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Uncle Wes

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  1. As I sit here with a pile of bills getting ready to put them in a hat to see which ones will get paid this month, I find myself wondering what it would be like to have a million bucks. What would I do with it, you ask? I can think of several things right off of the top of my head, such as fishing all of the different trophy lakes in Washington and writing a story for each one to share with you. I could develop a trophy fishery here in Whatcom County without any help and, above all, I could pay my bills. Here's another thought I could film each adventure and give you a bird's eye view of the action. Now that would be exciting. I wouldn't have to try and describe all of the beauty I encounter on my fishing adventures through writing. Now this raises the question of how could I make a million dollars. Well, maybe I could marry well and have a woman take care of me in the manner I would like to be accustomed. Naw, I tried that. She just got richer. I've got to think of how I could become a millionaire. I know, I could sell autographs for $100,00 apiece and I would only need to sign ten. I don't think that would work. What else could I come up with? How about starting a fund for making me a millionaire? I could call it "Make Uncle Wes the Fishing Millionaire". Now that's kind of catchy. I could urge all of you to send a check to Uncle Wes at PO Box 841, Maple Falls, Washington, 98266. I heard of a guy doing that and, come to find out, for some reason it's illegal. So I couldn't ask you to send a check to Uncle Wes at PO Box 841, Maple Falls, Washington, 98266. But wouldn't it be nice for me if I could ask you all to send a check to Uncle Wes at PO Box 841, Maple Falls, Washington, 98266. Let's see, what else could I come up with? Just sitting here thinking of all the lakes I could fish and not have to worry about how to pay my bills just makes my head swim. Could you imagine having to go fishing everyday? Now, that would be a tough life. But you know, I think I'm just the man to fill the bill. To Bad it's illegal for me to ask you to send your checks to Uncle Wes at PO Box 841, Maple Falls, Washington, 98266. I wonder what else I could come up with that would make it legal to have you send your checks to Uncle Wes at PO Box 841, Maple Falls, Washington, 98266. Perhaps I could form my own non-profit organization and call it "Educating Citizens on Washington Fishing and Camping". Then, just maybe, I could legally ask you to send a check to Uncle Wes at PO Box 841, Maple Falls, Washington, 98266. Maybe I should look into this further. yes, an education show might just be the trick. Then I could fish year around, share my adventures, create a really terrific trophy fishery here, pay my bills, and become a millionaire. That would be my dream come true. But until I investigate this further I will you ask you not to send your checks to Uncle Wes at PO Box 841 Maple Falls, Washington, 98266. But if any of you folks can think of a way that I can become a millionaire fisherman, please drop me a line at Uncle Wes at PO Box 841, Maple Falls, Washington, 98266. Until I find out for sure if it's legal for me to accept checks from you to make me a millionaire, hang onto your checks and don't send them to Uncle Wes at PO Box 841, Maple Falls, Washington, 98266. So until next time may the fish at the end of your line be the one of your dreams.
  2. Sara, Guardian of the Lake When I first moved up here some four years back I had always heard of strange happenings, haunting of spirits past in this old country side. I naturally took them with a grain of salt and laughed them off until recently when I witnessed something extraordinary I?ve never told anyone of this until now, let me start at the beginning and explain how this whole event took place. Back in the late 1800?s there was a resort on the lake that was quite popular with the wealthy folks from Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver all came to spend their vacations in fact the building was in the very spot that the current Day lodge is located now. Anyway this was quite the scenic area back then it was surrounded by old growth cedar trees and was considered to be in the wilderness. Back in those days when you went to a resort they had activities for the guests each evening, ballroom dancing, lavish parties where the champagne flowed freely, yes it was quite the festive place to be if you could afford it. The lodge itself was huge three stories high with the guests staying on the second floor, the employees on the top floor, and the main floor was something to behold with a ballroom, formal dining room, library, kitchen, reading room, and a main gathering room with a huge stone fire place for relaxing and socializing, it was quite the luxurious place with its crystal chandeliers, big picture windows over looking the lake and a covered porch that went around the whole building, in a word beautiful. One evening late in the summer they were having a formal dance with the orchestra playing the songs of their time the champagne was being consumed at a tremendous rate, as this was the last big evening of the season. There was a young beautiful woman, Sara with her long flowing white dress, beautiful long golden locks of hair, and the deepest blue eyes that you can imagine dancing, drinking, and enjoying this last evening with her fianc?e Richard a very wealthy, handsome young man from Seattle. As the evening wore on and the champagne began to take effect Sara and Richard decided that they needed to go out for air one thing led to another and they decided to take one of the canoes out on the lake for one last romantic evening on the lake. Now with both of them being intoxicated it seemed a wonderful thing to do and they took off from the dock paddling their way into the darkness in high spirits. After about a half hour on the lake something went terrible wrong the canoe had over turned and Richard came back to the top he called out for Sara over and over without any reply he dived over and over trying to locate her but came up with nothing he cried for help and folks from the lodge were soon there to help him with there lanterns they searched the water all night trying to rescue Sara but they couldn?t find her. The next morning the Sheriffs department and volunteers searched the whole lake bottom with grappling hooks and divers trying to locate Sara?s body but they came up empty handed. Richard who was heart broken returned to Seattle and Sara?s body never was recovered. As the years went on there were rumors of several people seeing a woman in a long flowing white dress walking across the top of the water and she always stopped and paused looking at them smiling and gently flowing to the other side of the lake only to disappear. Like all things the resort was bought out and turned into a park/campground with a day lodge, boat rentals, and restaurant. Now two years before I started here two girls were out in a paddle boat and came into the office very excited saying they had seen a body at the bottom of the lake there description of the woman wearing a long white flowing dress matched Sara. The Rangers new immediately who it was but still they had to call in the Sheriffs department and begin dredging the lake bottom looking for this body. Needless to say they came up empty handed once again. The very first year I worked here I had heard a rumor of a gentleman that lived in a house on the lake had gone for his evening swim across the lake and he cramped up out in the middle of the lake and started going down and then passed out. When he came to on the other side of the lake on the beach he said he had seen a beautiful young woman standing over him she smiled at him and then walked away. He said it was as if she just disappeared into the forest. Two years ago on the opening day of trout season it was cold wet and miserable and as usual there were a lot of folks in search of their opening day trout limits. An older couple was out on the lake doing this very thing when for some reason they both stood up in excitement of a very large fish they had hooked into and the small 12 foot aluminum boat they were in capsized now neither one of them was wearing a life jacket and the gentleman came right back up to the top grabbing a hold of the boat calling out for his wife. She couldn?t swim and went straight to the bottom of the lake she thought this was the end for her and she said just as she was gasping and about to lost consciousness she felt two hands under her arm pits raise her towards the surface where she grabbed onto the bow of the boat. As other boats came to their rescue she kept asking for the person that saved her, but nobody had gone in the water after her. She told us her story and we knew right away that it was Sara that had rescued her. Now I?ve got to tell you I?m the kind of guy that believes but yet I don?t its hard to explain I guess I?m the type that has to witness it to be a true believer. One day last September on a Tuesday it was very early and there was a thick fog holding on the surface of the lake, you could barely see five feet in front of you. I started motoring out to the north end of the lake and when I reached the middle I put the motor in neutral so I could rig up and start my trolling pattern when out of the corner of my eye I seen something as I turned to look I seen a woman?s figure standing up and just floating across the top of the water heading to the other side. She was wearing a long white dress and the material seemed to flutter in the breeze when all of a sudden she paused and looked directly at me and smiled. She was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life she had the deepest dark blue eyes I have ever seen then she turned and continued to the other side of the lake and disappeared into the fog bank. Now you would think I would be terrified at such a site but instead I had a sense of contentment and warmth that to this day I can?t explain. Anyway I started fishing and was hooking and releasing trout in the 12 to 18 inch range and I didn?t seem to want to keep any of them, every time I let one go I immediately had another on it was my most successful day ever 43 trout in four hours, in fact I have never had a day any better than that one. Now if you ask me do I believe in Sara I have to say yes, she truly is the guardian of the lake and I have seen her up close and have no other explanation for what I witnessed.
  3. Thanks Jerry, I just finished another one today and I'm currently working on another in fact I've been working on it off and on for 6 months its one of those pieces that you have to be in the right mood to work on. thanks again I'm glad you enjoyed it.
  4. I knew him better than most as we spent countless hours together on the lakes and rivers fishing so I figure I can tell you what I know about this modern day mountain man. Some folks called him eccentric, a recluse, or even a loner I just called him friend. The one question I have and still don?t understand is why live this life of loneliness and solitude? Had life dealt him so many disappointments and tragedy that this is how he escaped from it all or was he genuinely happy with this arrangement in life? I don?t think I will ever know the answer to that one. He was admired by some, liked by most, and hated by a selected few but all in all a decent man who gave more than he received. He used to say that he had a hand full of friends and even less than that the he trusted and the rest were just aqaintences. His face was like tanned leather the wrinkles in it were battle scars of life that had begun to take its toll. His body had started to break down, bad knees, a back that went out on him now and again, a trick shoulder, and fingers that had been broken more than once. He often joked that it took him twenty minutes just to straighten out in the morning before he could get out of bed. They say the eyes are the window to your soul if this is true you could look into his eyes and feel a sense of sadness that you just couldn?t quite put your finger on but you could feel it and knew it was there. Although he wasn?t a rich man he always seemed to get by and end up with the things he needed, by all accounts a very remarkable man. He was by no means a saint like he said he fractured a law or two as a youth, every now and again he would have a streak of meanness but after all he?s only human. He woke everyday and set about accomplishing his tasks at hand, completely trustworthy and honest he was well respected for these characteristics as he preformed them day in and day out. He seemed to be genuinely concerned for the well being of others and would help when and where he could even if it meant cutting himself short on some of his personal items. I don?t think that he ever fully realized the positive impact that he had on others around him but then again I don?t think he ever gave it a second thought. I think that every once in a while he was taken advantage of for these traits but it never seemed to bother him or at least he never let on either way. He once told me he had given up on love long ago but I think deep down he was still holding out for that miracle, someone he could share his life with and the beauty that surrounded him if you just looked for it. He was an acclaimed storyteller he could keep you on the edge of your seat as he told his tales and he got even greater pleasure in telling them to the kids. He seemed to really enjoy having children around he said the one thing about kids is that they kept everything pretty black and white no gray areas just they way he liked it. He was a jack of all trades and master of none, I considered him to very remarkable man he continually amazed me with some of the things he knew about. I always got great enjoyment watching people under estimate him only to have it come back and bite them in the butt, his knowledge of different subjects always amazed me. There was always one thing you could count on if you asked his opinion on a subject that he didn?t really have any knowledge of he wouldn?t have a comment but ask him about a subject he was very keen on then expect an honest answer he wouldn?t sugar coat it he?d tell it just like it was. He had his quirks and superstitions but I think all of us do to some extent. He once told me that he had gone 8 weeks without speaking to anyone except his wild cat, if he got tired of people or the drama that surrounded them he would just simply retreat to his cabin and mind his own business I have to admit I admired him for this trait of being able to shut everything out and not let it bother him. There were times he would ask me what day it was and he honestly wasn?t sure, now you?ve got to admire a guy like this he didn?t know and really didn?t care. He was also very supersticious if he was on some kind of winning streak he wouldn?t change a thing including his clothes that use to amuse me a great deal just to see some of the stuff he came up with. But his main love was fishing I swear this man could catch a fish in a mud puddle. I first met him on the local lake and would observe him for hours as he hooked and released trout after trout and nobody else out there seemed to get a bite he was like watching poetry in motion he was one with his surroundings it was like he had a sixth sense out there. One day I met him at the boat ramp and started talking to him and asking questions about his remarkable success rate, well one thing led to another and he invited me to go with him the next day. I?ll tell you I was excited about this opportunity that had been presented to me. The next day I was an hour early because there was no way I was going to miss this adventure and the possibility of learning from a true master. I can remember it just like it was yesterday and this took place four years ago. On this day he was bigger than life to me this man was a fishing legend in the area and his feats as a fisherman were always discussed where anglers gathered everyone knew of his reputation as one of the truly greats not only in the area but around the state. I can honestly say this was the day that I truly learned about fishing a lake effectively and the reason you do your homework before you attempt to go out. We loaded all of our gear in the boat and started out he explained to me what we were going to use and just why we were going to work the area he was headed to. As we motored out into the lake he pointed out different areas and explained to me why one area was better than others during certain times of the year also things I should be looking for in early spring, summer, fall, and winter. These were things that I never really gave a second thought to and showed me how much I really had to learn. He also told me that to say you were going to go trout fishing was a very ambiguous statement to make because each species of trout had different needs and habitat to survive this was really an eye opener for me part of the education I was hoping to receive. As we got to the section of the lake he intended to work for the day we let our lines out and then he started to teach me how to bracket a lake down to locate the trout this was turning out to be quite an experience and I was soaking it all in. I watched him as he was checking out the water looking for a hatch so he could find a fly with matching colors or the exact matching fly in less than twenty minutes we had hooked and released two rainbow trout a piece from twelve to sixteen inches telling me not to worry that those weren?t the ones we were looking for. We were looking for big game in the five-pound range, which was fine by me something that big would be an all time best for me. And to tell you the truth I was getting excited at the prospect of hooking into something that big. As the day wore on and he taught me lesson after lesson we had hooked and released over thirty fish apiece several in the two to three pound range I finally had a hook up that completely took me by surprise I seen it come out of the water and couldn?t believe my eyes it was huge the biggest I?d ever hooked into I played him for about a half hour as he leaped out of the water and made several more runs on me I finally got him close enough to the boat to put a net on him a beautiful eight pound rainbow. As I looked at him he had this great big grin on his face and said ?there?s your dinner.? I got him home that evening and filet him out had a few friends over for dinner mainly because I knew no one would believe me if I told them. Now the reason I?m writing this story is that I had noticed he hadn?t been on the lake lately and the fall was his favorite time to fish the lakes so I made a trip up to his cabin to make sure everything was alright. I knocked on his door and got no answer so I went in to find that it was empty, everything was gone. Evidently he just packed up and moved on without any fanfare or good-byes. I don?t know if this community realizes the loss that they have suffered when this living legend and icon had left but I think eventually they will but it?s to late now. I only hope that he finds what he?s looking for and if you should happen to see him tell him I said hello and thanks for everything. This man is one of a kind and it?s worth your time to get to know him.
  5. Thank you always happy to here folks enjoy my work.
  6. Nice pics you'll want to hang on to those.
  7. Thank you I'm glad you all enjoyed it. CK I can't seem to get your pics to come up. Take care all.
  8. Good one Will, keep writing.
  9. Uncle Wes


    Greetings my old friends, I hadn't forgot about you just have been extremely busy from April until about the end of October seems to just bury me. Alot has happened since my last visit, I have a weekly column in the paper, my company has just signed two wholesale companies to distribute my product, one here in Washington and another in California. Now if I could lock one in for Oregon I could relax a little. I also have a steelhead and salmon spoon series coming out that should be exciting for me. I worked all last winter in perfecting its use and colors for the smaller rivers around here. I have submitted a story for your reading pleasure hope you enjoy it. I have another one on lake trolling tactics I will post next month that has gotten great reviews from a lot of the pros, I think you will also enjoy that one. So until then take care.
  10. It was a cool, crisp morning as I approached the creek to try for my season opening trout. The sun was starting to come up, the dew on the grass, and the smell of the cool, crisp, clean air sent my mind reeling back to my youth. As I approached the creek I could here the gentle gurgling of the water as it swept past me, I found myself thinking of the first time I had ever fished this body of water as a youth. Although it was many years ago, it seemed like almost yesterday that I stood in this same spot with my father learning how to read the water and drift that worm in just the right manner to entice the trout into taking my offering. The memories were so thick I could just swipe them from in front my face, it was like yesterday all over again. [page_break] As I baited my hook and approached the water in my stealth mode, I thought I could here my fathers voice coaching me all over again: ? Alright son take your time, read the water, where are they laying?? Just then I noticed the run just above a nice deep hole, I crept up until I found the perfect spot to work this run. I made my first cast and let it drift right through the prime spot of the run to end up in the hole, bang fish on. I set the hook and started playing this little scrapper. It was like I could still here him coaching me: ?Take your time son play him out.? A few minutes had passed and as I got him closer to the bank I could see the brilliant red band running down his side, it was a nice 12-inch rainbow. I brought him in closer until I could reach down and remove the hook and send him to freedom to fight another day. Then I heard that voice again full of praise: ? Nice fish son, you worked him perfect.? I paused to reflect on this moment before I started moving along the creek to look for another nice run to work. I moved ever so quiet, like I was walking on air when I came across a spot that was all too familiar to me. As I stood there and looked at this spot I could see my dad working this run, he had a style of his own and I don?t ever think I?ve seen anyone else that ever seemed like he was a part of the creek, it was like he belonged there, this was his haven that he knew all too well. I moved into position so I could work this run, and paused for just a moment to enjoy this secret sanctuary. I made my first cast and came up short of where I wanted it to be. I brought it back in and tried once again and still didn?t get it exactly where I wanted it. When like a flash, my memory started working and I could see him working that spot then I heard the voice again: ?Son flip it in backhanded and work the cut close to the bank and let the water do the rest.? I then backhanded in and it was perfect, right under the branches into the current that pushed it right into the hole, oops there was a little strike. I brought it back in and gave it another backhanded cast. It was perfect as it drifted ever so naturally into the hole. Bang, this time it was a good solid strike. I set the hook and the fight was on. The line was singing as this beautiful trout made his run. I played him out for what seemed to be several minutes, when I got my first real good look at him he was a lot bigger than the first one, he measured out to at least 16?. I brought him in closer and reached down to remove the hook, and I just had to admire this one. As I turned him loose he laid there for a moment and then took of like a shot back into the current from which I had just brought him from. I tried a few more casts into the run with no luck, and then I took a deep breath of that fresh air and listened to the birds singing in the background. As I turned to move to another the spot I could hear his voice again: ?This is what it?s all about son, take it all in and enjoy this tranquility.? I looked off into the distance and could see two deer drinking from the creek as they walked to the other side. I went back into my stealth mode and worked my way down the trail and through the brush until I reached another good spot, if my memory serves me right. Yeah, this is the place. The largest trout I ever caught out of this creek was right in this very spot. It was like a double run that ended up in real nice hole. As I got ready to start working this run I noticed the sun peeking through the leaves and glistening off of the water like a diamond necklace under a spotlight, it was breath taking. I started working the first part of this run and made several casts, and watched as the worm drifted so naturally into the hole but got nothing. I then positioned myself just right so I could work the far side of this double header and on the first cast it made the drift about half way and I had a good solid take. I set the hook and off he went. He turned his body into the rushing water and the reel was singing one more time. Now he probably went 50 yards and made it into the rapids, when I could here my dad saying: ? Alright son, you are going to have to go after him if you want this one.? So off I went, keeping the line tight and putting just enough pressure on him so as not to give him a chance to go free. I must have chased him for at least 300 yards and finally got him out of the rapids and worked him close to shore, where I removed the hook and watched him swim off. I thought to myself that was amazing. I haven?t had this much fun for years and then I thought again, it?s been years since I?ve been back here. Well I knew I had some more time to work this all too familiar creek. I was hoping that this old friend was willing to give me the pleasure of just one more trout. So I started working my way around the trail and through the brush to find that one spot that would give me just one more opportunity to hook up. I walked for about 10 minutes and spied the perfect spot. I dropped my pack on the bank and started to get myself in position being ever so careful not to alert the fish that I was in the area. When out of the corner of my eye, I saw a bright silver flash, that?s when I heard the old man again: ? Did you see that? It?s a beauty. You are going to have to work this one good to get him.? Don?t worry pop, I?m up to it, I thought to myself. I let my first cast go, and bang, the fight was on. I knew this guy was big, he came out of the water 3 or 4 times and made several runs on me. I must have fought him for at least 10 minutes until I finally got him in close enough to take the hook out. At least a 24-inch steelhead, must be a late winter run. I turned him loose and was in amazement at what a day I had. I started looking around for a spot to eat my snack and came across our favorite spot right under this old oak tree. To be honest with you I was surprised to still see it standing there after all these years. This was the very spot we sat and took our breaks and discussed the morning?s events so long ago. As I emptied my pack and poured myself a cup of coffee, I listened to the breeze rustle through the leaves. It was so relaxing I could almost take a nap. I poured myself another cup of coffee and started drinking it when I noticed a father and his son working the creek together. I must have watched them for 15 minutes or so when I checked my watch and it was that time. I had to get going and head for the house. As I packed my gear away in my pack I heard the voice of my dad one more time: ? Well son, it was a great morning, I hoped you enjoyed yourself.? Yeah pop I did, thanks a lot. This article is dedicated to my father 1936-1976. Thanks Pop.
  11. The book idea is already being worked on, thanks to all of you for your compliments but the best compliment to me is knowing that you all enjoyed it.
  12. Thank you, I'll be giving you folks more stories this winter right now its fishing time and I already have about 6 more short stories roughed out. I also have a weekly column in one of the newspapers out here if your interested. Take care. Whatcom Independent According to Wes
  13. As the season progress?s it seems that those trout become very wary of everything you have in your arsenal. page_break As the season progress?s it seems that those trout become very wary of everything you have in your arsenal. You?ve tried all your hardware tactics and every piece of equipment in your tackle box, from flashers to worm trolls but nothing seems to be working. Don?t get stuck in that mind set that the fish aren?t biting or that the lake is fished out. Try something new, trolling a fly. But you say you can?t afford a fly rod and reel, not to mention the sinking fly line, backing and etc. Well don?t worry if you have a spinning rod and reel then you have the most versatile piece of equipment available at your disposal. This combination allows you to bank fish from the bottom, attach a bobber, and even troll your hardware. Remember it?s not the guys with the most toys or most expensive equipment that catch fish. It?s your knowledge, skill, and your flexibility that will produce fish consistently. This is why I think we should talk a little bit about dragging a fly with your spinning rod. Here in the North West where I live the most productive trolling flies seem to be the Black Wooley Bugger, the Green Wooley Bugger, and the Green Carey Special. I have also heard that a purple leech pattern does very well. Talk to the folks in your area and I?m sure they will be glad to tell you, which fly works best for trolling your lake. Now lets talk about the set up, it?s very basic and simple. I start out with a snap swivel from my main line I prefer the black ones myself. I then attach a keel sinker, which is available in most tackle stores. They come in 1/16 oz all the way up to 4 oz. In my tackle box I carry 1/16, 1/8, ? and 3/8, sizes. The advantage to the keel sinker is that it doesn?t spin and twist your line and also runs truer than any other I?ve used. Next step is to attach you?re your fly and leader to the sinker. I prefer to use about 10 feet of either 4lb or 6lb test leader. I then use a clinch knot to attach my fly to my leader, now your ready. Now lets discuss tactics. I will talk about what works best for me and I?m sure there are other opinions and methods. Experiment until you find what?s working in a particular lake and most important what works for you. Now personally I prefer to troll a fly in the morning or evening hours. These times have been the most consistent for me. How I adjust my weight is by watching the water, if they are rising I will use very little weight. If not I will adjust my weight until I find the correct depth. When trolling I like to let out about a 100 feet of line, it seems to get my fly far enough from the boat and the disturbance it causes as you go by. I use the standard S trolling pattern, not a real tight S but a long slow looping S, and every once in a while I will give a my rod a quick short twitching motion. I can tell you I have gotten some of the most violent strikes I?ve ever received using this method. I have noticed that the most productive areas for me in the early morning and late evening have been closer to shore in 4 to 6 feet of water, even closer if you dare. So if nothing seems to be working for you give this a try, it just might turn out to be another weapon in your arsenal.
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