Back to No Return

For Steelhead in Homewaters

By Breland Draper

Photos Courtesy of Breland Draper

My son Charlie caught a fish on his first fly-fishing cast. To be honest, it may have been his second or third, but as he believes, and as legend stands, it was his first cast. He was four years old then, in 2017, wearing a bright orange shirt, a full-brimmed hat, and water sandals that were planted in the river rocks and sand of Mores Creek. He was fishing just upstream from where the creek meets Lucky Peak Reservoir, where water flows can vary greatly, when spring runoff fills the reservoir or a drought year leaves it lacking. The fish was an inch-long minnow. It took the small Pale Morning Dun immediately once the fly hit the water.

Like all kids, Charlie was more interested in casting than letting his fly sit on the water. Just as quickly as the minnow took the fly, without noticing the fish, he used both hands on the cork grip to flip the rod tip overhead and send the small fish flying into the bushes behind him. The only reason that he knew he had caught a fish was the slight sound of it hitting the grass. We found the minnow, unharmed but most likely a little shaken from its flight, and released it gently into the stream. Charlie smiled in the afterglow of his success as an angler.

He caught that first fish on a rod that belongs to me: a Scott G-Series four-weight three-piece, a good rod for small dry flies on many of Idaho’s streams and rivers, because you can be gentle and accurate with casts. My dad purchased and owned the rod, which ended up in my hands when I moved away to college, although I did not spend much time on the river during those days. To be honest, I am not sure how I got the rod, and I fear that my dad feels the same way. I soon purchased Charlie a rod of his own: a two-handed yellow Echo Gecko with a green camouflage grip. It’s a light, quick-action rod that helps him throw short but fairly accurate casts using both hands to lift the line overhead and lay the fly out in front of him. Charlie is happy, and more than a little proud, to tell anyone who asks him if he’s a fisherman that he caught a fish on his first cast with a fly rod. With that first fish from Mores Creek, he was hooked.

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Breland Draper

About Breland Draper

Breland Draper lives in Boise with his son Charlie and their yellow Labrador Luna. Breland works in the nonprofit world and in his off-time, he can be found with Charlie and Luna exploring Idaho's rivers, wildlife, and beauty. Photo of Breland and Charlie by Mary McAleese.

One Response to Back to No Return

  1. Eileen - Reply


    Wonderful story and tribute to your family.

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