I left public accounting for good in 1981 and started a new career with EG&G Energy Measurements. My first position was internal auditor working for a crusty old guy named Jim Jones. Jim was a lovable sort, but prone to drinking cheap wine and dispensing snippets of sarcasm. Ironically, he was just what I needed at that time in my young career.
Jim wasn’t what you would call a technical financial auditor; he was more of an old-school operational auditor. He once tested property controls by stealing a typewriter right out the door during business hours. He was, surprisingly, a licensed certified public accountant (CPA), which was a source of aggravation for his boss, Jack Humphrey, who was himself an accountant but who could never pass the CPA exam. Jim taught me a lot about patience and perseverance (grossly lacking in all men in their twenties), but he also had a gift for writing, even if they were business reports. In the course of working with Jim he imparted upon me the importance of choosing the right word to convey the intended meaning. I worked for Jim two and one-half years, after which time I transferred into the Finance Division, eventually succeeding John Fisk as Treasurer and Director of Finance. There are quite a few stories worth telling about those EG&G years, but they don’t have a thing to do with fishing.
|Interior view of lava-stone fireplace|
In the early 1980s Jim was building a cabin in the Yellow Pine district along Mammoth Creek. Mammoth Creek drains the eastern slope of the Dixie National Forest into the Sevier River just south of Hatch, Utah (the Sevier is the longest river completely contained within the boundaries of a single state: 345 miles). Jim invited me there often, particularly in the early spring to open it and in the late fall to close it (I was cheap labor, working for time on the trout stream). He also allowed me to use the cabin often, which my young family, including Nick, Doug, and grandma Nanny, really appreciated. He often talked about fishing Panguitch Lake in a boat, but I was captivated by the creek.
|Splitting wood for time on the creek|
|Badger on road to Hatch Meadow|
|Nick, age four, overlooking Mammoth Creek in Yellow Pine subdivision|
Over the course of the next ten years or so I explored quite a bit of Mammoth Creek. The first trout I caught on Mammoth was a cutthroat. I caught it in the meadow stretch on a dry fly. I expected it to be a small brown trout and was amazed to see it was a cutthroat. In my naiveté I imagined it was a wild Bonneville cutthroat (indigenous to Utah), but my inquiry with Utah Department of Wildlife resulted in some disappointment as they informed me it was a stocked cutthroat of the common variety. Still, it was a cutthroat. Over the course of years I caught several more cutthroats in Mammoth.
|First ever Mammoth Creek trout, a cutthroat with signature orange slash on jaw|
|Sixteen-inch brown trout on clover|
Fishing the meadow section of Mammoth was not easy. There was no cover for the fish, just deep cut banks as the creek meandered through the grazing pasture. I never caught more than one or two fish during a session, usually ten to twelve inches. There was one memorable trip wherein I caught a very healthy sixteen inch brown trout. I was casting upstream using a nymph pattern I tied myself from fur I had raked off Buffy, our gray calico cat. I think the fly resembled caddis fly larvae in a stone casing. I had cast blindly upstream from the left side just below where the creek cut deep into the bank as it switched directions. From my position I couldn’t see the fly or my line, and I was simply stripping line in as it drifted back down to me when I felt the line go taught. The fish fought stoutly; it was the largest trout I had ever caught at that point in my fishing experience. It was beautifully colored. The season was early fall, and the female was full of roe. I felt very guilty for killing her, realizing that the opportunity for her to spawn new wild trout was lost forever.
|Another view of the beautiful sixteen-inch brownie|
|Southwestern view of Jim's Yellow Pine cabin, circa 1983|
|A very young FisherDad, September 1982|