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My Adventure: The ones that got away

One spring day in 1957, Pete Kershaw, Don Wolfe and I took a fishing trip to Fish Lake. In 1957 there was no Highway 140, no Interstate 5. To access Fish Lake, we drove old Highway 99 to the Ashland Indian Memorial Road and to Fish Lake.

The day started with a pre-dawn drive with Pete at the wheel. We had our fishing gear and a nice-sized box containing snacks. The day was perfect and so was time with my friends.

I had known Don since grade school. He and I were the (not sanctioned) “Horse and Rider” champs of Washington Grade School in 1949/50. Don was small and wiry. I was one of the biggest kids. I would put Don on my shoulders (Don was the rider). I was the horse. The object was to engage other teams and knock the rider off the horse. Don and I were the champs. Some of the spills were a bit rough on the riders. I am sure that sport was banned sometime after Don and I moved on from grade school.

Back to 1957. The fishing day was pristine. We rented a boat, cruised the lake, ate, talked and landed some great trout. All three of us boated our limit. In mid-afternoon we decided to call the trip a 100% success. I cannot speak for other men. But for me the buddy time with other guys rates at the very top of my now old-man memories. To still be friends with men of quality I have known for 70 years is a treasure.

We pulled anchor and headed back to the dock. Once there Pete went to check in our boat. Don and I were packing the gear and three limits of trout. Don said he would get the fish, and I headed to the car with our fishing gear. Always hungry, I had visions of a frying pan full of fresh trout. A perfect ending to a perfect day.

Don, left alone at the boat, at the end of the dock in deep water, made a somewhat flawed decision. First, he decided to put the fish in the empty cardboard snack box. Then in a brain burp, Don decided to dip the box in the lake putting fresh cold water on the fish for the hot ride home. Things went fine until Don pulled the box from the lake to drain the water. As he lifted the box from the lake, a combination of water and the weight of the fish broke open the bottom of the box and three limits of fish disappeared into the depths.

Don never lived that goof down. Pete and I made sure that story was front and center at future buddy gatherings. In truth I have long forgotten other limits of fish. The limits drifting to the bottom of Fish Lake in 1957 is a memory forever with me and always brings a smile to my face.

Larry Slessler lives in Medford.


Share Your Adventure

The Mail Tribune wants to share your adventure. We’re looking for accounts of hikes, climbs, river runs, fishing trips, bike rides, ocean outings, camping trips, wildlife encounters and anything else you’ve done outdoors. Email your story (shoot for about 500 words) and pictures to Mail Tribune features editor David Smigelski at dsmigelski@rosebudmedia.com.

Pete Kershaw, left, and Larry Slessler, next to a 1955 VW Van that belonged to Pete's dad. Pete was founder of a company Kershaw Knives. Courtesy photo