The Trout

April 9, 2023 at 8:30 a.m. Laurie Feetham

“When you feel a little tug on your line, the fish is taking the bait. Pull short and quick to set the hook. If the fish pulls back, he’s hooked and you can reel him in,” advises Daddy.

My first true fishing trip! Most times, my family goes fishing off Westport, on the Pacific Coast. I’m seven, too little to go fishing on the ocean, so I stay ashore with other kids and a few adults who are avoiding seasickness. It’s fun, but it’s not fishing.

One particular week, we stay in a cabin at Monte Cristo, where I can fish from the bank of a freshwater stream. Gazing into that stream, I see a trout lurking. I name him Terry. Now I try to catch him. Through the rod, I feel tiny fish bumps. Daddy whispers, “Nibbles. Keep waiting.”

I wait. Then I feel a pull. I raise the line slightly. The fish pulls harder. I reel it in. It’s a trout, rainbow shiny and so wiggly and slippery that Daddy has to unhook it for me and drop it into the bucket of water that we use to keep our catch fresh.

At the cabin, I take a bath while Mom starts supper. She fries up the trout. When I appear at the table, she slides it onto my plate.
I stare at it solemnly then burst into tears.

“We can’t eat Terry Trout!” I sob.

The next day, we pick berries and pan for gold.

Forty-six years later, I live on a lake. “I hear it’s good fishing here,” a visitor comments. “You should fish.”

“I don’t think so,” I reply. “They’re the neighbors, you know.” ❖

Laurie Feetham is a longtime Northwest Prime Time reader and lives in Kenmore
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