Dredging the Ditch

by Hoppy D
(Southwest SD)

The Ditch.

The Ditch.

Home water.....

In our sweetest dreams, it is Haig-Brown's beloved Campbell River. In our worst dreams, it is Leacock's Fish Pond--alluring but devoid of fish. Generally, for the majority, home water is something between these two benchmarks. There are some, though, who live with a nightmare for their home water. Allow me to introduce you to: The Ditch.

The Ditch, so named by my brother who still lives in Alaska and who has an abundance of Haig-Brown water to fish, has its beginnings in a red-rock canyon. Gurgling out of the ground at 81º (F), it flows through the detritus of earlier human habitation and flows past the horse manure piles of the current 5-acre ranchettes. A mile and a quarter of ankle-deep water and thigh-deep muck that swells the headwaters of another flowing travesty that continues in its age-old quest to pollute the sea..... This is The Ditch; this is our home water.

It is truly amazing that any creature can survive in The Ditch's water, but the descendants of the Black Hill's pioneer fish--creek chubs, longnose dace, sand shiners, and white suckers--manage to thrive, and it is for them that "The Boss" and I dredge The Ditch in its last quarter-mile.

Through a city park, where pampered poodles and drunken revelers add their respective forms of pollution, to its joining with its larger cousin..... These fish are connoisseurs of crassness! Living between the rocks and beneath the foam and the watercress, they survive to multiply by eating orange-colored bits of profanity that float downstream to them.

Thankfully, orange "Mummy Worms" are a close match to their food of choice. Our Kiyotaki 18s, rigged with a tenjo of 6X and a short length of 8X, deliver our matches to the hatch and close the deals. Many-fish days are the rule.

What's that? You'd appreciate knowing the real name of The Ditch or having its GPS coordinates? I'm sorry to have to disappoint. For all of its warts, The Ditch still sings a sweet song, contains fish who play the game, and is our home water. We will keep its secret safe; we will not fish and tell. You will have to travel to the Southern Black Hills and find it on your own.

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