Boat Fishermen Made ‘Dry’ Camp MondayWritten by Dick Perue
A party of fishermen enjoying a three-day float on the Platte over the weekend “camped out” on the river bank a few miles below town Monday night, though they camped a little more ruggedly than they had planned to.
The party, using two boats, and including Gil. Blumenthal, Bob Perue and his sons Richard and Norman of Saratoga and Sam Bromguard, Vern Jewell and Walt Carstaors of Greeley, Colo., embarked Monday morning from Pick Bridge below town. They had planned to “dock” at the old Overland Trail crossing to camp for the night, but some how missed their station, and some time later pulled in at Savage corrals.
Jimmie Perue and his brother Ronald had gone to meet them at the crossing, with food and bedrolls. When dusk came, however, the boat had failed to appear, so the boys ate their supper and rolled out their beds. In the morning, suspecting what had happened, they drove to the corrals, where they found the boaters had camped, sans coats, bedrolls or food.
After a hearty breakfast, however, and with still un-dampened spirits, the anglers embarked on the last leg of their trip to the Ft. Steele Bridge. At the corrals, Jimmie and Ronald Perue joined the fishermen, and Richard and Norman brought the truck back to town.
The first lap of the three-day trip was made Sunday from Saratoga to Pick, and all returned to town for the night. The fishermen said the float was an enjoyable one, in spite of their lack of bedrolls, and the fishing was good.
(Bob says he is planting a flag at the old trail crossing soon.)
A news item in the Aug. 12, 1953 issue of the hometown newspaper reported this mishap of local fishermen who were treating their out-of-town friends to a three-day float/fishing trip on the headwaters of the Upper North Platte River.
Youngsters in this area usually learned to row the flat-bottom wooden boats on the river as early as 12 years old. By that age, most were already seasoned fishermen and responsible enough to handle floating the river.
My dad, Bob Perue, would usually take two of us boys in the boat with each of the three of us fishing for an hour and rowing for a 30-minute interval. As my brothers and I – and sometimes even the neighbor kids – became more proficient operating the boat, dad would then start skipping his turn and allow us to fish for an hour and row for an hour while he fished full-time and gave instructions on how and where to guide the boat.
To this day, at the age of 80, I still love to float the river, row most of the time, fish a little, tell a few tales and teach the kids, grandkids and great-grand kids how to navigate the mighty Platte.