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Traditions .... Part III "Us"

Over the years I’ve been called an elitist, a snob, an Orvis poster boy and other things I won’t repeat here. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I’m a serious fly fisherman, I fish a lot, I spend much more than I probably should on high quality equipment and travel, and I have strong opinions on catch and release, conservation, environmentalism, wild trout, stocked trout, and fisheries management. I’m not alone on this point either. Where do these insults come from? If you’re honest the derogatory comments are often well deserved and founded. Many people that fit the typical hard-core fisherman description believe that fisheries management equals regulation and tackle restrictions. There’s some validity to that view, but people that aren’t as serious often see us as enjoying more privileges. We lobby for streams be designated as fly fishing or artificial lures only, that they are barbless hook and catch and release as if legislating behaviors prevent misbehavior. To someone of a different angling perspective, it comes across as elitists that view our fishing methods and values as having more worth than others. Even worse, it creates division. Many a great stream is tucked aside for the privileged groups that fish with flies or artificial lures only. This type of fisheries management has great intention but is still motivated by man rather than wild because it still often holds more dearly to recreation as the motivation and not so much for the value of the resource. Most fly anglers I know are highly passionate about the sport we love and the way that we approach it reflects that. We don’t measure success with a stringer of fish and don’t use words like “limit” in conversation. We get upset when a fish is out of the water for a photograph and go wild when someone kills one. The members of this group are becoming more and more vocal about a change in fisheries management that leans more and more toward a wild, self-sustaining trout management model like some of our western states which is exciting to me. I remain unashamed and am admittedly a member of the “Us” club when it comes to improving our wild trout resources here in Pennsylvania. The point I try to make here is that there is a ton of conflict when “Us” collides with “Them” (see Part II) in a discussion of fisheries management. Everyone has a different expectation. Stay tuned for Part IV. This week’s pic is a beautiful wild brown from a stream that has been left alone to do what nature does better than man. Till then ……… #ItsAboutTheFish


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