Ode to the Cedar Tree – A Fly Fisherman’s Tribute


Oh cedar tree of forest pure
That bows at river’s edge,
You greet the angler wading by
And hide the new-hatched sedge.

Aroma spoors the air we breathe
While Tannin seeps below,
To color waters amber brown
And hide the trout, our foe.

The hatching caddis on the wing
Below your branches dance,
I plunder fly box searching for
Its match, to have a chance.

And chance would have I have the fly:
A perfect imitation.
I tie it on with trembling hands.
Oh my! Exuberation!

Intentions pure, my line doth fly
And fly doth land adroit;
Forgiving nature, foliage soft:
You seldom break our knot.


Fresh cast below thy recessed bank
Doth drift along the sod,
And wily squaretail drags it deep
To fight in your root wad.

The battle wages high and low
In air and waters deep.
And ends with splash and thrust with net,
This cedar’s prize to reap.

brook trout bed

I gaze upon the colors rare
Of lavender and red,
And recollect my father’s words,
Yes, everything he said:

“You note the fly and mark the spot.
Then mark the time of day;
Release the trout back to his home
And watch him drift away.”

brook trout bend - blurry release cool2

“This trout is not your own to keep.
No, it belongs to all.
So others may to seek him out
When cedar tree doth call.”


The cedar tree’s call is not rare,
For those who care to listen;
So take the time to respite there,
Where purest waters glisten.

Inhale the breath of richest air,
Your soul for to set free,
And hold the peaceful feeling near
That is the cedar tree.

Paul Stillmank
December 28th, 2014