Trout fishing this spring has turned out to be better than I thought it would be. My first trout fishing excursion went pretty well, even though it did seem a little awkward at first. After all, it has been at least 20 years since I last fished for trout.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew where I could catch fish way back when, but I didn’t know now how well trout were stocked and where to fish. Also, how much had the river changed over time? After asking some questions and getting a few helpful tips from other fisherman, it was time to head to the river.
Following a brief struggle to get my hip boots on (I’m not as agile as I used to be), and getting my gear in order, I made my way to the river bank to get started. It didn’t take long to confirm that I’m not as steady on my feet as I once was. I had to step carefully due to the river current, rolling stones and glare from the sun. Nothing that can’t be overcome but a reminder I hadn’t fished for a while.
As I began casting it also became obvious that my fishing reel hasn’t seen much use. The line was low on the reel and it would catch, which prevented me many times from getting the bait where it needed to be. Not the best, but I didn’t need to cast very far anyway.
Despite those shortcomings, it wasn’t very long until I felt a bump through the line. Low and behold I had hooked a trout!! The feisty rainbow put up quite a fight, pulling hard against the current and leaping out of the water, but I managed to get it to the bank. At that point I realized I had left my pliers (and glasses) back at the truck.
Since I’m almost exclusively catch and release, I like to not directly handle the fish and typically use pliers to grab the hook to dislodge it. This time, with the help of a stick, I managed to get the stubborn hook loose but not without a struggle. The trout swam away and didn’t seem much worse for wear. I wasn’t far from the truck, so I went back to get the forgotten items.
A little farther upstream I caught another rainbow! I was surprised because it had been a week since the last stocking and I figured most fish from this easily accessed location would be gone.
As I continued fishing, I came to a spot where I had to cross the stream. The water was up from a previous rain and while it wasn’t that deep, I hesitated. I could see myself slipping and falling in, while doing my version of a river dance, my hip boots filling with water. As much trouble as I have getting out of a chair, wallowing around in the middle of the North Fork wouldn’t be a pretty sight!
After considering the risks, I decided to change direction and fished downstream for a while. A little later I managed to hook yet another one of those crazy rainbows. This one kept jumping out of the water until it threw the hook.
It was a good first outing! I have been out a several times since my first trip and each time I feel less and less awkward. I’m getting steadier on my feet, getting my minimal equipment positioned where it needs to be and with a new spool of 4-pound line, getting more consistent at casting the bait where I want it.
And I’m catching fish! I may even try some artificial lures.
So, if you haven’t fished for a while, there is still hope. Maybe I’ll see you at the river!