I was throwing rocks into the water beneath the hot springs infused, travertine encrusted terraces along the Bighorn River in Thermopolis, Wyoming, when my step-father called me over. He handed my his fishing pole that he'd rigged up with worm and sinker. Immediately my little hands felt the tremendous tug from the unseen fish holding in the deep water.
Eyes wide and mouth agape, I stood there unsure what to do. Without hesitation my step-father told me to use the reel. Following his instructions I was rewarded with renewed resistance from the fish at the other end. Time stopped in those next few moments as I fought to land my first fish.
A squeal of childish delight ripped across the rushing waters of the Bighorn River as the fish, closing in on shore, rolled to dive towards deeper water. Its tail slapped the surface surprising me and sending a beautiful shower of droplets in all directions. My wonderment was only increased when we brought the beautiful rainbow trout to hand. Even after placing the fish in the creel to take home for dinner, I continued to sneak peaks at it, amazed at its size, colors, and general... fishiness. That was the day I became hooked on fishing.
Do you remember your first fishing trip? What about the pole? Tackle and bait? Surely the location is forever burned into your memory.
My recent book Wyoming Mountains & Home-waters, reminisces about childhood fishing adventures while laying out the scientific arguments for native trout conservation. Check out a copy today!
This blog was posted on the original Conservation Angler blogger page on 4/23/2017 and has been slightly updated for posting here.
Until next time,