One summer evening on the Ogden River, I sat halfway up the bank hidden in the brush watching the water. My evening of fishing was done. The sun can leave the canyon early and most of the time I will fish until I can't see. This night was different. I had caught enough trout. There was nothing to prove. It was dead still except for the moving water and even it seemed to slow down for a rest.
I noticed the first shadows move down from the mountain ridges and into a stand of firs. Once sunlit green, now turned black. Soon the shadows would hit the water. Caddis and mayfly spinners would be out. Those who know the Ogden would also know that small, cream cranefly adults would also dance in the coolness.
"We're gonna rip some lips!"
"Last time I fished this stretch, I killed 'em!"
"I'm gonna beat four of them over the head. I'll take your limit too."
"I'll put the death squeeze on my four best!"
The silence of the evening was shattered. Two fly fishers had entered the water downstream from my position. Their conversation loud and echoing off the boulder strewn river bottom. It was macho. Spawning season was still a month or two out, but testosterone was kicking in.
Since this experience a few summer ago, I have wondered about the language of angling and what it says about the level of respect we have for our quarry.
Before some misjudge, let me be perfectly clear--I have been through a time when the most important thing in my life was to catch more trout than the next guy and I have killed my fair share of trout over the years, but I don't remember using the verbiage that I hear from the throngs of fly fishers today.
I'm not saying what I hear is wrong, I just wonder what it says about our respect and admiration for the trout?