outdoors: Dr. Randall Forsch fishes to a place back in time
photo courtesy of the Forsch family
I've known Dr. Randall Forsch for more than 10 years as my primary care physician. We've hardly ever talked about our personal lives, probably due to our doctor/patient relationship. I did, however, know that Dr. Forsch loved to fly fish. It was a complete surprise and a pleasure when I received the story below from Dr. Forsch in an email last week.
I hope this story resonates with you as it did for me. Thank you Dr. Forsch for allowing all of us to read your story:
When I moved to Chelsea from the Snake River country of Idaho and Eastern Oregon in 1995, I knew I’d miss many things, including the beauty of the high desert, the rugged mountains and the wonderful friends Christine and I made as we started our family.
That which I miss the most is the cold water of the rivers and lakes and its resident trout of brown, cutthroat, bull and rainbow hues. I grew up in Michigan and truly enjoy fly fishing the steelhead and salmon runs and for resident browns and brookies, but nothing compares to angling in the scenic beauty of the West, especially when the fish cooperate.
Before we left the Snake River country, we purchased a little A-frame near McCall, Idaho, which serves as a base for local day trips to the high mountain lakes on which my children, Margaux, Kiefer and Nickolas, learned to fly cast and land their own trout (one of those lakes, Lake Louie, will receive my ashes one day as I become fertilizer for its Circle of Life).
Each summer we return and make the most of the fishing opportunities, creating wonderful memories like kindergarten age Kiefer and Nick netting each other’s trout when we luckily followed a hatchery tanker to a local lake. I knew Margaux was a fisherman when the “at least a foot long” cutthroat she lost upon landing was soon discovered to be seven inches in the pool at her feet.
Every summer I seek out my old friends, and we get a bit of fishing in, depending on the schedule. Sometimes it’s an extended campout or float trip, sometimes it’s just an evening on a river we’ve known for years. We catch up on each other’s lives and families, harass each other’s “fancy new equipment” or poor casting, and pick up where we left off. New stories are shared as are techniques and flies, old ones retold and relived.
My friend Mike was available for fishing when I was back West in August. He suggested we float the tailwater that we’ve always considered “our river,” despite all the cars that now line it from other states. It’s a wonderful brown trout fishery in a beautiful red rock canyon, with fertile water and heavy hatches of mayflies and caddisflies. However, we were going to fish grasshopper patterns tight against the bank throughout the day.
The plan was very successful, with me landing 10 browns, four over 20 inches, largest 23 inches, all on a #6 Thingamahopper during the float. All were memorable, but one trout hooked on a perfect (read “lucky”) cast placed one foot above the rise in the foam line of a boulder’s edge especially so. Mike graciously rowed the whole day, saying, “I fish this river once a week; you get to once a year.”
Arms sore from casting and rowing, skin a bit burned, and throats parched, we drove out of the canyon and across the irrigated farms and ranches of the Treasure Valley to another fishing friend’s home for dinner. I had shared the treasures of trout and friendship once again. Despite what they say, you can go home again, even if only to visit once a year.