Don’t ever take a stream, a pond, or any other water for granted.
Take a minute to consider the closest lake or river. Maybe you’re there every day. Or, maybe you drive past it daily and then again whenever you go fishing. Maybe you have ample reason: it isn’t that great, it’s crowded, it’s too close. But hopefully the fact that it is close isn’t what is keeping you away.
Plenty of people live on blue ribbon trout streams, trophy bass lakes, or inlets teeming with shallow-water gamefish. However most of us live by dirty tributaries, suburban retention ponds, or unnamed trickles. Those waters aren’t glamorous. They might even be filled with just sunfish. Or just stocked trout in the spring. Or just small fish.
For all the aforementioned issues, these waters are still just a minute away. What these waters might lack in charisma, they might make up in character or intimacy. And let’s not forget: they’re just a minute away.
We’re all familiar with the whole fish -> lots of fish -> big fish -> that fish progression that anglers go through. Fishing your closest water religiously is a way to jump to the end of that chronology. For all the road noise, small fish, and normalcy that fishing the closest pond or creek might entail, you can forge a relationship that rewards you with achievements that transcend just fish.
Let us also not forget how often we can be surprised. Your evaluation of your local creek might be spot on: there aren’t any decent-sized bass in it. But what do little bass to? They grow. Some evade poachers. One or two might decide to take up residence in a deeper, cleaner pocket of water. Sure, that biggest bass might not get to twenty inches – but sixteen would be quite the feat on that stream, right?
Plus, you get the satisfaction of knowing that fish, knowing that hole, and knowing that stream. Other animals, other plants, and even other people that you’ll come into regular contact with can really enrich the experience and make it more than just fishing. There is a synthesis of ecosystem and community that can create something special; even if it doesn’t look like normal fishing success.
Don’t ever take a stream, a pond, or any other water for granted. Appreciate it for what it is, and what it has to offer.
If you can’t fish with the one you love, love the one you’re with.