A friend of the family likes to fish, and it began reminding me of the many times in my life I have been fishing. I thought I would post a few of these as a great distraction from the insanity now raging in my nation as a tyrant tries to overturn our legal Presidential election by pulling out all the stops he can invent each day.
Above you can see the smelt run on the Sandy River in Oregon in spring of 1949. When the call went out that “the smelt are running,” crowds of people took their nets, drove a short way out of Portland and hauled them in. On the left you can see our friend Dick wading in the river and on the right I am either admiring or being horrified by the haul. My attitude towards fishing has often vacillated between the two reactions.
Curious if this still occurred, I consulted the internet only to learn that the last significant smelt run took place in 1980. Not only that, but in 2010 they were listed as an endangered species. Apparently that halt on their capture has led to a modest rebound of the smelt, though clearly nothing like the runs in the 1940’s.
I have no memory of eating smelt. But I am in awe of the plenitude of fish just there for the netting. In 1949 it didn’t occur to anyone that this tradition would ever end.