Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fly vs Gear

There seems to be some kind of undeclared war here in the Pacific northwest between the two types of fishing styles and I am trying to figure it all out.
Hell, perhaps I have helped to perpetuate it! If I did I want to categorically state right now that I bear no animosity towards most of the conventional gear/bait crowd. There are many ethical and conservation minded anglers up here that do not fly fish.
There are also many that do fly fish who are the furthest thing from being ethical. The continuing exploitation of Kilchis and Miami river chum salmon is an example of what I mean by that statement
Too many times  have I witnessed fly anglers swinging their chartreuse yarn fly through a bunch of spawning or near spawning chum salmon. More times than not these fish are foul hooked. That, my friends is not ethical! Neither is careless wading through salmon spawning redds and it happens way too much.
I've seen both type of anglers abusing these fish.
So if we fly anglers try to act like we are a cut above the common fishing crowds then we are not!
When I see something posted on that puts fly fishing in a bad light I react! I do not like the way it reflects on the rest of us.

Like I've also said before I have no ulterior motives in maintaining this blog. I do not make one red cent from doing this blog as it is kind of my own personal journal. With that in mind and since it is my blog I will say things that may not be popular and the backlash is something I can live with.
I generally try to stay out of the popular areas where guys are fishing with conventional gear because I need room to swing flies on my spey rod. The water frequented by gear anglers is not usually suited to fly fishing.
Inevitably, however, I will cross paths with non-fly fishers, usually in drift boats.
A lot of times I will get cut off by these guys and sometimes it is well known guides who are the worst offenders, especially in Tillamook county. Being by myself I rarely say anything not wishing to embarrass these guys in front of their paying clients. I could name names that would be familiar to many who read this blog.
This year will be different. I have taken it too long and I guess if I am going to bitch here I should say something right then and there. I will also be very vocal during the steelhead broodstock "capture" period that is coming up.
So if you are reading this and know me then you know I have always been respectful on the river bank. If you float by me and don't cut me off then we will great along great but if you cut me off then I will politely bring it to your attention.
Heck we may not even encounter each other because of posted property that I can no longer fish or physical limitations on my part that keep from areas that I used to fish.
I wish I could say that there are plenty of fish to go around for everyone but, thanks to stupefying fisheries management by the state, that is not the case anymore, it's just a fact of life.


  1. Shane,

    The conflict is fought all over the world from what I have seen from sea to shining sea!

  2. Personally, I see less and less of this war and most people I see in the river are cool with all types of gear.

    The other day, Matt caught a nice steelhead on a fly rod from my boat and all the bank anglers, yes, fishing gear, raised a cheer when we got it in the boat. BTW, it was a real bright hatchery hen that we bonked. They didn't seem to mind the fly rod at all. Actually, I think they enjoyed seeing it for themselves.

    People just geerally hate to be judged on their way of fishing, understandably. No one likes it when someone else thinks they are better than them. Fly anglers that look down on gear anglers because they perceive their method superior are hated by gear anglers. Gear anglers who make ridiculous statements that you can't catch winter fish on flies get under fly anglers' skin.

    Hotshots like some of the ones pictured in other recent posts illustrate the point that it is not the type of rod that makes someone a better steward of fish, it is the angler's ethic and morality.

    As someone who fishes with flies all spring and summer and into the fall and who is not above using spinners and other gear for salmon and steelhead, I say . . . basta.

    It's about the fish, and conserving the fish, not the gear.

    It never ceases to amaze what trivial matters people find to divide themselves over.