By: Cole Fails, FishUSA Marketing Intern
I was 13 years old the first time my dad took me to Trout Camp. I had grown up fishing for trout on Elk Creek in Girard, PA. But this was different. This was my weekend with my dad and his friends.
I got home from school, we loaded up the truck, and headed for Tidioute, PA. As I said, I had been trout fishing many times before this trip, but this time it was different. Everything about it was different. A good hour and a half drive later, we were there.
The camp itself was a multiple bedroom cabin that was owned by two of my dad’s friends. It really wasn’t anything special, but to me, it was paradise. It looked like a stereotypical hunting/fishing camp. Animal mounts all over the walls, beer stocked in the fridge, freezer full of deer meat, I could go on, but I’m sure most of you know exactly what I am talking about.
We unloaded the truck and just hung out for a while. After about an hour, my dad let me sight-in my new pellet gun that I had just bought with my own money. It was delivered right before we left for camp and I was really excited to use it. So we all took turns shooting at different targets. Soon after, we sat around a fire and just told stories. Eventually, we all migrated to our beds to get some sleep before fishing the first day of trout in the morning.
I can honestly say that I did not sleep a wink that night. I was so excited. As soon as my dad’s alarm went off, I hopped off the bed and got dressed. We loaded up the truck and headed out. I remember the ride to the stream taking forever, but we finally made it. Vehicles lined both sides of a narrow dirt road that ran parallel to the stream. I got out of the truck, put my hip waders on, put my brand new fishing vest on, got my rod, and started walking with my dad.
At this point, I am at peak excitement. I had to wait until 8am to wet a line so there I was, freezing cold, excited as could be, with no real idea of what time it was, but just waiting for my dad to give me the nod that I could cast.
That time finally came, I unhooked my white Rooster Tail from the hook keeper on my rod, flipped the bail on my reel, and casted. My first couple casts did not produce anything, but on about my 5th or 6th retrieve, a nice stocked trout was hungry enough to take the presentation, and I was able to land the fish. The elder of our group, my dad’s friend’s father, was the one who netted the fish for me. I just remember everybody being so happy for me. I was on top of the world.
Everybody in our group proceeded to catch their limit of fish, and we started our walk back to the truck. Once we got back to camp, we had to clean all of the fish – one of my dad’s friends allowed me to use their knife to do so. Afterwards, he let me keep that knife, and I was absolutely elated. We cooked up our catches, and repeated many of the same activities that took place the night before. Overall, it was a great weekend.
So, what was the point of that story? That weekend was almost 10 years ago, and I still remember each and every detail like it was yesterday, and I will never forget it.
The opening day of trout is about so much more than fishing. It is about the camaraderie, the bonding among friends, it is about just being outside and enjoying everything that nature has to offer.
It is very easy to get caught up in the fishing and miss out on everything happening around you. My point is, take a good amount of time and think back to your first time at camp, your first day on the streams, whatever that memory may be, go back and relive it.