August 26, 2016
August 26, 2016
FISH NOMADS . . . . Bob Evans
I had just fished the Millionaire’s Pool on the Henry’s Fork one hot July morning when I approached a big tree to cool off in the shade. I hadn’t noticed that there was another angler sitting on the other side of the tree. Both of us started in surprise. I introduced myself and commented that I had just left Silver Creek after fishing there for several weeks with a buddy from Maine. The guy says, “By chance it wasn’t Bill Modeen was it?” I had just met Bob from Vermont, whom I later came to know as Bob Evans. It turned out that Bob was a Fish Nomad who knew my best fishing buddy and fellow Fish Nomad, Bill from Maine. The community of Fish Nomads was and remains small, and reminds me of the “Book People” at the end of Vonnegat’s Fahrenheit 451, one of my all-time favorite movies.
Bob Evans ended up dying the same spring as Bill Modeen. He had a heart attack while playing a trout downstream of the Last Chance fishing access, or so the story goes. I wasn’t there, but I choose to believe it whether it is fact or myth. There is a monument to him at that location. Even though I suffered from extreme back pain back then, I just had to down some pain pills and make the pilgrimage, leaving a bouquet of Sticky Geraniums. I can’t say that I knew Bob as well as most other fish Nomads but I did run into him several treasured times a season as I passed through Island Park. See, Bob would fish the Henry’s Fork over 100 days a year. He knew where every spring supplemented the Fork’s flow. He was a Conqueror of its hatches. A stretch of the Henry’s Fork was known as “Evansville” in recognition of his affection for its fishing and many days spent on the river. Bob camped in his trailer at a variety of locations within several miles of each other kind of near the county gravel pit, and moved every 16 days or so as required by Forest Service rules. I would hunt Bob down and bring him one of my home baked pies, and he would give me a shuttle provided I was at his camp by 7:15 a.m. Like Modeen, Evans was an avid reader, as was I at that time, and the three of us would exchange books for which we had no room in our RVs.
Bob confined his fishing to the Dry Fly. In my experience, he would openly castigate an angler who fished subsurface. I picked up on that rather immediately. At the time I was an avid fisher of soft hackles, perhaps because I still missed the “tug” of Oregon steelhead. In any event, I never let on that I would disdain to fish a nymph and Bob went to his grave never realizing that I was not a purist. It is one of the great lies of my life, one that I regret. It was like fibbing to Buddha.
Doug Andres, Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch