Thursday, January 2, 2014

Out of Control

With an abundance of hubris, we humans tend to believe we can control the uncontrollable. When it comes to flowing water our manifest destiny knows no bounds. We channelize, dam and riprapize, bending waterways to our will. But it doesn't always work out the way we'd like.

Some folks I now in the mountains of Colorado have a renewed appreciation for the deference Mother Nature has when you run a road up along one of her streams. Sure, things seem fine for a while but then she throws a rainstorm to beat all rainstorms your way and you're left wishing for a nice pony to ride down the trail where the road used to be.

I've been waiting for a small brook near the house to start eating into the abandoned roadbed along it's banks. A bend pool has been moving east along the bank for the past few years eating into the rip rap guarding the road's edges. Those sharp boulders have been strewn downstream and have created some nice habitat.

In a large storm this past spring that bend pool got stuffed with dozens of mangled tree corpses. During normal water levels the flow strains through the knotted boughs. We haven't had much rain lately so I haven't seen the river testing this new arrangement, until the other day.

I seems our little river decided that instead of battling the stone rampart of the road, it'd take the easy way out and head west into it's flood plain. I expect we'll have a new channel before long and even more fallen trees to add to the habitat.

Score one for hubris.

Brook breaks new ground from Sipping Emergers on Vimeo.


  1. Don't know why, but so many of us refuse to acknowledge the fact that Nature (whose life blood is flowing water) will have the final say. Incidently, thank you for the nice write-up in TROUT and for giving our blogging friends and small stream aficionados some well-deserved recognition.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. Those small streams are my favorites.

  2. Steve, an aside...
    Just got done reading your article in the latest TU magazine. I too didn't start fishing like I do till I was 40. If you substitute smallie for trout in your article, since there are no trout in Illinois, you perfectly describe my pursuits around me on small streams. Problem is, smallies are basically a warm water creature and as beautiful as the streams are right now, I have to wait. Great article, thanks.

    1. I fell in love with Smallmouth this summer. Sam and I got out several times to chase smallies on the Housatonic. Such fun!