And Alan, whose muscles are not yet really strong enough to handle a fly rod, perched on a rock with the landing net. Little boy in summer, I thought, watching the ripples of water all about him and the dense screen of leaves on the trees behind him. But he was more than that, a creature of choice, putting a deliberate trust in me to hook a fish and make work for the net that he still finds the most exciting part of going fishing.
Roderick Haig-Brown, Measure of the Year: Reflections on Home, Family, and a Life Fully Lived (1950).
I drove with my daughter to Missoula the other day, so that we could spend some time with her grandfather on Easter weekend. I asked her if she would like to fish a bit on the return trip, and she said she would. Instead of returning over Lookout Pass, then, we went over Lolo Pass and drove along the Lochsa River. As I’ve indicated before, the Lochsa has a lot of significance to me. Perhaps it will for my daughter some day, as well.
After finding a spot on the river that was accessible to a four-year-old, we fished. I had not thought to bring her own, short rod. The 8.5 foot one I had with me was a bit much for her. So, we tied a fly and leader to a long branch, still green and flexible. She carefully cast the fly into the water, again and again, for a good while before getting anxious to leave. Not surprisingly, she didn’t catch a fish. I was happy to see how enthusiastic she was, though. While on the river, she was a “creature of choice,” to borrow the words with which Roderick Haig-Brown describes his son in the epigraph above. My daughter and I have summer just ahead of us, and she’ll have many more opportunities to catch a fish with her father during the coming months..