The Writings of LaVarr B Webb
In 1959, my boys, Sam and LaVarr, and I were hunting for a good place to fish. At that time, Sam was six, and LaVarr was eight. We were traveling through central Utah, and stopped in Richfield. I found a sporting goods store, went in, found the proprietor, and begged him to tell me his secrets. "Was there any good fishing in the area?"
He told me, "Yes, Black Canyon, below Antimony."
In exchange for the information, we bought a few fishing supplies, and headed south and east. We found Antimony, and traveled on. We really didn't know what we were looking for, but we found no Black Canyon below Antimony.
We found Antimony Creek flowing out of the mountains to the East. We followed it on an old dirt road until we found some shallow holes. The holes produced a few small rainbows, but not what we were looking for.
We went back to the main road out of Antimony, and again headed south. A few miles down the road, we saw the river--East Fork of he Sevier. Then we came to a large wood framed building, a flour mill. There was a stream of water rushing down the side of the mountain to the east and some vacant houses. There were a lot of black willow trees around the houses, and steep, grey-black cliffs on each side. We had found Black Canyon.
A little higher up, we found that the water flowed rapidly over great basalt boulders, forming large, deep pools. The two boys and I made our way down to the stream, to some gentler holes where they could fish.
Sam, the youngest, made himself comfortable on some grass at the side of a small hole, and dropped a night crawler in. He was fishing. LaVarr jumped from rock to rock until he was in the middle of the stream, and he dropped a crawler into a hole shaped like a bath tub with four large rocks on each side.
Sam had a strike. His pole bent, and he yelled, "I got one, Dad. I got one." Indeed he had. When he worked it up onto the bank, we found it to be a 16-17 inch brown trout. He was all smiles and as thrilled as I was. We had found a stream where the fish were not small, planted rainbows.
LaVarr, standing on a rock in the middle of the stream, fishing in his bath tub, almost got jerked into the water. He just had time to yell, as Sam had, "Dad I got one," and then we watched his fish make several passes up and down the tub, find an opening, plow out into the main stream, break the line, and disappear.
For a minute, it looked like he was going to cry, but he wiped his eyes, asked me to put another hook and sinker on his line, and then he went back to his "fishing."
Each of my five boys have learned to fish at Black Canyon. Each has learned patience as he fished when the trout had no desire to bite. Each has had the opportunity to grin and bear it as the big one got away. Each has had the thrill of catching the big one--the one that didn't get away.
But my girls, they tell another story. I must have neglected them.
Julie, a daughter, told me recently, "I hated Black Canyon. Every year, it seemed, my birthday came on the opening weekend of fishing season, and I spent my birthday sitting around camp while you were out with the boys.
I have a great deal of repenting to do. I will repent next spring at Black Canyon.