I was thinking about this latest entry all day and taking inventory on my own fishing life as I did.
I think there is an evolution many anglers go through in their angling pursuit. I know I went through it and am still evolving into the fly fisherman/conservationists I want to be. The emphasis is on conservation for me mostly and while I still dearly love casting a dry fly to some waiting trout or waking a "Bomber" across a pool in hopes of raising a steelhead my first love is wild fish, clean water and everything that entails.
So where are you in your angling journey? Permit me to ask a few questions. This is not a quiz or anything and will not be scored but hopefully it will cause some of you to rethink your outdoor experience especially those tied to fishing. So here goes!
Are you unhappy when you are forced to release a wild trout, salmon or steelhead? Do you insist on having a hero picture taken with every fish you land no matter what condition it is in? Do you exaggerate the size of your fish by holding it way out in front of you?
Do you get uneasy when your bait supply is getting low? This next one is for Pacific Northwest residents primarily...do you fish for chum salmon on river where their numbers are very low? Do you put shrimp juice on your fly in order to catch more cutthroat trout while you desperately try to convince yourself and others that you are a fly fisher? Do you post about the 40 or 50 "trout" you hook but never bother to learn how to identify salmonid smolt?
Is your freezer full of salmon, tuna or sturgeon that is freezer burned? Do you kill fish and then say "I really don't like salmon that much" and give most of it away?
Have you ever said "Well it's good enough to smoke!"
Do you fish for trout, salmon and steelhead when water temperatures are high? Can you be found fishing in the upper river when wild salmon and steelhead are spawning? Does your blood boil when sea lions, Caspian Terns and gill nets are mentioned?
Do you feel the Columbia river Native American tribes are greedy? Well that's it, How did you do? Did you answer honestly?
I know said this quiz won't be graded but I will tell you this much. If you answered "Yes" to even one single question and still make it a habit to practice this thing then you are, in terms of angler evolution or maturity, still a neanderthal. Yes friend you are a knuckle dragging, self centered, half wit that hasn't learned a damn thing! I have nothing but scorn for those of you that never get past the "Me First" ideology that so many are guilty of.
I will also say this. At one time I would have answered "Yes" to most of these questions myself.
I decided to be curious and grow. beyond "Catchin' a nass mess of feesh".Today I can unequivocally say that I will emphatically say "No" to all of those questions.
While this may sound like I am patting myself on the back I'm really not. It proves that an old, broke down fly fisherman like me can still learn and so can you!
Think about it