DJ's Note: Before reading this story, you might
enjoy reading "Cutthroat
Copping Coyote Caper"
disastrous fishing trip is worse than a bad tooth.
how. It began with a cracked filling in the first molar, lower left. Tired of
sucking on it and being 1,600 miles away from Dr. Robin Roberts, Bloomington's
dental diety, a Cody, Wyo., dentist got the nod.
should have known better when I saw the Kentucky Wildcats license plate on the
wall as I reclined in the doctor's chair. Don't get me wrong, he was a good fellow
and a painless dentist, but he wanted to pull my tooth. Figuring the magical touch
of Dr. Robin back in Bloomington could probably avert such drastic action, I instead
opted for a temporary filling.
be seeing you in a week," warned the Cody dentist, Dr. Keith Nance. He has
relatives who live in Indiana, and he was a fine guy, despite the fact that he's
from across the river. And he was right about seeing me again soon. The filling
fell out, making a return trip to Cody necessary.
80 mile drive to Cody from Silver Gate, but the
route takes you along the Clark's Fork of the
Yellowstone River and it's many tributaries, one
of which is a creek I'll call Coyote Creek. It
is, without question, the most beautiful brook
trout stream I have ever seen. It holds lots of
these spectacular little fish, many going to 13
something about Coyote Creek that works against
me. I think..no, I am sure, it is Coyote, the
trickster of native American lore who is the root
cause of this bad medicine. This is Coyote with
a capital "C," a supernatural creature
prone to pulling nasty jokes on humans.
the last time I had fished Coyote Creek, I drove
away and left my ziplock bag holding three trout
lying on the ground where the truck had been parked.
Since there are grizzly bears and coyotes and
maybe even some wolves running the creek valley,
I know the fish didn't go to waste. Still, it
was a bad omen. Heck, I had never left caught
fish anywhere before, ever.
driving to Cody one more time to get my tooth's
gangantuan hole refilled, I figured it would be
easy to stop at Coyote Creek and test the brookies
one more time. I had a small cooler with iced
beverages and citrus fruit for after the fishing,
as well as coffee and all sorts of apres-angling
goodies to munch. I had tied up a batch of new
flies-parachute Adams', green drake emergers,
even a few hoppers.
the night before this trip, I had removed my No.3
fly rod from its case and tied on a new tapered
leader, taking great pains to tie tidy, compact
knots, gluing the knots where necessary. I loaded
a towel to wipe fish goo off my hands, and made
sure I had plenty of Hall's Mentholyptus (sucking
a cough drop relieves thirst like sucking on a
pebble does). I had a new plastic bag for my permitted
three keepers which I knew I would be grilling
Nance's refilling job was painless, and he even got a laugh out of the IU baseball
cap I wore to his office for that second visit. The receptionist was nice and
there were at least two dental office les tres jolie juene femmes working
there. They brightened the visit nicely.
back in my pickup and truckin' for Coyote Creek
within 20 minutes of walking in the dentist's
office. It was 90 degrees and sunny. Water level
in the creek was low, and it was so clear that
I could see small fish. Fish were rising. I could
see them as I drove along a parallel, dusty U.S.
Forest Service road. It passed through campgrounds
filled with bow hunters out after deer and antelope,
but the creek is always in sight.
with the larger brookies is about 12 miles up
this rugged road. When I finally reached where
I wanted to fish, there were no other anglers,
no hunters, no horseback trains, no nothing except
the stream, me and the brook trout. Or, so I thought.
As I was
pulling on my wading shoes, a coyote came ambling
right down the middle of the road, watching me.
It even stopped when I spoke to it. The coyote
and I locked eyes for a moment before it trotted
(THE Coyote) has been bedeviling me now for
about five years http://donjordanoutdoors.com/coyote.htm.
During our first encounter, Coyote snatched a
nice fat cutthroat I had just caught. He carried
it away into the woods, pausing to look over his
shoulder, to see if I would pursue.
a day or two after this initial encounter, I
was driving my buddys truck
Yellowstone park with two friends. As I headed
through the Lamar Valley, we saw a coyote walk
casually into my lane about 100 yards ahead. As
we slowed and watched, the coyote squatted and
defecated in mid-lane. It stayed there until I
was forced to a complete halt. Then, watching
me as he did it, this rude character lifted a
leg and urinated on the same spot, then trotted
away without so much as a "pardon me."
our next meeting, I managed to surprise Coyote who was standing on the same gravel
bar where I had been standing that time Coyote stole the cutthroat. We had locked
eyes that time too, for a moment.
thereafter, I got a speeding ticket inside Yellowstone
National Park from an eager-beaver shavetail cop/ranger,
making me the only person I know to ever get a
speeding ticket instead of a warning inside the
park. This ranger was so new that he had tape
over his badge number, because he hadn't been
issued his own badge yet.
this was Coyote's work.
was that an uncomfortable foreboding that I slipped
into my fishing vest up Coyote Creek after the
dentist visit. I pulled out the rod case. No rod.
The rod, complete with new tapered leader and
neatly-tied and glued knots was sitting on the
porch back in Silver Gate.
several minutes of verbal self-abuse, I took off
the waders, slipped out of the vest, loaded into
the truck and turned around to head home. I got
about 20 feet before I noticed the truck was pulling
hard to the right. Right front tire flat.
a new truck. I had to dig out the book to find
the jack and tools. It took nearly 90 minutes
to get the tire changed there on that hot, dusty
road with the mountain sun beating on me. I rolled
in the dust, groveled under the truck to get the
spare, then did the same to jack the truck. My
clothes and every bare patch of skin were covered
in grease dusted with powerdy road dirt.
I looked around for my prescription, polarized
sunglasses only to hear a disturbing "crunch"
from under my foot. Yep, I stepped on 'em. That
meant yet another trip to Cody, to an optician
Had to be.
already used every expletive known to man, so
there was nothing left to do but pick up the pieces
of my sunglasses and head for home, fishless,
minus one good tire and one pair of very expensive
glasses. I had no fish, indeed, no fishing rod,
and I sucked down the last cold libation as I
dodged bow hunters on four-wheelers on the way
to the highway.
the probably the world's first case of a visit
to the dentist being much better than a fishing
trip. Of course, I may yet have to make a third
visit to Dr. Nance for a session with the pliers.
Do you suppose he could be Coyote too?
interested in the outcome of the infamous "bad
tooth Coyote fishing trip" story will be
glad to find that, back in Bloomington, Dr. Robin
Roberts saved my poor old tooth from the pliers.
lived up to his reputation as the worlds
best dentist. He not only saved the tooth, he
root-canaled it and capped it for the price some
dentists charge for simply filling a cavity! And,
please note, that Robins dental office
juene femmes are just as charming as the ones
in Wyoming and are even more friendly.