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I remember a story my dad told me about when he fell in love with fishing. He was as young as you can be to really hold a memory, fishing with his mom. They had the ol tried and true hook and worm, and while everyone was catching blue gill, he hooked into a nice big rainbow trout, the target fish of the area.


For me It’s hard to pinpoint a moment when I fell in love with fishing because thinking back, I can’t remember a time without fishing. I started at a young age, just big enough to hold a pole. I remember the times my dad would hook into a fish and hand me the rod, the times he would carry me across the river when it was too deep or swift. I even remember toughing it out in some sweatpants in cold Alaska streams because I was growing too fast for my dad to justify buying me waders.

There were so many other moments related to fishing as well. I remember my dad teaching me to tie flies, and coming up with our own unique patterns. Back then, I didn’t see anyone else tying a Marabou Muddler with bunny fur or an Egg Sucking Muddler, but we did, and they worked. 

But I can’t single out just one memory. It’s the bundle or mixed bag of memories from growing up fishing the clear water streams of the Susitna drainage with my dad. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who want to say their dad is “the best fisherman around,” but I feel like I could make a real argument for that point. Whether it’s true or not, he passed down the passion for fly fishing to me, and I fondly think back to all those fishing memories that make up my youth.

Even the “failed” trips are some of the most memorable moments. I remember a time when we took the family Subaru GL station wagon (which I believe should be recognized as Alaska’s state vehicle) and got it stuck on a trail that barely qualified as a road. My dad had to walk out for miles to get help while I waited, convinced that a hundred hours had passed when in reality it was only about four.

Fly fishing and my childhood are intertwined, they are one and the same. It’s a significant part of my life, filled with cherished memories that I am grateful for. Looking back, I realize that those fishing trips taught me valuable lessons that I may not have fully understood at the time. Lessons of patience, proper preparation, determination, delayed gratification, and embracing discomfort are all deeply ingrained in me now.

Nothing compares to the fishing memories I have with my dad. Even today, I can’t watch a movie with a river scene or drive by a stream without instinctively reading the water and imagining where a big fish might be holding, and the best place to cast my fly. The passion for fishing that my dad passed down to me continues to shape my perspective and bring me joy.

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