Game Fishing
"The Fish Journal" Issaquah Press, Published February 2011

By Dallas Cross

I am not particularly fortunate when it comes to fishing or gaming. However, I have found that proper preparation and patience will often bring rewards whether fly fishing or playing in a poker tournament. In fact there are times where gaming and fishing can work in synchrony.

My wife and I took an auto tour of several Western States last summer to visit relatives and friends in Idaho, Nevada, and Colorado. We packed our fly rods hoping for some trout fishing to counter the uneasiness of strange beds and the monotony of chicken-fried steaks.

Our route took us to Twin Falls, Idaho across the river from where we grew up. I recollected a past "fishing" trip with my younger brother after I came home from the Army.

Getting permission to use our dad's car was difficult. We did justify it with the need for an overnight trip to fish the evening and morning bug hatches on the Salmon River flowing to the Snake River from Nevada.

With the car in hand, the real plan was put into action. We drove to Rogerson near the Nevada state line and the Salmon River dam. Then we disconnected the speedometer and drove on to Elko, Nevada where two saloons had gaming tables open all night.

I was not lucky, as usual, but my younger brother Lary was. Soon he had his end of the double-railed crap table lined with silver dollars. We departed well after midnight under the guise of getting something to eat before they asked us to give up our winnings, because Lary was under age.

On the way back home we stopped, reconnected the speedometer and cast flies into the river at sun up to validate our trip. We even caught some trout!

Continuing last summer's trip, we drove on to Henderson Nevada, arriving at my grandson's home not coincidentally at the same time that the Senior Event of the World Series of Poker in nearby Las Vegas was scheduled.

Several of my poker buddies at the local Elks Lodge and my daughters had been sympathetic enough to become partners and sponsor half of my entry fee to the event. So I registered at The Rio pavilion and walked into the biggest poker arena in the world.

I had expected to view a big group of cue-tipped or shining heads at the poker tables but the minimum age of 50 brought forth a much younger and bigger field. In fact, there were well over four thousand players all seated and awaiting the "shuffle up and deal" announcement.

I played conservatively but having no good hands dealt for hours on end, I finally had to take some risks. I didn't make any misplays but ended up getting knocked out of the tournament when there were just over 500 players remaining--not in the money. Then I took the lonely walk to the Rio parking lot consoling myself that I did outlast 4000 players.

The next visit was in Colorado Springs with my nephew Brian and his family. I chronicled our fishing trip here in a previous article, "Fishing Trip Echoes." We did catch some nice trout on flies in the South Fork of the Platte River near Pike's Peak on our outing.

On the route back home to Issaquah, we made arrangements to visit a buddy whom I had not seen since college days. He and his wife have a lovely log home in the Fraser River Valley just below Winter Park, Colorado. What was most encouraging is that his property surrounds almost three-quarters of a mile of the Fraser River resplendent with trout.

Again, an unplayable hand was dealt as recent rains made the river unfishable. My wife and I accompanied our host to a tributary creek to entice a few reluctant trout. While we were not catching them I glimpsed a cougar slinking in the direction of my wife down stream and quickly joined her to offer a duality of threatening presence. On a following morning our hostess graciously served us delicious Swedish pancakes in lieu of pan fried trout before we departed.

With an invitation to return when the fishing will be better on the Fraser, and having a poker player's perpetual hope that good cards will befall next time, I am already planning our return trip; especially to see our new great-granddaughter born this past Christmas Day in Henderson.

Person fishing
Fraser Valley Creek - "So, where are the trout?

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