“A conservationist is one who is humbly aware that with each stroke [of the axe] he is writing his signature on the face of the land.”
I’ve been working my way through a too-large stack of unread books, and I’ve been reflecting on those works that seem to mean more to me. Just like music, there is always an unintended connection of time and place from which meaning is derived. I read Moby-Dick too early, I think, to perceive it as anything more than an a tale of adventure. I ran headfirst into Heart of Darkness at perhaps exactly the right moment, and I find myself returning to it with surprising regularity.
Then, of course, there are the books I almost can’t believe I’ve missed. Most recently, this was A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold. I’ve come to realize, though, that most good things are only good as a result of when they are discovered, and Leopold is no different. Go buy yourself a copy, and read it with an open mind and an eye toward current events. The book is timeless, but it is also timely, and I think you’ll find a new favorite.
The harm done by aquaculture is immense, and this short film by the Pace Brothers highlights the impact of salmon farming on one of Scotland’s great rivers. You can learn more about the topic at Salmon & Trout Conservation UK.
The boys from The Great White North have released their spring offerings, and they’ve done it well.
Check ’em out
Now Or Neverglades
There’s no need for a lengthy preamble or clever yet relevant anecdote on this one. One of the guiding principles of this blog is that if we expect others to care about our fisheries and environments, we need to care about theirs. In that spirit, head over to Now or Neverglades and show your support.
Once again, we find ourselves facing that point in the waning days of winter when spring’s inevitable gravity is pulling us closer to the March equinox. These last days of winter mean that grouse season has ended, and while a recent job change took priority over days behind my bird dog, we did manage to keep the streak alive. Never a bad year with that dog, and hardly a bad day; I wonder what I did to deserve that.
Of course, this is also the time of year when new products are beginning to hit the market from all the major players. Some of them have been rumored for years, and others simply sprung forth from research dungeons hidden in old missile silos. At least, that’s how I picture it – kind of like that movie The Colony, but with machining equipment instead of, well, other stuff. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen that one; you ain’t missing much.
In an effort to take this rambling monologue in yet another direction, I want to pose a question to you, the esteemed SCOF audience. We’ll get there in a minute, though. I’m an avid consumer of podcasts, and one of my favorites is The Tim Ferriss Show, and one of my favorite questions that he asks is what recent purchase under some small limit, say $75, has made the biggest difference in the guest’s life. I’ll remove the dollar limit on my version, however.
What fishing-related purchase in the last year or so has had the biggest impact on you?
Photos by Brown Hobson of Brown Trout Fly Fishing
As anyone in the Asheville area knows, the French Broad River has a major problem with siltation. It can take well over a week to clear after a heavy rain, and it often puts a halt to our summer smallmouth expeditions. In a small but important step toward solving this issue, a few of us participated in a bank stabilization project on Cane Creek, a tributary of the French Broad and a major source of silt.
Organizaed by mountaintrue, small projects like these are a truly hands-on and meaningful method of preventing streambank erosion. In addition to getting in the way of fishing, sediment pollution suffocates insect life and reduces the oxygen content of water. Muddy water is more than an inconvenience; cleaner water means healthier rivers.
So, along with my friends Austin (Orvis) and Brown (Brown Trout Fly Fishing), as well as Anna from mountaintrue and a couple of other volunteers, we set six-hundred willow and elderberry stakes in the banks of Cane Creek. Through the spring, it is estimated that about 30% of these will take root and begin to grow a framework that will slow the erosion of the banks and lessen the sediment burden on the French Broad.
Of course, Cane Creek is just one such problem area, and we only covered a few hundred yards. While mountaintrue organizes these events throughout the winter, they could always use a hand. I’m sure there are plenty of organizations that do similar work in your areas as well, and I encourage you to seek them out and lend a hand where you can.
I came across a pretty cool TED Talk that I though y’all might find interesting. Wondering where that new source of siltation on your favorite stream is? I think we’ve figured out how to get the answer.
On a more serious note, I am always encouraged by the ability of some people to come up with big, cheap solutions to real problems. Well done to these boys.
The good news is that HB621 is no more. The bad news is that while the walls of our fort are still standing, there are many more cannonballs headed our way. Head over to the Meateater blog for a better written piece on the topic than I could provide.
Also, remember that public lands are your birthright as a American. This isn’t just about hunters and anglers; this includes hikers and bikers, birdwatchers and Boy Scout troops. Please reach across the aisle on this one, and make friends with the folks you meet in the woods. I know the mountain bikers bitch about the hunters, the fisherman bitch about the mountain bikers, and the hunters bitch about damn near everyone else, but we must fight the good fight together this time.
We here at SCOF are not a proud people. We may not shower regularly, or use deodorant, or even know what a lufa is, but every three months we put out an issue despite ourselves. So here it is, the SCOF 2017 Winter “Diplomatic Immunity” Issue. Now leave us alone for three months, we stink. Oh yeah…head on over to our Facebook page to Like, Comment, and Share this post for a chance to win a Simms Dry Creek 2 Sling Pack. We’ll pick the winner next Monday February 2oth. But after you do that please explain the concept of a lufa to us. We’re dying to know.
The SCOF Fly Tying Potluck returns on February 14th at both our HQ in Asheville,NC and our Southern Outpost in Melbourne, FL. Head over to the SCOF Community Calendar to find all the info, and post an event while you’re there.