My brother and I had camped for a few nights in Western Maryland and were fishing one last section of my favorite river before calling it and starting the long drive home when something awesome happened. While probing an upstream seam with a size-14 Comparadun Emerger that had, over the course of the weekend accounted for more fish than any fly can hope to account for, a good-sized fish rose to the fly and slurped it.
I set the hook into what we thought was a 14" rainbow but it soon became clear that this wasn't a rainbow. The sunlight glinting off its fins was wrong, and other things looked off, as well.
Mark netted the beauty and while it recovered in the net we noted the red fins, fine spots and red slash under the jaw. It was a perfect cutthroat trout. In Maryland.
This is a fish I'll never forget. Having the chance to admire and release it here reinforced my love for this stream and reminded me of some of the reasons I love fly fishing in the first place.