Henry Winkler Tells Us All About Those Trout Pictures

How do you often have people asking if you eat the fish?

One million times. But the real sport is catch and release, so that next year I have a chance to catch the same fish, bigger. I don’t even order trout in a restaurant, because I think they’re so majestic.

You mentioned how happy you are in these pictures. I think that’s what people love so much about it. It’s not an expression you could fake.

Oh my God, it is just so much fun. When your guide—my guide’s name is Buck—when Buck scoops it up in the net so we can look at it and get the hook out? You look and you just go, “Wow! Look at the reds. Look at the oranges. Look at the green, look at the gold. Look at the spots. Look at the rainbow going down the center of that fish. Oh my God!” They are so beautiful.

Have you always been a trout guy, or do you fly fish for other species?

Tried others. You know, deep-sea fishing looks terrific. But when you deep-sea fish, you’ve gotta go out, let’s imagine five miles. Let’s imagine the water is a little rough. Now you’re vomiting. Now you’re lying on the deck. Now it’s time to go back and you’ve gotta go a five mile direct back. Not for me. You can keep the tarpon, enjoy him. Put him on your wall.

And then, Jerry Reed, the great guitarist who was in The Water Boy, taught me to bass fish. Jerry Reid was magnificent—rest his soul—to hang out with. We would get up at three in the morning, drive down the highway for two hours to get to lake Okeechobee or whatever it was called. Meet the guide at his house. His wife was up. She’s made you toast and eggs. Now you’re on his motorboat, somewhere on that lake on his speedboat. You’re fishing for bass. You get ’em, you reel ’em in, you throw ’em back. The breakfast was the best part.

Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to start fishing ?

You know, you can learn how to fly fish for trout in about a half-hour, and then you perfect it for the rest of your life. You do not have to look like an ad. You do not have to look like Brad Pitt. Well, nobody looks like Brad Pitt. But you don’t have to look like Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It.

And, by the way, Brad Pitt is just a most lovely man. I literally asked him at an award show—I had the gall to ask him what fans say to me all the time, which is would you just wait right here? I’m going to get my wife. And he did!

Did you guys talk fish at all?

No, no. I was so discombobulated by this Adonis standing in front of me in a long cashmere overcoat. I couldn’t think of anything except get Stacey.

That’s one thing about a river in Idaho: you’re pretty far from people. There’s no one coming up taking out their phone for a selfie.

Oh no! People go by in a speedboat on this river in Idaho and gimme the thumb’s up. And then, you know, the most unlikely human beings go and say, “Hey, Barry was great.”

They get HBO in Idaho, I guess.

They sure do.

Are you aware of this idea online about men using pictures of themselves holding fish on dating apps?

No, I’ve never heard of that in my life.

It’s supposedly a red flag. You maybe don’t want to go on a date with a guy holding a fish.

To that, I just say thank God I don’t need a dating app—I’ve been married for 46 years.

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