Thursday, June 16, 2011

Unforgettable trout trips

It seems like a simple question to answer.

Which trout fishing trip was my favorite?


Maybe it was the time I waded and fished my way up a challenging stream in the Smokies for six hours and nearly two miles to be rewarded by only a single 5" trout... but somehow still felt like my day was a huge success.


Maybe it was the time I went fishing with my friend Zack Brown (not that Zac Brown) on the Little Red River, and I rescued a Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) that had his head stuck in a pig carcass. I discovered this very strange situation when I went to relieve myself near the river... but I honestly don't remember catching any trout.

A very dehydrated Black Vulture and a much younger me

Then again...

Maybe it was the time that same friend and I floated for two days and twenty-five miles down the Spring River, and we caught more trout than I could possibly remember.


Maybe it was the time I took Kelly to that same river and she caught her very first trout.

Kelly's first day of trout success

Better yet...

Maybe it was the time Kelly and I went fishing on Christmas Day and I caught my best trout of the year on a silly fly I tied just for the holidays.

The "Christmas Crawdad"


My favorite trout fishing trip could have been any of those times, but I know that my favorite is always the one that has yet to come.

The planning, the fly tying to fill boxes, the anticipation during the preceding days, the preparation of gear, and the difficulty I have falling asleep the night before I go are all parts of the familiar routine that builds up to my favorite trip.

It's not until the moment that I make my first cast of my next trip that I actually experience a favorite... and all of its exciting new possibilities. After the last cast of the day is made, my favorite once again ceases to exist.

Thankfully, I know that there are still countless favorites out there which I have yet to experience. I also know that without the conservation efforts of organizations like Trout Unlimited, I might actually have to pick a favorite trout fishing trip from times past. The next generation of anglers deserves to experience trout fishing as good or better than we have today, and for that reason, trout fisheries and habitat must be protected. No one should ever have to hear about how good the trout fishing used to be... and no one should ever have to settle on a favorite trip from the past.

Here's to Trout Unlimited and my favorite trout fishing trip...
whenever and wherever it may be.


  1. Very nice post today. Thanks.

  2. Great post Jay...good luck in the contest!

    ...and I agree, the best trip is yet to come :-)

  3. Great post , I really enjoyed reading it. I thought I had some strange stories from fishing but I can't beat rescuing a vulture with his head stuck in a pig carcass!!

  4. "It's not until the moment that I make my first cast of my next trip that I actually experience a favorite..." Right on. You nailed it. Super read, Jay.

  5. very nice, Jay. Hopefully an upcoming favorite will lead you out west.

  6. Spot on. Getting ready for the ball is half the fun (sometimes more so)! Great read, Jay.

  7. Jay
    Favorite trips can be every trip, if you are in love with this great sport as much as I am. I agree the preparation for the trip is as much fun as the actual trip. Great Post

  8. The vulture story...awesome! How old were you when you did that? Impressive.

    "No one should have to settle on a trip from the past." I loved that. Great job, Jay!

  9. Thank you for all of the comments.

    Stephanie, I was a very young looking 22 years old when that happened. You should hear the whole story. It gets better every time I tell it... and I've probably told it a hundred times.

  10. Jay, another great post. If I have to pick a favorite I'm playing it safe because you always outdo yourself.

  11. The vulture adventure adds new meaning to the phrase "go stick your head in a pig" found in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The hazards of scavenging. If you get this send an email to and I'll send you some info on UP streams etc. That's coming up real soon.