Spring Break, or rather Spring is Broken


I’d made plans a couple months earlier to get my son, Schpanky (The kid who never listens), out fishing with me during his Spring break. The boy started driving recently, and with a license comes ample opportunity to partake of a wide variety of endeavors – most of which do not involve the old man.  He has long since gotten past that age where kids still think their dad’s are cool, but we have a good relationship and he’ll still humor me by going fishing with me from time to time. My plan is to not let him stray too far from the fly rod as he enters the next phase of his life, in hopes that when he comes back to his senses as a young adult he’ll actually embrace the fly angling obsession fully of his own accord. That should guarantee that I’ll always have someone to row the drift boat I plan to buy once I’ve paid for his and his sister’s college educations.

To insure that my son wouldn’t have to put up with me correcting his casting strokes or telling him what to do in general, I booked the trip with Derek Young of Emerging Rivers Guide Services. Derek is a great teacher and a fun guy – I knew Schpanky would have a great time fishing under Derek’s tutelage while I quietly occupied the rear of the boat. As the date grew nearer, visions of mild sunny days danced in my head:  El Niño had done a stellar job of keeping our weather warmer and drier than normal throughout the winter and into early Spring.  Surely April 8th would reward us with a beautiful day on which to engage in some quality father-son bonding. Who knows – fishing should even be pretty good by then, too.

Jump ahead to the start of Spring break: the weather began on a sour note and grew more unsavory as the week droned on. It was colder than it should have been, and rain and wind incessantly beat down upon Western Washington. Snow accumulated in the mountains, making up for a relative lack of the white stuff earlier in the winter. While I acknowledged that this would be good for rivers come summer, selfishly I was pissed off. Early in the week the meteorologists were telling me that Thursday looked to be the worst day of the week, and of course Thursday was the day we had our fishing trip scheduled. Knowing that meteorologists are notorious for being 80% right 20% of the time, I felt confident that Thursday wouldn’t be as bad as they predicted. On Wednesday night I checked the weather forecast online.  Then I watched all 3 local TV networks, hoping to find one that would tell me what I wanted to hear. No matter the source, Thursday’s forecast didn’t bode well for shirt sleeves and dry fly fishing. Our destination was the town of Cle Elum, which lies on the eastern slopes of the Cascade range. The daytime high was predicted to be 38 degrees. A Winter Storm Warning was issued for the mountains, with 1-2 feet of snow expected and the snow level dropping to below 1000 feet by the end of the day. A High Wind Warning was posted for the east slopes of the Cascades, with winds of 35-45 mph and gusts above 50. Cle Elum lies smack dab in the heart of the east slope of the Cascades. Apparently, for once, the meteorologists were right. Damn them. I was in denial as I dutifully loaded our gear into the truck under the cloak of Wednesday night’s darkness.

The idea was to enjoy a day of fishing with my son. He’s fished enough to know that there’s more to fishing than catching fish, but the thought of sitting all day in a drift boat as a cold rain tests the limits of even the best foul weather gear, with a wind so fierce that casting becomes nearly impossible, pretty much left little opportunity for what I would call “fun”. And so like any real man would do, I called Derek and cancelled our plans.  And like any real man would also do, I’m passing the buck and blaming the meteorologists.

Note to Schpanky:

I’m sorry that Mother Nature was such a bitch and forced the cancellation of our trip – we’ll get it rescheduled as soon as possible. If there was even a remote chance that you still thought I had an ounce of cool left in me, I realize that’s surely gone now. While I hope you don’t regard me with contempt, I wouldn’t blame you if you lumped me into the same category as Ryan Seacrest wearing a kitty cat t-shirt.

I love you,



14 thoughts on “Spring Break, or rather Spring is Broken”

  1. Hal (not his real name) says:

    Sun and blue sky so far this morning, at least here in the city. Gotta say though that it was a surprise to wake up to it given all the forecasts.

    1. admin says:

      Hal, we also had some blue sky this morning, and a trace of snow. Who is Ryan Seacrest? Oh man, you really are a recluse, aren’t you!? He’s, like, only the biggest stud on TV.

  2. Hal (not his real name) says:

    Oh and who’s Ryan Seacrest?

  3. Dave says:

    Man, I feel your pain. Earlier this year, I was stoked because I was supposed to be going to Kodiak, Alaska for 4 days of fishing bliss at a very reasonable price. Evidently, the gods decided against that and the price more than doubled. To which that put a major damper on those plans.
    As far as the wind and rains, we’ve battled that down here in Oregon, but yesterday was beautiful and today is shaping up to be pretty nice so far. I believe that nastiness you guys are experiencing there strayed a tad further north than they expected. I hate it for you two that the weather didn’t cooperate as it should have!

    1. admin says:

      Dave, fate works in mysterious and often unfair ways- that really sucks about your canceled Alaska plans. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. However, I haven’t figured out what good can possibly come from a cancelled fishing trip. Maybe I should go buy a Lottery ticket today.

  4. Schpanky says:

    Dad, you’re no Ryan Seacrest. Sorry, but he’s better than you (even if he’s wearing a kitty cat t-shirt.)

    P.S. Now that we have a free day we should spend it by sitting around in our boxers, eating chips, and watching cage fighting.

    1. admin says:

      Schpanky, you make me proud, boy.

  5. Derek Young says:

    Kirk, I’m updating from the river, and there have already been eight 19″ bows to the net. The pass was clear and dry. All the fish have been on size 6 salmonfly patterns. In fact, I can barely type my arms are so tired from all these fish.

    Sigh, that was just a dream I had last night…this weather is a big suck. Another time, another time.

    1. admin says:

      Derek, and I’m lying on a beach in Hawaii being served ice cold beverages while enjoying a foot massage. Later this afternoon I’m going bone fishing.
      Indeed, another time, sooner than later.

  6. Lindsay says:

    Ryan S, is not at all as cool. And, is not a stud-at all! He also would never be caught with a rod in a river!

    Sounds like it wouldve been a great day, minus the nasty weather…make sure to have Nick pencil you in his calendar :)

    1. admin says:

      Lindsay- thanks for chiming in. I have requested that “Schpanky” try to clear a day for the old man so we can make up for the lost opportunity. I would use the word “rain check” but I’m hoping to avoid anything to do with less than favorable weather. And thanks for the vote of confidence as pertaining to Ryan Seacrest.

  7. Rebecca says:

    Mrs Mother Nature can be a tempermental beotch who doesn’t care about things like plans, hopes and dreams. I hope you two can reschedule for a day in the near future.
    Be a cool day, cool like Ryan would be and have him skip school for a day……

    1. admin says:

      Rebecca, while I strive to be more cool than I am ever capable of actually becoming, and allowing the boy to skip school would certainly up the cool factor where he is concerned, it’s his mother- Mrs. Unaccomplished Angler – who would frown on such acts of truancy. But food for thought ; )

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