It isn't always about the fish....
"There are so many wild things in the world which I will have to leave when I die" - Maurice Sendak
If you follow our Twitter account, you know we follow American Rivers and retweet quite a few of their posts. We will be donating a portion of our revenues to several water conservation groups, American Rivers among them. But our love of rivers goes beyond conservation, or water quality, or protection of our industry's key resource - all of which we love and support. It's also a just a simple fascination with the wildness of running water and the world through which it runs.
Lush green, streamside growth; limestone outcroppings and rising palisades; broken rock, granite, and shale, and deep, black soil; large walnut, honey and black locust, poplar, elm, oak, hickory, sycamore, and sugar trees; the occasional grape vines winding to the tops of the trees, and milkweed hugging the shores; ground cover of clover, blue grass, and wild rye, ivy, and the dreaded fireweed; ever-changing shadows and light playing through the canopy of trees. These are the places in which we grew up and that we knew so well - the New River, Slippery Rock, Elkhorn Creek, the Olentangy, the Ohio and Kentucky tributaries, Sugar Creek, the Licking River, the Cumberland.
The joy in finding those tucked away, wild places - like the hidden palisades above - where almost no one else seems to have been before, are as equally rewarding as that first wild trout, that first wild smallmouth, that you pull out of these deeply hidden waters on a fly. That nearly invisible tippet is all it takes to connect you to the wild underwater, a short trek into the woods is all it takes to connect to the wildness around you, and the two are inseparable - the wilder the fish, the wilder the surroundings, the closer to mainlining the ineffable.
As our warm weather season in the Midwest and the East hit their homestretch, we like to stop and take a look around. Turn over a rock. Breathe deep. Remember to come back and walk the water without the fly rod. And even appreciate our own contributions to the environment that work with it, even aesthetically, rather than against it.