High Praise for Reading Issue
High Praise for Reading Issue
You selected some fine writing for this year's Traver Award winner and runners-up [November/December]. After reading them, I can see that my entry has
You selected some fine writing for this year's Traver Award winner and runners-up [November/December]. After reading them, I can see that my entry has some growing to do. Thanks for the surprise issue. It arrived yesterday and was devoured last night. I'm glad to see that the well was filled again. I look forward to trying again next year-it gives me one more excuse to get out on the water.
Milford, New Jersey
You noted in the November/December issue that you wanted to know how we readers liked the selected essays and short story. You ought to run pieces like these in every issue. I liked all three, but Josh Greenberg's "Shake and Float" was particularly enjoyable and is the one I would have chosen as the contest winner. But, "In Hemingway's Meadow" was also a nice read. The rest of the issue was also good. I always read what Ted Williams and John Gierach have to write. Keep up the good work.
I very much enjoyed the November/ December issue. Since my entry for the Robert Traver award was not selected, I was especially interested to read the winning entry. I must say that I was very impressed with "In Hemingway's Meadow." The piece was well written and engaging. I too felt like I was following in Hemingway's footsteps even though I have never fished that river. The story brought back my own pleasant (and sometimes almost spiritual) memories of camping and fishing in the wilderness (and some not-so-remote places as well). I never read "Big Two-Hearted River" but I am now looking forward to it.
I also enjoyed "Lives of Fly Rods." As an avid fan of bamboo (I have made several rods from culms of Tonkin cane myself), I think this piece was one of the most entertaining reflections on the beauty, charm and soul of bamboo fly rods I have read. The piece was great at combining interesting facts with creative metaphors. Kudos to the authors and your magazine for finding them.
Bridgewater, New Jersey
More on TUThe "TU in Turmoil" article [July/October] really caught my eye. As a TU member, the recent activity has had me concerned. While I do believe in the act of restoring and protecting our nation's waters, I also believe in the right of people to enjoy that water. I have come to the conclusion that I will not be giving any more money to Trout Unlimited as long as they are taking this stance. I don't see the point in restoring a river or stream that runs through some person's property if they do not allow people to enjoy it. Are we supposed to just drive by and admire it? What about our future generations? Will they even know what trout fishing is? It seems to me that Trout Unlimited has become a big-money business and is simply out to make rich land owners happy and to keep the money coming in. I love your magazine and thank you for doing the fine job you do, but this subscriber is saying goodbye to Trout Unlimited.
It is hard to imagine that some people involved in the sport of fishing do not or will not recognize that access conflicts are on the increase everywhere. This problem is not confined to Montana alone. Such conflicts have recently surfaced in Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut.
In departing with our friends from Trout Unlimited I have to state the obvious. If there is no access allowed to the fishing then, for all intents and purposes, the fishing ceases to exist. Those who posit that "If we take care of the fish, the fishing will take care of itself" have probably never lost access to a favorite stretch of water and, hopefully, they never will.
It also concerns me to see the increase in stories, advertisements and endorsements of private water in the fishing press. We should remember that the public waters that have been "conserved, protected, and restored" today can easily become the private water of tomorrow with pay-to-play stipulations, members-only rules and if you have to ask how much then you need not apply format.
The affluent crowd, the well-known beautiful people and sports celebrities and the well-heeled will always have their fishing. The question becomes what will the rest of us end up with? Granted, we cannot fight every battle over stream access rights but there are some that will have to be fought. Who is going to do it?
James F. Smith
Use Proper TackleThe article "Of Redsides and Salmonflies" (June 2007), about the salmonfly hatch on the lower Deschutes River, suggested that, like its author, one ought to fish the river with a 2-weight (or with a 4-weight for windy days). The Deschutes is my home river, and I have never known anyone to fish it with anything lighter than a 5-weight. Advising your readers to do so, even implicitly and by example, is bad advice and a hazard to our fish. To be honest, this approach to the river and its fish is also inexplicable; lightweight rods being designed to amplify the fight of small fish in small water. The pull of Deschutes redsides and the river itself require no enhancement. Visitors to the river ought to be forewarned of this and forearmed with reasonable tackle to play the fish quickly and release them.