Thursday, September 20, 2007

O'fieldstream Meets Dave Richey

The past week I ventured north of my normal parallel, to the lands of the tip of the mitten in lower Michigan; not to be confused with the UP - that would be the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I stopped just south of that fair land to venture near the near southern shores of Gichigoomi ... near the beautiful little town on north shores of Lake Michigan, called Traverse City.

My mission was to meet up with, spend a few days with and lend a hand to a legendary wordsmith of outdoor writing, literature and sage advice on all things natural and otherwise outdoors. This legend also happens to be a very good friend and collegue in the Outdoor Writers Association of America. This sage outdoor writer is none other than one of outdoor writings humble and gracious giants: Dave Richey.

Here is a short interview, on some random topics, with the venerate Wordsmith of Michigan.

O'fieldstream: So, Dave, if we were to go afield today for - say, Pike - where would we go and what would be your choice of bait?

Dave Richey: If we would be fishing, it would be in nearby Green Lake. My choice of fishing lures is the old-time red-and-white Dardevle, a proven pike lure. We would surely get into some very nice fish just before sundown. Demonstrating once again the trusty Dardevle's beastly prowess would prove to save the day.

O'fieldstream: But, alas this was a business trip and we are indoors for the duration. The next time I come up we will have to get outdoors. So, with fall hunting season barreling down upon us, what do you have planned for this years fall deer hunt?

Dave Richey: We had a neighbor boy dig us a shooting pit not 100 yards from the back door. It's deep and large enough to accommodate complete concealment and freedom of shooting. The target distance is within an easy 20 yards. We had to cut trees out for our satellite hook-up, so I decided to convert the open area to deer forage. We planted clover and wild beets. It's amazing how much they've grown in the short time. We expect to see deer moving through any day now.

O'fieldstream: I walked that 'plot' with you today and it looks really good. So, what are your chances for a deer in there?
Dave Richey: Well, if the deer comes through, I or Kay will get the deer. In thirty-one years of hunting I've only needed one shot to kill, with a bow or gun, every deer I've hit. But, we'll have to see if the deer choose to walk the 'path' first.

O'fieldstream: You all have had some nice rains up here in the upper Michigan Thumb over the past couple of weeks. Have the salmon begun to move? And how do you fish for them?

Dave Richey: Yes we have; much needed, too. It's been a very dry here in this section of Michigan - as it has been in many places around the country. As to the salmon, yes, they have begun to move. As you know, if you were not leaving on Wednesday we could take advantage of a slot on the Bessie River. I will be fishing there on Thursday. We will use the regular compliment. Near the mouth we use the spawn-sack bait. It's highly effective and is not intended to offer anything but harvest as a result of catching the fish. But this year I want to test out and develop a method for taking salmon, further up the river, on a dry fly. It will be difficult but I believe it will also be a great addition to the fun of the season.

O'fieldstream: Wow! Trib driven salmon on the dry. Now, that would be a noted accomplishment. Not only do I want to see it - I want to do that, too!

More on this interview later.

[Update: Sixteen salmon succumb to Dave's and companions presentations on their day on the Bessie. A joyful start to what will be a fine season of fishing.]

There is one cloud though, still hanging over Dave's fishing season this year - and every season for years to come.
Four years ago, on 10 September 2003, Dave's twin brother, George Richey, a noted fisherman, entrepreneur and outdoor writer in his own right, succumb to cancer. Dave lost his best friend and closest outdoor companion. He still misses George dearly, but he continues to hunt and fish with the memory of George by his side; in each and every season.

So, if you're dealing with such a loss, take a lead from Dave, there is no better commemorative that you can bequeath to your loved one's memory, than to keep the Heritage alive. Go fishing, hunting or whatever outdoor activity you do and be sure to Pass It On to a younger member of your neighborhood, family or friends. Passing on the love for our Outdoor Heritage is, to be sure, one of the finest gifts you can give in the memory of your lost companion.

Happy days afield or stream ... enjoy each day- no more will be added than those you spend afield or stream.