I’m back on the homewater. It feels like we’ve only seen each other in passing lately. My heart fluttered a little when I saw Castle Rock on the Bristol to Greenbridge Section. The Yakima will always be my favorite river. From the challenges it faces, the trout it holds, and the community it supports, the Yakima will always be my one true river so to speak.
I’ve spent thousands of hours over the last decade on the Yakima. I’ve been tested, beaten, and amazingly successful tricking the wild trout that lie within. Thousands of fish I’ve met, generations I’ve seen, I’ve even saved a few, lost a few, and spent many minutes in the embrace of truly wild and beautiful creatures. I care about them. It sounds weird but after all this time and with what I was taught about being a guide, I have this feeling of responsibility to the Yakima. I owe her that. A river steward. I know I’m not the only one. From guides, to anglers, to rafting guides, tubers, homeowners, landowners, farmers, busiessowners and every member of the community and the angling community are connected to this river in some way. It behooves a select few of us to take on some of those responsibilities. When I come back to the Yak, I’m reminded of that as I drive from one end to the other and see what life this river brings and what more we can to do keep her healthy. We’ve messed up this planet a lot, it’s time to start coming together and recognizing that these places need us and we are responsible for their well being. Taking care of them is taking care of us.
Keep that in mind when you’re riverside. Have an open mind about the world, listen, critically think, and remember these places are for everyone to enjoy and all deserve respect and courtesy when enjoying the rivers and public lands we hold so dear.