We had been saying for years, ďThis could be our last trout fishing together.Ē Finally, it came true this spring. Dad turned 80 in February, and had spent a good part of the late winter in and out of the hospital with old age infirmities; his body was worn out.
We headed to Waterloo Creek near Dorchester, Iowa; this was a stream that Dad had grown to love to fish; he had one hole he particularly enjoyed sitting over. My brother Randy and I loaded Dad and his scooter chair up, and headed north from our cabin for what was to be the last trout fish.
It was a sunny day; we arrived before the stocking truck arrived. We were the first ones in and we were able to secure dadís favorite hole. The stocking truck arrived by the time we had our equipment unpacked and poles readied to fish. Dad caught his last five trout that morning. He never moved from his chair the entire time he fished; we handed him bait, retrieved his fish and put them on a stringer, and brought him drinks and sandwiches.
We almost forgot to take a picture; but now are so thankful we had Dad pose with his last catch. That was the last time Dad sat along the banks of an Iowa trout stream; it all started in 1964 when a friend invited Dad to use his little school house cabin along Wexford Creek, south of Lansing. For 44 years, Dad had hauled his boys, his grandsons, and old hunting buddies to the cabin to try their luck on these small ribbons of streams that the DNR keep stocked weekly with hatchery raised trout: browns and rainbows mostly.
Dad only caught one lunker trout in 44 years; a 5 pound rainbow; and even this by accident. I had hooked the trout earlier with my cane pole and bobber, but it didnít take long before I was stripped of line, hook and bobber; too much fish and not enough pole. Dad was throwing a spinner when he hooked my broken line and bobber, wrapping the line up in his spinner. After 20 minutes of working the fish, Dad dragged it onto shore. But, he was just as happy catching 12 inch rainbows that glistened when fresh out of the water; to Dad every trout was a blessing and a thing of beauty to behold.
We will return to the cabin again this fall to do a little more fishing, and try our luck on a big Iowa whitetail; but we will also make our way up the path from the trout stream at Wexford and visit Dadís nearby grave. It was Dadís wish to be buried in the Catholic cemetery overlooking the Wexford stream and right down the bluff where Dad shot so many spring gobblers; it was as if he wanted to be able to hear one more trout break water for a gadfly or catch one more gobbler announce the morning off the roost.
Welcome home Dad.
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