Casting to a spot just upstream from a fish that is visible in the water through my rose-colored sunglasses, I snag a 12 inch rainbow trout. The “hole” is stacked up with fish because the water is so shallow that there’s no place for the fish to hide either from anglers or the local group of black-crowned herons.
Photo by Carol Oglesby
Without allowing any slack in the line, but not reeling the line in too tight such that I pull the hook out of its mouth, I work as quickly as possible so as not to stress the fish too much. I lead it over to the side of the river out of the current and situate my net in a position to scoop up the fish.
I wet my hands before I handle the fish, maneuver it upside down and release the unbarbed hook from its mouth. Gently lowering it into the water, I hold it for a bit until it is reacclimatized and watch it swim back to its school. I have managed to choose the right fly, set up my rod correctly, cast properly, reel in the fish, release the hook and return the fish to the water without injury. This is an accomplishment.