Testament of a Fisherman

Testament of a Fisherman by Aaron Peterson

Testament of a Fisherman, photo by Aaron Peterson Photography

My friend Aaron Peterson shared this on Facebook last night. It’s built around the words of one my very favorite writers, Michigander John Voelker (aka Robert Traver). I hope you enjoy it – Aaron writes:

Please enjoy this new video I did for Travel Marquette.

In 1964 Ishpeming native John Voelker published his essay “Testament of a Fisherman” summarizing in just 200 words the power of rivers and the solace one finds in trout fishing. When I came to Marquette in 2001 I didn’t have much, but I had a fly rod and a library card. In the library I found the words of John Voelker, and on the rivers of the Upper Peninsula I found a purpose. To be able to do this project and adapt Voelker’s words, with permission from his family, was very important to me on many different levels.

A lot has changed in the 50 years since he wrote this, but the health of our water, wild fish and time spent away from phones and crowds is more important than ever. Enjoy, share, then get the hell off your computer and get in the woods. Maybe to Marquette, because they paid the bill for this inspiration smile emoticon Thanks to Fly Fishing Michigan’s U.P. Nick from Ore Dock Brewing Company and all those who fight for the sanctity of our water. –AP

(the video is beautiful – view it full screen if you can!)

View Aaron’s photo bigger on Facebook and follow his page for the latest. Definitely check out his website too. He has some crazy photos of the U.P.’s incredible adventure offerings!

I fish because I love to.

Guide's Rest at Dawn

Guide’s Rest at Dawn, photo by mickey-finn

“I fish because I love to. Because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful, and hate the environs where crowds of people are found, which are invariably ugly. Because of all the television commercials, cocktail parties, and assorted social posturing I thus escape. Because in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing what they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion. Because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed, or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility, and endless patience.

Because I suspect that men are going this way for the last time and I for one don’t want to waste the trip; because mercifully there are no telephones on trout waters; because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness; because bourbon out of an old tin cup always tastes better out there; because maybe one day I will catch a mermaid; and, finally, not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant – and not nearly so much fun.

― Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman

Robert Traver was the pen name of Ishpeming native John D. Voelker. Voelker was a Michigan Supreme Court Justice, renown fly-fisherman and author. Anatomy of a Murder was made into one of the best courtroom dramas of all time. The film was set and shot in Big Bay, Marquette, Ishpeming and Michigamme. Voelker was heavily involved in the production of the film. He appears in the trailer, and you can watch the movie in its entirety on YouTube.

View Mike’s photo of Guide’s Rest on the Au Sable River bigger and see more in his Fly Fishing slideshow.

PS: I don’t always thank the people who make suggestions for Michigan in Pictures posts, be they intended or accidental. One of my 2014 resolutions is to share more of myself and the family & friends who love this state as much as I do. One of these is John Di Giacamo, an attorney who shared a tiny bit of the quotation that still holds so much relevance. Thanks John!