I'll admit it! I'm discouraged. No it isn't because I'm not catching a bunch of fish and it's not because my Spey casting sucks either. Actually I've never cast better since I first took up the two-handed rod.What I'm discouraged about the state of our cold water fisheries and the apparent indifference that people have towards it.
Our angling heritage is in trouble and it's because people see wild fish as nuisances that they have to put up with since they cannot kill them. It does not matter what kind of shape a population of wild salmon or trout is in there is always someone wanting to kill them even to the risk of extinction.
Apparently our mega-expensive hatchery programs are not enough to sate the greed of some while other hide behind phony so called conservation groups like the CCA, Tillamook Anglers and Association of Northwest Steelheaders and pound their chests like they are actually doing something. These groups are wolves in sheep's clothing whose ultimate goal is more harvest for their greedy membership.
I've seen this attitude in the public meetings that ODFW has to determine how to manage endangered salmon runs. There are people that would gladly kill the last fish!
How did we arrive at this attitude? It's nothing new and all you have to do is look back of old fishing photos. We over harvested to the point that the once teeming runs of Columbia river salmon are just a memory. They are gone and cannot b brought back to anything close to their former numbers.
I'm not just talking about commercial fishing either. Our sports fishing forefathers killed trout and steelhead in huge numbers. Catch and release was decades from it's inception and we killed these fish like there would be an unending supply. That harvest attitude carries into today's anglers. The thought of actually putting a fish back into the water is repulsive to many so called "sportsmen"
Thank goodness for the conservation efforts of today and I would hate to think of the state our cold water fisheries would be if groups like Trout Unlimited and Native Fish Society did not exist.
Admittedly I came to this conservation thinking later in life. I wasn't an outdoor outlaw who killed salmon for little more than their eggs for bait but I paid little heed to the warning signs. I supported the steelhead broodstock programs that I now loathe and I was maybe the most dangerous type of fisherman...I was indifferent. They say the opposite of love is not hate but indifference and that indifference is dangerous.
I decided to get involved and try to make a difference without the lip service and trying to make myself famous by being involved. No trying to make money off of these fish but giving something back.
The way we treat our natural resources is a sign of a people with no soul. A people with little concern about anything beyond themselves. I am not optimistic about the future because it seems like those with the power to actually implement change do not have the courage to do so....what a damn shame!
Are you reading this and getting angry because you feel I insulted you or your fake conservation organization or maybe your personality cult mega fishing website? Well tough shit!