The Road to Victor

Note to self: next time when driving from Hamilton (MT) to Victor (ID), choose an alternate route rather than taking Hwy 93 all the way south through Salmon, Leodore and Mud Lake, ID. With all due respect to the town of Salmon,  this neck of the woods may be a notch better than say, eastern Nevada, but there’s nothing much to see south of Salmon. Next time we’ll take 43 east to Wisdom, MT and then 278 to Interstate 15 instead of staying on Hwy 93. It may be a little longer but I’m sure it’s worth the extra mileage. Our route took us through barren, high desert and then endless miles of ag land until we began to see the Tetons in the distance around Rexburg.

Nowhere, Idaho

As we approached Driggs the mountains came into full view. Given that I’d never seen the Tetons before, I was gawking like a common tourist instead of a glancing casually at them like a swaggering, confident angler who had just kicked Marck’s ass on the Bitterroot the day before. I figured we’d be staring at the Tetons all weekend, but luckily I shot one marginal photo as we drove past Driggs. As it turns out, that was the last time we’d see the range all weekend—Victor is to the South and tucked behind some foothills which obstructed our view.  Not to worry, the scenery around Victor is still exceptional so I’m not complaining. After all, we weren’t there to sight-see.

Near Driggs, Idaho

After a 5.5 hour drive we pulled into Victor right around 4:30. The first order of business was to stop at World Cast Anglers where we picked up our Idaho licenses and a few other items. We had a coupon for a nice discount thanks to the shop’s partnership with Casting 4 A Cure.  While at the shop I also picked up a sticker for the back of the Fish Taco. This news greatly pleased Mrs. UA when I sent her a text to let her know we’d arrived safely before darkness brought out the many roadside large game animals in Idaho.

Yes, Dear, I got another sticker

The Teton Springs Lodge is a far cry from the Ho Mum Motel in West Yellowstone, and therefore Marck and I were somewhat uncomfortable in the lavish surroundings. We met Jim Copeland with Casting 4 A Cure, checked-in and received a very nice offering of assorted schwag from sponsors Patagonia, Sage, Scott, Fishpond, Fly Fishing Film Tour, Howling Brothers, Loon Outdoors, Rio, Big Agnes and others. Jim pointed to a cooler brimming with ice cold PBR and Coors Light, and we felt right at home.

Casting 4 A Cure

We were, after all, parched from the long drive so we may have partaken of more than one beer as we acclimated ourselves and inspected the scoreboard that would tally the angling accomplishments over the next two days. The board was obviously wide open as fishing had not yet commenced. Anything could happen. There were some impressive anglers in town for the event, and while we may have been out of our league we weren’t intimidated. At least Marck wasn’t. He’s a rock, albeit a rock that had his arse handed to him the day before (did I mention that already?).

Team Olive is on the board!

Auntie Em! We're not at the Ho Hum anymore!

After depositing our bags and gear in our entirely-too-fancy-for-the-likes-of-us suite, we enjoyed mingling with the other guests and feasting on a fantastic dinner of grilled ribeye steaks. A welcome from director Bill Farnum left nary a dry eye in the room as we listened to his experiences raising his daughter Ella, who has Rett Syndrome. Special guest Ed Kammerer also told the group about his daughter who has Rett Syndrome, and like I said–there wasn’t a dry eye to be found. Bryan Huskey of Fishbite Media showed an inspirational film he produced titled, Doc of The Drakes, about a gentleman fighting and fishing his battle against Parkinson’s. While the evening was heart-wrenching for sure, I didn’t leave feeling depressed, but rather filled with hope and the realization that a cure for Rett Syndrome is in sight and could lead to progress in curing other, related neurological disorders. It was a good reminder why we were in Victor.

More cold beer was enjoyed from The Cooler That Was Never Empty and we spent the remainder of the evening telling half truths around the fire pit. We probably stayed up later than we should have, but we were still in bed by 1 AM. That may not be very impressive if you’re 25, but we’re well past the age where howling at the moon can be balanced with an early morning alarm.

Waiting to begin our morning commute

At 7 o’clock the next morning the guests assembled, bright-eyed, eager to go fishing as an army of trucks with drift boats arrived at the lodge. Each team met their guides from World Cast Anglers and learned which section of the South Fork we would be fishing. The guide for Team Olive was a young man by the name of Will Dewey, originally from Pennsylvania. Marck and I piled into Will’s rig and ate a light breakfast on our way to the river. We would be floating section 3, in the canyon, and had about an hour’s drive to our launch point. The fun was about to begin. Well, that’s not entirely true because we’d already had a great time. But it was about to get even better.



  1. Ed

    I watched the Doc of the Drakes Film — what an inspiration. I can see why you are so passionate about taking part of the Casting 4 a cure event.

    Best of luck to you both

    • Kirk Werner

      Isn’t that a great film about The Doc? The passion for fly fishing runs deep, to the point where some may call it an obsession. When you see someone like Doc getting out there it makes you realize just how healthy of an obsession fly fishing is. Thanks for the comment, Ed.

  2. Sanders

    A never ending beer cooler? I might have to look into participating in this event next year. Add to the fact that this event is for a good cause, sign me up!

    Team Olive’s name looks pretty good up on the big board…looking forward to reading how you two did.

    • Kirk Werner

      Yeah, Sanders, that cooler was something to behold. It was self-restoring and I never saw it low on beer or ice. The only thing that could have made it better was if it were on wheels and had a remote control. I highly recommend Casting 4 A Cure. They also do an event in Steamboat, fyi. If I see you next year, I’ll buy you a beer 😉

  3. Edge

    I’m in as well. Bottomles bottoms-up? Yes, please. I’ll be in a similar event in Gunnison, CO in a couple of weeks. What were your rules? We can only use two flies all day, once they’re gone, you head back to the beer. I’m seriously considering launching both my flies straight into the willows above at 8 AM. It’s 5 O’clock somewhere, right?

    • Edge

      Just realized I misspelled Bottomless. As you can tell, I get all screwy eyed and dumb when even thinking about beer.

      • Kirk Werner

        An acceptable excuse.

    • Kirk Werner

      Edge, the rules were as follows: Each team recorded their 4 biggest trout caught each day, plus their overall numbers of trout caught. Good thing it wasn’t a two-fly event: we left way more than two flies in the bushes, branches and sunken structure of the river. Good luck with your event- hope you stay in for a little past 8 AM!

  4. Tom

    It was great to meet you gentlemen. You are correct about the route to Victor and Teton Valley from Hamilton. We saw many bent rods on your boat throughout the first day so you must have scored higher than us. ‘Hope our paths cross again next year!

    • Kirk Werner

      Tom, it was a pleasure to meet you as well. I think the majority of the bent rods were due to whitefish. I’d like to see Bill and Jim add a new category next year 😉 I’ll definitely be back next year- you live in a little slice of heaven over there.

  5. Bill Farnum

    Kirk, we couldnt have asked for a better couple of folks than you and Marck to join our Casting 4 A Cure Crew… We really enjoyed having you both represent Olive in such an outstanding manner! Just think you only have about 345 days until you get another shot at bringing home the hardware….More importantly, we’ll be that much closer to a cure for Ella, Barrett and all the other little girls fighting for their lives…

    Lets keep in touch and much to do for both Olive and C4C!

    Take care mi amigo!

    • Kirk Werner

      Bill, good of you to stop by the back room of the UA. Can’t tell you how great of a time we had in Victor. The countdown has begun for next year, looking forward to that and more. Thanks for doing what you do.

  6. Matt Smythe

    Dude, I’ll be writing about the SF in the next couple days…fished the same section you did.

    • Kirk Werner

      Matt, after having written about it myself, I look forward to some good writing (and exceptional photos) from your SF experience!

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