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Looking North

Fishing Far North

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It was almost seven below last night and we're back to the "hard water" fishing season again.

It's been another wonderful year for me personally as far as the fishing goes, but perhaps more problematical for the fish. The obvious distain for all things wild and free from the outgoing administration has set us back 40 years as far as conservation and protection of wild fish and fauna. I want to believe that things will improve with the new bunch. Perhaps they'll pay more attention to habitat, clean water and scientific rigor and less to exploitation of our dwindling resources.

This summers trip to the North Slope re-enforced my concern about change in our global weather and the vital need to address our dependence on fossil fuel to generate our electrical needs. Barges of oil are annually shipped into Kaktovic at great expense when one wind generator could supply ALL the requirements for this remote coastal village, and at not much more than the cost of one years supply of fuel oil. We need to put on our collective thinking caps and start figuring out how we're going to continue maintain our sustainability as a country in these perplexing economic times. I can tell you it ain't "drill Baby, drill!"

The recent agreement to remove the Kalmath River Dams was a welcome year end gift, but why is it going to take until 2020 to do it? I'll be seventy eight by then and I'd dearly like to fish there before I die. Oh well!

I see too that Poly-Met and the Pebble Mine project are reconsidering the viability of their open pit, acid leaching ore projects in light of the recent economic downturn. That's another good omen for the fish. The possible contamination of millions of gallons of water is such a risk for so questionable a result. I mean these acid lakes will exist for centuries after the companies are gone, and whose going to be responsible for them then?

So, here comes 2009, are we ready to confront our wasteful habits and caviler attitudes? I know my fellow fisher people are; it's the vast un-washed [or should I say un-fished] that frighten me. I believe it was Jefferson who said "when I consider that God is just, I fear for my country.." A powerful point to ponder as we enter a new year.

Deep thoughts for twilight on a snowy day in the North Woods. I think I'll just let the new Lab Puppy lick my face, empty my brandy snifter and remember that pretty little Brookie that graced my line last Spring.

May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving