There are so many different first trips of the year and I love them all! There’s the first trip out in early spring. The water is cold, the fish are slow, and all of my gear is a little disorganized. But I’m playing in the mountains, so it’s fantastic. Then there’s the first trip with friends. I don’t always like to mix those two trips. On the first trip of the season, I spend more time in the back of my Jeep, or sitting on the bank than I should. I don’t remember where all of my stuff is. I wonder why I’ve got eight spools of tippet, but still can’t find any fluorocarbon 5x. I forget which fly reel has my sinking line and which has my floating line. Luckily for me, I am using the Scientific Angler Amplitude Trout and the Sonar Stillwater which have them printed on the fly line just a few feet down. Then I look at my flies, what a mess! Most of my smaller patterns seem like they are in the wrong box because I was using some bigger patterns at the end of fall. Just about every one that I pull out of my fly box still has a little bit of tippet attached to it from a trip last year. And sometimes I’m lucky enough to find a half full bag of sunflower seeds in my waders from the previous year.
This year, after that first trip of the season, I took another first trip. This is my ‘first trip out for the year with my son!’ For his birthday he got a new reel, and he was so excited to try it all out! We headed out to the river for just a little bit, and he just looked like he was at home! We were only out there for an hour or two, and didn’t catch anything, but neither of us cared. On the way home I asked him if it bothered him at all when we don’t catch things. He just smiled and said, “Dad, nothing’s better than fishing in the mountains!” He may only be eight, but he gets it!
But for our next trip, we went out for a different first trip, and it was one that I know I’ll always remember, and I think he will, too. We headed up to Stagecoach Reservoir where we were meeting some friends, and would spend a couple days on a boat trying to catch some Pike. Before we did that though, Levi and I spent some time hanging out fishing from the shore, and then a little more time kicking around in our belly boats. We didn’t have a ton of time to fish the first night that we got there, but Levi was so excited to throw that first fly out on the water. He had been given a fly tying kit as a present, and hadn’t caught anything on one of his own flies yet. He had spent some time figuring out what he thought would be the best patterns for the lake, and decided on some smaller nymphs and a couple of streamers. He had tied those up in a couple different sizes and as we walked down to the lake he decided that he wanted to use a wooly bugger, “because that’s what Grandpa always catches them on!”
He doesn’t always love using a fly rod from the shore, so he put the fly on the end of a spin rod and tossed it out there.
On his second cast out, a fish hit and he caught his first fish on his very own fly!
He still hasn’t stopped talking about how proud he is! For Levi, it wasn’t about the amount of fish that he caught, it was about the fact that he caught them his way. That’s one of the things I love about fishing. The fish don’t know what you’re using. Some people try to tell you that you have to use this kind of gear, or fish that kind of way. Sure some of it is helpful, but there’s also something that’s just awesome about getting out there and doing it your own way. I’m sure there are a lot of things that Levi could have done that would have helped him catch more fish that day, but there’s nothing that he could have done that would have been more fun for him, and that’s all that matters!!
Written by Jeff Oetter
I am a Colorado native that grew up going fishing every chance I could. Now I’m a pastor, as well as a life long student! If I’m not working or studying you can find me and my family heading up to the mountains in our Jeep.
We hope you enjoyed this amazing story from Jeff. Have you been out fishing with your kids? Let us know in the comments some of your experiences! Thanks for reading!