My wife is a cheerleading coach for our local high school. Each year, cheer has several camps they attend to better their skills and compete against other schools. It has become a tradition in my home for the boys to "get away" during these days. About 9 years ago, I started taking my older son, Tyler, fly fishing. At the time, he was 8-9 years old. We chose the Lower Owens River, outside of Bishop as our destination. For those who have never been there before, it is a great river to teach kids to fly fish. Lots of fish per mile, easy access, flows are usually in the "small stream" size making wading doable and close to town when the day is done. We had some great times and my son got better each year, catching more than his fair share and at about age 11 started betting dad who would catch the biggest fish of the day (the winner got to chose the dinner spot). For those of you who know Bishop (and 11 year olds) there are not many choices and on those days when he "won" we ate at McDonalds.
Now, 9 years later, Tyler now 17, a teenager, mostly hangs out with his buddies and doesn't fish as much with dad. However, my 10 year old Carson, has been dying to go on these trips since he was 5. This year Carson and I headed for the Eastern Sierra's for our first lesson in fly fishing and fine dining on a "guys'" weekend away while mom did her cheer thing.
Our plan was to fish Hot Creek and the East Walker River (the Lower Owens has been flowing high lately, Bishop was blazing HOT, and staying in Mammoth Lakes seemed much more appealing. I hired two guides, one from Sierra Drifters, "Two-Bug Doug Dolan" for the East Walker and one from The Troutfitter, "Cog MacNeil" for Hot Creek. I figured the help of a guide would speed up the learning curve for Carson and make the trip much more enjoyable for both of us. I was right, both guides were AWESOME!
Carson got a little over-heated mid-day but "powered" thru it. It can get warm in the canyon section of Hot Creek and that particular day we had little or no wind to cool us off. A nice dip in the pool afterwards got him rejuvenated and ready for Day 2 on the East Walker.
The East Walker was a completely different experience. We added wading!!! We met "Two-Bug" Doug Dolan from Sierra Drifters early in Bridgeport. I have to say that Carson was a little worried about getting in the water for fear of floating away. The first 15 minutes were "spooky" and both Doug and I were thinking this could be a long day! Doug was a rock star. He got Carson into fish within minutes of stabilizing him in the current (very important) and again Carson hooked a nice one. Here is the issue, we are not fishing for Marlin on 200lb test and horsing them in like you see on the Bass Pro Tour is a technique that should be left at home when fishing trout in fast moving water. The East Walker has some very large browns and rainbows, and at anytime you could hook one. Carson proceeded to hook but not land several more. Doug finally got him "dialed in" and he landed several throughout the day. Each fish landed Carson made it clear that he had "beat his record"!
I would like to personally thank both Doug Dolan of Sierra Drifter & Cog MacNeil of The Troutfitter for making our experiences memorable. Carson has learned skills he can take with him forever.
If you are in Mammoth Lakes, I have to mention Hot Chicks. By recommendation, we tried this "chicken joint". Talk about the BOMB! The portion alone could choke a dinosaur. The chicken was perfect and even though I am not a big Mac & Cheese fan, I was pleasantly surprised with the selection.
All in all a great trip, good memories and fish in the net. Thanks Sierra Drifters, Troutfitter for filling our fishing nets and Hot Chicks for filling our bellies! Oh and on a side note, Carson made the September cover of Western Outdoor News!!