A hornberg and a kebari wet did most of the work, fished both wet and dry, and a lot of fish were brought to hand over a two hour period. It was very hot and I was sweating intensely, but the brook trout were happy so I put up with it.
It's hard to beat good brook trout fishing in July. But something happened during this outing that tainted things some. I caught one of the larger fish of the day on an old Edson Tiger. It was tied on a fairly long shanked limerick hook. It was not one of my ties, I can't remember where I found it. But it was a long shank hook that I hadn't been particularly careful about de-barbing, the barb was mashed but not well. These fish had been fairly nippy all day so I didn't think it would be an issue, and I was wrong. I killed a fish, hooked it deep in the gills. A beautiful, wonderful little creature in a delicate ecosystem died because of me, and because I had no way of keeping it cold I could not take it. I buried it stream side in hopes that it may return some good to the system, as food for aquatic insects or some passing scavenger.
I couldn't stand that. It's not something that happens often to me. In fact only four times have in that number of years, twice now this year, have I had a fish go belly up and not recover. It is oftentimes unavoidable. As someone who cares deeply about waterways and the fish and other animals that live in them I am keenly aware that I as an angler have an impact, and it is frequently a negative one. Like it or not, we all do. As humans we stand as the most ecologically destructive of all animals. Every one of you who is reading this has killed fish before that you released with the best of intentions. Recreational anglers have an obligation, to practice responsible catch and release, to harvest selectively, and to ensure the impact we leave is more positive than negative.
I'll leave you with this thought. Lately I find myself extremely content just watching fish, studying their behavior, letting them go about their business. I'm a lot more picky about my shots and I don't really feel the need to catch every fish I see. I think a lot of heavily pressured streams could use some of that more restrained angling these days.
I figure I may as well share this as well, a video I found particularly poignant: