VERY Important Upcoming BLM Fisheries Public Meeting
There is something strange going on. And the Flycasters Board thinks it is important enough that many of us participate that they have cancelled our March General Meeting. In my dozen or so years as a Flycasters member, this is the first time I can recall such an action being taken by the Board.
referring to the March 13 public meeting to be held at the BLM Casper Field Office at 7:00 pm. It is unclear what the BLM has in mind as it relates to potentially increasing fishing pressure on our river, but I think it behooves as many of us as can to attend and participate.
One of the things that concerns me most at this point is that they are apparently considering increasing pressure on the fishery without any consideration of the present status and health of our fishery. And the notice that has been put out to landowners and outfitters makes no mention of the current strategic planning process of the Game and Fish Department that is and will be based on the fishery status and how much pressure it will handle. It seems to me that all of those who are planning for this tremendously important fishery should be coordinating and working together.
The notice from BLM announcing the meeting says the meeting will be, “… to gather perspectives and input on the content of the plan.” Said plan being the North Platte River Commercial Guide Plan. The same notice later says the meeting “… will allow attendees to learn more about the proposed plan and to provide input … that will help guide the plan’s development.” This plan and its implementation have potentially huge impacts on the fishery that we know and love.
I want to thank the Board for bringing this to our attention. I’m personally opposed to adding to the “fiberglass flotilla” that we often encounter on favorite stretches of the river.
Just some of the questions that we deserve to know answers to before this “plan” goes any further are the following: [The following are not entirely my own, because I’ve discussed this issue with several other members.]
1. What is the problem that BLM thinks they are solving with this plan? And with potentially increasing fishing pressure?
2. What is the purpose of the plan?
3. Are they considering both public and guided operations? Do they intend to limit our access to the river?
4. What sort of study/information exists as to whether the river/fishery can handle more pressure?
5. Are accurate numbers of guided/business and general public usage available?
6. There is already some indication of overcrowding on several stretches of the river, especially during the busy spring season. Is that being considered?
7. What sort of coordination has gone on with Wyoming Game and Fish?
8. How do they plan to account for guides and outfitters using private launching sites?
9. How many outfitters are currently licensed on the Grey Reef to Glenrock stretch? How many of those that are licensed are currently active? How many trips actually take place?
10. What consideration, if any, is being given to keeping money in circulation in Wyoming/locally?
Please add your own questions to this list and come prepared to the March 13 meeting to make yourself heard. Let’s not let bureaucratic bungling destroy this wonderful fishery. Now is the time for all good fishermen and women to come to the aid of our fishery. Let’s not wait until something stupid is being done.
Please plan to attend on the 13th. If I learn anything more about what is going on before then, I’ll let you know.