|"The Fish Journal"
Issaquah Press, January 15, 2013
By Dallas Cross
Dallas Cross (left) and Ward Harris, one of his longtime fishing companions, catch kokanee on Lake Sammamish for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to tag with radio transmitters for tracking their activity. photo by David Probart
Releasing and Moving On
by Dallas Cross
It isn't just about fishing; it never was. Being with family and friends in the fields and forests where streams run is enough.
That there are still fish in some streams is testament to the meager respect we have given to nature. In our busy ways, we tend only small effort toward preserving or enhancing the environment that gives us beauty, feeds us and quenches our thirst.
Because of our priorities for work and space for man, we diminish the ability of natural waters to sustain us. The fish in them then become the harbingers of our own future health and nourishment. When they are threatened and disappear, we have to work even harder to provide ourselves with healthy water.
It was for these reasons I volunteered, almost five years ago, to write a monthly column for The Issaquah Press and affiliated weekly newspapers. My pay was simply that I might help readers enhance their fishing experience, and to become aware of environmental problems that would challenge this right as given by Congress in one of the first laws it passed. That was reward enough.
I am moving out of Washington state back to near where I first stepped into a stream with my father and mother at my side. Thus, this is my final column for the newspapers that were kind enough to give me a journalistic platform. In departing, I leave my readers with a poetic painting of what I hope to continue to enjoy - now in Idaho.
Upstream, downstream the banks all abound
With grasses, bushes, trees in surround,
Sun shining, wind moving clouds overhead,
Dances of ripples o'er mossy bed.
Wading cold waters cleans out one's thought
Of query from matters worldly wrought,
Swirl here, a race there, gurgles abound,
Was that a splash? Better look around.
Ripple ring tells historical sip,
A well-thrown fly may induce a nip,
Too hard a cast away from this view,
I watch moss glissade over my shoe.
Rocks in water above a deep pool
Crawl with bug-nymphs hiding from the school,
Line in the air, loop dancing as thrown,
Chasing fly lightly parting the foam.
Some slack to the pull, rod tip drifts down,
Imitator pretending to drown,
What view is seen by fly passing by?
I extend my sight through its sole eye.
Spots and fins are glimpsed moving about,
Rainbow in flash and a speckled snout.
The white of a gape flicks to my sight,
Line pulls straight and tip moves to the fight.
Come gently, fooled but beautiful fish,
I'll look at your hues and make a wish,
Wet hands, a lift and then the unhook,
Fewer flaps sooner back to the brook.
Glance to the trees, then clouds and the sky,
A chase of chick-a-dees flutter by,
Shadows mute sparkles, spent mayflies spin,
One more cast and I think I'll go in.
Copyright 2012 by Dallas G. Cross.