A MOOSE CAMP MEMOIR
by William H. Jordan
Some of my most memorable experiences as a fly fisherman revolved around Moose Camp in central British Columbia, Canada It was there in 1972 I began a long lasting romance with that spot on the planet that captured for me the ideal experience of fly-fishing for trout. Situated on Lake Rioux, Moose Camp was introduced to me by the Brown Family that had been returning there for several years. When Moose Camp became overpopulated with Brown’s and Jordan’s, I started a new group and it grew to the extent we occupied the whole camp for two weeks every July. I returned for 30 consecutive years with the same old guard bringing relatives, sons, grandsons, rookies and guests along. We were a mixed bag of fishermen coming together from all walks of life with the single purpose of enjoying trout fishing and connecting with nature. Many changes have taken place since I first arrived yet it still maintains its wilderness character.
Historically Moose Camp was a trapper’s loggings and the first access to this remote resort was negotiated by a 20 mile horseback ride up from the valley climbing to an elevation of 3000 ft. plus. Later, when I arrived with the Brown family, it was by a logging route of a similar length that passed nearby Moose Camp. However, horses were still corralled behind the cabins for riding to outlying lakes, such as Sicily Italia, and Patricia. These trips, rain or shine, meant an early start with reveille at 5 a.m. We packed our gear, inflatable rafts, a saw to clear the trail, and kicker motors. We fished standing on log rafts propelled by long poles and the ‘kickers’. The rafts were wintered over on the lakes and repaired as needed when we arrived in summer to use them.
A lot of things changed since then including indoor plumbing, but old traditions remained such as smoking the ‘keepers’ to take home for family and friends. Over the decades that I fished Moose Camp, the wildlife seemed ever present and the trout population at Rioux remained stable and gave us all the action necessary to fill our evening conversations on the porch. Stories like watching the eagle and osprey compete for trout too near the surface, or the loon that fought you for the trout you had on the line.
As a young boy, I was fortunate to have been raised in Manchester, Vermont where my father, Wesley D. Jordan was the renowned bamboo rodmaker for the Orvis Company beginning in 1939. He brought me up with and taught me fly-fishing. My life has been enriched ever since.
I knew three of the previous owners of Moose Camp; Dave Jones, Frank Novak, John and Nonie Myers and now I’ve come to know Bryan and Julie Bonnamour who are as hardworking as their predecessors who built on traditions that honor the sport and provide us with so much enjoyment.