Literary Angler – Transitions

Editor’s Note: This month often conjures up memories of transitions – last holiday season before a child goes off to college, reflections on the year’s major events, new people who entered your life, and those who sadly departed. As we age, some transitions come more quickly and some are just common sense. I am fortunate to receive thoughtful emails from time to time from our non-resident member from Vermont, Barry Mayer. He recently informed me that he and his wife sold their home (and acreage) of 21 years and they will be moving to a more fitting abode for those in their 80s. This upcoming transition recalled their move over 20 years ago from Lake Oswego to Shaftsbury, Vermont. In the summer of  2000, Barry penned this letter to his children. He wished to share the letter with FCO members “to laud praise on a once outstanding fishery and my farewell to it.” Some long-time FCO members will recognize some of the friends Barry mentions. Thank you Barry for sharing your praise and warm memories. LKH



Barry Mayer with steelhead hen

Dear Kids,

I am sending this to each of you as I thought of you driving home yesterday from Hosmer Lake. It is a four hour drive and I was listening to a classical tape that somehow put me in an introspective mood.

Only Jennie of the three of you has been to Hosmer, but I think you will remember your mother and I talking about it. A brief description is in order for Meg and Tim and the events of this visit for all of you.


It is in the high Cascades at about 5300 feet and is a spring fed lake or more appropriately lakes. The two are connected by a channel that snakes through a lovely marsh with cattails, water lilies and other water plants. It is an ideal habitat for birds, ducks and amphibians. There are ospreys and bald eagles living around the lake. The views of the snowcapped peaks and the conifer forests from the lake are lovely. It smells like warm pine needles in the surrounding woods. The campgrounds are “primitive” in that there is no running water and no “hookups” for motor homes, although people do bring RV’s in and make do with the outhouses and non-electric lighting.  The lake is crystal clear and one feels suspended above the bottom as one paddles or rows (no internal combustion motors allowed; electrics are OK) around. One can look down and see the fish cruising lazily feeding at the buffet of aquatic insects. There are prolific hatches of wonderful mayflies and caddisflies. Many people come just for the canoeing or kayaking and birdwatching but it is also a haven for fly fishermen. Only flyfishing is allowed. There are planted landlocked Atlantic salmon which range from 15-22” or more. They are eager to come to the dry fly and provide lots of fun. All salmon must be released, barbless hooks required. There are also huge brook trout which can and should be removed but are somewhat less cooperative with dry flies.

In addition to the obvious attractions I have mentioned, our visits are also social. The camp hosts, Max and Nila Peel have been going there for at least 30 years and have been camp hosts 15 years or more. They are gracious hosts and usually put us in their site where we don’t have to pay a fee. We have breakfast with them each day and share many years’ experience. Other regular campers are found there including the Hartzells, Williamsons, Meadows, and others of our friends from Portland. One couple whom I have met through the Hartzells, Steve and Joan Raymond from Seattle are spending their 31st consecutive year there. He is a well known author and former editor of the Seattle Times newspaper as well as a number of fishing magazines.

In past years one of the most delightful aspects of my visits has been the chorus of sounds in the marsh in the evening. Much of it was the frogs chirping and croaking. Recently there has been a dramatic decrease in the population of frogs and toads throughout the country supposedly due to a viral epidemic. During those years the evening sounds were noticeably subdued. Well, this year the frogs are back! Because they and their tadpoles are an important link in the food chain, the numbers of birds and ducks and their characteristic calls are increased. I think the chorus was the best ever. I especially enjoyed the call of the American bittern’s unk-a-chunk. And the fishing wasn’t bad either. One day there were only one or two others in canoes or rowboats within site of me in my pontoon boat when a pair of soaring bald eagles appeared.  I felt their appearance was just for my benefit.

The nights were cold and clear with millions of stars and a full moon rising over the treetops. One couldn’t help but be inspired.

I had spent Tuesday night camped on the Deschutes River at Trout Creek and fished myself there in the afternoon and evening and floated the river with some friends on Wednesday from 8am until dark about 9:45pm.

All of this kept me from thinking about work, the stress of the impending move and concern about the logistics of retirement. I felt completely renewed. For some reason instead of being sad about perhaps having had my last opportunity to experience these special places in my life, I thought how pleased I am to have three such wonderful children about whom I am so proud and love so much.  Somehow there must be a connection between the spiritual experience with nature and my feelings about you. It was a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Well, that’s the news from Lake Wobegon Oswego where this Dad sends his love to you and is looking forward to spending more time with his great kids.

Love, Q, Thadre, etc.

(known to FCO members as Barry Mayer)