Thankful Outdoors: Opening Fishing Weekend

fishing collage
Fishing on Prairie River

This year, I found myself not taking the boat out of the driveway for the opening day of the fishing season. Instead, I would head north to wade some of the local trout streams. The high winds on Saturday were a deciding factor, but more than that was an invite from Dad to go trout fishing with him.

Our plans for starting Saturday morning were not rushed or hectic by any means. Neither of us had big plans for the day other than taking the fly rods out. I couldn’t even tell you exactly when we started fishing. Outings like that are some of the best, just an actual carefree day!

Taking adventures with Dad like this gives me some insight into why the heck he enjoys retirement so darn much. He spends his days now with no care about time. Since Mom and Dad have retired a few years back, I have heard them say to each other often, “what day of the week is it?”

That right there is freedom, and this weekend trout fishing was a feeling of freedom for me! We drove over the bridge on the Rib River, and the water conditions looked ideal. We had good weather and good water conditions, but as we got to our normal starting point for our fishing, it was crowded.

Instead of crowding ourselves onto the stream, we decided to check out a different location; we pulled into the public parking location. We were the only vehicle in sight; things were starting to look promising! I had never fished this section of the river; Dad said he and Corey had fished it once and did okay.

Every time I pull together my trout gear and flip through the selection of flies, I think about one of my favorite movies, “Where a River Runs Through It.” As the years go by, I find that I think more about the closing scene from that movie. Where Norman is an old gentleman, fishing in the stream all by himself, reflecting on his life and what it has meant to him. I have found that standing in trout streams; one can easily get lost in time.

One can listen to the trickle of the rapids, and your mind can wander off into so many thoughts, then a splash of a jumping trout will snap you back to attention… if you are lucky, that splash will be of one where a brook trout has smashed your fly offering.

I soon found myself sitting on a boulder, lighting a Havana Honey cigar watching Dad try to catch a trout. Sitting there watching the stream flow also made my memories flow of past outings from when we used to make a big deal of the opening day to when I watched Bryce catch his very first trout on a fly rod, to trying to remember the last time I had seen a legal-sized trout.

Later that day, I had found that not only was May 1st, 2021, the day that I had caught legal-sized trout, but I also would have caught my limit of three trout. I can’t remember the last time that had happened. I never took the time to read the regulations to see what size trout was needed to throw into the creel. So my catches for the day were all released.

I have carried that creel with me for years, but it has been a long time since I have put anything in it. The only thing that I ever bring off a stream is the memories made while being out there. I could try to make that a goal this year of bringing enough trout home for a meal.

Sunday afternoon, I found myself driving north to the Prairie River. Uncle Joel and I had talked about meeting up to fish for a few hours. Joel’s land gives a very scenic view of the Prairie; as you sit on the high grounds and look down upon the river, you will see a tall stand of pine trees in the distance. It looks incredible in the fall time.

I had opted to use spinning gear on this outing instead of the fly rod; I had missed a trout on the first cast. It took about another 30 minutes before I had landed the first trout of the evening. Only the little trout were active tonight and decided to head back to the truck after a couple of hours.

As I reached the truck, Joel was sitting at the fire ring. We sat and talked awhile, catching up on things. Joel shared the historical information of his land going back to the 1900s. He has been researching the land and surrounding area; it was interesting to see the old photos and find out that the region was once called Trout City. As we chatted, an eagle was seen gliding down the river and over the tops of the pine tree. I had thought how fitting it was to see the iconic symbol of freedom for a weekend that had given me a sense of freedom!

In closing, I hope you find a way to get into the outdoors, create your adventure and memories, but most importantly, find a way to “Celebrate the Experience.” Go check out www.thankfuloutdoors.com for more content and share your “Celebrate the Experience” moment with us!

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Scott Hopperdietzel
Author: Scott Hopperdietzel

Scott Hopperdietzel is the creator of an outdoor blog named Thankful Outdoors. He shares his passion for the outdoors with readers. The focus of the blog is to “Celebrate the Experience” in his stories; you feel what the connection to the outdoors means to him. His goal is to inspire others to get into the outdoors and create their own experience. Along with writing, he is a father to three boys who are often part of the adventures along with the family Weimaraner, Boone. You can find his writings on the website www.thankfuloutdoors.com or follow his social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.