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Big Lost Trout Tale by Richard Dahlgren, fly fisher, author, painter

You can watch "Land of the Lost River Range" at https://video.idahoptv.org/video/land-of-the-lost-river-range-8d1pff/

Dean Witter, the San Francisco stock broker, founder of the financial institution Dean Witter Reynolds, and his buddy Coleman, the camping cook stove Coleman, liked to fly fish. They did so all over the world.

Sketch by Dick Dahlgren.

In 1956 Witter published a hardback copy of his stream journal fishing experiences, “Meanderings of a Fisherman,” a time when caught trout were always killed and measured in pounds, not inches.

Five pound rainbow trout from Big Lost River.

In it he writes about an Idaho fishing experience that began on The Big Wood River. He’s upset, he says. Some whipper snapper has spoiled the Wood for him. The guy is building a ski resort next to Ketchum. He heard the place was to be called Sun Valley.

So, the Wood spoiled, Witter and Coleman checked out of the magnificent Hiawatha Hotel in Hailey and headed out east, up over Trail Creek Pass to the Big Lost River Valley.

I love fishing the Big Lost.

He writes that the Big Lost is loaded with five pound trout, some bigger.

Julie Dahlgren with rainbow trout on the Big Lost.

I read the book and decided to go see for myself. That was thirty years ago. Out Trail Creek I went, up over the pass, and was stunned by what I saw. Rugged, jagged, snowy 12,000 foot mountains as far as the eye could see north and south. And down below, cattle ranches on the desert floor, green alfalfa fields for winter graze.

Fishing the Big Lost near our property.

Through it all a river ran through it, perhaps the best walk-and-wade trout stream in the west. Dean Witter was right. There were big trout, lots of them.

A visitor to the cabin along the Big Lost River.
The inside of the Cabin.

I stayed. I built a log cabin and fly fished until I could no more. The "no more" never happened. Still doing it. In all seasons.

Fishing the Big Lost in a snow storm.

(All photos by Richard Dahlgren.)