Observations from the winter steelhead season just past.
I have been fishing in the Pacific northwest for almost 40 years. I have seen or experienced nearly everything a steelhead fisherman can experience. In all those years I have never seen or experienced the behavior I have seen from my fellow anglers as I have witnessed this winter. I am disheartened and disgusted!
Is it too much to expect simple, common courtesy? Sometimes this stuff happens and it is just part of the game but almost every trip? Rude, drunk river guides fishing through the water I am fishing? Garbage like I have never seen before? Over crowding and boorish behavior by other fly fishermen? This is just plain crazy.
I've come to the point in my fishing life to where all I want from a fishing trip is peace and enjoyment! Is that too much to ask?
I have caught a lot of fish over the years. Big ones and small ones. Some on a fly others with conventional gear and even bait!. I enjoy catching fish like any angler would but I have arrived at the point to where catching a fish just isn't the whole ball game for me. Fishing in peace where I can swing my fly in water undisturbed by morons and assholes is enough to make my day a success. I can't even seem to get that on storied waters like the Deschutes! If this post sounds like I am whining then absolutely I am. I also realize that most who read this are not the type of slobs I am talking about either but I also know that some indeed are who I am talking about....some are even fly fishermen!
I have to wonder why it has become like this. Is it hatchery programs that are not well thought out like maybe the steelhead broodstock program? Yes without a doubt that contributes but you know guys each of us is responsible for our own behavior and even though we can look at hatchery programs as contributing to this mess we should know that we can still be good stewards out on the river.
So for you guys that are good stewards then I tip my fisherman's cap to you and thank you for your good stewardship of the resource.
To those of you that are only interested in putting up big numbers while spoiling the enjoyment that comes from fishing for others then shame on you. I assume you know what doing the right thing means so dammit DO IT!