I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
From Song of Wandering Aengus, by W. B. Yeats
Ever notice that some of the best things in life are associated with water? Like Schubert's "Trout Quintet." And the opening lines of Moby Dick. Those memories of long, languid summers at the shore that lie before you like an eternity. And Norman MacLean's last statement in that small masterpiece, "A River Runs Through It":
Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.
Well, I'm learning to fish!
Naturally, the first thing you need is proper attire!
The second thing you need this the right spot! My dad says that trout are breathtakingly picky about where they live. Only the coolest, most crystalline waters will do. In fact, most trout fishermen don't really care about the fish at all--they just want to be near them and share the place in which they live. This is Dad's favorite pool, on the West Branch of the Farmington River. Centuries ago, native Americans camped here and fished for salmon.
The third thing you need is, well, trout. This one came from that pool two days ago and measured 24 inches--it's a Brown Trout--not native to the United States, but a fish whose ancestors came here from Germany two centuries ago! In fact, the only "native" trout in our region, the "Brook Trout," is not really a trout at all, but a char: Salvelinus Fontinalis, literally, "little salmon of cold springs," left here when the glaciers retreated. By the way, this fish, like all that Dad catches, never left the water--he swam off to return to the task of sipping emerging mayflies.
The fourth thing you need is a Great Blue Heron. No fishing expedition is complete without "Big Bird!"
Oh, yes...you need a flyrod and reel! And an assortment of feathered imitations of beautiful insects with Latin names.
Right now, it's Epeorus Vitreus, otherwise known as a "Sulphur Dun."
The Sulphur Dun
As for myself, I don't really get this "catch-and-release" stuff. And Dad meditates too much! At the end of the day, I enjoy chewing the head off of a nice rainbow trout!