Sunday, December 25, 2016

2016: An Idiot Finds a Village

My year began cold, solo, and guilt-ridden.  A person really shouldn't feel guilty about what they've intended and planned for their blog, but a recovering perfectionist is subject to a different set of self-imposed standards.  I started a series in 2015 entitled, "Opportunity Knocks" and was having a hard time writing the conclusion.  There was an occasional acquaintance that dropped by to read some of my Entropy®, and Eddie Rivard had somehow managed to wander in and read a little.  But, given a general lack of audience, this was much more of a journal than blog at that point.

In March, I finished Part IV of the Opportunity Knocks series.  Miraculously, Howard Levett of Wind Knots and Tangled Lines stumbled across that piece and featured me on his blog a short time later.  I consider myself very luck to now have a core group of friends that drop by.  Thanks to you, my journal has been transformed into a conversation space.

I'm also very thankful to have had the opportunity to fish alongside many friends this year.  I am fortunate to be able to travel frequently, and even more fortunate to have made friends like this, some old friends and some brand new ones.

Click any image to enlarge
My wife has known Joe Bloomquist since a Montana Elk Hunt in 2010.  In 2011, Joe started teaching the fine art of fly angling to Mrs. Fading Angler and The Offspring.  We've fished with Joe (or one of his best guides) almost every year since then.  During our many hours of floating the Missouri River in Montana without another soul around, I'd like to hope that we became friends.

Joe, for whatever it's worth, this photo and the memory of that 20 minute casting lesson are one of my favorite memories and moments of the year.  

Mrs. Fading Angler is my most reliable fishing buddy.  We had an EPIC two days of floating with Joe in April.

It's difficult to imagine two better days of fishing.

After corresponding with Eddie, a fellow Minnesota resident, I managed to bribe him with a couple of bratwurst into letting me follow him around for a few hours.  We fished some water that was new to both of us and became a favorite stretch for me this past year.

Coincidentally, Eddie and I had another favorite angling spot in common: the North Tongue River at the north end of the Big Horn mountains in Wyoming.  And in another barely-believable coincidence, we discovered we'd both be fishing there on the same weekend in August.

Unfortunately, I can't find the photo that his father took of us together.  I guess I'll have to request it. again.  Oh, well.  Let's just say that I was pretty darn happy to fish with Eddie not once, but twice.

Clayton and I emailed back and forth for a while before we were able to find an opportunity to share some water.  Hoping to do it again sometime in January or February.  Winter season opens in one week!

One of the best things that's happened to me this year is this guy: Howard Levett.  Not sure what else to say, other than I was proud to appoint him the as the Grand Marshal of the Royal (P.I.T.A) Order of Fading Anglers.  May you fish for many more years, Howard!  Thank you for bringing me into your village.  Looking forward to seeing you at the Flyfishing Show in Denver.

Ralph is another member of the Fading Angler Pro-Staff.  He's been a rock for me.  An amazing, inspiring man with immeasurable talent.  I'm honored to have him alongside me as  Parkinson's Disease pushes further into my brain and my life.  I hope to be able to return the favor in some way.

Thank you, Ralph.

And thank you to everyone who has stopped here, left a comment, and added something to my life.  I've been an introvert for much of my life, but always looking for somewhere to belong.  I've told several people over the past couple of years that fly angling has kept me sane and probably saved my life.  Those of you who have taken the time to join my journey here or go fishing with me...

You've adopted a happy idiot.

I hope you'll stick around for 2017.  Please.

God, I'm a lucky man...


  1. That's a pretty nice recap of a successful year my friend. It was my pleasure to meet and fish with you and I look forward to many more Chris. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and we'll see you at the show.

    1. Yep! I'm just waiting for a few things to take shape so I can start thinking more about the fun stuff that's coming in 2017. Watching you get arrested for violating that restraining order John Gierach took out on you sounds like is qualifies as "fun stuff!"

  2. Chris, As one village idiot to another.....the pleasure was all mine. :)

    Here's to another great year!

    My best to you and your family.


    1. Guess it takes one to know one? :)

      Hope things are peaceful and easy around your place right now. Thanks for your help this year!

  3. I'm happy to be one of your Village People. Looking forward to fishing with you again in 2017.

    1. Nice, Eddie! Since Howard retired from the force, you can suit up as the policeman... I hope Christmas was great and you did well on finals. Please tell you father and brother I said Hi!