Keeper Of The Stream
A classic by Frank Sawyer
When I was a boy, I often would dream of being able to spend hours beside a river or stream, learning its character, its temperaments, and studying the life it supported. Our Grade 3 class would sometimes go on a real 'field trip' and walk to what was then a huge undeveloped lot where a stream flowed. We would examine the bugs, look for fish, and turn over rocks and stones in search of crayfish and knowledge.
Unfortunately, I never was able to completely fulfill that desire to its utmost, to spend hours near my stream, and truly becoming familiar with it.
There are some people who have been able to live this dream, and live it daily. What person who loves to fish and has a desire to know the interaction of water, plant and animal, mankind included, would not envy Frank Sawyer, author of "Keeper of the Stream."
I am sure that this book will never be considered 'classic literature' in the general sense, however, the book does belong on the shelves of any person who calls themself an angler and lover of conservation. In fact, it would probably be a well read and studied book.
Sawyer takes us to a stretch of the Avon River in England, where he was responsible for nurturing the trout fishery in that part. In nurturing the trout, we learn that not only was his concern for trout, but for the whole cycle of all life. In a simple manner, he reminds us of the fragility, yet wonderful spirit of nature, as he provides his observations and passes on his knowledge. Through every season, through floods and dry spells, through many years, Sawyer has a story to tell that will be of benefit to us all, and we can all become more familiar with the interactions of nature, and how Man may help or hinder the natural course of things.
From the sex life of the mayfly to the terror in a mole's eyes during a flood, to the habits of trout, Sawyer has in a charming manner, captured these occurrences and reminds us that what we often take for granted are often the things in which we should have the most vital interest. Sawyer's experience gives him 'expert status' and his recommendations should be taken seriously.
Although this book is about the nurture of a river, in many ways it provides a glimpse into the character of the author as much as it does about the sport of fly fishing and conservation.
I discovered the book to be extremely interesting, and as well, many of the stories Sawyer relates are quite humorous. Admittedly, there were sections of the book which probably could have been better organized from a reader's perspective, however, I will certainly be going back to this book to read and learn about my favorite streams, and I know as a result, I will certainly have a better appreciation for what natural activities are going on around me while wading in the Grand River. I may even become a better angler, although, I doubt my casting abilities, average at best, will improve much!