Catch and Release

An Autumn Ritual

Story and Photos by Melinda Stiles

During autumn in Idaho, the days are still warm but mornings and evenings call for sweatshirts. An eighty-degree autumn day doesn’t have the sharp edges of an eighty-degree summer day.

First frost can be as early as August. Rising early requires a light, because the sun is grabbing an extra forty. The apples have been harvested by the deer and bear who deigned to leave a few for the humans. The cottonwoods, backlit by the morning sun, envelop us in yellow so brilliant we squint to behold the spectacle. We are golden, and it’s time for my favorite autumn ritual—trout rescue.

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