Some of you have wondered what happened to our newsletter and as I considered all that's gone on even in the past several months, I found it daunting to attempt an explanation complete with solely a roundup of the more germane items, let alone my typical roundabout way of telling one story that includes several more and ultimately takes a very long time. But this story is a good one and I can tackle it fairly succinctly, so here goes:
What kid doesn't dream of catching a big fish? Make the kid someone whose grandfather is quite a fisherman and a man the kid is very fond of and you have the goal of a childhood and maybe a lifetime. That was the position Noah Telford found himself in last week when he and his brother and their parents arrived for several days at Sow's Ear. Noah is the fisher of the family and he got right to it while his younger brother Ari, the social director, set about meeting the locals. Ari takes his job seriously; on just their first morning here, he trotted up to Steph, whom he had met earlier, and exclaimed, "I STILL haven't met Heidi!"
Noah had no luck fishing that day so I told him how guests from Holland had located a productive spot on our bank and brought fresh trout up to Sow's Ear for their breakfasts. It was worth checking out and that's what Noah did the next morning. Long before we actually saw Noah's fish, Ari came barreling past our place, announcing Noah had caught a huge fish. "Probably a salmon!" he yelled out breathlessly as he ran up to their cabin.
Things happened pretty fast, but I think Ari then ran back to his brother next, grabbed the fish on its leader, and came to show us. He was so sweetly and genuinely excited for Noah and still maintained fishing was not for him, but when it comes to PR work, Ari is a natural.
Neither Steph nor I knew what kind of fish Noah had caught, other than enormous. It makes people, especially those up here fishing, laugh when we tell them we don't fish because we don't have time for it. We have fished, but mostly ocean. We will fish again, but I'm pretty sure we'll get into fly fishing here when we clear our calendars enough to pursue it. As we already know, it is an all-consuming sport that mixes passion and skill with entomology. We'll have a steep learning curve except for the passion part.
We figured Noah's fish was a trout and guessed it could be a German brown even though they are often described as ugly. Compared with a rainbow trout, or a coho or king salmon, maybe they are ugly, but look at the deep greens and black spots, each surrounded by a halo. I'd say it's an attractive fish, but at the time, my main question was whether it was dead. The boys said yes but when I lifted it, I felt a solid jolt. Noah, Steph and I joined forces to dispatch the living fish and I began a gutting and packaging for travel lesson with Noah soon after because the family planned to BBQ it that night after they got home.
I showed Noah the slow version of cleaning his fish. He slit it starting at the anal opening, working up to the gills. Next, he cut up and out from the base of the gills. We pulled out and examined the guts rather than tearing out the gills and guts in one move. That's faster, but our way stretched out the job and allowed him to see how things were attached. As we worked, Noah told me about his grandfather's love of fishing and how he couldn't wait to tell him what had just happened on the Trinity. I was impressed by the boy's thoughtful nature and obvious affection for his grandfather.
Meanwhile, Noah's parents and Steph did some searches and discovered this was a German brown trout. Browns started arriving to the US through stocking programs as early as 1893; they came from Europe, North Africa and western Asia. (They're aggressive fish and we've been told biologists would like to see them removed from the rivers, so I guess Noah did his part.)
I posted the picture above on our Trinity River Adventure Inn Cabins's Facebook site and Scott Dias, a fishing guide and owned of Old Bridge Rafting who knows this river well, was quite impressed. He noted, "Wow; there's not too many browns like that in the river anymore. That's a nice one." What kid wouldn't love to hear that about his catch?
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, "brown trout are known to be wary and targeting larger fish is widely considered a challenging, yet rewarding fishing opportunity." Ari surely has included this line in his press release (along with Scott's, above) following their Trinity adventure and I know
Noah would agree.