Go Fishing for Father’s Day
by Dick Perue
Just by luck, Father’s Day, June 21, 2020, falls under the Farmers’ Almanac “Best Days for Fishing” forecast.
Of course for me, going fishing with my dad, and then as a father with the kids, was always the best day, no matter when.
Growing up on the Pick Ranch, seven miles north, or down river, from Saratoga, we had the best trout fishing in the world out the front door. As kids, my three brothers and several cousins first fished the small streams and irrigation ditches on the place, and then the Upper North Platte River from the bank.
By the time we were 10 or 12, dad would teach us to float and fish the river. With two kids and dad in the flat bottom river boat, the routine was to each row for 30 minutes and fish for an hour. This was a great way to learn how to row, read the current and catch a few fish.
Dad always started and then gave lessons. Row 30 minutes, fish an hour, then back to rowing. A great routine as we learned, and then all of a sudden it was the kids taking turns rowing dad down the river as he fished and guided.
And, of course, I couldn’t pass up a good fishing tale. Here’s one from the May 11, 1911, issue of The Saratoga Sun:
A boy wanted to go fishing and coaxed his father to allow him to take his rod and fine fishing outfit. A younger brother, a boy of seven, wanted to go along and made such a row about not having a fishing rod that his father tied a twine string to a bed-slat, bent a pin for a hook, baited it with a piece of bacon and told the youngster to go fish too.
The boys went to the iron bridge that spans the river here and fished. In about 20 minutes, pandemonium broke loose.
It was a warm quiet day and sounds carried far. A greater part of the inhabitants of the town rushed to the bridge to rescue the drowning boys. But, the yells and whoops and demonical shrieks continued, and a motley procession of small humanity came trooping off the bridge, led by the boy with the bed-slat, who had a four pound rainbow trout dangling from his bent pin.
Strange to say the boy lived to be a strong healthy man and retains a very vivid recollection of his first trout.
Many years later another boy of about 12, fishing from a drift boat, caught an eight-pound brown trout under the same bridge. The big fish fought so hard it turned the boat around four times before he landed the whopper, but then that’s a tale for another postcard.
The Farmers’ Almanac adds, “Of course, camping is another great summertime activity to do with dad, and it goes well with fishing. Plus, Father’s Day weekend will be bathed in the darkness of a new moon, which will make the constellations as bright as they can be.”
Father’s Day also happens to be just one day after the summer solstice, meaning it will be one of the longest days of the year, as far as daylight hours go.
The first known Father’s Day service occurred at the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South in Fairmont, W. Va. on July 5, 1908.
In spite of widespread support, Father’s Day did not become a permanent national holiday for many years. The first bill was introduced in Congress in 1913, but in spite of encouragement by President Woodrow Wilson, it did not pass. In 1966, Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation designating the third Sunday in June to honor fathers.
Finally, in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a law declaring Father’s Day should be celebrated annually on the third Sunday in June. It has been an official, permanent national holiday ever since.