Several times a year our family would camp and fish at Browns Lake northeast of Spokane. We would cross the Pend Oreille River (pronounced Pond Er Ray) on an old, steel framed, wooden planked bridge at the small town of Usk, Washington. Browns Lake was about 80 acres in size, fly fishing only, no motors, and great fishing for rainbow and cut throat trout. A couple large beaver houses were accessible from shore. They had plenty of room to back cast your fly without getting snagged on anything.
Mom didn’t get much time to fish while camping with five young children. She did, however, have an interesting adventure at Browns Lake. Mom was fishing on one of the beaver houses when a nice 16 inch rainbow hit her fly. She was really excited as she worked the fish towards the beaver house. Every time the fish would make a turn the sun would reflect off the brilliant colors of it’s sides. About the time the fish got close enough to net it, the leader of the fly line got wrapped around a stick under the edge of the water. The big trout flopped a couple times and disappeared into the side of the beaver house. Mom was heart broken to lose the big trout right at her feet.
Later in the day Mom decided to try her luck again. As she walked out on the beaver house a movement caught her eye. Laying in a small pool among the sticks and twigs of the beaver house was her 16 inch rainbow. Apparently when the fish got off her line earlier it got trapped within the sticks. It was alive and in good shape, it just couldn’t escape back into the lake. Mom grabbed it with both hands and stuffed it in her creel. She was all smiles. Dad couldn’t believe her luck.
Mom didn’t get to be the best fisherman too often……….and even the best fisherman doesn’t get a second chance to catch the same big fish twice.