This week Phil, my father’s dear friend, brought his daughter, Lizzy, to the mountains of Montana. After a week in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, helping my Dad celebrate his 65th birthday, they stopped by the Big Hole Lodge on their way back to Aspen.
I had the privilege of witnessing a truly special father daughter fishing trip.
Phil taught Lizzy everything she needed to know about fly casting and she picked up on it right away on the Roaring Fork and other streams in the Aspen area. During cocktail hour at the Lodge, she caught two fish in the Home Pool on the Wise River! The next day, we floated the Big Hole and fishing was slow, so we parked the boat in a handful of pools and worked foam lines.
As Phil sat with his hands in his lap, Lizzy worked a riffle from the front of the boat. The fish were in the top of the run, but we didn’t want to spook the possible slow-water sleeper into the riffle. Unable to push the boat any further, I gave Lizzy an encouraging nod and said, “reach the top”. Despite a stiff breeze, Lizzy showed no sign of apprehension. She fired a long cast into the churning white-water drop-off and BAM!
Phil, who had up to this point remained silent, allowing Lizzy to tailor her casts to the changing winds and currents, burst into celebration and dove for the net. It was my turn to sit back and watch. I anchored the boat and smiled as I watched father and daughter, both grinning ear to ear, land a wild Big Hole River rainbow.