What is really important to you as a fly fisherman? Is it having nice gear? I know I really enjoy my bamboo rods so I guess that is important to me. Really though, all the nice equipment in the world does not matter one iota if there are no wild fish left. We can have all the exotic destinations and fly in to remote locations but when that last fish is caught then what good is it all?
It's been said time and time again by people a lot smarter than me that we have to, as sportsmen and women, become involved in protecting what we have too long taken for granted.
It works to! The Steamboaters lead by Frank Moore decided that their love for the North Umpqua needed to be more than just lip service and they have dedicated their lives to that river and it's fish. Yes, it's great to be around a bunch of friends who enjoy fishing as much as you but after the rods and reels are put away what do you do then? What do you do when your favorite river, your beloved river has no fish left or is getting pollution dumped into it? Do you fight like crazy to do all you can to attack the problem or do you just move onto other waters? I'm betting you would fight like crazy.
When you see trash and vandalism along the banks of your favorite river do you get mad? Do you take along a trash bag and clean it up? Or do you just shrug and shake your head and say what a shame it all is?
It's not enough anymore to just be a good citizen and leave the river the way you found it! We have to be involved if we ever expect our children and grandchildren to enjoy what we have enjoyed. We have to become proactive!
Lord knows there are so many forces working against wild fish or clean water. We have had nearly eight years of attacks on our natural resources by an administration that has no soul. An administration who only sees things in the profit and loss column.
It's the individual conservationist/angler that will win the day if everyone does his part.
I need to remind myself of this same thinking. Just because I might write an impassioned blog entry about wild fish or conservation does no let me off the hook as far as doing my part. I need to be more involved and I intend to do just that!
I doubt that any true conservationist is really ever satisfied at the amount of work he or she is doing. I would bet that they think they can do more because it's just that important!
It's our responsibility.