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Mr. Labash, you being a conservative-leaning fly fisherman, I am sure you understand my hesitance to spend my hard earned money in liberal states like Washington and Oregon, when they get enough of it already through redistribution (Oklahoma is a donor state…. ) I am getting married later this year to a similarly minded, equally awesome fly fisher. He wants to honeymoon in the Northwest and fish for steelhead, a species with which neither of us has much experience. However, I would really like to go to Alaska and fish for grayling. No matter what we will go somewhere trout or salmonid oriented….. What are your thoughts? Thanks!! Amanda, Tulsa
First, congratulations on getting married. Second, condolences on being from the Twister State. You kids have had a rough ride this year, and I salute your stoicism in the face of Mother Nature’s hissy fits. It’s great that you both fish. You will likely have many happy outings together. However, I personally stick by my decision to marry a non-fisherwoman. Somebody should mind the store, exhibit responsible behavior, and generally make the trains run on time. These are essential life skills not readily compatible with the fishing-bum ethos. One spouse in any marriage should be a fully-evolved human being. So it might as well be my wife. (With both of you being fishing obsessives, who will pay the bills and raise the children?) As a Montana guide once told me that he tells his clients when they ask if he wants to marry a girl who fishes: “F-ck no! I want a girl who rows!”
I’d be a poseur if I weighed in on great fishing spots of the coastal Northwest or Alaska. The furthest west I’ve ever fished is Idaho. Most of what I know of Northwest fishing comes secondhand from David James Duncan. And my Alaska knowledge is equally pretender-ish, derived from reading fishing memoirs, viewing nature documentaries, and watching Sarah Palin club a halibut to death. (While perhaps envisioning Karl Rove.) I’ve never caught grayling, and I just caught my first couple of steelhead last year – some gleaming, chrome muscled missiles making their run out of Lake Erie. They refused all the overhyped egg patterns I got suckered into buying, while they greedily inhaled my boring black krystal bugger — the same one I throw to largemouth bass. (As you can imagine, I’ll be back for more.)