After an action packed summer in Alaska, I wasn’t too “hip” on the idea of college and book pages being stuffed in my face. So, I packed my clothes, and fishing gear into my “Ford Ranger” and headed South to Redding, California to embark on a new adventure.
Desolate Nevada Photo by: Camille Egdorf
Before the summer of 08 began, I sent a resume/portfolio to Mr. Mike Michalak in hopes of becoming a member of The Fly Shop’s staff for roughly 6-7 weeks. I was so excited when I received that email saying, “Camille, we’d love to have you here at TFS.” I seriously did cart-wheels. Thanks so much for letting me be apart of the TFS crew Mike! Words can’t express how grateful I am.
My mother and I hit the road October 26th. I was actually starting work on the 29th, so we decided to leave a few days early so we could enjoy the mother/daughter road trip without being rushed. We zoomed through Idaho to see the grandparents, then shot down to Reno, Nevada and took advantage of the slot machines. We stayed at a place called “Boom Town” which was a respectable place but never judge a book by it’s cover. The external “Boom Town” was very attractive and seemed to be the place to stay, however once inside, it was…..blah. Dirty floors, weirdos walking around, noisey, and one thing I was continuously having problems with was finding my room.Everything looked the same so I was always turned around. GPS would have been great, or just a map. My mother is a pro at Wheel-of-Fortune by the way. Justin can vouch for that! I don’t know how she does it, but she always manages to come home with 400+ bucks.
My new plates. Photo by: Ryan Peterson
After “Boom Town” we zipped over to Redding. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous. I was worried about being fired, not getting along with my fellow workers, and basically being in a new enviornment. This was my first time out on my own. To make a long story short, I got acquainted with everyone, got the full low down on the shop action, and got my first Mike Michalak talk session. That was scary, but defiantly nessesary.
Note to self: Sit up straight, and look him in the eye during a talk session.
I remember he asked me a very simple question, and I was so nervous that I stuttered, turned bright red, and gave an idiotic answer . “Great job Camille,” I cursed myself. “Now he thinks I’m a retarded chick.”
After the talk session, I followed my room mate, Ryan Peterson, to my new home. Now as you can imagine, I was wondering what living with two bachleors had in store for me. I was thinking about stinky bathrooms, random girls staying over, massive amounts of dirty dishes, snoring (one did but he will remain un-named), and other relativly small things. To my relief, none of these were problems. The house was “cute” and roomy, didn’t stink, and to make it even better, my room mates where awesome. Justin is a chill, low key, steelhead bum, Star Wars lovin, and mountain-man kind a guy(he had a bushy beard). He helped me learn the ropes of steelheading and it’s do and don’ts. Ryan on the other-hand was the complete opposite…….no just kidding. Ryan is also a major steelhead bum who greatly contributed to my education of steelhead. He was kind enough to drag me along on weekend steelhead trips to the Klamath, Trinity, and Rouge rivers.
My first steelhead expedition took place on the Klamath river, which was about a two hour drive North from Redding. My partners in crime were Ryan, and Frank Smethurst.
Ryan Peterson and Frank Smethurst at 2 am. Pumped and ready for the day to come. Photo by: Camille Egdorf
Deep in big foot discussion. Photo by: Ryan Peterson
We left the drive at roughly mid-night, after a long and drawn out proccess of getting our gear ready and saying goodbyes to my mother(she was heading back to Montana the next day). The vehicle of choice was Ryan’s reliable land cruiser, which was very roomy, and had a great sound system, and a back seat belt that slowly squeezed your stomach till it was touching your backbone. We talked at length about various subjects. Big Foot was a hot topic. Apparently Frank is a firm believer, and ironically our destination was a hot spot for Big Foot sightings. I wasn’t un-nerved but every time I hit the bushes during the night, I was wondering if Mr. Big Foot was quietly observing.
Note: It was Halloween night.
Frank and Big Foot Photo by: Camille Egdorf
We finally reach the gravel bar of choice. There’s a slight drizzle of rain, but when your steelheading you pay no mind. In fact, as I was told, rain is classic for steelhead. The rain didn’t bother me in the slightest. You live in Alaska long enough, rain becomes a way of life. We pitched a tent, drank some beers, talked big foot, and rigged up for the day of steelhead to come. I had never thrown a double-hander before, so I thought it best to sport the single hander first, just to get a feel for the river. Soon I graduated, and tried out the Spey! I’ll never look at single handers the same again.
the big D. Photo by: Justin Miller