Two Trips to Fossil

With Spring having sprung, Angie and I were dangerously close to not repeating our annual family Fossil Creek fishing trip. Things had gone well on our trip last year when little newborn Henry had gotten his first outdoors experience.

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Though the look on Henry’s face shows he might disagree with my assessment. Regardless, we loaded up the Mighty Forester and took off towards our favorite haunt.

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Fed by the most incredible winter storm I have ever experienced, the creek was running very high, cold, and off color. I knew this didn’t bode well for the fishing, but that didn’t mean Jack couldn’t try is hand at a few casts.

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Frustrated at the very idea of getting skunked in my trusty fishing hole, I traded rods with Jack and climbed down to the best fishing spot.

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Nothing. Henry was not impressed.

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But kids are optimists and the situation did not stop Jack from running his line through the pool over and over again.

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I couldn’t help but be a little proud. He was keeping his rod tip up and actually fishing instead of just casting. Unfortunately the fish just weren’t going to bit and after an hour or so we retreated to the car.

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Henry never gets to do anything fun on his own, so a couple of weeks later I decided to take a trip back to Fossil with him. When we arrived I tossed him in the backpack and was relieved to find that the waters had returned to normal flow and clarity. My usual fishing spot, the one with the big fish, requires a bit of a down climb. I considered it for some time before deciding discretion is the better part of valor and heading off to a rock I knew fished well.

First cast brought a tiny chub that was just taking on his spawning colors…

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…which Henry thought was just about the funniest thing he had ever seen.

While we sat on the rock fishing I thought about how quickly things had changed. Just a year ago Henry was fishing from this very rock as a six week old strapped to his Momma’s chest.

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Realizing his dad was getting a little pensive, Henry intervened with a rousing set of zerberts.

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This reminded me of the first rule of parenting: quit while you are ahead. With a happy toddler in tow, Henry and I packed up and headed home, putting another season of fishing Fossil Creek in the books.



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Max Wilson is a born and raised Arizonan with a love for all that is beautiful and strange about the Southwest. He studied at Arizona State University, where he received his PhD in ecology. He writes here at Lesser Places, occasionally for Backpacker, and even more occasionally for scientific journals. You can follow him on twitter @maxomillions.

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