It keeps happening! Each time we go fishing locally, some slob or other
direct relative of Dork is absolutely violating! A while back I ran into a
couple of fly fishers with a terrific Coho salmon on the beach. They were
shocked, I'm sure, to have someone, (me) yelling at them, "You can't keep
that fish. The season is closed."
A little while later they walked down to where I was casting and said
they were really glad I said something, they didn't know the season was
closed. It makes it a little better that the fish seemed to survive when it was
released. Then again, maybe it didn't. Who cares, what difference does it
Lots of folks care, me included.
An hour or so later, a spin fisher was
lobbing out a big silvery lure with
multiple treble hooks on it. He could
have been fishing for sole or halibut.
Unfortunately, he was fishing for
salmon. When he caught a salmon, I
informed him, in strong terms, but as
nicely as I could manage, "You can't
keep that fish. The season is closed."
He stammered a bit, stared at the fish
attempting to turn it into anything
other than the silver it was, and finally
said, "I didn't know you couldn't keep
Humpies." I responded, "In the first
place it's not a Humpie, it's a Silver.
And in the second place, Humpie
season is also closed." Didn't give
him much of a place to go. He didn't
much like it when I told him his lure
was also illegal. Salmon fishing in this
state is with three hooks max, and
barbless at that. (Fly fishers here can
use one hook, barbless.)
A couple of the fellows I was fishing with commented that I could get
away saying something because I am a woman. What was the guy going to
do? Hit me? Fat chance. Why didn't anyone else say something?
Then there was a young kid, fourteen or so, out on the salt doing the
same thing. He only had two barbed hooks on his spinning lure. When he
caught a three-pound Coho, he really was going to release it. At least that's
what he said. The problem was the fish was not making it. The kid had
trouble getting the barbed hook out. We stood together in the surf while I
showed him how to revive a fish. He held the fish gently, facing into the
current for twenty minutes before the salmon swam off. That one probably
didn't make it. The kid thought it was ok to fish with the illegal hooks
because, "if you don't keep the fish they can't do anything to you."
Where does that kind of thinking come from? Why don't folks know
what season is open, which is closed? What is legal and what isn't? Part of
that blame lies with officials in state fisheries departments. Are the regs so
complex and confusing that no one knows?
Another part is not knowing which fish is which. We have five species of
salmon here. A couple might be confused, unless you look in the fish's
mouth. Very small salmon don't have as many identifying points as adult fish.
But who would want to keep a six-inch salmon anyway?
It's not just here - it's everywhere. Over the years I have seen fish
snagged and kept (illegal), gutted for eggs, (illegal), thrown on the bank and
left, (illegal), fish taken from private property, (illegal). netting in closed
areas . . .
Fishermen complain about the lack of fish - dwindling numbers. This is
all part of the problem. The violators, and the people who look the other way
and won't open their mouths are all guilty. ~ The LadyFisher
Thanks to Cowles Enthusiast Media for photo use permission.
From FLY ROD GAMEFISH:
The Freshwater Species
By Dick Sternberg
© 1996 by Cy DeCosse Incorporated
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