My knees were skinned up from slipping and smashing them on slick rocks in the small, fast mountain creek.
They were the slickest rocks Ive ever tried to wade across. I slipped up to my chest in the icy waters, tripped over logs and was constantly getting tangled in the thick willows lining the bank.
I know I should have worn waders, but it was hot and it felt good to wade in shorts and river sandals.
I got scratches all over my legs from busting through the brush just trying to get to the creek in the western Idaho mountains.
But the scratches became worth it after the yellow stimulator I was casting started enticing brookies.
The dry fly would land in a small gin-clear pool, and within a second, a small brookie would hit it. The colorful fish would then dance every which way, getting my line stuck in branches and over logs.
Youve got to be pretty stealthy to stalk brookies in small creeks. Just let your shadow hit the water, or make too much of a splash taking a step, and youll see fish darting all over the place.
So the scratches and dings on the knees were not for nothing. Its what fishing is all about because dinner ends up in the creel.
Small brookies are a delicacy. They taste so good in the camp frying pan simmering in nothing but a little salt and pepper and olive oil.
Oh, sure, other types of fishing get more hype, like casting a fly to the sophisticated rainbows of Silver Creek, the lunker trout of the South Fork of the Boise River or the native cutts of the Middle Fork of the Salmon. But for me, theres something about stalking brook trout and sitting down to a dinner with fish fresh from a mountain stream.
The reason you can keep brookies is that they are prolific. Eastern brook trout arent native to Idaho. In fact, they are the disdain of some anglers and biologists because they compete with native trout.
The native range of the Eastern brook trout is in the eastern part of the U.S. and Canada. They were first stocked in Idaho in the late 1800s because they were such a popular fish back East.
Consequently, the populations exploded in Idahos waters, and now you have mostly stunted brookies in high mountain lakes and streams. The larger the population, the less food they have and the smaller the fish.
A lot of anglers dont like to catch them because they are so small. But if you want a culinary treat, you cant beat small brookies.
Find a small mountain creek, dangle a fly in a pool or behind a beaver dam and chances are youll hook into a brook trout. They can be easy to catch.
Ive caught them in eastern Idaho streams near the Wyoming border and in the mountains of western Idaho.
Before you keep one, make sure its a brook trout. They look a little like bull trout, which are protected.
Youll see descriptions in Idahos fishing regulations. Also look at www.idahoafs.org and go to Fishes of Idaho and then brook trout.
And remember the frying pan.
All year long I get questions about rattlesnake awareness training for dogs.
Well, its here again.
Hunters and other dog owners can attend Rattlesnake Avoidance Training Day, and also a Trap Awareness Seminar, both on Aug. 11 at Veterans Memorial Park in Boise.
The combined event will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost of the rattlesnake avoidance training is $40 per dog, and the trap awareness seminar is free.
To learn more about the training day, go to snakeavoidance.org.
The trap awareness seminar is designed for anyone who regularly takes dogs to the Boise Foothills, other outlying areas and even the Greenbelt.
To register for the rattlesnake training, call Heidi Funke at 463-2304.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors
Statesman outdoor writers Pete Zimowsky and Roger Phillips alternate columns on Sunday. Look for Roger next week.