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Old family photograph with dead trout


I grew up in a fishing family. I never thought much about it. It was just what we did, and since my big brother and my dad loved to do it, I loved it too. I remember the first day my father took me to a trout stream and let me fish with my own rod. I caught a brook trout and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. In my mind it was huge. I think that trip with my dad and that trout sealed my love of rivers and respect for nature for my whole life. Many years later, I figured out where that little stream was by pinning together bits and pieces of my memory. I went back there of course. I’m sure I found the same spot on the same little stream where I caught my first trout. Looking at the stream all those years later, my first trout must have been all of 9 inches, if that – but it was a giant to me.

Our old photo albums are full of pictures like this one, of various family members with a brace of trout. I’ve been exchanging emails about this photo with my brother. I thought it was me at first but then I thought maybe it was him. He’s not certain if it is either of us, but I’m pretty sure it is. Neither of us know where we were, who took the photo or what stream the trout came from. Back in those days we caught trout for the table, and these would have made a fine meal.

It looks like a fly rod in the photo, but I’d bet dollars to donuts the trout were caught on worms. Although my father could cast a fly rod and I often saw him use one, he liked to use it for worm fishing. In his heart he was an unrepentant bank-napping bait plonker and a good one too. I loved fishing with him more than anything, and if my brother was there too, even better.

UPDATE: My sister confirmed it’s me in the photo, and she thinks it’s possible she was the photographer, but none of us know where those fine trout were caught. I was born in 1960 so it was taken sometime in the mid-60s.

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