "Only your charm sir, see you around eightish."
While Sharon, Timba and Quill are taking the fly tower tour a bright yellow fast moving boat kicking up a serious wake approached from the southern side of the castle. "Looks like we are about to meet the unknighted Glimmer twin Sharon." "Im going down to meet him Fletcher." Timba finnaly jumps back into Quills arms as they take a window seat and watch for any signs of normalcy as the most famous living guitar player looking fit but weary gets a huge hug from her blondness.
Stay Tuned For Next Episode - Will Her Blondness And His Badness Find Satisfaction?
Fletcher Quill, earlier parts:
Written by Dan
Fallon © 2003
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