Chester La Fontaine - Excerpt from “Rod Rage”
 
Chester LaFontaine, A Catch and Release Canine
by Gary LaFontaine
Chester fished with Gary for nearly ten seasons, and appeared in the fly fishing videos, “Successful Fly Fishing Strategies.”
Gary swore that Chester was ”the Einstein of dogs.”  That he was fully bilingual in canine and English, and that he could take Chester absolutely anywhere, including to the Little Lehigh in Pennsylvania, and that the dog would be perfectly behaved and not disturb man or fish. That’s quite a reputation to live up to! This is how Gary related the story to me!
On this particular day, Gary and Chester were fishing with a friend on one of the many prolific rivers near Deer Lodge. The friend was some distance downstream of them, and hooked a fairly sizable whitefish. Now, some people feel very strongly that whitefish are a nuisance, a junk fish, and can ruin a good day of trout fishing. The best solution is to eliminate the species. Obviously this guy was of that school, and so, without giving it any thought, the fellow removed the hook, and tossed the unfortunate fish up on the bank. It landed about 30 feet from the river’s edge in the tall grass.
Chester, being the perfect dog and never missing a trick, had keenly observed the hook-up, the hook removal, AND the whitefish – from-the-river-removal. He had never seen any fished harmed in all his angling years! Furthermore, he could see no reason to distinguish a whitefish from any other species..a fish was a fish was a fish!
Out of the water (where he had been helping Gary locate trout), up the bank, Chester to the rescue! He put his nose to the poor fish’s side and    proceeded to nudge it, inch by inch, slowly down the hill in the direction of the water, from whence it came! This was no easy feat...we’re talking tough conditions, folks...bumpy terrain, high grass, stones, and quiet a distance. Had Chester learned this technique at a previous Easter Egg Rolling Party, perhaps?!
Slowly, carefully, the old dog literally worked the whitefish back down the embankment and into the water. Unfortunately, the fish immediately turned belly up.  Again, this was something Chester had never witnessed. He was used to seeing fish released right side up, and then swim quickly away! He knew there was something terribly wrong....he knew fish weren’t supposed to swim off upside down...and so, being “the perfect angling dog”, Chester took his paw and, ever so gently, rolled it over in the water, right side up! Within a few seconds, the fish took one last look at Chester, and beat it off downstream as fast as it could possibly swim!
This is  a true story...no exaggeration...there were witnesses and, I saw the slide sequence of this event with my own disbelieving eyes!

                                                                          Solution?
If your dog is as well behaved as Chester, enjoy the fishing company.                   Just be sure you both don’t disturb another angler.
Gary la Fontaine
1946 - 2002