Trout Lives Matter

So the carp, posed briefly by the riverside before its release, said to me, and I quote:

“So trout lives matter to you, as lives of all scales and colors matter to you, and that’s why you chose to fish for me with that fiberglass 7-weight and a Hare’s-Ear Nymph.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Trout lives matter to you in this hot dry summer with streams down to a trickle and with water temps hitting the lethal 70s for your favorite fish. You understand the trends and patterns of climate change, or think you do, so it’s time to leave the trout alone until the rains return and the temperatures cool off.

“Trout lives matter, so you turn to other prospects for your stream and river fishing. You come to me and to smallies for your fly rod action. Well, thanks a lot. You wet-wade the Allegheny down below Coudy looking for underwater springs and deeper holes. Good luck. They’re here, but you don’t find them like I find them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Yeah we carpies are a smart bunch. Not smart enough, perhaps, because you fooled me with that little Hare’s Ear, but don’t forget. That was after three long hours of casting to us in the bridge pool, with me and my buddies watching what you threw while sucking at the mud, nice looping lines across the river, all those flies sinking deep then lifting slowly like some caddis pupa on the rise. Well, you finally did it, got me on the hook, and I gave you quite a tussle, didn’t I.

“We deserve our reputation as an ugly boy, but we’re strong, really strong, with big scales and oh, what a lip that nature gave us!

“Trout lives matter, so I guess you’re dismayed at the news about your favorite OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMontana rivers getting too warm too early every summer for the last 15 years or so. Yeah things are rough out there, but we carpies should survive. We get the news straight from the river bottom that gets it from the water cycle of this old planet. Yeah we know about those early snowmelts, waters too low and warming too fast.

“Montana’s gonna be closing down the river fishing each day at noon . That’s right. On places like Gallatin, Beaverhead, Jefferson. ‘Cause trout lives matter. If you don’t believe me, if you’re like those Republican big wigs in power with their heads up their collective asses while denying man-made climate change, look it up. Check out The Economist, for one [16 July 2016].

DSCN9139“Hey, but you’re different; I can tell. Maybe you had to get a picture of me to prove to your buds that you could take a fat fish with a fly, but then you struggled to revive me, a low-down carp, to put me back in the river alive, despite the mud bath that I threw ya.

“Thanks for that. I agree. Trout lives matter, too.”DSCN9126DSCN9133OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

July sunrise

July sunrise

About rivertoprambles

Welcome to Rivertop Rambles. This is my blog about the headwaters country-far afield or close to home. I've been a fly-fisher, birder, and naturalist for most of my adult life. I've also written poetry and natural history books for thirty years. In Rambles I will mostly reflect on the backcountry of my Allegheny foothills in the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York State. Sometimes I'll write about the wilderness in distant states, or of the wild places in the human soul. Other times I'll just reflect on the domestic life outdoors. In any case, I hope you enjoy. Let's ramble!
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24 Responses to Trout Lives Matter

  1. The Smiling Pilgrim says:

    That orange sky is just fantastic

  2. Some really nice photos Walt. Without trying to make this a political comment, I’ll just say that as an unaffiliated voter, I feel like I’ve been beat up and lied to so many times by both parties that I don’t believe anything “our” government says any more and I think Joe Average Citizen feels much the same way. Certainly it doesn’t take a scientist to know that altering the environment of any of God’s creatures is harmful. It does make me wonder whether the water temperatures ever climbed above 68 degrees 500 years ago and whose fault that was.

    • Thank you, Howard, good thoughts. I didn’t mean to imply that just because the river temps in this locale and maybe yours this summer are higher that the cause is man-made climate change. No doubt, temps rose this high and higher countless times over the eons, but I’m suggesting that, given the scientific evidence from recent studies, we’re implicated in the changes noted since industrial times began. Partisan politics be damned.

  3. Bob Stanton says:

    I caught a carp a few weeks ago – yes, on purpose. Nothing going on with the Allegheny below the dam trout-wise, so I went after some surface feeding”golden bones”. They can pull, can’t they! And my success rate with them is pretty tiny, too.

    • Bob, That’s pretty cool that you found the carp feeding at the surface at this time of year. The ones I encountered were bottom or mid-column takers, and my success rate with them, too, is minimal. But man, when they’re on, they’re doubly tough.

  4. JZ says:

    I fished Cedar Run late last week. Those shaded waters, mostly situated in the Tioga forests, run clear and cold. If carefully planned, there are waters that offer a welcoming respite during the dog days of summer. So yes, while trout lives do matter, lets not negate the fact that all finned lives matter as well. Also, not a Brook trout was harmed in my recent venture, to the best of my knowledge…Tight Lines Walt

    • Thanks JZ! As I said, “lives of all scales and color matter,” meaning all fish, all human lives, etc. Glad to hear you got out to fish on Cedar. Streams like Cedar and Slate and Young Womans and others in shaded state forest lands, although running low, should be cool enough for wild trout at this time. I miss being down there, and need to visit Cedar again real soon. Keep me posted on your progress.

  5. Practically poetry here, Walt. Good stuff, and lovely melancholy photos.

  6. Brent says:

    And I’m seeing in the news that the drought is worsening in Western New York, to “severe” levels in the Buffalo/Niagara area and parts of the Finger Lakes… Yet we keep collectively whistling to the graveyard and setting up strawmen to say “Climate change isn’t real! It’s snowing in DC in January!” or “Climate change can’t be real! It used to get hot and dry in the old days too.”

    Good contribution, and some of those pictures are beyond beautiful. You seem to be really maximizing the impact of that camera.

  7. Thanks Brent, I’m gettin’ there, I guess, enjoying some of the possibilities. Yeah, I know, we’re hearing it all enough. Just read about a rock band introducing itself once more to the Cleveland crowd the other day by asking the question, “Who here believes in Science,” and then getting boo’d for a response. I don’t know what’s scarier, rapid climate change or peoples’ ignorance about it.

  8. Doug says:

    I’m blown away that you actually caught a carp on any kind of lure. They don’t normally hit a lure. This is a great blog Walt and like Brent said, “those pictures are beyond beautiful. Well done brother

    • Hey Doug,
      Yeah one doesn’t ordinarily think of carp as a fish that hits anything other than live bait or corn or dough balls and stuff of the sort, but if you target them carefully with a fly, you sometimes connect. I remember my first experience with them as a kid. I was bass fishing with a Daredevil spoon and it must have been grazing the lake bottom because a carp struck it. I was so damn excited about the fish’s size that I brought it in only to have the line snap as the fish came nearly to my feet. I must have cried because I just couldn’t believe it.
      Thanks for the kind words, pal, and I hope things are going well down your way.

  9. Grandpa says:

    The obvious has been tested, said, repeated, over and over, again. Somehow, the people just seen to endure……….

    Enough of that…… Congratulations on sharing your personal conversation with Mr. Carp and the pictures are astounding!

  10. Thanks much, Mel. Mr. Carp and I appreciate your understanding!

  11. plaidcamper says:

    Thank you again, Walt! For the beautiful photographs, and for carping on about some of what really matters – it’s important, all of it. Been stuck on planes and in cars the past couple of day, but what we’ve managed to hear from that convention is not good…
    Keep it up!

    • You sound like a moving target these days, PC, but I’ll bet you’re doing fine, indeed. Always thankful to hear from you, and no, the rumblings of Republicans is not a pretty sound. What a circus.

  12. Les Kish says:

    Nice piece Walt. Yes, trout lives matter, but so do those “carpies”. I’ll have to pack a few hare’s ears next time I try to tangle with one.

    A little cooler weather, some rain, or a snowflake or two would sure help our fish breathe a little easier.

    • Precipitation would help the fish and us, for sure, with cooler temperatures as well. I’ve got to be careful with what I wish for, though. We did some rain “dancing” here because of the drought, then yesterday the big storm hit. A twister came through my valley, brought a couple of inches rain, real fast, and brought down trees onto my house. Incredible mess! But luckily, house still intact, no one hurt. More on this later, but thanks, Les, and I hope things are going well with you.

  13. plaidcamper says:

    Walt, I thought I’d stop by, see what’s up, and my goodness! Hope all is as well as can be after the storm (and thanks for your kind words over at OPC)
    All the best, Plaid.

    • Thanks for the check up, Plaid, I appreciate your thoughtfulness, of course. Yeah, we got slammed last Monday afternoon with a couple of giant yard trees crashing into the house just overhead where I was sitting at the time. Luckily no one got hurt, but it was quite an operation to get the trees off the house. We’ve been repairing damages and hauling off lumber all week, and have almost got it licked at this point. My next post will give the full scoop on Mon. or Tuesday. Thanks again, and hope your having a terrific visit to the Isles!

  14. Nice writing. Enjoyed the pics too.

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