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Fly Fishing Ethics

Fly Fishing Ethics

The sport of fly fishing traces its history back to ancient Rome, when fish outnumbered mankind enough not to worry about what seemed to be an endless supply of the scaly beasts. Those days are over. Nowadays we do have to keep an eye on and take care of our natural resources.

As fly fisherman our resources are streams, rivers, lakes, oceans, and the countryside and shores around them. It has been readily apparent for years now that these resources are in danger of being overwhelmed by us. Fish populations are down, pollution levels are up, and mankind is the cause of it all. As the cause, it is our responsibility to turn around, take a look at what we’ve done (and let others do), and do something about the mess. If we don’t we will lose it all, and fly fishing (all fishing for that matter) will be lost forever.

Well, let’s not complain about something and not be part of the solution. Following are some things that you can do NOW, the NEXT time that you fish:

No Trespassing

Check this out: when you see a good looking hole that’s got to have some fish in it — ask the owner of the land if you can get in there. If he says no — DON’T GO. More than likely you will get in, amazingly enough you’ll find that most people are friendly and willing.

Catch and Release

Face it. The best part of fishing is feeling the tug on your line, fighting the good fight with one of God’s wild creatures, and bringing it in. Then what? Eat them all? Once you have the fish in hand you’ve already done the most fun… so put it back!

I was raised in a family of farmers, hunters and fishermen. They never put anything back. Take, take, take. But I’ve been paying attention over the last 30 years. I’ve watched fish and wildlife populations drop everywhere, seriously dampening the enjoyment that I go out there for. By all means… go fishing. Get out there and have a ball. But wake up, mature a little.. put the fish back to catch again another day, so they can make baby fish to continue the family tradition of being caught by wily fishermen.

Get involved with Trout Unlimited.

I have used barbless hooks for years now, and I have not lost anything for lack of the nasty little mouth gorging things. Good fishing does not rely on undue pain and suffering of the opponent to land it. Try barbless fishing, you’ll like it!

No Littering

Don’t you just hate all the trash you have to wade through in the “great outdoors”. Come on people, wake up! If you can carry a full container out fishing, surely you can carry back the empty and toss it in the garbage where it belongs. “Out there” is where the critters live, it’s their home, keep it clean! Or perhaps you’re one of those who do not mind strangers tossing candy wrappers, beer cans or full garbage bags into your front yard.

One last thing

YES, You ARE your brother’s keeper! We are going to have to work together to save what we’ve got. If you see someone doing it wrong, tell them. Ask them to fix their blunder. No need to be a jerk about it, but don’t let it go for nothin’. Don’t be a rubbernecker watching others hack the planet, get involved!

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