It was an historic time for Jerrie Lou and I to work at Babine Steelhead Lodge during the fall of 2015. 1984 was the last time we were there. It was because of Tom Derry that we were there. He tabbed it Full Circle and so it was. We, the Wickwires, built BSL in 1967-68 close to when Enjar Madsen constructed Norlakes, now owned by Billy and Carrie LaBonte.
We left BSL in 1984 to be even more secluded by building Silver Hilton Steelhead Lodge about 12 miles further downriver. We were told by the Fish & Wildlife biologist the steelhead would pass through our new water enroute to the upper parts of the Babine without slowing down. Our catch records proved entirely the opposite.
BSL was owned by Chic Stewart and operated by Barry and Wendy, son in law and daughter. Barry was my boss and Wendy was Jerrie Lous. It was a wonderful experience and we all got along like bugs in a rug. Barry and Wendy have upheld a faithful clientel for many years and are to be applauded for their managerial capabilities. We were surprised to find a fair amount of items from way back when were still in use, mainly in the kitchen area. In a way it was like being there “yesterday” as nothing had really changed. Of course, there had been many improvements but the day to day procedures were basically the same. Actually, there aren’t to many choices anyway. SHSL did not change their daily routine either after we sold in 1998 either.
It was neat to see clients again like Larry McKinney and others who fished with us in the 70s. The new clients were absolutely amazing. We met many with whom we had so much in common. One person, in particular, Jeff Stuermer, did a huge favor. We are both avid Chukar Partridge hunters and he agreed to keep Birdie, my German Shorthair Pointer on his farm/ranch in Bend, OR. Where I live is not a good environment for her so we now share her during the bird season, an absolute perfect arrangement.
While in Bend, Jeff arranged for a luncheon at a golf course. About 20 steelhead fishermen were there several from BSL and we had a great time. I was asked to do a book review where I attempted to add a little humor but not sure how the latter went over as even my own family tells me go give it up “because people only laugh because you do”. Tom Derry gave a brief speo on the progress of Native Fish Society. It was enlightening as I had no idea how in depth the organization is in preserving wild fish habitat. (Tom’s humor is the real thing!)
I had not been to Bend in 57 years when I still lived in Oregon. The planners did a magnificent job.
PS Thanks, Derek, for inviting me to be an author for Epic Flyfishing