By Jennifer Kakusian
If my family REALLY loved me, Mother’s Day would have been a day spent on the stream with my Dad. Alas, a picnic with all of us hitting golf balls off of Fred’s barn sufficed; don’t tell Fred about the golf balls. I usually mosey through the infamous “barn” of TU fame, looking at 55 years of amassed marriage, neatly categorized – and always necessary to have on hand. You never know when the 54 year old baby training potty chair will come in handy; yes it still is in showroom condition. Eventually I made my way to the fishing section. I was drooling over the dyed polar bear hair, hackles, necks, furs, etc. and other articles that he, Milt and Doc Nash divided and bought out on that day many years ago. Fred can, without a doubt, if he were to choose to, open up his own fly shop. I do not think he has stepped foot in a fly shop since Al closed up shop down in Shinhopple. He would go in just out of courtesy.
All of these items reminded me of 35 or 40 years ago going to Nipper Briggs’ home on Gordon Drive near Chenango Forks High School and the John Harshaw Elementary School. Every girl’s dream! Pipe smoke, being with my Dad and seeing what this man had in his garage office was better than anything you could imagine – or so I thought until I was introduced to Mike Hogue at Badger Creek in Freeville, outside of Dryden. Nipper Briggs has long since passed, but what he knew was what would catch fish and how to enable you to catch fish. His shop was impeccable – at least in memory. As my school bus would meander by Nipper’s house, my heart ached. Why was I stuck on this tin can and not able to go to his shop and do what I really wanted?
Well, on one of my recent excursions with the three wise men – Russ, Tony and Dave – I educated the trio on Badger Creek. As fantastic as Nipper Briggs was, Mike Hogue is an answer to a 35 year prayer. In the spring we visited Mike on a recommendation and found his BARN to be, well… I can only describe it as Dorothy opening the door to Oz. If you need it, it is there. It is the Holy Land. And other fly tying stores in the vicinity send you there! The reciprocity is amazing! This is what I enjoy about the company we keep – the reciprocity. If you are at the Cortland Fly Shop, at Timber Creek, at the Ithaca Rod Company, or at Badger Creek – you can usually get the right fly, the right stream at the right time of day. But at Badger Creek you step back in time yet it is all on the web as well [www.eflytyer.com]. The tying benches, the organized chaos, and the shelves brimming with unusual yet necessary “have to have items” are standard fair. Mike’s Open House a few weeks ago was amazing. I do not think I learned so much at one single event in such a short period of time, met such nice people, and learned such much about local streams.
You have to call Mike first, this is his second profession. Spend some time, MAKE A LIST as you will kick yourself, but he mails anything to you. I am not doing him justice. Pack your fishing gear and make a day of it. Fall Creek, Six-Mile Creek and Salmon Creek are close by. Depending on how you come home, there is the West Branch of the Tioughnioga or the Owego Creek.
Mike Hogue / Badger Creek Fly Tying / 622 West Dryden Road, Freeville, NY 13068 Phone: 607-347-4946
Jennifer Kakusian aka Guide #5159
PS… I was informed that two golf balls were found in the yard upon the subsequent mowing of the yard. Time would have been better spent fishing.
Trout Unlimited’s Philosophy
“We believe that trout and salmon fishing isn’t just fishing for trout and salmon. It’s fishing for sport rather than food, where true enjoyment of the sport lies in the challenge, the lure and battle of wits, not necessarily the full creel. It’s the feeling of satisfaction that comes from limiting your kill instead of killing your limit. It’s communing with nature where the chief reward is a refreshed body and a centered soul, where license is a permit to use-not abuse, to enjoy-not destroy our cold water fishery. It’s subscribing to the proposition that what’s good for trout and salmon is good for fisherman and that managing the resources for the fish rather than anglers is fundamental to the solution of our trout and salmon problems. It’s appreciating our fishery resources, respecting fellow anglers and giving serious thought to tomorrow.”