Maybe the weather has been warmer lately with a stunning sunrise followed by clear blue skies, or maybe it was just something I ate – who knows? What I do know is that my daydreams about fly fishing have turned into a full-blown reoccurring dream.
When the afternoons, around 3 p.m., are bright and warm, my mind drifts to insects, wild trout and wild places. With spring expected to arrive early this year (thank you rats – both French Creek Freddy at the West Virginia Wildlife Center and Concord Charlie on the Concord campus didn’t see a shadow and expected an early spring), I’m full of wishing or recalling memories of early spring hunting trips .
It was on one of those trips when I was very young when my grandfather put a fishing rod in my hand with a fly tied at the end of the line and simply told me not to come back until I caught a fish. Looking back through old eyes now, it makes perfect sense that he needed some quality time fishing on his own without the constant interference of a complex kid asking 1,400 questions about everything possible about trout fishing. Or maybe it was one of those moments when he felt it best to let me figure it out for myself, which can sometimes be the best way to learn after hours of teaching and practicing in the backyard. Regardless, I wasn’t gone long before I returned with a nice trout and I was smiling.
In my recurring dream, I was fishing for trout in a remote creek in Pocahontas County. I’m young, and I’m alone. I sneak into a run, crawling on my hands and knees holding the rod in one hand and the fly in the other when I notice that the still water in the pool has the action of fish — they are actively feeding, causing eddies and currents with their tails. As I slowly rise to my knees, I begin to move my rod in preparation for the fly to land gently at the end of the pool as the water is quickly pulled down by the riffle. The fly landed perfectly and I fixed my trailing line to ensure a natural drift of the fly towards the waiting fish. Slap! The fish takes the fly and my line lunges at the fish, trying to catch the fish that is swimming upstream quickly.
The old story of a fisherman fighting a fish emerges as we both work as hard as we can to achieve our intended goal. As I tucked the trout headfirst into my little net, I let out a sigh of relief and accomplishment.
I haven’t fished this remote part of the creek since I was a young man, but in my mind, it looks exactly as it did on that particular day. I will be back there this spring to fish. It’s a must on your list of things to do. Some things you simply have to do to find answers to the questions that fill your dreams. Especially when it comes to wild trout.