Having fished lots of places over the years, I’m still disturbed by the poor behavior I constantly observe by adult men while fishing. I’m not only talking about one man’s rudeness to another but rather about man’s consistent rudeness toward Nature, ie. the fish, the Rivers and the environment. To see grown men snagging and ripping across the backs of our beautiful fish or killing fish they don’t intend to eat, is bad enough. To watch them throw their garbage down like irresponsible little boys is sickening. To watch them discard their mono fishing line on the banks or into the Rivers is sickening. Look around you. It’s disgusting! So…..what can be done about this chronic problem? First realize that most of these guys were raised as slobs. If you were to look into their bedrooms, you’d see dirty underwear, candy wrappers and empty food containers all over the place. So, they need potty training just like a baby. How to do this? Encourage the officials involved with our fish and wildlife to pay more attention to this. Instead of enacting trick laws to generate money, like emergency closures or confusing rules, enforce a program that can help the fish and not piss off fishermen. Establish a littering hotline that responds quickly and encourage fishermen to use it. Encourage the fish-counters to call immediately if they see this happen. Encourage guides, outfitters, tackle shops, local restaurants, surrounding towns, etc. to be part of this. Offer rewards, incentives, plaques, points, etc. for helping. Give littering a more important name so the public sees it for what it is, not just some harmless gum wrapper being tossed out of a car window. Call it ENVIRONMENTAL TERRORISM or ENVIRONMENTAL POISONING. The punishment for violators should be time on the Rivers spent picking up litter, just like the road gangs you see along highways. We don’t need to ruin a guy’s life for littering, just make him undo some of it and maybe learn the true damage it does. Just like other rehabilitation programs, make him sit through a video showing the destructive nature of this kind of environmental poisoning.
WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT? Because our fisheries are in deep trouble and more of us must be involved in some kind of solution and littering is part of the problem because it’s poison and results in dead fish! Just like snagging, killing over the limit, clearcutting that allows sediment to suffocate streamlife and fertilizers washing into the water.
So many fisherman I talk to seem to have a pet peeve regarding the increasingly poor fishing. They focus on one thing and rag on it like a broken record. Guys, don’t be fools! It’s now many things working together that’s killing our fish. But if you want to focus on only one of the causes, that’s OK as long as you try to do something about it. Too bad, but Wild Steelhead in Washington are on their way out. You can passively wave bye-bye or try to help out.