I think as humans we want the simple answers. We want the one size that fits us all, the smoking gun, the neon finger that points to the solution. In short, we want grade-school math. I think it’s the way we are programmed. We tend to draw simple conclusions. We fill ignore gaps of reason almost subconsciously, ignore variables, pick out the answer that makes us think the least, and call it good. We want to understand things and not knowing is something that doesn’t sit well with our species. Unfortunately, human existence is far too complex to offer many simple solutions.
I am thinking mostly about conservation. As trout fisherman (or any kind of fisherman, really), we want to conserve the resource. Its simple and generally a good idea. Mostly we want to conserve the resource so we can enjoy it later. And so our kids can enjoy it, and our grandkids, and so on. So we look for simple solutions for saving that resource, that very, very, complex ecological resource. Felt soles carry invasive species? Well lets ban those babies and go with rubber soles! But ecology isn’t grade school subtraction—ecology is molecular physics or calculus on steroids. Ecology is, well, ecology.
Even though we don’t want to think about it, each choice we make sets off a host of chain reactions, the results of which we can’t really predict. We can try, but we also have to come to terms with the fact that we don’t know, really. Maybe some people know, the really smart ones, but even they tend to guess quite a bit, its just that their guesses are a lot more informed than ours. Bottom line, we hope we are doing the right thing, but we don’t know what effect our choices now will have twenty years down the line.
I’m not saying we should stop trying to save the resources and abandon conservation. I absolutely support TU and every other conservation group out there. I put time and money in when I can. I believe in the cause.
I just think its easy to look back on poor choices in the past and think how dumb people were. In the South Fork of the Snake, IDFG is paying people to kill the rainbow trout that are descendants of fish raised and planted by IDFG. It’s the kind of paradox that you have to laugh at to keep from crying. But we can only hope that we aren’t making some choice now that is going to cause the same kind of problem twenty years from now.
Here’s to hoping, because sometimes--with all the threats to our waters and fish, with all the variables we must calculate to solve difficult problems--hope is the only simple part of the whole thing.
The eddy is going fishing for a few days. When I return I should have some photos and a new, re-imagined edition of eddy music.