Fishing With My Father
A Daughter’s Search for Legacy
Two years after her father passed away, Carolyn discovered letters her father and his father wrote to each other, providing her a glimpse into a man she realized she didn’t know. These letters, combined with the lyrics of a song she heard on the ride home from her father’s memorial service, stirred in Carolyn an intense desire to know her father on a deeper level and question whether he ever really knew her.
Following her father’s example, Carolyn writes her own letters to him that ultimately result in the resolution within herself of a lifetime of feeling that she never measured up to her dad’s unspoken benchmark for her. Throwing off the bowlines of self-limiting beliefs, Carolyn finds liberation and finally allows herself to relish and connect with the legacy her father left her—as she meets him in every river she fishes.
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Praise for Fishing With My Father
“In Fishing with My Father, Carolyn Hopper has penned a moving valentine to the most influential man in her life—a meditation on the current of life to which all daughters and their dads can relate. So seldom do we see stories so richly connected to the bond between father, daughter, and angling water.”
—Todd Wilkinson, award-winning Montana author and journalist
“Toward the beginning of the read I was tempted to put down the book and call my father… Too often, relationships between parents and children are a muddled gray area that few try to clarify until it’s too late and all we have is our memories to hash out the truth.”
“Carolyn Hopper’s book is a mastery tale of sharing a passion for fishing, and life, with a father long-since gone. You’ll shed a tear or two as you join the author on Montana’s famed trout fisheries, relishing your perfect cast while hoping for approval that will never come.”
—Stephen Eshbaugh, national award-winning writer and naturalist
“Carolyn Hopper’s Fishing with My Father is a poignant story of a daughter’s love for her dad and how his love of fishing and nature engulfed them both. Hopper’s colorful descriptions of time spent along many of Montana’s famous trout streams places the reader right in the midst of their wild beauty. As a youngster and even later as an adult, she searches for her dad’s approval of her feats and accomplishments, often to no avail; however, she finally lets go and resolves to celebrate his legacy by ‘meeting Dad on the river’ each time she ventures into Montana’s wild nature.”
—Orville E. Bach Jr., interpretive ranger at Yellowstone National Park, author of Exploring the Yellowstone Backcountry and Tracking the Spirit of Yellowstone
“In life, fishing connected Carolyn Hopper and Hamilton Herman, her compelling but distant, complicated father. His found letters provide clues she needed to find him in the world of the dead. Hers, written a lifetime later, wake him with the question, Can you see me now? In Fishing with My Father, Herman becomes immortal while Hopper joins Norman Maclean and David James Duncan in that vaulted club of fisher-writers.”
—Brooke Williams, conservationist, activist, author of Open Midnight: Where Ancestors and Wilderness Meet and Halflives: Reconciling Work and Wildness