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The science fair

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Kevin McKay


In my fishing world and in my life there are things in my memories that stick out. It is almost like in the movies when the character has a flashback to when they were a kid and there are actors playing out the part. I will have those random flash backs and there are no actors, just me. One that I often have is when I am at the age of 12 or 13 and I am in 6th or 7th grade. I have to pick a subject for the science fair. This might have been the first inclination I had an issue with fishing.

A few years ago I had the urge to fish a stream I spent many springs fishing with my dad. I think Jen and the boys were out of town because I had dropped my truck off at one bridge and had my parents dropped me off at the other. My dog Feta and I fished our way to the truck. It was very exciting being back but, I was very disappointed at the same time. I remembered the stream to be a lot larger but now it seemed very small. I was also surprised at the trash on the stream and how people had built houses and had cleared the trees right down to the stream. I was only able to catch one fish, a sucker but it did make my heart race to think I was into a brook trout.


The one thing that fishing that day did do for me, was it took me back to the days I use to fish it with my dad and the fun I had. There was one day that really stands out. The day we had to catch two trout for the science fair.

I decided for this science fair, I was going to do it about brook trout. So after talking to my parents I decided I would have a live brook trout in an aquarium and I would dissect the other. The idea was solid but the only problem was we had to catch the trout and back then my dad didn’t have a ton of spots to catch brook trout. So we headed for what he knew best, Black Stream in Carmel. The other problem was that we often fished this brook but, not very often did we catch anything. It always seemed to be the second week of April or right after the pussy willows were out, and most of the time it was the pool right beside the road but, sometimes we would go down river and explore. These were my favorite times fishing. I loved the adventure and not knowing what was around the next corner.

This time it was fall and we parked at the bridge and headed down stream. We came to a long slow part of the stream. I remember dad wading out to the middle and casting his worm down stream and letting it it swing in the current. I waited on shore and watched him. For us this was a long shot as fall was for hunting, not fishing. Neither one of us knew what to expect. At the end of the swing, bam! He had a 16 inch brook trout on! (A little note, it could have been 10 inches but, I remember it being 16.) I also remember this being a very large trout for this stream. We quickly killed it for my project. So dad made another cast and let it swing and bam! Another 16 inch brook trout! This time we put it in a garbage bag with water and headed for home. I don’t remember much about the project but I do remember having a lot of people coming up to my fish tank and look at the trout.


One other thing about that project that stick out in my head was the fact that I insisted on releasing the trout that was in the tank. Keep in mind, this was a time when my dad killed pretty much every fish we caught. The night of the fair we drove to the brook close to the school and released the fish, not the proper place to release it but I thought it was better than killing it. To this day when I drive by that brook I wonder if there are any trout in it from the release of that brook trout.


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Nice. I often think of fishing with my Dad, who is gone now. It always brings a smile to my face and seems , at times, like some enchanted story. Keep up the good work.

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That story gives us a clue as to what makes you such a great Dad to your kids. Good memories for you make great stories for us to read. Thx.

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