Like many of you this time of year, I receive lots of solicitations for charitable giving from a number of worthy organizations. As I was working through the pile it struck me that trout play an important role in a number of the solicitations that I receive. Certainly there are the important conservation organizations that protect coldwater habitat and clean water, special places or watersheds that are home to trout and deserve our support, but the ones that make the connection for me are organizations where trout play a special role in the lives of people who are suffering or have suffered from life threatening events. Organizations like “Casting for the Cure”, a group that helps breast cancer survivors by offering workshops and seminars where they can get outside and fish for trout or our own local group here in Montana, “Warriors and Quiet Waters”, a group that helps wounded warriors from the military and their spouses reconnect with nature and provides opportunities to fish for trout and enjoy the outdoors.
I have a special connection with organizations like “Casting for the Cure” because I’ve watched the healing power of trout in my own life. Having a wife that is a cancer victim and then survivor has been a sobering experience but one that was mediated somewhat by trout and her ability to fish for trout. Throughout the diagnosis and treatment we spent all of our spare time on the water doing the thing she loves, fishing for trout. More than once I marveled at how trout and fishing were able to take her away from a negative experience and turn it into a positive one. While I’m sure that other animals and experiences may hold the same fascination for some, I am grateful that trout exist and that they are in the special places we like to visit. As we think about the role of clean water and high quality habitat as a major theme of the Congress, we can’t lose sight of the special connection that trout play in people’s lives.
We hope that you had a joyous holiday season and a great New Year! See you in Bozeman in July and hope that the trout are rising!