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Wilkinson: Opening Day

Trout season begins this Saturday, giving me until November to teach my son a thing or two about fishing.

I’ll admit he won’t learn much this year considering he’s only one. But thanks to the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Lifetime Fishing License he got for his first birthday, my son, Hoyt, can now legally fish in Vermont for the rest of his life.My husband and I decided to forgo the lifetime hunting license because, well, we’re not hunters. We’re not really avid fisherfolk, either, but we love the water and the memories of fishing with my own parents and grandparents are enough to make me want to be sure it will happen with my son:

Grandma throwing out lines every morning at the beach, lakeside casting lessons with my dad, canoeing with my middle sister during our prickly teenage years when she refused to use a hook because it was cruel. Oh, and sometimes the catch was memorable, too.

Anyone, any time, can get a lifetime license in Vermont for fishing, hunting or both. The secret for those of us with an infant, however, is the bargain it is if it’s gotten by the baby’s first birthday – when one hundred and fifty bucks will buy a resident license for a lifetime. Compare that with the six hundred and fifty it would cost me to buy one for myself now - or the 25 dollars it costs for an annual license. If Hoyt fishes for just six years, the license will be essentially free after that. Of course, if that’s still a stretch, there’s always the annual lottery to win a license - with unlimited tickets at just two dollars each.

Hoyt’s grandparents contributed to this gift - which means they too are contributing to a lifetime of memories. Fishing will become a part of our camping trips, Hoyt can learn how to bait a hook from his dad, I’ll help him spot the trout in our own pond, maybe his Grandma can help him throw out a line at the beach, or Grandpa can give some lakeside casting lessons. Heck, maybe even my sister will take him out to throw a hook-less line or two.

Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime. Give a baby a lifetime fishing license and he or she might eventually feed you.

In the meantime, we’ll have a lot of fun learning.