Like many anglers, I am big on traditions, and the grandaddy of them all in my book is Opening Day of trout fishing season. It's been nearly two decades since my first Opening Day celebration, which has grown and morphed over time into what is easily my favorite trip of the year. It is a tradition, God willing, that our crew will continue recognizing until we are physically unable to do so. The hope is, when that day comes, a new generation will pick up the torch and carry it on, but they need to be shown the light first. This year's trip brought us one step closer to that reality, as we introduced new blood to our cherished Opening Day rituals.
Max, my 13-year-old cousin and youngest son of the trip founder, experienced Opening Day weekend in all its glory this year. Between the sampling of weather, camping, incredible food (which deserves its own post), camaraderie and fishing, it couldn't have been drafted up any better--just a textbook Opening Day like we'd been doing it for a while or something. The kid was absolutely blown away like I was for my first time about his same age. Everyone in the group took their time to teach Max the "right" way to do things, from whittling walking sticks to mending a fly line. I may be biased, but he is a natural with a fly rod. We all caught ourselves shaking our heads on the riverbank just watching his nearly perfect casts and drifts. And when he fought and landed his first feisty rainbow trout on the long rod, there was a well deserved photo shoot, high fives and smiles all around.
Every Opening Day is special and looked forward to, but this one was on another level and rightly so. A new member has been sworn into our crew and another ambassador to the sport has been created. We were treated to a glimpse of the future of Opening Day and I'm proud to say the future looks bright.
|It always starts at the woodpile.|
|Derrick spinning flies under lantern light.|
|Chef Aaron mans one of the Coleman grills.|
|A meeting of the minds about fly selection.|
|If the rocks around this firepit could talk...|
|A fine looking campsite.|
|Learning from the master.|
|Enjoying the show from the bank.|
|Max's first trout on the fly! I can't tell who's happier.|
|He's getting "the look" down now.|
|Dad showing son what the stocked trout grow up to be.|
|The obligatory group shot with a new addition.|