Someday, probably way in the future you will look back
on this summer with fond memories of times spent on the
stream or lake. This is it. Like Peggy Lee sang, "Is this
all there is?" And you know the answer. This is all there
is. All that you an I make of it. Of each weekend, each
trip, each day, each cast and each rise. Each bend of the
stream, every log and seam and ripple and overhanging bush
and every time you lay down a perfect cast and have the fish
refuse the drift. This is where your memories are made,
where peace of mind for your future is born. Where someday,
contentment gets it's start, to warm you on a chilly day
in time yet to come.
These times and events can be building blocks for your next
quest. Tools of your trade to be not only used, but honed
and shaped for even better results. Tricks and titbits of
lore to be savored and shared at campfires and perhaps at
footstools of the future. These are your past. Make the most
of them. Build a solid future.
'Once upon a time' in the east, for that is where a lot of
this fly-fishing business really was born in this country,
travel was invented. Well, Dearborn really, but old Henry
Ford liked to go camping out east, and not alone either.
He wanted his buddies to go with him. One made tires,
Firestone was his name. His other pal was an inventor,
T. Edison, Tommy they called him. A fourth member often
made it a quartet, a President of the United States, W.G.
Harding. Quite a bunch to find at a camping site I would
imagine. In fact it almost happened that way once.
Here is a picture of Edison, Ford and Firestone.
The touring car they went camping with got stuck in a road
in Virginia. Firestone, Harding, Ford and Edison were stuck,
so they sent their chauffeur hiking up the road to find help.
Doesn't everyone have one? He returned with a farmer driving
a model T. With that help of the car they got back on the road
instead of in the road and resumed the camping trip. The farmer
didn't believe them and was convinced they were all lying. Oh
yes, another was on the trip too, a guy named Luther Burbank.
He had an interest in trees. So, it was folks like these that
started it all. Started the demise of our recreation. And that
is why there is not much left. Transportation. Planes, Trains
and Automobiles. Below the boys are on a camping trip with
a few pals.
Transportation did what it always does, move things along.
It did just that. It moved people to the outdoors. It brought
and still brings people from all walks of life to the lakes
and streams and beaches and woods and mountains and prairies
and to just outside our backyards. Vince Marinaro writes about
fishing 'cheek to jowl' and that was fifty years ago. The
percentages of warm bodies per cubic foot of water has forever
changed. No more are the days of moving on to another stream
or lake because there is already someone fishing there. It
used to be like that, back in the 'good old days.' Remember
too that the state did not plant like they do now either. But,
then again, the AuSable in Michigan did have Grayling, at
And so as time marches on and all those other guys with
it, places start to fill up. Or at least they get crowded.
Now, today, we need to remember out 'stream ethics.' Hey,
they have been doing that in the UK for quite a while. Like
casting only upstream and just to a 'rising fish'. Those
are not ethics; they are laws. Just started out as ethics
I guess. To save and extend a dwindling and faltering
fishery. But we don't have to do those things yet here do we.
Naw, we have plenty of fish. If not, F&G will make sure we
do by dumping in a whole truck full of little cookie-cutter
rubber fishies. Oops, my bias is showing again. Sorry about
that. Anyway, these are your days. Your last chance to make
a good set of memories for the fireside chats, whether around
a real fire, a website chat room, a bunch of the good old boys
or a grandchild on your knee. Every time you go out, make it
a good venture. Pay attention to details. Live life, don't
just watch it go by. For Gods sake, don't end up just resting
on a park bench, looking at your shoes.
From here on out you will not see as many on the stream
and lake as you did yesterday; you will see more. It's
the changing face of recreation in the United States. It
is camping 21st century style. Fly fishing 2006 and then
some. You can walk a bit farther up stream, but tomorrow
you may find someone else who has just walked a bit farther
downstream. And so there you stand. It is how things are
and will be.
Oh yes, we can bemoan our fate and how we should have been
born sooner and all that. But, we weren't, we are here and
we're here now and this is how it is. Give it ten or twenty
or thirty or forty years and you'll be able to look back at
these days and remember how things are now. What will it be
like, looking back on today's times. How will it feel?
Do you dare to make a guess, a comparison? Will there still
be any of your favorite places left? How will the rivers and
lakes change. Will nature and man team up to make a mess of
your playground? Lakes dry up. Rivers change beds. Streams
go underground. Fish gone. Seasons closed. Protected specie.
One thing is for certain. Nothing will remain the same as
it is today. That I can guarantee you the lake you get to
know will constantly change. Not as much as moving water,
streams and rivers, but everything changes. You recreate,
you remember and may take a few pictures and dream over
the off season of how everything will be when once again
you get can get back at it. And then you find it's not
exactly as you remembered it.
I feel sorrow and lose when, on any 'opening day,' I find
a long trusted log or overhanging bush has succumbed to
the ravages of winter and is now residing somewhere downstream.
With it go my remembrances of times gone past, my little
mind-pictures and all that goes with them. It is maybe
better not to have known that it is now gone? To leave
things alone and not go back in fear of destroying the
past? Is it safe to peek with a wistful eye on such a
morning and see if your world is still there? To
delicately poke at things that could alter forever cherished
memories? If the bush or log are gone? Can you handle it?
Is it a bad thing?
Or does each new dawning of each new day bring with it
possibilities and opportunities and make room in our
minds for the new and fresh and exciting, and welcome
the new wonderful bush and log? Yes. Yes, I think it does, and I
hope I never think otherwise. ~ JC