I caught my first trout of the year on Saturday. It wasn’t big. It wasn’t more beautiful than most trout. It wasn’t unique, but it was special.
I was up standing in the very cold waters of my home river for one reason… my mother had passed away the day before. She died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 69. She died at home with my brother, his partner and my dad at her side. I wasn’t there, kids tend to make travel more difficult, but I came up the day of her passing to help comfort my dad.
Saturday, the day after, I told my dad I wanted to go down to the river. He wanted to come too. He loves watching me fish this river, picking apart every possible slot and spot a fish might be. The river is only a couple minutes away and it was a good escape.
The weather was beautiful, although starting to turn. Wind from the South was bringing cooler temps and clouds. A few stones were in the air, fluttering impossibly along the banks.
I have fished this stretch many, many times. It is one of my favorite places in the world and, generally, I know it well. This day, I struggled. The water is two feet lower than it should be at this time of year and the fish weren’t where I expected them to be.
Still, I fished and took in the clues and adjusted.
After a couple of changes I had a fish on and in the net. Maybe it was 9″, it certainly wasn’t more, but it was pretty and it was a trout. My dad watched from the bank, sitting on a rock just taking it all in.
That one fish was enough. We went back to the parking lot and sat on a bench and talked a bit.
Wading through this massive river of grief, it was good to step out of the currents of sadness for a few minutes and lose myself in the act of pursuing trout with a fly rod. It really does remove yourself, even when you seem chained and burdened by the weight of the world.
That trout was an important trout. It was a trout for my mom.