Christopher Bolling
In Pursuit of Trout: The Gift of the River

I’m an avid catch-and-release fly fisher.  The moment I step into a stream is a moment of instant immersion and perspective-taking.

To catch trout, one must know this beautiful creature and its habits: what it eats, when it eats, where it eats, where it holds to conserve energy and stay protected from predators, and when it’s most actively feeding.

Of course, flyfishing requires skill. Casting an unweighted fly the size of a matchhead into a stream and presenting it “naturally” to get the eat isn’t intuitive. It takes time and practice to present a fly across numerous currents in such a way that the trout believess it to be natural.

A flyfisher is both an observer and a student of entomology, weather, reading the water, and the art form of the cast.

As an experienced fly fisher, I know patient observation wins the day.  The moment of stillness on the bank of the river, taking it all in and witnessing what’s happening around you.  Not dissimilar to an artist or photographer patiently waiting to capture that precise moment of light that brings the landscape alive, the patient fly fisher takes it all in to consider the confluence of events that lead to the trout taking the fly – the beautiful rise.

Far from a sport, fly fishing has become a lifestyle. It has offered me many life lessons and brought me many gifts: reflection, patience, perspective-taking, and self-awareness. Fly fishing has a way of helping me see what I need to see in my life so that I may take conscious, thoughtful action. Stepping out of the current of daily life and into the rhythm of the natural world—in pursuit of trout—helps keep me whole, aligned, and integrated.

“They say you forget your troubles on a trout stream, but that’s not quite it.  What happens is that you begin to see where your troubles fit into the grand scheme of things, and suddenly, they’re just such a big deal anymore.” – John Gierach

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