Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mill Creek Challenge

I agreed to a friendly bet that will test my skills as a fly fisherman and also my ingenuity as a fly tier. The parameters of this challenge are simple: gather "indigenous" materials to tie a suitable fly and then use said fly to catch a carp out of the Mill Creek. If I'm successful in my efforts, I'll earn a case of beer and merited praise. If I'm not, I'll endure the frustration that is part and parcel of pursuing carp on the fly.

When I speak about "indigenous" materials, I think some clarification is needed. The Mill Creek has been one of America's most polluted waterways. Though trash is not part of the serious pollutants running into the Mill Creek, it has, unfortunately, become a mainstay in the environmental landscape. But what is that popular phrase? Make lemonade out of lemons? Ah, yes. In my case, that would mean using the ubiquitous hamburger wrapper as part of my indigenous Mill Creek fly -- specifically, a Rally's hamburger wrapper. Add to that an aluminum can and some other fast food related accoutrements, and you have the makings of a true urban carp fly.

The challenge won't begin in earnest until the latter part of spring. Carp will travel up the Mill Creek from the Ohio River looking for suitable spawning suits. After spawning, carp will hang around for the summer months, provided they have adequate habitat and food. It will be seen, at that time, whether I have what it takes to pull this challenge off.

Most importantly, though, I think this challenge illustrates the recovery and restoration efforts being done on the Mill Creek. Let's face it, without the help of local communities, environmental groups and government agencies, the idea of having a Mill Creek challenge wouldn't even be material. Of course there is still more work to be done and much more advocacy to spread.

Below is a cool video produced by Jeff Chen for the Mill Creek Watershed Council. As mentioned in the video, I am proud to be part of the younger generation that is, in general, more environmentally conscious than the older generations. The Mill Creek is a vital part of the Cincinnati community and it  deserves our love and respect.

Thursday, February 3, 2011