Properly conceived, pursuit of the noble trout is an intellectual as well as a satisfyingly atavistic occupation, and there are few men who do not feel an urge to be alone when they wade out, fly rod in hand, to stalk the runs and riffles of their favorite stream. All over the country last week, fishermen shuddered as if with the ague when they contemplated the drawbacks of the presidency, and vehemently informed their long-suffering wives that they would not take the job if George Washington himself returned from the grave, white charger and all, and personally pleaded with them to move into the White House.
They were referring, of course, to the fact that crowds of excited Coloradans lined a dirt road along the north fork of the South Platte River one day last week and watched Ike Eisenhower's fishing technique with a disconcerting beadiness. But even though Ike grumbled a bit himself at the lack of privacy, there is good reason to believe that the average U.S. fisherman would have ceased shuddering and swapped places with him in an instant if the opportunity had only arisen.
The scene of the presidential outing, for one thing, was enough to make the average fly fisherman stare like an owl at noon. Beyond the flat grassy meadows of the Swan Hereford Ranch (owned by Denver Banker Bal Swan, an old friend of the Eisenhowers) the pine-dotted Colorado mountains stood in craggy majesty against a clear blue sky. As Ike advanced, in a powder blue Stetson, loud yellow shirt, fishing jacket and hip boots, clear warm sunlight bathed the high (7,500 feet) valley. The river ran crystal clear over its riffles, blue-green in its deep pools. And within moments after Ike made his first cast?he fished a black-bodied dry fly tied on a No. 14 hook?a two-foot rainbow rolled and sucked it in. The water was full of big, hungry trout?Friend Swan had thoughtfully purchased 500 pounds of them from nearby Elk Creek Hatchery a few days before and dumped them into the river.
It was, in a word, a situation beyond the ordinary. Even purists, who argue that only wild trout deserve their attentions, seldom bridle at a planted fish mannerly enough to rise to the fly?if they have cast the fly. And a good deal of a fisherman's desire for privacy stems, in all honesty, from the need to be alone in those horrible moments when his fly hangs up in a tree or he puts down a fish with a cast calculated to frighten a whale. Once engaged in combat with a big one he is apt to yell for a gallery?and Ike, before his admiring claque, took trout after trout with nonchalance and ease.
The first two-footer got away. There were times later, when his attention wandered?he snagged a bush at one point as a delighted elderly housewife called: "Hello, Mr. Eisenhower. I came here last year to see you. God bless you!" But he had a dozen trout by lunchtime, among them a 16-incher which weighed almost two pounds. He donned an apron and cooked them for his friends over an outdoor barbecue, and returned to the stream for more in the afternoon?though he was fishing public water, the stream had been privately stocked and the State of Colorado had no objection to his exceeding the normal legal limit of 10 fish. He headed back to Denver with the air of a man who had lived. This week, furthermore, he planned to go deeper into the Rockies, to distant St. Louis Creek ?there, with another eminent U.S. dry-fly artist named Herbert Hoover, he will attack the trout again with nobody around but Secret Service men.
Minor sport (farm)
In Hog calling, as in life at large, there is a right way and a wrong way. Herewith, for their inspirational value, are the official rules for scoring the hog callers who last week competed in a farm sports festival held on the campus of the University of Illinois:
"A. VOLUME or CARRYING CAPACITY. This is important because the voice must reach the ears of the hogs if they are in the backfield.
"B. APPEAL. The voice must be earnest and sincere, denoting honesty. It must carry conviction to the hogs that their supper awaits them.
"C. VARIETY. A varied call is more interesting and penetrating than a monotonous one given in the same key.