Away in the Bahamas this week, I thought
I'd give our own NWFly a chance to get a view off his chest.
Make sure you let him know what you
think on the Bulletin Board. ~ dlb
The Responsibility of Opportunity
By NorthWest Fly
Every year I rush out to get the latest and greatest state
fishing regulations pamplet ... fourty or so pages containing all the
information I will ever need and want to know for the rest of the
year on what, where, how and when to fish. My one stop guide ...
the first step in wetting the seasonal appetite ... next comes
touching the gear.
So here I am with this year's regulations. Pouring through the
psuedo-legalese of criptic paragraphs defining what I can fish for,
when I can do it, what I can use to do it with, how many I can
catch. How many I can have with me at any given time, what
permits I need for this one or that, and what I can use to catch
them. I soak it up like a sponge in water ... and have to touch the
Most of us do this, or something similar, to gather information.
To prepare ourselves for the water ... the fish. How valuable is this
information? Legally — very. A better question is how accurate is
the information? Accurate in how well the regs support the long
term goals of quality waters and quality and quantity of fish. In
this area, I have some problems with the way it gets done. As well
as what will be the end result: no fish.
For those of us casting for the long haul, it's time we establish
the rules of the game. Time to make the theme of the sport:
opportunity through responsibility. Time to both set the example
and hold 'others' accountable for their actions.
How do we accomplish this? For me it begins with an
understanding of how the regulations became what they are ... this
year. In elementary school we were taught the rule of our
government is based on democracy ... the rule of majority opinion.
Where everyone gets a vote — to defend and represent their view.
As we have aged we understand that is a bit naive ... the real truth
is, the squeaky wheel gets the grease — turns the tide. The louder
the squeak, the quicker the response. Within fishing there are
numerous groups and organizations squeaking their hearts out.
Conservations groups asking for no fishing, commercials asking
for all fishing, business interests asking that the sanctity of the
rivers and streams be forgotten and the miriad of others with their
own set of concerns. Somewhere in this tangled mess are the
anglers who want one thing ... good water, good fish. Is one group
completely right ... or completely wrong? No. Each have valid
points ... some have extremely valid points with equally extreme
solutions (which becomes their main problem in getting support.)
So you have these noisey, squeaky groups all after the same
politicians trying to sway the vote in their direction. If the system
worked, our representatives (note I didn't use the word
'politician') would carefully weigh the information available on the
overall subject. And there is a ton of information ... from the
interests groups as well as studies done by the government
somewhere, someplace, sometime. From this information, in the
best interest of actually solving the problem, these
representatives would reach very effective and correct decisions.
Life would be good ... not everyone would be happy — but tough,
honest and correct choices would be made. As we know, this
doesn't happen ... often, and then generally it's by acccident.
The system doesn't work because the loudest-squeaky wheel
donates the largest sum of money to the politicians to gain their
support — they grease them to get the grease, so to speak. Taking
the money allows our politicians to then honestly lie on a ten-ton
stack of bibles that their vote is based only on their personal
convictions and in the interests of their constituents. Horse-pucky?
No, not really ... they have responded to the loudest voice they
know — cash.
This is how those extremely difficult to understand regulations
get into your local pamplet. Is is also how, in trying to make all of
their 'constituents' happy, the actual regulation (more likely than
not) has nothing to do with effective management of the water or
What do we do about this problem? Oh, there a lot of answers
to that question ... everything from get involved in your local
fishing club to get rich — buy an island — and enjoy the fishing.
None of that is going to get covered in any detail in this article.
Though I do recommend you contact TU, FFF or your local group ...
they all have their versions of the solution, maybe one is close to
yours and you add your voice, and fuel their fire.
An equally important ... perhaps the most important ...
contribution happens on the water and what you do with that
experience. As you fish, or even just watch the water, learn from
it. Spend at least ten-percent as much time learning about the
environmental performance of your rivers, streams, lakes and the
effect on the fish as you did learning to fish.
When you are out on the water ask yourself a few honest
questions. How large does the fish population seem? Are you
getting hit after hit after hit ... or are you fighting like mad, using
every known technique you thought you had mastered and it's
skunk city? Give this review a few shots in your favorite spots.
Those places you know well enough to honestly anticipate the
results of a day's fishing. When you have the feel of what is
actually the case (fish quantity, quality) take a look at the regs
and compare. Can you tell who the loudest squeak came from? Is
it a fair regulation — one based on what the water actually
I have run across those ... from time to time ... and I make a
point to send a letter of congratulations to my representative for
sound management. I also send the "not so complementary
letters" arguing for the water and fish when I find slippery
management. These are the majority of my letters. This is how I
squeak ... and it only costs me thirty-two cents — per letter.
Enough of us doing it — as passionately as we fish — it becomes a
roar ... enough to turn the tide and set the standard for our sport
and those who wish a part. ~ CK Doyal
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