Reflecting on last weekend (1/7-1/8/12), I am reminded at what a gift it is to be a father. On Friday my son Nolan (3 almost 4) wanted to go play in the snow and for me to pull him around in the sled. Our unusually warm and dry winter had left just enough snow to cover the grass. As I am pulling him he asks me to stop, when he proceeds to get out and ask me to get the pretend auger and drill him a hole. We proceeded to fish the park with plenty of pretend fish caught and lost, including a shark. On our way back home I asked him “Hey Nolan, do you want to go ice fishing tomorrow?” His eyes got big with excitement and he replied “go on the ice for real, don’t forget my fishing poles and one for you too dad, lets go get ready.” I remember as a child dreaming about ice fishing, I would wake up dreaming about my bobber going down the hole, not sure I slept much the night before a fishing trip and for sure I was up and ready to go when Dad would come get me. For a guy like myself I don’t know if there can be many things much better then your son asking to go fishing. So, we called my fishing buddy Don and his son, Wyatt (3) to see if they wanted to go too. We went to a little lake Don and I had fished several times throughout the years and is typically a great tip-up and panfish lake. We went to the usually spot moved flags all around for an hour or so, checked holes for panfish and never marked a fish or had a flag.
So, we packed our stuff up and went searching. We probably drilled and checked 100+ holes to only find bottom. We went to another spot to setup tip-ups with 6 out we had a pretty good spread. While we waited we looked for panfish and still not a fish marked. Nolan and Wyatt are running around. The boys needed a snack so we started to sit down to eat it when finally, a flag goes Don and the boys run for it. False alarm, wind or a fish just bumped the bait. Fifteen minutes later the flag goes again, I can see the line peeling off. I run over. I wait, the line is still spinning so I slowly pick up the tip-up. The line is keeps flying off the tip-up. Grab the line. Nothing…. We decide to move a couple flags around and look for some more panfish. I hear Nolan yell “Dad, I am ready to go” then he goes to pack up our sled, fishing rods, vexilar, buckets, and cooler sits down and waits. I couldn’t believe it, the things these little people do sometimes just surprises you. Don and I are talking about moving a flag and where it should go when it goes up, our third flag of the day Wyatt and Don get there first. Wyatt brings in his first tip-up fish hand over hand like an old pro and iced then released a largemouth bass. That was the only fish we caught that day but it was a great day. Later on Saturday, I gave my Dad a call to see if he wanted to go trout fishing with me since I knew my parents were not up at the cabin this weekend. We decided to leave around 9 or so. Truck was ready when Dad got there in the morning so we hit the road for Hay Creek, a trout stream near Red Wing in Southeastern Minnesota. The forecast for the day was suppose to be 50F. I was looking forward for my first trout trip of 2012. I was a little shocked my Dad was going to give it a try, he had only picked up a fly rod a couple other times. The first was in 1991 on our family Camping Trip to Glacier NP and Yellowstone, Dad and I fished the Gallatin River for a half-day with a guide, I remember it being pretty dirty from the rain the day before. I insisted on using my new Eagle Claw 5/6wt fly rod over the guides equipment, this trip was also my first experience with fly fishing too. It was probably 5 days before the guide trip that I bought my first fly fishing magazine and have been infatuated with the sport ever since. On the trip I didn’t catch a thing I blamed it on the conditions, remarkable I don’t remember catching anything on a fly rod for several years later at least not a trout. I don’t know if my first trout came from the Rush River or Pine Creek (pre-rehab). The other time my Dad used a fly rod was on a cold day at the Cabin we practiced casting as our family was going to Mexico for a week in January, I set us up for a full-day with Pesca Maya. Dad opted to use the 3 pc spin rod I brought down for him to use. We caught bonefish and enjoyed a great day on the water. One of my memories is when a shark came with-in range, the guide got the bait all set Dad went to cast and the bait went flying without the lure, bail was closed. The guide quickly put on another piece and was urging my dad to go quickly and again the bait went flying only this time it hit the water scaring off the shark, closed bail will do it every time.
Dad and I have many fishing memories and that Sunday we made some more. One that comes to mind, we get to a nice pool so I let Dad go first. He makes a cast or two then gets in a big mess and tangled in some vegetation. So, I state its my turn and cast my fly in, let sink a bit, make two quick twitches of the Black Whiskey Fly and a nice little 10 in Brown Trout slams it. I say “Got one.” Dad goes, “Really, Already?”
The water was very clear and the sun was very bright. Dad decided he was going to mostly watch and learn, and that he needed some more casting practice. Winter fishing on a small, crowded stream (most I have ever seen on this stream) like Hay Creek was on that Sunday can be highly technical and challenging. Fish were holding tight to the bottoms and structure. Towards dusk we saw a few trout taking midges but were unable to fool them. We enjoyed a nice sunset on the coulee as we walked back to the truck to head home. The moon was full in in the sky to the East as we hit the hill tops to witness another sunset.I am looking forward to the next day on the water with my Dad. I am also looking forward to the next day on the water with my sons. The things my Dad has taught me through the sports he enjoys and passed on to me are invaluable to my life, Thank You! My hope is to pass those experiences and passions on to my own children as they get older.