In Tip 12 I got on my soap box about showing respect for the targets of our fly fishing efforts. I was mainly on a rant brought on by the seemingly increasing numbers of fishers who wade across redds increasing fish mortality and decreasing survival. Well thanks to a couple of folks who read the piece and reminded me of another big problem brought on by disrespect and downright ignorance, I’m putting one foot back on the aforementioned box. Stop leaving trash on banks or throwing it into the rivers! In too many places we fish, we find trash and litter left by thoughtless anglers. Besides residues such as beer cans and bottles, too many people dispose of bait containers and all varieties of packaging materials on the banks or in our lakes and streams. Pack it in; pack it out! Being disrespectful and sloppy is one of the surest ways to lose places like “Walk In” areas, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep our waters and adjacent lands clean and clear of trash. “Nuff said.
It has been my intent all along with this little series of “tips”, to provide information to help folks be better fly fishers. This month I’ve got something else burning on my soul that I want to share. Getting informed and getting involved. The resources that provide for our fly fishing enjoyment do not exist without people being advocates for the preservation and protection of these resources. And it’s not something that can be done solely by game and fish departments. We’re extremely fortunate in this country to have game and fish agencies; most nations do not have such governmental support for their fish and wildlife resources – especially not at the levels we experience. But leaving the jobs related to maintaining our fish and wildlife resources entirely to the government is a bad idea.
So what does “getting informed and getting involved” mean; what does it look like? How can I help? Quite simply, it means paying attention to what is going on that may impact either the resources themselves or our access to these resources. For starters it means paying attention to what the various entities that have programs impacting our resources are up to. Fortunately many entities, especially government agencies, have requirements for providing information about their plans ahead of time. In this area alone, government agencies able to impact our resources or out enjoyment of these resources include (aside from Game & Fish) USFS, BLM, NRCS, BuRec, plus each and every County Commission in the state. When someone like BLM announces a stupid program (stupid being something adversely impacting our fishery resources), we need to perk up and pay attention. We need to gather relevant information, talk to one another, and then make our feelings known. While it’s true that as individuals it’s difficult to tilt a bureaucracy away from something they propose, it’s absolutely true that if we don’t speak up our ideas will never be considered.
Getting involved looks generally like doing 2 things: (1) writing letters to agencies and to the media, and (2) going to meetings and speaking up. Make enough noise that people know you care. It’s amazing the impact that these approaches can have.
That’s probably enough about that. I feel better now and I hope you will no longer be as apathetic about taking a role in protecting and preserving our resources.
The water in the North Platte is flowing 3,000 cfs; I’m not sure about the Bighorn, but it’s been as high as 7,000. The North Platte basin has less than long term average moisture, and the Bighorn considerably more. We were in the Yellowstone area during the past week and I’ve never seen such water flows raging. Fish are still hitting small stuff: 18’s to 22’s. Shortly it’s going to be smart to pay attention to riffles where the oxygen levels are greater.
You never know unless you go! Get out and enjoy yourself! Given all that I said above, it’s not enough to fight for our resources; you need to enjoy them!