Fish you remember

I appreciated the comment below by @Scott_T about the fish he remembered. I didn’t want to diverge too drastically off topic from that thread, so I’ve started a new one.

As this is in the “Off topic” category, it can be any fish that really stands out in your memory - regardless of fishing memory or fishing style.

So, what is a fish that you remember?


Great idea!!!

Great idea!
Our family camps every summer at Waterton National Park in Canada. Beautiful area that we consider a second home. I am able to fish every day, ranging from small mountain streams to alpine lakes.
There is a small stream that is easy access, that most people over look. Two summer ago, I saw a small pool behind a cluster of rocks that looked like a perfect place for a small trout. Sure enough, a beautiful cutthroat was found in that exact spot. I examined its beautiful markings and quickly put it back into the water. Two days later, I came back to the same section of stream. I laid a fly perfectly in the same spot, surprised to have it taken by the same trout. It was the first time I have ever caught the same fish twice! I went through the pattern of catching the same trout in the same small pool every 2-3 days for the rest of the trip.
Last summer, when we returned to the park, I too returned to the small section of stream. I kid you not, the same fish still lived in the same little pool, only now a years-worth of growth bigger.
A lot of people share fish memory stories based on the size of fish (catching a trophy-sized fish). For me, it was the relationship I felt over 2 summers with one individual fish. I looked forward to catching that one. I know he probably hated me for it.
I will let you all know in late July if I catch him/her again.


I actually have a very similar story. Whilst there are several fish I distinctly remember, this one definitely stands out.

There is a small stream in the Green Mountain National Forest that I love. It actually parallels one of the many access points to the Appalachian Trail and is adjacent to a parking area for the trail. I’ve never seen anyone fishing either.

I usually use the parking area and hike into the forest away from other people. This area only contains wild brook trout (maybe…) and has supposedly never been stocked with trout. About 4 miles (6.5km) downstream it flows into a trophy trout river that is stocked every year. With that said, there is an elevation gain of over 1000 feet (300m) between the two locations and a minimum of three (that I have personally seen, but I’ve not fished the entire length - it’s extremely difficult to get to some areas) fish stopping waterfalls which range in height from about 4 feet (1.2m) to about 7 feet (2.1m).

The pool near the large boulder on the center left was the magical pool for me.

Initially, I caught several small brook trout as was expected for this area. On another cast, I saw a bright flash and had a powerful strike. I guessed it was a sizeable brook trout. I cast a couple more times and finally had fish on. This was one of the only times I really enjoyed using my Kurenai 30 (which I later sold) and had a bend to the handle.

I brought to hand an approximate 10 inch (25cm) brown trout. I still have no idea how it got there. I caught that fish half a dozen times that summer. Went back the following year and she wasn’t there any more.

Apologies for the bad photo. I had a really cheap phone with a bad camera at that time.

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No need to apologize! At least you got a pic of the fish. I never did take a pic of the one I spoke about, which I regret. Fingers crossed I can this year.
Thanks for sharing. Love those stories.

I will not recall childhood. I think everyone caught on bamboo fishing rods. Seven years ago, I remembered fishing, bought a spinning rod and caught two trout on my birthday. Since then I fell ill with fishing. It’s also hard to forget the first pink salmon that I caught on the tenkara rods. These feelings are hard to forget.


Amazing, Vladimir. Anyone would become obsessed with fishing after that experience!

Потрясающе, Владимир. Любой мог бы стать одержимым рыбалкой после этого опыта!


Ok, another fishing memory.

My then two year old son (well, if you asked him at the time, he’d have said two and a half) and I were together at the local lake. I was fishing for largemouth bass from the dock, using spinning gear. I hooked up on an average fish and then handed him the rod to crank in. Now at this point in his life, this kid has caught fish on his own for about 9 months, but only bluegill.

So it’s the first time he’s really felt a fish pull. And pull it does. Making the kid step forward. I keep encouraging him, and yet again the fish has another burst, causing my son to make another step forward.

The kid keeps the pressure on, and reels in a bit more, making progress. And then there’s the fish’s third run. Which was apparently one run to many for James. Because it was at that point that he let go of the rod. Which immediately dropped into the lake.

In hindsight, I’m glad it was summer and not March, as into the water I went.

Got the rod, got the fish, got a memory I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. Oh - the bass went about 4 pounds or so. A good, but not great fish.


Yes Peder, the impressions are excellent. There is a tradition, I spend my birthday fishing. August 16, 2019 the city of Pskov.

Diving tenkara rods, caught and released 8 fish. The day was fun!:rofl:


While I prefer to catch wild fish. The one I remember the most was I think a stocked fish.

It had rained quite a bit the previous few days that made fishing a small lake the best option, For me and several other people lining the bank. Most of them were fishing the west end or the north side that has a lot of trees right to the bank. I mostly had the more open area south side to myself.

I could see the dorsal and tail fins of a large fish above the water surface as it was swimming back and forth near the bank over a short distance. Clearly in the mood for a meal.

After a few cast near the fish I hooked it. A 4 m rod gives a fish a lot of leverage. The pull was hard, and it took a couple of minutes to bring it in. Fortunately I did bring my tamo that day. Well, kind of. This rainbow trout was so big it was difficult keeping it in the net. It was long and fat. With its head at the bottom of the net about half of the fish was still sticking up above the frame. And not to keen on staying in the net. :angry:

Of course all the loud splashing of the water attracted attention of other people. Followed by disbelief and objections once they realized I was going to release the fish. And pleas for me to instead give the fish to them. I told them I wouldn’t dare cheat them out of the fun of catching the fish themselves. Then let it go. They were - :unamused:

I caught a few more fish farther eastward. But after several minutes I noticed what appeared to be the same fish had stopped pouting and had returned to feeding in about the same location. But now several lure anglers were casting for the fish.

A young woman caught the fish. She kept it.

As she walked away from the water, holding the fish with both hands to put the fish in a cooler in her vehicle. It became clear it was a female fish fat with eggs as the orange eggs started squirting out onto the ground. :frowning:

So I was disappointed the fish was kept, invited home for dinner, and not released to produce a lot of little fish for the next year. :anguished:


My most memorable fish are the ones that got away. The trophy fish I have caught are memorable but the ones that put a smile on my face are the ones that out gunned or out smarted me. Most of the time I never see them which makes them even more supernatural. The phantoms…

trout - tenkara
I was fishing a wild brook trout stream that had little to no signs of man. I had been picking off several beautiful specimens. Gorgeous vividly colored trout. Then I came upon this beautiful giant pocket in the stream. It was bathtub shaped pool nestled in canopy that formed a grotto of sorts. A real primordial setting. There was a large tree at the right of the pool and its gnarly exposed roots descended into the pool like an iron cage. I plunged my fly deep into the water sure that I would pull out several critters holding deep. Nothing. I cycled through a few flies…trying dead drifts and manipulations. Zilch… How could this be? It was a classically dark pool that any brooktrout would die to live in. The pool was so deep that I figured nothing would take a top water presentation, so as a last resort I swing the fly to the back of the pool and skated the fly to the head. Out of no where a large head breaks the surface, engulfs the fly, and immediately darts like a bolt of lightning to the cage of roots. Too late. I can feel my line snagged on the root ball and a reach down to retrieve my fly that was perfectly left on the inside of the fortress of roots. " Well played, my friend"…I thought…hahahaha.

striped bass - surfcasting with spinning gear.

I was fishing an outlet from a river in RI…casting 10" texas rigged hogys into an eddy.
Hogy’s are a soft plastic lure shaped like an eel. The whole surfline was gurgling with mullet.
I was fishing a van staal 150 on a 9’ Lamiglas. I hooked a 15 lb. fish and landed it.
Then I continue to target the eddy. I kept on getting hard strikes and the
drag was slipping on the hook set. Each time the hook would pull…and I
would send it back to the same spot in the eddy. Pulled the hook three
times. So…I tighten down the drag down all the way, which is about 15-20 lbs.
On the next strike…I hit the fish hard and it took off. The drag
was screaming as if I had no drag set at all. I had to take my hand off
my reel to control the rod with both hands…as the fish zig-zagged through
the current, I gave it a couple more hard sets.
Within fifteen seconds the fish was off.
I expected some failure, but when I got my lure back…the hook
and softbait was fully intact. Not a shark, definitely a large striped bass.

Larger fish have hard palates. I almost suspect that the
texas style rigging may have come into play somehow…and perhaps the
point penetrated but the soft plastic prevented it from digging…or that
the hook may have flexed under the full load of the fish, preventing it
from transferring the full power of the hook sets…or perhaps she just
clamped down on the hogy and never was hooked at all.

A short time later a report that another angler landed a 63 lb fish from that area. Just a massive phantom from the sea.


A few…

Fishing in 1999 with my fly fishing “mentor” who was about 100 yds away in a float tube at a Washington State “high desert” lake. I was using my Loomis Signature IMX 6 wt with a SA-1 click drag reel trolling an olive marabou damsel pattern. BIG fish slams it and starts running, the reel was singing loudly; zeeeeeeeeee. It got to within about 30’ of my “mentor” who was facing my direction when it jumped 3’ out of the water and came down with a huge splash. I slowly worked it back but it ran two more times before I could finally land it. 5lbs by measurement.

like @dwalker catching planters with a fly rod while others fishing bait with spinning gear looked on, asked why I was releasing them.

Fishing in a backpacking float tube at a sub-alpine lake with a lot of Brookies in it. I catch a few fish within 30’ of 2 guys’ bobbers fishing Powerbait with spinning rods from the bank . I asked them if they each wanted the flies I was using to tie onto their lines to fish in front of their bobbers. They politely refused. I caught more fish, they didn’t.

Same day attractive young woman with an athletic figure with her husband-boyfriend got to the lake and started setting up camp near the shore. The guy was setting up the tent. Woman walks out on log jutting out into the lake about 10’. She called out to her companion saying “There’s a fish next to this log!” I finned over about 15’ and layed out a cast near the end of the log. Hooked and landed the fish. Nice to have a spotter. Went on to catch over 30 fish.

My 2nd Tenkara fish, in heavy current, the biggest fish I had caught in 12 years fishing that river with western gear, the bend and power in the rod, the line “singing” like a bowed violin string as it was pulled through the water - never heard that before with western gear.

Fishing a saltwater beach in 2019 with my “saltwater fly fishing mentor” (also fishes small streams with me, hasn’t converted from the “dark side” yet despite witnessing my success). It was my first time for fishing Chum Salmon, noted for being “tackle busters”. He had told me what flies to bring but I had decided to use a sakasa variation with a chartreuse marabou tail. He walked to a small cove to fish. I walked the other way and found some small boulders in the water. I immediately recognized double hauling an 8-weight with a 40’ integrated shooting head was going to tire me quickly. I saw fish porpoising offshore heading towards their spawning creek so I waited until I saw two rises in a straight line and cast 20’ out front. A fish slammed it and started taking line but the disc drag reel handled a few runs. As it tired it came to the surface and began thrashing about as my friend walked around the corner into view. He watched me land the fish with a foot of the tail sticking up out of the 24" long net.


The fish I remember the most wasn’t caught with a tenkara rod. It wasn’t caught with a rod at all. I was probably a junior or senior in high school. I was fishing on Christmas Day. I think I was the only one at the fishing dock that day, below a spillway, except for my dad who drove out there to hang out with me (he doesn’t fish).

While we were waiting for something … anything … to make my line move, a bald Eagle :eagle: swooped down and grabbed a writhing fish from the water.

We were probably on the migration path for eagles, but 20+ years ago they were less common. It was very rare to see one soaring above the little Texas town I grew up in. So it definitely felt like a Christmas miracle.

To this day when I tell my dad I took my kids fishing, he asks whether we saw any eagles .

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A friend once asked me to explain the appeal of chasing trout on a fly rod. It’s this combination of Walden Pond and a slot machine, I told him… The peace and beauty of these wild places, punctuated by the occasional rush of hooking up through skill or luck or persistence.

In January my 8-year-old son brought me a hand-drawn design for a fly he had conceived after looking through my tying materials. It was a flashy purple little thing he called The Plotter. I tied one up and took it to a familiar creek which is silly with wild rainbows and a few stingy browns. In the hour I had to work with, that gaudy little nymph brought 9 fish to hand, several of them good-sized for this stream. The surprise came as I drifted it through a dug out hole at the base of a spreading tree, where a moose of a brown decided he’d try a bite. I set; he bulldogged a bit and then breached and when I saw him, that’s when the prayers and supplications started. Please, God…please let me land this fish…Please! I had to laugh hearing it out loud. But I realized that beyond wanting to not lose this fish - I catch a nice brown like this about every five years - what I wanted most was to show my son how much magic was wrought that day by his imagination.

The fight was over sooner than I expected. I think the fish was as surprised and disoriented as I was. He was conservatively 18", and landing him on tenkara after fooling him with my son’s fly was joy on top of joy. Jackpot.


I want to add “father-son” story from 2020 (another western rod story… stop here if you object) .

I was fishing a lake for early season stocker rainbows with my 33 yr old son on his birthday, using western rods. He hadn’t been fishing in a long time. I was in my Water Master Kodiak and he in a float tube. I was using my 9 1/2’ 6 weight I use for saltwater Sea Run Cutthroat that had an Airflo 40+ (fast) intermediate line. It has gotten me into fish on lakes very nicely where a Cortland Clear Camo got me no bites with the same flies. My son discovered his Ross F1 reel was broken so he couldn’t use his NRX 5 weight rod but he had also brought his 3 weight creek rod with a floating line (?). No rises so I gave him a “loop on” sink tip I had so he could get down to the fish. We had fished for about 3 hours and the only “action” he had turned out to be weeds. We were both using the same unweighted damsel pattern and I had landed a half dozen 12"-13" trout, hooking the last one within a few feet of him. The look of disappointment on his face said it all; it was his birthday and he was not having fun. That really brought out the “Dad compassion” :anguished: and I swapped rods with him. In about 30 minutes he hooked and landed two similar sized trout. Meanwhile the sun was getting low in the sky and I removed the sink tip and put on a conehead version of the same fly on the 3 weight. My feet were sore from finning around in tight fins-scuba boots-neoprene wader socks for 3 hours so I was hanging out about 250’ off the boat launch casting about 35’ up to the edge of some lilypads and half-heartedly stripping the fly back, waiting for him to call it a day. After several minutes, big jerk on the 3 weight. I set the hook once, and again for good measure. Luckily it came towards me instead of heading into the lilies and I started stripping. Big bend in the rod and I started playing it laterally to keep it from going under the raft. I managed to get it on the reel and it was spinning me around in my 10’ Water Master! It was exciting and I was doing some hooting. After around two minutes it began to tire and I eventually landed this on a 3 weight


I remember when my son, daughter, son-in-law, grandson, and I caught our first fish with a fly. It’s weird but I still remember the place, the rod, the time of day, date, and fly used for each occasion. However, sadly I cannot remember what I did last week.

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The best golden trout fishery in Montana…deep in the Beartooth Wilderness. It has an almost mythical reputation for difficult access which is matched only by the difficult-to-catch fish. On my second trip, I caught this one. My buddy was there to help me land it (no net). This has been an annual trip for me for the last handful of years and I will continue to go until I can no longer make the hike. Usually I’m by myself.


A wild tiger trout from the Driftless Area.


They are on my list too…struck out when I was down in UT.

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In the Driftless we don’t go looking for them, they find us. They are naturally reproducing but rare. On that day both a friend of mine and I caught one.