Yesterday, I had the pleasure of  spending the day floating the Elk River with Linder and his grandson, Mitchell. Conditions on the Elk have been quite good lately and the trout have been cooperating nicely, at least most days. Mitchell has recently taken up fly-fishing and with the help of his grandpa, he seems to be picking it up nicely. Earlier this summer, Linder invited Mitchell, who’s eight years old, on a couple of fishing trips in the area. During one of these excursions, Mitchell landed a dandy cutthroat trout, measuring close to twenty inches. That was a great accomplishment for a young kid like Mitchell and he was really proud … Linder, that is.

During yesterday’s trip, Mitchell didn’t land any twenty inchers, although he hooked one that was close, using a Fat Albert dry fly. The trout came out from behind some tree branches overhanging the water and gulped the fly. Mitchell played the fish well and it looked like he already had years of fly-fishing experience under his belt. At one point the fish came close enough to the boat for me to net. However, the mesh bag  became tangled and the fish flipped out of the net before it could be scooped from the river. Then, just as I was about to make another attempt, the hook came loose. The trout quickly disappeared in the swift current. I think I was more disappointed than Mitchell that we didn’t boat the fish. He only wanted to keep trying for another one.

By the end of the day, Mitchell had landed some decent cutthroats. He was a bit tired, but happy. Afterward, I asked him what he’d remember most of this day. He responded by saying, “Fighting the big one, before it got away.” I’d say Mitchell has the makings of a true fisherman! Not only did he catch the biggest fish of his fly-fishing career this year, he also came away with a good story of “the big one that got away.” I suspect Mitchell and his grandpa are already looking forward to next season. In the meantime, I’ll practice my fish netting skills!

Elk River Trip

Linder and Mitchell