Jonnie on the McCloud

It was a hot midsummer day. We had started at Hat Creek where I slept off the late drive while Jonnie caught four good fish. We left just as the first other anglers arrived and made our way to the McCloud. We picked up our permits and walked and scouted the two miles of the Nature Conservancy stretch of river. While we waited for the evening fishing I sketched while Jonnie repeatedly drifted a two-fly rig through a deep pool - a big wooly bugger and a tiny scud. I was just about done when he hooked a giant trout. I had to stop the painting and help him with the fish. It was about five pounds and had taken the scud. I have seen that fish rising at dawn a few times since - this year he looks more like seven pounds.

Collection of Jon Ernst