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Where Are “They”

By Bill Hartnett | April 2012
As we all relax in the comfort of our warm cozy homes filling our bellies with tasty morsels when we desire, do we ever wonder where they are. As we all anticipate the coming of the next Atlantic salmon fishing season, tying flies and sharing our stories of battles with large salmon from prior seasons. Still do we wonder where they are. Do we wonder how they are or do we just take it for granted that they will be there. What if they never showed up and disappeared – what would we do. We all have to know where they are and how they are and see to it that the land and water which sustains Atlantic salmon shall not be spoiled.
 
After multi- sea- winters spent feeding off the Greenland shores, gorging on the oceans bounty, increasing their lengths and fattening their girths, they are now on the move. As they make their way through the vast cold ocean, it won’t be long before they arrive in an estuary waiting for the right moment to enter a river. A river you might fish.
 
Let’s all give some thought and think about the life cycle our partners have gone through so that we may enjoy the sport we all love so much. Yes, the Atlantic salmon is our partner! Without him we wouldn’t travel to these distant pristine rivers. Rivers that run through forested mountains and valleys, fed by clear cold creeks and pure springs. Without him we would have no use for our fine rods, reels and fly gear we all treasure. Never to experience the friendships and good times spent during a stay in salmon camp.
 
As Atlantic salmon enter a river, they taste the scent of the water that has spawned their life, we should all ponder the millions of years and the passing of genes that make each river’s salmon, so unique.
 
The time is here as you meet your buddies and travel together to a salmon river of your choice. Soon you will arrive at the camp, and after settling in you’ll enjoy a hearty meal and then retire for a rested night’s sleep. Up in the morning you have a great big breakfast and soon are heading down to the river for the day’s fishing.
 
You open a fine box of flies picking out your favorite pattern. As you are tying it on the leader, you begin to enter another zone. You make your cast and the fly begins its swing. A resting salmon moves to take the fly, exploding through the surface he jerks the rod in your hand while ripping line off the reel. Your rod is now fully bent and the reel is singing as the salmon runs and leaps from the water. After a long heart pounding battle you land this salmon. Keeping the salmon in the water you take the time to marvel at his bright silver body while remarking on the size and power of your fish.
 
This Atlantic salmon that decided to take your fly and give you another thrill of a life time has kept his side of the partnership, now it is your turn. So you carefully release the fish watching the wake he leaves while disappearing into the rivers pristine water. Now you too have kept your side of this partnership.
 
As the day’s light fades the dark takes over. You sit in a lodge by a crackling fire sipping a spirited drink while sharing the day’s stories with your fly fishing comrades. You lean back and relax in a big chair and realize how fortunate you are to have spent a day, on an Atlantic salmon river.