This past Sunday was the last day of river fishing in Southern Maine and I awoke with a single train of thought. This train of thought has been with me since I started my quest in earnest. What is this quest, you may ask? It is the quest for a Brown Trout out of the Ossipee River. I knew there was trout deposited in this river in the spring, but I have yet to gaze upon the spotted beauty of a Brown. I was curious to the characteristics bestowed upon a fish from this river. Would the colors be different than a big lake born Brown? These questions burned in my soul, and I have been working hard to answer them. That is why I was up early on this day of rest, and that is why I left my sleeping wife and daughter and headed to the river.
The sound of moving water rushed to meet my ears as I closed the door to my truck and grabbed my fishing gear. This has to be my favorite part of the fishing trip. The undeniable serenity that water and wilderness bring to my soul is almost as good as catching a fish, almost. I continued to enjoy this pleasure the wilderness brought to my senses as I walked down an old wash out looking for a place to scramble down the embankment without breaking my neck. At last I found a suitable spot that contained just enough trees to provide handholds for my slide/fall to the water below.
The spot that I landed on surprisingly looked fishy. There was a current break upstream that created a rocky pool of semi calm water next to the shore. There was a stark difference between the water pulsing down the river proper, and the gentle caressing water around my legs. It was this caress that compelled me to make my first cast. I opened my bail and flung my small gold spoon towards the edge of the current. My heart fluttered as it usually does in the anticipation of a what lies beneath the water, and I started my slow retrieve. As the distance to my lure shrunk, so did my heart.
“No trout this time”, I thought.
But wait what was that following my lure. It was a long fish of unknown origin and as it came closer its ambiguity lessened. As the fish came into focus, my mind also focused on a single thought. This thought was that being able to watch such a mysterious fish in its natural environment was shaping up to be my best experience fishing this year. The trout continued to follow my lure and I became worried that It was not going to strike. Would I be satisfied if my only glimpse of this fish was this fleeting moment? My fears quickly vanished because at the last possible second, as the lure was at my feet the fish struck! It was a quick and glorious fight that ended when I was able to net the fish and bring it closer to shore for a better look. “Oh man”, I gasped as the true enormity of this moment engulfed me. “My quest was complete, and unlike other quests I have completed, this one did not leave me feeling empty.
No, instead I felt an upwelling of wonder as I sat and gazed at this creature. If only I could pause my life in this moment, just so I could commune with this creature filled with mystery for a little longer. At last I snapped some photos and with a gentle hand released the Brown back into the mysterious water of the river. With the fish safely home, I decided that this moment was too special to tarnish with another fish and left the river to return to my truck. Escaping the silent roar of the wild to once again listen to the mechanical screech a river paved with asphalt.