Our Man In Canada
January 21st, 2002

Springtime Is Trout Time

By Fred Wooding
From Fly Fishing Canada, Published by Johnson Borman Publishers

Around about this time of year approximately one-third of the Canadian population - mostly males - will succumb to one of the most communicable of all diseases. Known as "delirium piscatoria," this strange malaise is caused by what is generally referred to as "the opening of trout season" and is commonplace throughout most of the northern hemisphere.

Depending on geography, symptoms of the disease show up with the first (however slight) indication that spring is on the way. In British Columbia it might be the return of the yellow warbler, in the Prairies the northward flight of the Canada goose, in Ontario and Quebec the running of the maple sap, and in the Maritimes and Newfoundland the simple melting of winter's snow.

But the symptoms are unmistakable: restlessness and irritability, a faraway look in the eyes, a fondness for outdoor magazines, resort folders and one-mile-to-the-inch maps of out-of-the-way places.

During such times the woman who can find her kitchen table clear of mother-eaten wet and artificial flies, lengths of leaders, landing nets, HDH double-tapered lines, sections of fly and spinning rods, and even a dried-up worm or two can count herself a fortunate creature indeed.

What causes this metamorphosis in normally rational, responsible men? A psychiatrist friend of mine began clinical studies on the problem and was making some headway until he, too, went trout fishing. Almost immediately his research stopped, and I've since been told that his wife has left him.

The men who go fishing during this season of the year are of two distinct types - those who are true trout fishermen and those who are not. In the later group fall all who will take fish by any means permissible. They are amiable characters who, completely without any qualms, will use worms, frogs or any other bait with any old kind of gear so long as they catch fish. The true fisherman, on the other hand, is usually an unregenerate snob who disdains everything but artificial flies. Even in this latter group, classes distinction raises its ugly head. Often the relationship between the purist devoted to the dry fly and the man who stoops to wet flies and nymphs is cool and uncommunicative.

If there is a good deal of engaging nonsense about trout fishing, there is also a good deal of academic seriousness. And notwithstanding the breach in diplomatic relations between the "hardware" angler, the purist and the nonpurist, trouting inspires in men a friendly rapport unmarred by professional standing. I know of one tycoon whose bosom pal during May is an odd-jobber who hasn't owned a new suit in 20 years.

Fly Fishing Canada

Fishing is not just an escape from the pressures of modern society. In reality, it is a return to the verities of life - a chance to get back to the serenity God intended for us. It sends men into deep forests or to placid streams, to places where once more - free from telephones and automobiles - they can hear the song of birds and enjoy the rich smell of a world coming to life.

If the truth be known, most anglers really care little whether they catch fish or not; what matters is the joy that is found in old clothes, the unbridled freedom from worry and the pursuit of an elusive quarry. When, by happy chance, he does connect with a trout and lands it, the angler for that moment is the happiest of men. ~ Fred Wooding

Credits: From Fly Fishing Canada, From Coast to Coast to Coast By Outdoor Writers of Canada, Published by Johnson Gorman Publishers. We appreciate use permission!

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