On our kitchen wall hangs a fly fishing calendar (you can guess who purchased that). The quote accompanying the month of August is: “This love of fly fishing takes me to places I otherwise wouldn’t go.”
In thinking about our recent camping trip to Idaho and Montana, I think my version of the quote is: “This love of my spouse takes me to places I otherwise wouldn’t go.”
Husband fishing in Glacier National Park
Ever since we were dating, I knew fly fishing was one of my husband’s passions. Whenever he gets the chance, he ditches the city and drives out to the Squamish or Skagit River and spends a day casting rod into water. It’s a quiet, meditative act for him and I don’t deny it looks poetic. A River Runs Through It is one of his favourite books/movies and so we watched it together while we were dating. I surprisingly enjoyed it.
My husband’s love of fly fishing has increased throughout the years, probably because it’s harder for him to get away from the city. Not enough to simply fish, he now ties his own flies and has taken over a section of our kitchen table for this endeavour which I like to tease is his male version of a sewing station. I’ve even written a poem trying to fathom this hobby and the hilarity of seeing my husband’s large hands intricately tying threads and feathers around a thumbnail-sized hook clamped into a vice.
I guess the joke’s on me.
On our holiday, we did a full-day guided fly fishing trip down the Salmon River in Stanley, Idaho, a belated birthday gift for my husband. I told him he could go by himself. No, he wanted me along, he said, and you pay for two people anyway.
Small mountain town of Stanley with a population of approximately 63 people. Sawtooth Range in the background.
The Salmon River, Idaho.
Seeing that I have only fly fished one other time, I was content to go for the ride and take pictures of the scenery along the way. But a rod was immediately put into my hand when we got into the boat and I found myself fishing for six hours and even liking it!
It helps when you have a good teacher and Robert of White Cloud Rafting Adventures was exactly that. Humorous, helpful, and patient, he taught me how to cast, mend, and “commit” to my set as I often hesitated on what to do when I actually had a fish. It was fun to see him as excited as we were when we caught one. He’d scoop it up in his net so he could unhook it, snap a picture for us, and release the fish back into the river.
Here’s one of my first little guys.
If I hadn’t caught any fish, I would probably be writing a different story but seeing that I caught at least ten, I felt like I was really rocking it as a beginner. I even challenged my husband to see who could catch more, and while he won in that category, I caught the biggest catch of the day at around 18 inches with this cutthroat trout. What a way to finish!
Let’s just say I like catching them more than I like holding them. So that’s Robert holding my fish.
For comparison’s sake, here’s my husband with his biggest catch. I think it’s clear who’s the winner, right?
Fly fishing continued to be a theme of our trip. Around campfires at night (yes, they were allowed in the places we stayed), my husband would read from his ultimate favourite fly fishing novel: The River Why. I can’t say I’m as big a fan but we’ve come so far we have to finish it now.
About halfway through our eight days of tenting, we took a break from nature to enjoy some culture in Missoula, Montana. In addition to wandering downtown and popping into art galleries, we enjoyed their lunch hour food truck scene and jazz music in Caras Park and drove to the church commemorating Reverend John Maclean who was the real-life inspiration for his son’s book A River Runs Through It.
It’s funny to think of the activities you never thought you’d try if it weren’t for a friend or a spouse. What’s something you never thought you’d try but did? And did you like it?