A FLY-FISHING LINE arcs above a river. The hand-tied fly — chosen to match whichever aquatic insect has hatched that morning — settles on the water. In casting that line, a fly fisherman enters into the life of the river, intuitively, intellectually, intimately.
A new “cross-linked” course at Oregon State University, The Art, Science and Literature of Fly Fishing, lets students “appreciate the complex network of human and nonhuman communities that govern this activity so central to Oregonians,” in the words of English professor Raymond Malewitz.
Malewitz, co-leading the experiential course with fisheries biologist Brooke Penaluna and health-sciences instructor Kathy Kim, calls it “a unique opportunity to bring together three different kinds of educational perspectives that are usually kept separate in undergraduate classes: scientific training on how flora and fauna interact in complex stream ecosystems; artistic training in the craft of writing about fly fishing and the history of fly-fishing literature; and kinesthetic training in the practices of fly casting in the Pacific Northwest.
“In linking the abstract and the concrete, the practical and the wonderful, the course established a new pathway for fully interdisciplinary education at Oregon State.”
Adds Kathy Kim: “Fly Fishing goes beyond catching fish. It is about immersing yourself in a natural world, understanding and solving the mystery of the aquatic environment, enjoying the solitude and finding adventures.”