Fishing Back to My Roots

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Yes, the fish my sister Wanda is holding on the left is frozen solid. And yes, that really is the hairdo and glasses I had in the late 80’s, just like everyone else.

When I mention my roots, I’m not talking about changing my hair color. The older we get, the more we sift through our old memories and experiences.

To tame the chaos, I have been dedicating time to declutter and get organized. That includes going through old boxes, papers, and photos. I’m descended from a line of collectors and pilers on my mother’s side so my tendency to keep is strong. I think, you never know when you might need that, or how will I remember that moment without the photo? Lately I’ve been talking myself out of that mindset and answering those thoughts instead with live in the present because it is so precious, you’re not remembering it while its in a box in the attic anyway, and that unfinished project is keeping you awake at night.

While sifting old photos I was reminded of my time spent fishing. I fished bluegill and perch, pike, and whatever else would bite in the humid mosquitoey summers and below zero winters where I grew up in Lower Michigan. I fished alone, with my younger sister, and with my father, who taught me the little I know.

My fishing experience continued when I moved to Washington, shifting from lakes and ponds to the deep, cold waters of Lake Whatcom and the Puget Sound. Instead of standing on the shore, I bobbed in a sailboat or kayak.

Its been a while since I fished for anything. I’m recently practicing a vegan lifestyle for all the usual environmental and ethical reasons. But I loved fishing. For me, it wasn’t about the size of what I caught or catching what I ate. It was always about being on the water, learning about the fish and its life cycle, slowing down, and shutting out everything else but the quiet hum of the outdoors.

That’s why I wrote this article for WhatcomTalk.com about the new Bellingham, WA-based North Sound Chapter of Trout Unlimited. I understand where they are coming from and I respect that they are willing to take action to preserve and conserve rivers and their fish for generations to come.

I’m recycling most of the pictures of the fish I once caught. Then I’m going to head out to my local stream to see the salmon coming in. I’ll spend some time with the pictures in my head and then head home with any trash I find along the way.

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