After an intense weekend of a NOLS Wilderness First Aid class and four days of insane, chilly winds, I finally found myself hiking and wading late this afternoon. When the wind is so high, it makes it dangerous to be out hiking…and today proved that point as several trees were across the creek in places where I often wade. Plus, the pollen was thick and swirling. I was so ready to be outside, standing in clear water, casting a fly rod.

I’d been wading, hiking, and casting a couple hours with great success and decided to hike upstream a bit further. I was about to pass an area, but felt an intense, magnetic pull to it. I turned around, hiking down a bit, and entered the creek to wade my way back upstream.

Some places just look fishy. This place was primo-fishy with deeper, slower water and a big log for cover. A trout could rest under that log and just wait for the yummy nymphs to flow right into its mouth. 

I’d caught and released several rainbows and was enjoying the beauty of the place so deeply that I momentarily zoned out. I cast to the head of the pool and as the flies drifted past the log, a nice-sized rainbow trout took the nymph and a fine dance ensued. As I gently brought the fish to the water at my left boot, I carefully took the hook as the fish remained in the water. It wouldn’t settle so I wet my left hand and carefully grasped the strong body and used my right hand to remove the barbless hook. In those brief moments of contact, I could feel the strength and fierceness of the trout. That untamed wild energy was powerful to feel. Hours later, I still feel it.

It is my hope that I can cultivate that kind of energy within myself and use that fierceness to walk my path with strength and courage. There are fish that make me smile…and then there are those that are fierce. Those are the ones that inspire me.

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