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I vividly remember my father trying to teach me to fish when I was six or seven years old. We were at Walton Lake in the Ochoco National Forest. He talked about fishing like a religious man speaks of the gospel, cautiously picking out his bait like the squirmy worms had sacred powers. Six-year-old me couldn’t match his passion (or patience), so I returned to the campsite and read a book instead.
Turns out, he was on to something. Endless studies, books, and Instagram posts have praised the healing power of nature, and fishing is a relaxing way to go deeper in the great outdoors. When it comes to fly fishing, you’ll actually go into the water.
Looking back, I wish I’d given those fishing lessons a little more of my attention. More recently, my friend has returned from weekends of fly fishing, raving about the meditative experience of wading and casting.
“Fly-fishing is this wild junction of work and relief,” Kristen tells me. “It takes an incredible amount of patience and understanding; knowing what fly to use and casting repeatedly without even the tiniest tug. It can be downright frustrating. But once you relax into it, you realize you’re so lucky to be a part of this gorgeous place, standing among the wild creatures you’re trying to catch.”
I have a feeling I should listen this time around. Fly fishing has been gaining popularity — especially among women. Here are some reasons why you and I should both give it a try:
Try Fly Fishing at Your Next Campground
So what’s all the hype about? To a passerby, fly fishing can look more monotonous than engaging. But that’s definitely not the case.
Fly Fishing is a Workout
Not only does the repetitive task of casting your rod build your shoulder and back muscles, fly fishing is active. If practiced in a river, it requires moving up or downstream, against moving currents, and across slippery river rock. While it doesn’t require hiking to remote areas, the more you fly-fish, the more you might find the desire for more solitude.
Fly Fishing Brings You Even Closer to Nature
Through fly fishing, you actively engage with mother nature. You wade in streams full of plant and insect life. You interact with different types of fish who inhabit the stream. And depending on where you fish, you might be the only person in the water, allowing you to focus on the sights, sounds, and smells of the world around you.
You Can Catch Your Dinner
There’s nothing better than rubbing butter, salt, garlic, and other savory goodness over your fresh caught trout, wrapping it in tinfoil, throwing it on the campfire, and enjoying it for dinner. You won’t have to pack in much food when you’re catching dinner at the campground.
Fly Fishing Brings People Together
While fly fishing can be done alone, you can also enjoy this meditative activity communally. It’s a great way to spend quality time with your kids, your spouse, or the entire family. Use it as an opportunity to teach your kids about river systems, insects, or fish species. Or to tell a story about when you learned how to fish.
Promotes Awareness of Conservation
It’s hard to spend time in any magical or special place and not feel a pull to protect it. The same is true for fly fishing. The more you wade in the green waters of a river, the more you’ll discover about its ecosystem, inhabitants, and what threatens its existence.
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