July 25th, 2005

By James Castwell

Most will not agree with me on this, but a few might so here I go... again. I tend to live my life today based on the values I acquired over the past seventy years. Not much choice, I suppose, about all I have to work with. During that time many things have changed here in my USA, and most have been, I think, for the good. But there are some I am suspect of and that is where some of you younger folks may butt heads with me. In fact, I am torn between some of them myself. Sometimes I have two principles which seem going in opposite directions. Like this for example.

Who would argue that it is not a good idea to get guys into fly fishing so that as they grow with it they develop a deeper sense of the environment and do things to help keep it nice. Things like voting for more open space rather than a new sub-division. But the more we invite people into fly-fishing the more pressure on the streams, and that is not such a great idea. Heck, I want to do both. There is this too.

You want your kid to get into fly-fishing so you give him a nice fly-rod combo when he is about twelve or so. Would he respect it more if he had to work at odd jobs and save up for it? Probably. Would it take longer to get the gear? Probably. Would he respect it more if he had to buy it himself? Would he feel it was his to do with whatever he wanted to and not take good care of it? Don't know. If it was a gift from dad which way would he think of it? Always questions. Never answers.

Remember getting an orange in your Christmas stocking? Not you youngsters here, I'm talking to your dads now. Why was that? Remember. They were only available then. A big deal, the Christmas Orange. So, is it a 'good thing' that I can buy an orange any month of the year now? I suppose it is, but some of the magic is gone for me now.

Hunting. There were seasons openers. Wow, the times I had with them. All of the anticipation and the hunting itself. Ducks and Pheasants were our big thing. Each fall we 'gave it to 'em.' Back then we had a refrigerator with a tiny area to make ice-cubes. A few years later we did get a freezer, much later. When ducks were in season, we ate duck. When pheasants were open, we ate pheasant. When yellow perch were available, we ate them too. Each thing in it's own season. If it wasn't available... we didn't have it.

In the spring we went to 'the lake,' Silver Lake actually, in Michigan's lower peninsula. Bass, walleye, panfish. We knew which ones were 'biting' and when. There were better times and seasons for each. Now I see I can fish for almost any fish I want at any time of year if I am willing to pay enough. Lakes stuffed full of big bucket mouth, or rainbow, or just about any thing I might want. Planters. Stockers. Put-and-take. What is this all about?

Recreational man hours. The government taxes me so it can spend money hatching, growing and planting fish for you to fish for in a lake or stream by you that will not sustain it's own fishery. Good thing? Well, you like it. And then you pay for some things they probably do out here, like maybe feed some elk that might not be here if they were not artificially controlled. Good thing? Perhaps.

Then again, I am not so sure. Let's say there is a lake by you that 'might' handle some pan fish. They kill it off and stock trout. The trout die every year, but they stock more so you and your boy can fish for them. That gets your son into fishing and perhaps even fly-fishing. I guess that's a good thing, but would it have more value if you had to drive two hundred miles to fish for some real ones? Where does one draw the line and make the call. Which, if you had to vote on it right there at home, way would you vote? To stock in your lake or improve conditions on a stream you could only get to a few times a year...but catch wild trout?

Now we have something else that troubles me. They are 'inventing' fish. That's right. Mixing them up and making new fish. Fish like a Saugeye, (front half a Sauger and the tail is a walleye) no..., just kidding, they mix the genes to do it. It lives places neither one likes, but the Saugeye loves it. They have done it with some Rainbows too. They get huge but don't reproduce.

I think I am not for this stuff. Like I said, most will not agree with me here, but so be it. I have been raised with seasons, those of weather and those of game, and sure as heck of specie.

I am sure soon I will read about some other newly invented fish of some sort. There is this old story of the guys who crossed a jelly-fish with a yellow perch to get a boneless perch.

They got a bony jellyfish instead. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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