There is a calming element to everyday spent fishing and I believe I have survived to advanced age because I fish a lot. In recent years, however, many rivers in the western United States have fallen upon harder times.
Drought, climate change, and a host of other disorders both natural and man caused have altered conditions necessary for trout and the aquatic organisms by which they are sustained on some of the world’s most renowned fly fishing streams.
For this reason I am fishing even the Henry’s Fork with a sense of concern that subtracts from the state of well-being I am accustomed to.
Most of the still waters I frequent are not exclusively self-sustaining fisheries. Therefore, I do not experience the same anxieties on Hebgen, Sheridan, or Henry’s Lake as on moving waters that depend upon the fragility of wild trout in maintaining their viability.
The mental state I crave at this time of year is most reliably found in the quiet of early morning on still water. Whether casting to cruising surface feeders or probing the depths with sunken imitations my mind does not go to a dark place where negativity can invade my consciousness. And in this manner optimism that has recently begun to wane becomes recharged and I am able to face the challenges that lie ahead.
As fly fishers, we will always be compelled to defend the water we love, and in my case it is the Henry’s Fork. Battles here are currently being waged in defense of water quality, stable flows and other factors that influence the river’s ability to sustain a healthy fishery. And with the help of those who care, I believe these battles can be won.
Because I must be there, I will fish the river tomorrow, and the next day as well. By Monday, however, I will be seeking the soothing therapy of stillwater where my mind will again be temporarily relieved from a very pressing objective.