Friday, June 3, 2011

One man's trash...

I'm not deluded. I know they don't belong here. I know they're not good for much of anything.

Unless the thrill that comes with the scream of the reel and sight of my backing escaping through the tip-top of my favorite 7-weight counts as "good." But if that's the case, I'm pretty damn selfish.

Carp are marvelous, adaptable creatures, with a survival instinct that might not be rivaled. But their meer presence is a detriment to the way things ought to be. The fact that they're here, swimming in this river, at this time, is but one sign of the natural apocalypse. But I can't help but be mightily impressed.

It helps, too, that the best Mother Nature has to offer is fighting back. The sun is shining down on this remote freshwater flat, and she's held the wind at bay this glorious evening, granting us the sight of a tailing denizen that, while it doesn't belong here, is amazingly at home in this sometimes tortuous environment.

Of course, its hardy nature puts it at home in just about every environment, tortuous or otherwise. But this place, which can be so barren, so cold, so ... desolate, yet so wonderfully beautiful, doesn't deserve to be trashed by some Asian cyprinid that can't swim a dozen feet without stirring up the bottom and wreaking havoc on the way things ought to be.

But things aren't perfect. No longer is this a froggy little backwater where native Yellowstone cutthroat trout congregate to spawn on black, volcanic gravel. It's a place where massive carp pair up and enjoy soupy sex in water that was once just right and is now just right enough. It's where non-native smallmouth bass meander among the rocks and the occasional monster rainbow or brown trout might interlope into what has become a perfectly functional warm-water fishery in coldwater fishery country.

So tomorrow, when the gang arrives to chase these massive, piscine children of a far-away land, I can show my respect, but I don't have to show my sympathy. They don't belong here. They don't belong anywhere on our shores.

But that doesn't make them less incredible, and I'm no less impressed.

Here's to the rangy carp. May it die with honor.


  1. I doff my hat in your honor...great post. While I am one of those that disparage the lowly carp, I admire people who enjoy fishing for them and understanding that Mother Nature in all of her glory loves all of her creatures, even the ugly ones.

  2. Great Post. Although not loved by all they are one heck of a fight on a fly rod. Nice pics.

  3. Great the picture of the carp hug!