This thread is like a trip down memory lane. Back in the early 70's I gave 4 muskrat hides and a large boar coon pelt for my first flyrod, a glass POS that I caught a lot of tree trout with the first year. That was in the Finger Lakes region of NY. The dog sitting in the 12 pound keg of red dot powder to the left full name is Cayuga Sheshequin Sniper, although he is almost 9 now. Still go back there to see family and friends but usually drop down to Pa. to fish and hunt.
I moved to Mn. from Asheville, NC. Most of my trout fishing was done to the West in Transylvania county although I fished all over the mountains. And before that I lived in Currituck, NC. Fished the Back Bay and Currituck Sound a lot which was in my front yard. Caught several bass on my back cast, but more often than not they broke the line. Or rather I did when I started my forward cast not knowing they had hit my fly.
Lived in Washington State in 81-82 along Hood Canal. First fishing trip in the Olympics I saw a log cycling up and down at the base of a small waterfall. Figured a trout was holding under the log so cast into the falls to let the nymph drop under the log. On the second cast the silver colored log dropped down to take my fly and when I instinctively set the hook he shot up the water fall and snapped my line. WTF was that?! was all I could think it caught me off guard and totally shook me. My introduction to steelhead, love at first strike. Like DWFII after that I focused on steelhead and salmon. Caught a fair number of 20-30 pound salmon but eventually caught a 44 lb. king in a small stream (called a river there) that I kept on till he made it back to Puget Sound and he played submarine and spooled me. Eventually got him in and as I was beaching him backing up in the mud the 10 pound tippet snapped when he cleared water. I threw myself on him and he finned me pretty good. Called the taxidermist to have him mounted and it was $5 an inch, over $200 and back then was a lot of money to me so I ended up eating him instead. I need to make another trip West sooner than later. Trout fishing here is pretty good in SE Mn. but it doesn't come close to steelies and salmon.