They're our native fish, the tiny little creature that anglers all over the East coast search out. Regardless of their small size and far off dwellings, they are the golden egg.
But, why are they so rare, why do we search them out with such fervor?
The answer is simple because they are ours.
Many of us have seen the photos from years past of men standing with stringers containing 20 - 50 brook trout, as long as your leg. We've heard the stories about just how many you could catch in a day, how easy they were to find, when brown trout and rainbows were the minority.
But to us, those are basically just the same as stories of mythical dragons and dinosaurs.
Each year, in North Carolina, there is some new initiative to "Back the Brookie;" stream restorations, license plates, grant research, fishing shockings, etc.. We try our best, but is it enough? Is it the real heart of the issue?
It can all go back to that photo.
Often we try and place blame on the current generation for all the problems. We all think it's never been this bad before, but the truth is it has. Greed, selfishness, superiority, destruction, are all character traits that we all possess and have since the beginning of time.
Maybe if people hadn't over-fished our rivers, but only took what they could use.
Perhaps if deforestation and subsequently erosion had never occurred.
What if we hadn't dumped all our waste into rivers?
Or wildly of all, what if we never stocked other trout in our streams to make up for the trout population we'd already killed off?
Thing is, we can't take any of it back. What we can do is decide that we will be the ones to stop being controlled by the same traits that caused such destruction in the first place. We will be the ones to stop over fishing, abstain from unethical fishing practices, halt the deforestation and fix the erosion problem, and maybe even speak up about the hatchery system in our country.
We can never undo the past, but we can be better than our past. We can be the turning point, the people who when history looks at us were the preservers.
Or, we can be the ones who completely destroyed it.
Let's start by making sure they have a safe place to thrive.
It's not too late to let Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke know what you think about Public Lands.
Visit this website or be like me and make a call. 855-747-9643