Today was one of those beautiful fall days that needed to be enjoyed by standing in flowing water. A cloud free blue sky helped elevate temperatures into the 70s. Red, yellow and light green leaves seemed to glow in the angled light cast by the setting sun. Neshannock Creek beckoned after a day of meetings in the Mahoning Valley. On Tuesday, 700 rainbows were stocked in the creek. Most of the fish that had been stocked earlier in the year died in the summer's heat; the second year in a row that few fish survived the elevated water temperatures.
The "hatchery fish" had grown to 10 to 14 inches on a diet of food pellets while living in tanks. While their DNA said they were rainbows, they are truly a synthetic version of their ancestors. Nonetheless, their pink and silver sides added valuable color to the end of beautiful fall day. While catching a hatchery fish fresh from the truck is not particularly challenging, it remains a thrill to feel that tug on the end of the line. It is a tug that pulls me back to a simpler, quieter time. A time when I sat with my father and waited (not so patiently) for something, anything to pull on the end of my fishing line. We talked as we waited. We admired the scenery as we waited. We learned as we waited. But mostly we waited for that tug.
That tug has a very strong pull, even if it's done by a synthetic fish.