SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


That Fish



February 11, 2017
Saturday AM

jpg Jeff Lund 

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - We stood on the edge and looked through the water, trying to focus on the bottom to see movements above, rather than fix on the surface and spot a fish below. It’s one of those weird descriptions that fishermen use when asked, “How do you see the fish?” You just do, but that’s not a good answer.

We caught small, hungry trout because most of the rainbows were picky about what they ate. The recommendations called for size 20 and we were fishing size 16. That totally matters. I bounced a stonefly off a rock and the second it hit the surface it was in the mouth of a quality brown trout 16-inches easy.

That’s the fish of that river.

There’s always that one fish. Other details of the trip don’t really matter, just that fish. Who cares what you had for breakfast who was with you, whether it was 2012 or 2011, there is that fish on that water that you’ll remember.

If you’re supposed to do something you love so that you’ll never work a day in your life, but that something that you’re doing provides only satisfaction and no monetary compensation, then you’re in a bind. Unless you want to hitchhike around the United States and end up in a bus somewhere, there has to be some sort of participation in The Game. You don’t have to be owned by The Man, but it’s really unavoidable. You can’t get new fly fishing gear and get to pretty new water without a job.

Soon there will be people paying for the steelhead experience of a lifetime, just before the King Salmon experience of a lifetime crew shows up in the summer.

I can’t blame them, though I would much rather have the river available to myself and whatever locals call it the home river.

I want to fish my spots on my home rivers, but it’s not my river and those aren’t my spots. They are places I go, but I don’t own them. It’s a difficult balance of welcoming others who want to get their fish, just like I do when I’m the guest.

As an angler I want them to get that fish, the one that makes the trip because for two weeks I’m driving around Montana in June finding new “that fish” on new rivers with my buddy Kurt.

When I get back I’ll try not to be too territorial because I know what it’s like to be hoping for a fish you may never have a chance to try for again.

Jeff Lund ©2017

Jeff Lund is a Teacher, Freelance Writer, living in Ketchikan, Alaska
Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @alaskalund
Contact Jeff at Email –


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