Fly-Fishing As a Rite of Passage

Tall Timber Lodge

Our children are out of school for summer. I’ve taken a few days off this past week to take two of them fly-fishing.

Once a year, I drive five hours to a fishing lodge in northern NH, near Canada. It’s an area with little road traffic, no cell phone coverage, and spotty Wi-Fi (but enough for this blog post). It’s my seventh trip up here. I skipped last year because of work commitments, but I’ve been here each year otherwise.

You fish in rivers, streams and ponds for trout. On my first trip, I landed a massive five-pound brook trout. It’s the fish that keeps me coming back.

When I am casting in a river, time changes. Hours feel like minutes. I don’t think about anything other than my next cast, the drift of the fly and watching for a strike. The water is cold and pushes against my legs. If you’re not careful, you can slip and fall. I have a hard time relaxing, but fly-fishing propels me to a different state. I’m keenly focused on what I’m doing, but I’m at peace and very, very happy.

Up here, in the north woods, it is a different world. It is an area where it’s tough to spend over $10 for lunch. Most vehicles are pick-up trucks. The mornings are cold and foggy, and the days are either rainy or burning hot. The dinner menu is loaded with steaks, game and great desserts. There are no vegan options.

You have to be a certain size to wade in a river, and so, I can bring my children only when they’re a certain age. So, going fishing with their father has become a rite of passage for them. As each hits middle school, they get to go. Each returns home with fishing stories for his/her younger siblings.

On this trip, I have marveled at how quickly time has gone by. It’s fun to see my children learn how to cast a fly, wade a river and land a fish. Some of my children love to fish, and others, less so. It’s cool either way. But, they get to experience a part of the country that’s very different from their usual stomping grounds.

And, I hope they have fond memories of these trips when they’re older.

It’s been a great outing. We drive home this morning. I’m already looking forward to next summer’s fishing trip. I’ll end here with a photo from my blogging spot.

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