IN HONOR OF NEVADA’S FREE FISHING DAY! My Favorite Memories Out on the Water
Not many people are aware that every year on the second Saturday of June, the state of Nevada offers its residents a “Free Fishing Day.” This year on June 8, anglers can head out to any public fishing location without a fishing license or a trout stamp. In preparation for this upcoming event, I found myself recalling some of my own fishing experiences growing up. I fished periodically throughout my childhood and have continued to do so as an adult. I use the term “adult” liberally. Out of many experiences on the water, including some close calls, three fishing stories stand out a little more than others. The first memory I recall occurred when I was 12 on an overnight backpacking trip with my Boy Scout troop. We filled up our backpacks and hiked approximately a mile to a mountain trout lake. I cast my line and, to my astonishment, hooked a fish right away. I reeled it in to find a 5-inch trout hanging from the line. While it wasn’t a trophy fish, my scout master, Gene Spader, made a big deal out of it. He showed me how to wrap it in foil and cook it over the fire. I still remember how good that fish tasted because I caught it myself. When I was a little older, I went on a few bigger fishing excursions with my dad, some of which were more comical than anything. We lived in the Pacific Northwest, and one year, there was a large sockeye salmon run through Lake Washington and up the Cedar River. The common way to fish that lake was to troll from a motor boat. But we did not have a motor boat; we had an aluminum canoe. So, we put our lines out and paddled to create the trolling effect. After several unsuccessful outings, we splurged and rented a little boat with a motor. But that created expectations
that we were unable to live up to. After all those hours spent on the lake, the only fish we brought home was one we bought at the fish market, but we told everyone we caught it on Lake Washington to save what was left of our pride! A few years later, our family ventured north to the west side of Vancouver Island. We took a chartered boat into the Pacific Ocean, where the technique was to stop the boat and jig from the side. The swells were something else, and several of us got seasick. But there were fish to be caught. For the most part, we kept jigging and vomiting over the side and intermittently caught some fish. The adversity only heightened the glory of the catch. Since moving away from the Pacific Northwest, I’ve spent less time on the water. The little trout just don’t stir up a lot of excitement for me. A few years after moving to Reno, I attended a church camping trip to Indian Creek Reservoir. Just like when I was 12, I unexpectedly caught a small trout. Remembering what my scout master taught me all those
years ago, I wrapped it in foil to cook it over the fire and eat the fruits of my labor. That’s when our bishop came to me and asked, “Are you going to eat that fish?” I told him yes, and then put it into the coals to cook. While the fish cooked, the bishop asked me again if I was really going to eat it. I told him of course. Then, as I unwrapped it and began to eat, he was very curious to know how it tasted. I offered him some, but he declined. The next day at church, the bishop reminded me he was a water engineer. He explained that the Indian Creek Reservoir serves as a treatment facility for all the sewage from South Lake Tahoe. While my fishing experiences aren’t the stuff of angler legend, I always have a great time on the water, regardless of how many fish I catch. I hope some of you make some memories on the water this summer, as well!
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