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> > Rusty Gates Floating with Ernie Schwiebert

OldredbarnDecember 24th, 2009, 7:10 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
Sorry...This turned out to be a text file and not a jpeg. If you are interested in what I was trying to post go to and click the "Guide Service" button.


"When mists and shadows rob pool and run of shape
And substance
When the voice of the wood thrush stills and the
Dog trout shakes his lethargy
We will remember, stalwart gentle master of the
Angler'a art,
Half submerged in the smother,
Unerringly shooting that long line, watchfully
Mending the drift.
Never more will your skilled hand tempt the
Patriarchs of the flood.
Farewell, old timer."

From Ernie Schwieberts "Homage to Henryville"

I listened to the priest yesterday at Mr. Gates' funeral up in Grayling tell me over and over that Rusty was in a better place. In deference to him and the religious amongst you, I believe I have sat with Rusty in his "better place" and it was on a bend in the river along the South Branch of the Au Sable. We were watching invaria duns disappear in swirls one evening in the half-light. I will aways rememebr him shouting out, "SPENCER!" when I pulled my fly, after a near perfect drift, from Mr. Browntrouts open mouth..."I moved that fish, man! He counts!"

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
DelablobboDecember 28th, 2009, 10:58 am
Posts: 21Thanks for your post, Oldredbarn. Rusty was one of the "real guys." In a media driven fishing world, where the fishing pundits preen like parrots in order to keep the wallet filled with green, Rusty always "walked the walk."
JADDecember 28th, 2009, 5:25 pm
Alexandria Pa

Posts: 362

It would seem it’s harder to find the “perfect fishing buddy” than “the perfect mate With this in mind it’s a little easier to understand the lonely fly fisherman, in his or her 70s or 80s, who now walks the streams alone since their fishing buddy has passed. With so many rich memories there is no starting over again.


They fasten red (crimson red) wool around a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers which grow under a cock’s wattles, and which in colour are like wax.
Radcliffe's Fishing from the Earliest Times,
OldredbarnDecember 29th, 2009, 9:32 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

Your post rattled loose an old memory. I was getting in to the river (South Branch Au Sable) at a favorite spot and there was an "oldtimer" sitting at the access site on a fallen log. He spotted me peeking out from the woods and shouted for me to go ahead and come on in since he was done for the day.

I sat down near him and began to string my rod and we started to chat. He had known Rusty's father and Rusty since he was a young man. He wanted me to say hello to him in fact since I had told him I was staying at The Lodge.

He had fished the stretch upstream from the access site which is a very wadable flat section of river. He wanted to show me some of his flies and made a comment that they were nothing like what "you young boys are carrying around these days". I was in my 50's here or pretty damn close to it.

I told him that they looked like they would still catch fish and he laughed. He was out there all by himself and, as you said, just spending a little time with his memories and his favorite stretch of stream. The next morning I told Rusty I had run in to this oldtimer on the river that knew him and his comment was like William's above about Rusty..."Spence, He's the real deal and you were lucky to share a few moments with him. He has been fishing here for ever!"

This spot on the river has a little pool just upstream from the access site known to some as the "Brookie Hole". I was told, though I never had the story confirmed, that when he was young, Rusty's dad would place him there with a few "Iron Fraudator's" in his hand and would leave to fish the river with his adult friends. He would come back and pick him up after the evenings action was over.

There are some pretty wise Brookies in that hole. I have sat there a ways off from the pool and watched them feed like little machines. You get anywhere near them, I don't care how cautious you think you are, the rise-forms change. They go from a lazy rhythm to a speedy little take...It's like they know you are there, but not going to let anything sneak by them. My trick has been to cross downstream and wade back up behind a log deflecting the current in hopes of them not spotting me...I can almost see them shake their heads and say, "Not this guy again!"

Next spring I'm going to poke a couple of those little shits and will whisper in their ears, "This one's for Rusty Gates..."

Thanks guys!

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood

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