What is it about trout that will cause a seemingly sane individual to drive for hours, sleep in a tent in the cold, eat potted meat or Ramen Noodles and stand in a cold rain all day?
Why is it that someone who drives to get to the grocery store 2 blocks away will hike for miles up steep boulder strewn terrain riddled with rattlesnakes just to have the opportunity to have a chance, no guarantee mind you, to hold one for a brief moment? Just what power do these creatures have over us? When you have spent (wasted?) as many years as I have treating the symptoms of the disease that afflicts all of us, it is inevitable that you think of these things from time to time…
Answers to these questions are not easy to come by! We as fishermen might answer that they are special fish that live in special places but this would beg the question “what makes them special compared to other fish?” That’s a hard one to answer! The musky grows to be much larger, the small mouth bass is a better fighter, the lowly carp much harder to catch on a fly, the shad faster and the sunfish more adaptable. The trout comes up short against his fellow fish in all these areas and yet we, his followers, still adamantly hold the belief that he is superior to these other fish.
Perhaps the answer, in part, lies in the fact that the trout is in fact not superior to these other hardy fish but rather is a quite fragile creature unable to tolerate even a fraction of the environmental ills the others above shrug off without any difficulty. Perhaps it is because we know, in our hearts, that we (people) have abused the homes of these fragile creatures so badly and for so long that we have driven them from large portions of their former range, their forced exit leaving a void that was soon filled by the “lessor” fish mentioned above. Perhaps it is because the remant of their original range, that they now inhabit, is often some of the wildest, most beautiful, least spoile , land we (people) have allowed to continue to exist. It’s a great thought but [a productive yet sewage laden trout stream] with all its followers tells us this can’t be the case. The Yellow Breeches at Allenberry, Oak Orchard, and the Elk River Mill Pool during Sulphur season, tell us the trout’s power has very little to do with solitude and I say this knowing full well others will disagree vehemently. No I don’t think any of these things explain it sufficiently.
I think the only thing we are left with is beauty and that of course is a very subjective thing. Having said that, trout are undeniably beautiful creatures! We can argue about which member of the family is�more�beautiful but not about the fact that all of them�are�beautiful. A man, if he is fortunate, will get to hold a few beautiful things in his lifetime and the trout is one of these. If you stop to consider how many things you will hold in your lifetime and of those how small the percentage is that could be considered beautiful perhaps it does make total sense to go to such great lengths to up that percentage a bit. With all the ugliness in this world I think it wise to never pass up an opportunity to hold beauty in your hand, then turn it loose that another might touch that beauty too.
I believe it wise to quit at this point having for the moment become comfortable with the answer. That will no doubt change soon enough but for now it is satisfactory .