Known as a river that doesn’t give up its fish easily, the Smith is protective of its water-borne species. Over the years the Smith has received many benefits from conservationists and others who love its clear water and free-flowing current. As a result, the Smith, and fishing on the Smith, is different. We fish with barbless hooks, boats have no motors on the Smith, we don’t keep the wild fish (only the hatchery bred critters), and a number of deep holes where the fish pool up are permanently off limits to fishing. The ecology of the Smith and its regulations are complicated subjects — dense, scientific, emotional. For me it boils down to beauty, serenity, grace, and fear. And there is craftsmanship. The river is no simple place. It rewards only the astute (just try boating on it or fishing it).
This wild fish, caught just a few days ago, was released after the photo was taken — to swim, to spawn, to spar, to live free and die. Another day.