This Week's View

by Deanna Birkholm

January 15th, 2001


Depending on where you live, you may have seen these people. I call them people for lack of a better name which would not be acceptable in print. Snagging fish, using illegal gear, chasing spawning salmon in the creeks is illegal here in Washington state. I understand there are still places where some of that is legal, but gratefully that is not the accepted thing in most places.

Most fish can be caught by legal methods, and I've always wondered who the folks are that insist on doing it illegally. I know fish cops can't be everywhere, and even if all the folks who live by the rules all had cell phones with a speed dial to get the authorities, chances are some would still get away with their bloody snagging.

I've always said fly fishers are some of the best people I've ever been associated with anywhere, and I don't expect to see them out snagging. I can think of a lot of 'excuses' for taking fish illegally, none of them valid. I truly expect fly anglers to abide by the rules and laws governing fishing. Maybe I expect more from the fly fishing community than I do the society at large. So be it.

I have confronted those people fishing illegally. It might not be the smartest thing to do, but a person has to do what they think is right.

The Game Warden's Lament
If the game warden asks to see your license, he's insulting.
If he takes your word for having one, he's corrupt.
If he arrests a violator, he's showing how rough he can be.
If he gives the culprit another chance
he's showing favoritism.
If he labors day and night to enforce the law, he's a tyrant.
If he relaxes at all, he's a shirker and a crook.
If he talks fish and game conservation, he's maudlin.
If he keeps quite, he's not interested in his work.
If he accepts suggestions or advice, he's incompetent.
If he works out problems for himself, he's a know-it-all.
If he acts like a gentleman, he's too easy.
If he acts firm, he's unfair and a rascal.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust
If the sportsman won't do it, the game warden must.

Field and Stream, May 1997

Which brings me to a little on-going drama here on Fly Anglers OnLine.

When we set up our Monthly Drawing, we had some options. We were advised that in order to have an accurate data base, duplicate entries would have to be purged. Translation, after the first one each month, duplicate entries would be deleted. We put a notice, "One entry per month please. All duplicate entries are automatically discarded," on that page. What happens is ALL their entries are discarded. It gets more involved than that since eventually all the entries are also purged again when they are added to the previous months data. All the discarded entries are sent to a special mailbox. I get them.

Here's the interesting part: the age group of who is doing the violating. Generally it's under 30. This isn't a simple mistake, like "I can't remember if I entered or not," it's entering over and over all in a very short time period, say like within three minutes. Maybe the violators, (I guess I will call them snaggers since they think they will snag themselves a neat prize by violating the rules), haven't yet grown into real fly fishers. Or maybe they are part of whatever generation it is that thinks everyone owes them. And what the heck, who's going to catch them?

So if you think the snaggers don't ever get caught, here's the good news!

Not only do they not get entered in our Monthly Drawings, I've got their names (and email addresses.) You've heard the old saying, "I'm taking names!" I don't have to, the snaggers sent them to me.

Cool isn't it? ~ The LadyFisher

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