The Scientific Fly Angler turns one year old this week. Not much of a milestone but I felt like writing a bit about the year. 2020 sucked something fierce, 2021 has gotten a whole lot better after a pretty slow start. Like a few other posts, this one has been a "slug" - it has taken me a few weeks to write because frankly, I am not sure what to say, or should I say, write.
Low hanging fruit - let us get some stats out of the way first...
Number of posts: About 75
Posts per week: At least one, every week (it works out to about 1.5 a week - I've moved the weekly posts from Tuesdays to Mondays; alternative posts come out Friday or Saturdays most of the time.)
Posts that are partially written: At least a year's worth...
Next post: Who knows? (I might but not as I write this - but I now know it is a post on r and K selection in fishes...I'm sure y'all are waiting with baited breath.)
Most read posts:
The Re-Birth of the Driftless - just over 1,100 reads
My Driftless Bakers Dozen Fly "Concepts" - about 750 visits
CDC And Elk (Caddis pattern) - about 450 views
Fisheries Management Topics: Mortality - about 450 visits
In Praise of Smallmouth Bass (and why they are not Trout) - a bit over 400 visits
Least read posts:
Wisconsin Inland Trout Management Plan - A Quick Review (less than 10 reads - and this one took some time!)
Biotic Integrity - Measures of Stream Health (less than 25 reads) - and I thought this was a particularly good one!
Fisheries Management Topics: Intro to Population Dynamics (less than 25 visits) - math will NOT draw much interest.
Three posts that I would like to receive more attention:
Invasive Species is a Loaded Term - how we like some non-native species and vilify others.
Climate Change and Trout Fishing - Maybe the most significant issue we will be dealing with in the future.
Fisheries Management Topics: Human Dimensions - How fisheries management tries to keep all of the people "satisfied" all of the time.
Wrap-up of the First Year
This blog has been my COVID-19 project, a way to do something (mostly) fun and to have a creative outlet. When I started it, I had no idea what to expect nor what I was going to do with it. Today, I still don't know what to expect or what I plan to do with it. It has been an enjoyable experience - and a way to get my mind around some ideas. In that way, I feel it has been successful, in other ways, there is some room for improvement that - time allowing - I will try to work on in year two.
It has been random but that is a feature, not a flaw, at least for me. I am doing it to have fun and planning is not a lot of fun so I don't plan. Sure, I have things prepared a week or more out but that is mostly because good (or at least serviceable) writing is about revision. As I tell my students, get it on paper, let it sit for a bit, and read it with fresh eyes. That way you can read what you wrote and not what you think you wrote.
What I like writing about...
I like to write about a diversity of things but what got this whole thing started were the posts about fisheries science and management. While I like to write about the science stuff; the audience for those posts is a little smaller but I will continue to write them as I find them interesting and a way for me to think about a subject more deeply. Writing a post on a complex topic that can be read in 5 to 10 minutes requires some thought to get at what is important - and more importantly, what is not so important. I find that interesting. A quick look at the least popular list shows these are not always popular and I'm OK with that. I will continue to write them but they tend to take more time, research, and brain power so 1 or 2 a month is sort of a limit.
I enjoy the fly tying posts and sharing some patterns that maybe are not so well known. I always really enjoy the historic flies of Wisconsin but others have done that already so no need to invent the wheel again. I have done a few posts on some of my favorite flies and flies from other countries that do not receive as much attention as they probably should.
If it has made the website, I (probably) like writing about it - though some posts are certainly faster and easier to write than others. The nice thing about being non-commercial is I can publish what I want without worrying about if it is going to be something others like. Not that I want to write stuff others won't read and are not interested in but if it turns out that they don't, it does not cost me anything but my time.
What I don't like writing about...
I do not plan to do "how-to" posts - others do it better and its not something that interests me all that much. I have enjoyed the "World Class Fisheries" posts and maybe I will expand them beyond Wisconsin (maybe not?). And I enjoy the fly tying posts but they are not really how to. If I don't like writing about it, you won't find it here...I'll continue to write about what I feel that I have the knowledge and experience to tackle effectively and ignore that things that I do not feel that I can do justice.
What's in Store?
Mostly, more of the same, I assume. Project Terrestrial has sort of stalled this summer - I do a lot more tying in the winter and early spring - but I plan to get back to it. Expect more fly tying posts this winter.
The blog is obviously rather "Wisconsin-centric" but it will probably branch out, a bit. Not so much to "chase reads" or "likes" but some of my interests are a bit outside of Wisconsin. For one, water law and drought issues in the west has really caught my attention this year. If your have not been following, it has been one heck of a summer in most of the west and it looks only to get worse unless there is some significant rainfall. I recently bought 3 books - Dam Nation, Cadillac Desert, and The Source - about the history, water, and water law that I just started reading (The Source is first). I have no plans for a book review - does not interest me much - but issues with dams, water allocation and over-allocation, and what we can do in the future in water scarce locations is pretty interesting to me - and maybe you.
What do you want to see?
I make no promises that I will deliver but I am always curious about what readers are interested in. Obviously I am more interested in the scientific topics but am open to other ideas. I quite frankly am not able to write about anything and everything, I have a backlog of posts I have started and not finished for any number of reasons, but understand there are all kinds of ideas I have not considered or given thought to. Let me know what you want to read...
Want to Contribute?
I have a space and I am willing to share it if you have something to share that fits this site. Where I think I have failed in my original mission is that I have not created a platform that has been as inclusive and interactive as I wanted. Maybe it is that it is "hyper-local" and Wisconsin focused or that there are so many other more places and better places to interact. Want to have a voice or try your hand it the "ancient art" of blogging - shoot me a message or an e-mail.