Thirty years seems like a long time—for most things.
For a small seedling, that’s time enough to grow into an actual tree. Even in the Yukon.
For some people, that’s time enough to put in an entire career. Then they retire from YG.
But, if you’re fishing, 30 years feels like you’re really just getting into it—ask Trevor Sellars.
Trevor’s annual, mid-April, spring fishing love affair with the Dolly Varden of the Chilkat River (at “secret” locations between Mile 21 and 25 north of Haines Alaska), just celebrated its 30th anniversary.
What’s changed in 30 years? Well, for one thing, he abandoned tents about 25 years ago for the comforts of the Captain’s Choice Motel. For another, he brought along his business partner Al almost 15 years ago and generously and patiently taught him how to catch Dolly. (Al has since returned the favour, showing Trevor how to catch lots of Dolly.)
Every year presents a different cast of characters, as Trevor casts a wide net of invitations to family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances and people he vaguely remembers from 25 years ago. Old-timers will fondly re-tell the good old stories...
“Remember the year “X” brought the pig’s head?”
“Remember our chunks of Yukon firewood rolling downhill past us at the border?”
“Remember that mink in ‘96 who stole our fish right off the riverbank?”
“Remember “X” in ‘02? He doesn’t remember either.”
“Remember Steve’s (not his real name) special catch and release technique with cutthroat trout?”
Ah yes, memories…beautiful memories.
But the best things don’t change. Like the annual 4-course shore dinner that Trevor prepares over an open fire, featuring the catch of the day.
Like trying to encourage somebody—anybody—to be first to hike through the crotch-deep snow in that little stand of cottonwoods to get to the riffles and that great pool beyond the point.
Like trying to remember whether it was the first stump or the second stump that marks the thin water where you can cross (just make sure you follow someone tall…)
Like the hearty breakfasts every morning at the Bamboo Restaurant.
Like the annual pool tournament that maybe Trevor will lose one year.
Like the tag team of Trevor and brother Dave filleting all the fish, every day, because “...man you guys are just so good at it. I’ll never be that good...”
Like the easy camaraderie that we’ve always experienced while standing in moving water, waving fishing rods over our heads with the warm spring sun on our faces, the fish packed in melting ice on the riverbanks and the flash of another dolly 15 feet away.
We’re good for another 30 years, aren’t we Trevor?