Now that I am retired and can commit more time to my favorite pastime, I often reminisce of past fishing trips. Those joyous, wonderful, and idyllic adventures linger in my mind providing the true pleasure of wholesome endeavor.
I still recall my first fishing excursion to the Cascade Mountains of South Central Oregon. I was a boy of about 7 years of age and my father decided Diamond Lake was the spot to introduce me to the sport of fishing.
The setting of our destination was beautiful: a crystal blue high-mountain fishery nestled in an emerald green forest with majestic Mount Nielsen crowning our view. Mother Nature cooperated: it was summertime, warm, and not a cloud was in the sky. I was amazed by the tame and docile wildlife. Both deer and chipmunks would eagerly come to our cabin door and my father showed me how to hand feed them potato chips and peanuts (in moderation). Our quarters were rustic but well-appointed, and we had access to a small boat.
We arrived at approximately 5:00 p.m. with high hopes and eager attitudes. My father rigged my equipment quickly, and I caught the first fish of my life before dark. This feat, though wondrous to me, was comical to my father and the other fishermen on the dock. I was excited and didn’t have any idea of what I was doing; the only reason for my success was beginner’s luck. The fish was a Bluegill, and I still recollect the brilliant orange, green and blue coloration of that handsome specimen.
After dark, we ate dinner in the cabin. My first fish tasted great and I still remember my Dad’s proud face as he listened over and over to my exaggerated account of the conquest of that mighty Leviathan. We finished the evening by readying our gear for the next day as Dad wanted to be on the water before first light. I was asleep before my head hit the pillow, and the mountain air gave me a good night’s rest.
The next day after breakfast we gathered our gear and loaded the boat, then launched for our ultimate destination on the lake. I listened intently as my father took great care and time instructing me how to troll for trout while we chugged along in the old skiff.
Fishing with Dad was wonderful. His patience, understanding, sense of humor and expert knowledge endeared me to fishing as a lifetime pursuit. Time and again I recall making mistakes, yet my Dad never lost his temper and instead would offer a joke while correcting my error with a gentle smile. As time passed, I became profoundly impressed by my father’s fishing skill. Moreover, I felt fortunate for the opportunity to learn his angling secrets as they were lovingly passed down to me. It was almost dark when we headed back to the cabin with our limit of fish, my contribution being one trout I actually hooked, played and landed myself.
After dinner we joined the other fishermen around the campfire. A primal sense of camaraderie seemed to affect everyone as they shared their tales of accomplishment and glory. The stars, the flaming embers, the hooting of a distant owl and the collective feeling of happiness among all who attended still evoke deep feelings of contentment within me.
Ultimately, the various experiences associated with my first fishing trip continually call to mind pleasures of wondrous substance: The pastoral splendor, tame wildlife, and pristine atmosphere that astonished me; the feeling of victory I experienced after catching my first fish; the tremendous sense of accomplishment I felt as my father beamed with pride when I presented him with my first catch; the patiently applied fishing knowledge I gained from my father’s experience; the recognition of our loving bond growing as we experienced the adventures of that beautiful trip; the primordial campfire gathering and the aura of camaraderie it fostered.
Each of these experiences is a cherished memory fundamental to my appreciation of self, family, the wilderness … and especially fishing.
See our Going Places Events Calendar for information about the following August fishing-related events:
- August 4: Kids Fishing Day; Mt. Shasta. For ages 15 or younger. Free.
- August 4: Lake Day with Shasta Disabled Sports; Mt. Shasta. For people of all ages and disabilities. Free.
- August 26: Introduction to Fly Fishing Clinic; Dunsmuir. Ages 12 & up. $35.
- Daily: Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding has a viewing aquarium where guests get an up-close “underwater” view of native fish swimming, and can watch the fish being fed at 10:30am.