Tuesday, October 24, 2006

With Apologies to Dickens

The opening sentence of Charles Dickens " A Tale of Two Cities" is It was the best of times, it was the worst of times describing the French Revolution but I think that line best describes this time of year for the angler.
Fall is a season of movement and change. The beautiful foliage that one encounters along the way to the river is awe inspiring. The leaves seem to be ablaze with hues ranging from bright red to amber gold. The call of the migratory waterfowl as they head for their southern nesting areas always stops me in my place to watch their "v" formation as they fly over.Then of course there are the salmon!
During this time of year the fall representatives of the chinook salmon
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha begin their journey to spawn in the same water where they were reared years earlier. An angler will be startled to have one of these thirty pound fish roll near them as they are fishing for coastal cutthroat trout. The chinook will be joined by coho and chum salmon this time of year and the whole river is alive with piscatorial activity....these are the best of times.
Unfortunately this is also the time of year that seems to bring out the ugliness of human greed and ignorance. With the spectacle of huge fish in low water conditions the dregs of society cannot control their urge to take advantage of these helpless fish.
They rig up their lead weighted treble hooks and virtually rip these fish off the bottom of the river. Sometimes they will be so good at doing this that they can accomplish their illegal activity while using legitimate sports fishing gear.The chum salmon come into the river in large numbers all seemingly at the same time and are easy prey to these "sportsmen". They think nothing of wading across the spawning redds of these chum salmon and I hate to say it but it's not just gear fishermen who do this.
They actually yank these fish off their spawning redds all in the name of fun. These fish are not fit for consumption and in fact are on the endangered species list. It's as disgusting a sight as one would want to see and hopefully the ODFW will one day close this fishery altogether.
So you combine all of the salmon abuse with the usual littering,physical along with armed confrontations and you know.... these are the worst of times.
You must take the bad with the good and I feel the good does outweigh the bad this time of year.
Such is the life of the angler in the fall of the year.

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