Growing up Pennsylvania, trout opener was one of the most highly anticipated days of the year and provided some of my earliest memories. It started the night or week before, depending on the weather, and after a good rainstorm we’d tread lightly across the yard at night, armed with flashlights to capture fat night crawlers. I remember the green plastic container where we kept them and how I often forget it in my tackle box after a trip.
Regardless of the excitement from the night before morning still came too early and we’d load my dad’s truck with our gear and head out to pick up my grandfather. We were destined for the Hammer Creek where, if we got there early enough, we could stake claim to a piece of bank. Courtesy eventually gave way to supply and demand leaving us elbow to elbow with other anglers by the time opener officially started. Shortly after a snack truck would arrive and while too young to drink coffee I’d get a cup of hot chocolate to imitate my grandfather (I vaguely remember sucking on a pretzel rod pretending it was a stogie as well).
Before packing up I made a couple casts to a likely holding spot hoping to give Olive the chance to reel one in, but it wasn’t meant to be. To be honest I think the thrill would have been more mine than hers. Today trout opener meant something again for a lot of the reasons it did before.
When my grandfather and I fished he’d say “at least when I’m gone you can say I went fishing with you.” I moved away and ultimately fulfilled the prophecy. I don’t know how many times Olive will want to go fishing with me and I don’t have any expectations. I’ll be happy for each chance I get and if there are no more at least I had this day.