At the lake’s shore where we always set up camp, I was standing on the rear tire loosening the ratchet straps to take the canoe off, and Jake was reeling in the first fish of the day. We’d been out of the car for three minutes at most. I remembered doing the exact same thing as a kid when I’d come here with my grandfather.
Fishing is just fishing. That’s how I look at it. It’s the greatest thing in the world that you can do, but it’s still just fishing. If you try to make it more than that then you lose something in its simplicity as far as I’m concerned, trying to make it more than what it is. Which is me, a fly rod, a line with a hook, and hopefully a smart fish having a bad day or a stupid fish in the right place at the right time.
As we walked the dirt road in the rain, felt soles beneath wading boots hushed our steps. We remarked about all the worms lying about on the road, joking about all the flies fly fisherman tried to force feed to trout. Someone said it and we all laughed. “Trout like worms. They like worms you know.” I laughed and we carried on comically about it, but I was thinking of something else in my mind.
Out of the back seat I grabbed my gear. A fly rod tube, a fly box, a dry bag with a change of clothes and my lunch. I walked to the passenger side of the truck. I got in the front seat and looked over to see Mike holding out a pillow case. “Put this over your head.” It was at that moment that I realized there were two scenarios that could play out from this point. One, Mike was a fisherman serial killer who used the hopes and dreams of huge trout to lure his prey to their deaths. Or two, this was the first time I’d ever had someone tell me they had a secret spot with huge trout in it that was actually true.
At first glance it looked fishy, really fishy. But once you were in it you realized that there wasn’t much trout holding water. The bottom was a smooth green shale, sometimes the only structure were the random cracks forming miniature canyons in the creek bottom hardly big enough to wedge a wader boot in. There were only a couple spots were there was enough gravel and bottom structure to hold and produce food for a trout in the ravine, but I still wade it and make occasional casts every time anyhow. It’s too beautiful not to.