What is the coolest thing you have ever seen while fishing? Like a bear, cougar, sheep, mountain goat maybe? I have seen a few blue grouse and mule deer on the way to a creek by Twisp but that is it so far.
The first thing that comes to my mind was a mink on the Gallatin last summer at dusk. I had a weird feeling that someone was sneaking up on me, so I turned around and there he was, about 10 feet away, just working his way along the shore.
The one that really sticks in my mind was about ten years ago, I was out on a little beaver pond on a foggy morning. I heard some noises, looked up and could make out a family of Racoons crossing a log in the mist/fog.
Another time (not fishing but sitting and waiting for my dad), I had a weasle come out of the brush, I froze, and it came within five feet of me stood up on its back legs, looked at me, and then ran off.
First thing i can think of was a day on the yak...saw 9 bighorns, 3 mule deer and assorted waterfowl, caught about 10-12 trout. unfortunately it was ruined because it was the same day my truck got stolen at the take-out.
also fishing slough creek in yellowstone and a griz walked down to the river while we were fishing. that was pretty cool too.
When I was up in AK, bears were always around, but one day in particular a Griz sow and 2 cubs decided to share my gravel bar and work their way upriver. Either they didn't see me or didn't care beacuse they paid no attention at all. I kept fishing and watched them for at least a half hour. It is an incredible image that is burned in my memory. That sow in particular had charged me and 2 other guys the year before, so we had somewhat of a sorted past.
About 15 years ago or so I witnessed an eagle swoop down on a very large chinook. After what seemed like several minutes of thrashing and splashing during which I thought the bird might get drowned, it finally managed to rip loose of the fish and fly away. Quite a sight.
A couple of years ago I was heading up to a little lake I love in MT and damn near ran into a little bitty moose. I was all agogle until I turned my head a bit and saw it's mother up the hill a bit and staring right at me. I ran. But it was still a great sight to see!
Well, it was one of my first trips to the Yuba river in California. The river was a little high so you had to stand right in a small opening in the willows that line the river. I kept hearing rustling just a little farther up the river like some birds hopping around and looking for food amoungst the leaves. I didn't think much about it but it was coming closer. When the sound was about 10 feet away I looked in that direction and saw a black and white cat but what was it doing searching through the leaves? When it was about 4 feet away I saw that it was not a cat at all 'cuz it had a big fluffy tail. To say the least I backed away VERY slow and it just kept going down the bank of the river without even acknowledging that I was there. :thumb:
While fishing the American a few summers ago, I was walking along a tiny trail between the river and very steep rocky cliff and I came across a fawn. It panicked and ran straight up the cliff, stumbling and sliding, somehow making it to the top. I felt really bad the rest of the day, hoping that fawn found its mama.
A year or two ago, I was fishing a favorite small stream on a beautiful, sunny afternoon. I was all alone and had worked my way to a section that has a quick run immediately in front of me and a pool behind that. I was in about ankle deep fishing the far pool when I heard a *snap* upstream to my left. I looked over and startled a deer that had come out to cross the river. It freaked, so did I, it bolted TOWARD me, I stumbled back and it went between me and my fly, under my line and bolted off downstream. My heart was in my ears!
Very cool seeing that come racing by so close, but also scary with it's size and it's speed.
One time I was fishing the Mulchatna in Alaska, on a beautiful sunny day, about 50 miles from the nearest village, I was by myself and hadn't seen another person or jet boat in 3 days (I was sent out there to do some exploring of the fishery to see if we could set up a spike camp there). As I was casting off the gravel bar I saw soemthing small and white float down towards me. I realized it was a beer! The darn thing floated almost into my hands, I popped it open (it was vitamin R), took a nice long drag, and looked up into the sky and said "thanks for taking care of me!"
I guess a floater dropped it off the raft it was just so cool to have something like that happen by chance.
The second coolest thing I've seen was actually not on the river but on float plane back to the lodge. In the front seat of a propeller driven aircraft, if the light is just right while it's raining, you can see a 360 degree rainbow, a perfect circle. It's very cool.
The final thing I'll mention is what I call a fogbow. It's like a rainbow, except it's totally white. I've only ever seen it on the Kanektok river in Alaska, and then only a few minutes in the early morning hours. No color to it at all, just totally white streak that looks kind of fluffy like a cloud. It's really not all that exciting except that its something you rarely see.