Monday, April 08, 2013

Have You Evolved As An Angler?

Okay first of all I am not talking about skills or technique here. It has nothing to do with how well you can tie a fly or how well you can row a drift boat. What I am talking about is your outlook and attitude as you ply those angling skills.
Age has nothing to do with it either! I know some fishermen that are barely out of their teens but are wise beyond their years when it comes to understand what is going on with our cold water fisheries.
I also know more than a few "sportsmen" that are well into their sixties and still act like complete fools on the river while they try to keep up with younger and more skilled fishermen and fail miserably doing it.
Does it anger you to see litter along the stream bank? You know like bait containers, monofilament, beer cans etc. Or are you just focused on what you came to do and do not bother to pick any of it up.
When you catch a wild steelhead does it bug to have to release it because "it has too many fins" or is it a joy for to release that wild steelhead so it can spawn?
When it comes to salmon are you a egg hunter or do you take satisfaction in releasing that salmon to lay those eggs in a redd?
Are you a belligerent bully on the river or are you more than happy to share the river with all anglers in order for them to enjoy the resource?
Are you involved with any organization that advocates the conservation of our wild cold water fisheries or do you belong to a fishing club that supports thoughtless hatchery practices that harm wild fish?
My questions might seem some what rhetorical but think about it for a minute. The evolution of an angler might take years. It certainly did for me. I am still evolving in my angling life and I hope to never stop learning and growing in my appreciation of what we have. I would think that someone who has spent their most of their adult lives speaking out for wild salmonids and clean water would never be satisfied with where he or she is in their growth as an angler/sportsman/conservationist.
There is always something to learn and the minute we are complacent and self satisfied then our the world will pass us by and we have become an obstacle to progress.
When a person denies the science that tells us that hatchery salmon and steelhead do harm to wild salmonid populations then he is little more than a knuckle dragging neanderthal. Their perspective on what is important does not go very far beyond their own greed and ignorance. They don't care about anything but themselves and what the outdoors will give them.
I want to keep growing in my commitment to wild fish and I know there is a ton of things I don't understand...yet.
So journey well my angling friends. Take it all in while giving something back along the way. Get involved because you can make a difference even in a small way.