Gone Fishing!

By / Photography By Brent Harrewyn | April 27, 2016
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A personal reflection by Laurie Caswell Burke

Wooly Buggers, Prince Nymphs, Egg Patterns and Stone Flies are just a few of the colorful array of flies and streamers tied to a line and cast into the water come April,  a time of year when anglers who wait patiently all winter grab their fishing waders, vests and belts and head to their favorite Vermont river or lake.

This year- Saturday, April 9th, opening day of Vermont’s fishing season, was for die-hard fishermen.  It was cold and brisk outside.   For months I had  been hearing the familiar early morning rustle from the closet -my husband, Tim, gathering his waders and other gear for time on a nearby river, Lewis Creek.  This particular spot allows fishing year round and one does not have to wait until the official season opening.

With a milder winter this year, avid fishermen didn’t have to wait until April to fish, if they knew where they could legally fish.  Often it was still dark outside when  Tim gathered his gear.  One morning I called out from beneath the covers, “How do you fish in the dark?”   “We don’t,” he called back tromping down the stairs at a fast clip. “We make a coffee stop and get to the river just as the sun rises.  That’s how you get the prime spots- you can’t be late.”    Those few words pretty much summed up how a true fisherman feels – one who wants to ensure the prime fishing spot with hopes that he might just get lucky that day.

Fly-fishing is an art and a science, requiring a significant dose of patience.  I can sit on a spit of land on a blanket with a good book and watch my husband cast for hours, often watching the sun fade into the mountains.   I love the way the line forms a figure eight and gracefully stretches back and floats across the water.  It’s meditative, peaceful and exhilarating combined- at least,  when the fish are biting.   But even those days when fishing for hours produces no catch, or even a bite, watching the sun glisten on the water washes all tensions away.  

In our family, any fish “caught” are quickly released.  During our marriage, I recall only two occasions where have I enjoyed a fresh grilled trout.  As delicious as it was, I respect this philosophy of “catch and release” fishing.   Spending time outdoors in nature watching the river flow or lake rippling with a breeze offers solitude and calm.  Catching a few fish for bragging rights is always a bonus.
Over the years I’ve come to learn that fishing involves so much more than fish.  It’s the gear, the stories, the photos, the flies and the home-made rods, fly tying, and the camaraderie.  It’s for the young and old alike.
On April 9th, I expected my husband to bound out of bed to celebrate opening day. The prior evening, he had returned home late from a fly- fishing movie shown in Middlebury hosted by Middlebury Mountaineer which   brings every April  a series of one-of-a-kind fishing movies shot around the globe including British Columbia, Bolivia and Patagonia.    An often sold-out event, it gathers fishing enthusiasts from around the state.
Instead, he woke up and eagerly showed me a box of over 300 colorful flies and streamers all shapes and sizes.  He’d won the raffle prize.  Fishing could wait till it warmed up perhaps.  Because fishing really is much more than catching fish!
Article from Edible Green Mountains at http://ediblegreenmountains.ediblecommunities.com/food-thought/gone-fishing
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