Extreme Contrasts in the Artful Life

Bringing in a Large Rainbow Trout

Bringing in a Large Rainbow Trout

Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.
Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. 

Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It

A Quick Photo Before Releasing Him

A Quick Photo Before Releasing Him

The contrast of the past twenty-four hours could hardly be sharper.  Last night found me in the Jazz-infused din of the Dallas Museum of Art, dressed in evening attire and enjoying the strolling crowds.  Today found me three-and-a-half hours away in an Oklahoma trout stream, wearing (more comfortable) fly-fishing regalia, and standing beneath the shadow of a massive rock, looking into the recesses of dark waters and rising trout.  With this being a three-day weekend, I decided I needed a little time away.

Though the thermometer registered 61 degrees, the stream lay in the shadows of a deep gorge, and freezing winds shrieked down the corridor.  It didn’t take long to hook a small 8″ rainbow trout, and it was exciting to see him shatter the surface of the stream to take down a dry fly.  As my hands got colder, and I wondered about the wisdom of standing in such a frigid environ, my dry fly suddenly disappeared, and when I hauled back, I thought the rod was going to be torn from my hands.  The ensuing sound of the rolling surface was not the splish-splash of a small, feisty trout, but the fat body of large rainbow rolling the surface.  I heard gasps up and down the river, and was shocked to realize that surrounding fly fisherman “heard” that as well, and all stopped fishing to watch.

What followed was an aerial show as this huge creature did everything he knew to throw the barbless hook, and frankly, I still don’t know how I managed to hold him.  By the time he was in the net, I was shocked to see that the hook was straightened out to the shape of an “L”.  He was magnificent to hold as I rocked him in the stream after the photo, slowly feeling his strength return, and watching him swim out of my hands and back into the current and away.

Rocking Him Back to Full Strength

Rocking Him Back to Full Strength

By that time, my hands were freezing from keeping them in the water so long.  I could not see the day getting any better than that.  So I left in search of a warm place to land once again.

Thanks for reading.

4 Responses to “Extreme Contrasts in the Artful Life”

  1. lifeofawillow Says:

    Wonderful post. I enjoyed 🙂


  2. Reid Rogers Says:

    A great description of a very thrilling catch. Against all odds you managed to land a wonderful trout. These moments are rare in the life of a fisherman and I’m sure you enjoyed every second of it. I also know you would be enjoyed the experience even without the catch but lordy what a fish that is David.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you for that response. The odds were against me. A guide hastened up, offering to go in with a larger net. I politely declined, really wishing to know that I got it in, unassisted. But I did hand him my phone and he graciously snapped about 6-7 pictures, then chatted and congratulated me when it was done. The hook was barbless, then when I saw what his weight did to it, I marveled that I got him in the net at all.
      Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


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