The Rainbow connection |

The Rainbow connection

Wren Wertin

Some locals wade into Gore Creek to find fish; Joe Macy flies to Russia. He speaks tonight about “The Bolshoi Rainbows of Kamchatka’s Two Yurt River” as part of the Vail Library’s Adventure Series. The event runs from 7 until 9 p.m.

“It’s somewhat of an exotic fly fishing destination,” he admitted. “The Two Yurt River is a large spring creek. I can compare it to a cross between the Henry’s Fork in Idaho and the Madison in Montana. I kept returning to Russia for the beautiful rivers, the wilderness and the people.”

Macy helped guide fishing trips in Russia; his time on the Two Yurt ran to a month, though people came for one-week increments. The former company man for Vail Resorts retired on July 31, 2001. By Aug. 3 of the same year, he was on his way to Russia and all the Rainbow Trout, salmon and Graylings he had time for.

Russia is a wild land, with more than 30 active volcanoes – not to mention the active bears. The areas Macy fishes in are only accessible by helicopter, and usually not fancy ones. But the logistical problems don’t seem to faze him. He’s more interested in the next big fish.

“Serious fishermen, like destination skiers, will take trips anywhere from Mongolia to Canada to the Bahamas,” he explained. “And in Russia, it’s such a unique environment.”

Each fisherman had his own pontoon, so whenever the spirit told them to stop and fish, they could. During their time on the Two Yurt, they never came across another human soul that wasn’t a part of their group. Fish was another story entirely. One expert fisherman caught 51 rainbows in one day; a more inexperienced person caught 41.

“You could easily approach 30 Rainbows,” Macy said.

For the most part it was catch and release, though every once in a while the trip’s cook would request a salmon for dinner. She usually made meals indigenous to the Russian diet, such as borscht – which means a clear soup, not just beet soup – various pork dishes and vegetables.

“The tundra was paved with several types of blueberries,” said Macy. “Every day she’d pick a great big bowl of blueberries and cook them. Then we’d have a syrup of blueberries and you could put them in your tea, or have blinis in the morning and pour them on those.”

In addition to the Russian cook, Macy worked with a whole crew of Russians including guides and a translator. Because of the bears, which Macy likened to Kodiak Grizzlies, one or two guides toted AK-47s. They usually espied bears a few times a week.

“I definitely plan on returning to Russia,” said Macy. “There’s a lot to explore.”

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.

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