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I just returned to Denver from the Clearwater River in Idaho. If any of you are planning to go up that way,I would change my plans. There are huge numbers of flyrodders and the boats are all over the river. I left on the 15th which is the opening of the kill season so I am sure it has just gotten worse over this last week. There were not a lot of fish in the Clearwater though we did find fair fishing in the Snake. Hope this prevents you from having to go through a session of Combat Fishing.:(
 

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Combat fly fishing on a famous western steelhead river I guess it is something a greal lakes fly fisher would not expect in Idaho knowing the size of that river. Here we get crowded during the peak runs, but you can usually get away from combat scenarios if you know where to go and when.

To bad for you going all that way for such a result would upset me.
 

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Every other year I will make a short trip, 3 or 4 days, before Oct. 15 to meet up with friends. But the reality is that the river is always way too busy at that time, combat fishing amongst the flyguys. Add the problem of a few illegal guided gear boats, boondogging the flywater, and tempers really start to flare.

In the last 7 years I can think of one where the river has fished respectable for big fish, the rest were overcrowded for too few fish (The lower 20 miles of the Clearwater make the Thompson look empty). With fish counts steadily growing the past 5 years, there are more and more people making it quite an ugly time to be there.

All in all this year's expected B run is way lower than forecast. For the huge number of fish over granite, the fishing is not going stack up to expectations.

Maybe next year...

William
 

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chrome-magnon man
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sounds like things are bad all over

The Thompson too is already mobbed. Usually large groups of anglers don't begin to arrive until the end of October but this year everyone is there early and it is also serious combat fishing conditions, so much so that I'm staying home this weekend. I know that the Skeena system has been a wash for much of the fall so that contributes to the early pressure on the Thompson, but could it also contribute to things on the Clearwater?

And I know, I know--those of you on the board who will chime in to remind me that it is people like me in the outdoor media and places like this on the web that create excitement that becomes pressure on the rivers--of course you are right...
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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But Dana, I think you can take peace in that it's also the work of people like you and I that introduces friends and promotes camaraderie, thus creating less combative situations and more streamside manners, hosting discussions of what we might do to make our fishing experience better in lieu of the problems, etc.

If we took away our sites, the crowds would still grow and grow - but the camaraderie may not. We are part of the solution, not the problem in my mind!
 

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RATS IN THE BELFRY

Gentlemen,

The posts about river crowding in one forum and the parallel discussions of etiquette in another I admit to perusing with a mounting sense of rue mixed in equal measure with spittle-on-the-chin knee-slapping hilarity.

A story for you. Several years ago a steelhead website was spawned over on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula. The webmaster's clear intent was to take steelhead river fishing and transmogrify it from its historical pedigree of a journey of self-exploration and calculated passion in the manner of Haig-Brown’s writings into a.....a what? Into a full-blown in-your-face take-no-prisoners military-industrial complex, that's what.

With dripping helpings of technique slathered generously with river names, river places, water flows and digi-pix of chest-pounding fishing exploits, the site soon attracted a large group of sycophants, all hungering for more information which magically just kept on coming and coming. No more paying long arduous dues to learn a stretch of river, no more trial and error of technique with the hopes of the big payoff; just point and click and away we go and hey, it’s all free!

The chest-pounding exploits then of course turned to rivers north of the border. Despite coyly dressing up the tepid prose in snickering secrecy so as to pass the smell test of his own kiss-and-tell egregiousness, no matter-- the merry pranksters who read his site back home all eventually caught on to the Zen of where and how and when, wink wink, say no more, say no more.

And what happened? Yes, you got it-- in a matter of two years, the select northern rivers the webmaster chose to focus his devastating “chat” on changed from being places of lose-yourself-in-the-bliss-of-wilderness-adventure to full-blown combat fishing, all a-bristle with Shimano Calcuttas, dawn assaults with pink worms, 4x4's parked out on the gravel beaches, and the trusty digi-cams to keep the masses back at the ranch enthralled in yet one more chapter of The Fluviatile Conquest.

The local guides on both sides of the border went berserk. This guy was giving away information that they normally sold to clients for US$ 250 a day-- what’s up with that? There were threats and counter-threats, slashed tires on boat launches, public humiliations on chat forums-- yes, the full-blown seamy underbelly of the information superhighway.

Do we congratulate ourselves for the smarmy bonhomie and shoulder-slapping chatty comraderie we share as we wait at the top of the hole for the 10 flyboys already in place below us to one-step their way to the bottom before we dutifully and patiently step in behind? The same 10 flyboys who just learned how cool this fly fishing thing was last month on an internet website? The guys who just bought their top-of-the-line spey gear off the same website, learned what hole to go to and when to go there from a post by the guy who sold them the rod?

The Brits, the Norwegians and the Icelanders have already been there and done that, folks. They quietly chuckle watching all this silliness. And we all know what they did to solve that problem.

But one last piece to the story. What, you ask, might be the secret compulsion that would drive a webmaster of a site described above to spew information in the manner described, defying all logic of what fishing and fishermen are really all about? Yes, questionable self-esteem is probably on the list somewhere. But the real prime mover of it all? It’s very simple, really. Can you spell M-O-N-E-Y? It’s pay to play, folks. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, no such thing as free information.

Squandering solitude and selling out your bud's secret river spots? If its not part of your advertising budget, just say no!

Yes, I suppose you can always tell a man's convictions by the headwaters of his cash flow. Sad, ain't it?
 

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Indicators Anonymous
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An intresting post coming from someone who has quietly used this forum to pimp his custom rods without considering a sponsership. :confused:

btw-The webmaster and in turn the viewers of his site have done more to protect the rivers of the OP (and Washington State wild steelhead) then anyone else in the past few years. The website in question 'spawned' the Wild Steelhead Coalition...an orginization that has quickly become the Voice for wild steelhead in the PNW!
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Re: RATS IN THE BELFRY

marketic said:
Gentlemen,

The posts about river crowding in one forum and the parallel discussions of etiquette in another I admit to perusing with a mounting sense of rue mixed in equal measure with spittle-on-the-chin knee-slapping hilarity.
If you read through the history of this you'd know they are directly related, in fact one is the equal and opposite reaction to the other with the intent of getting on the same page with all who read this forum, which is half the battle.

If we closed down the Forum / Speyclave popularity would still grow - but if we used it to get on the same page in terms of river ettiquette we could make things a little bit better. Would you agree?


Yes, I suppose you can always tell a man's convictions by the headwaters of his cash flow. Sad, ain't it?
Neither Dana, Sean nor I get any paychecks for what we have put into this and we've been at this for years. I'll admit we're nearing the breaking point for impacting our family budget (both cash and time), but it was never our intent to sell out anything and it never will be. So if cash flow is our measure, we have everything to be proud of.

I am not sure I caught every nuance of your reply but if I read it right there were both valid points and gross generalizations in it. I will ponder the valid points and see what actions I might take to address them.

I agree with Ryan in that webmasters have also used the media to help the cause. Here in the Forum I designed the WSC logo and host the WSC website and forum (au gratis of course) to the WSC for an indefinite term as a way of donating to the cause. Sean was the developer who got the infrastructure put together behind the graphics. Feels good to give to the cause.

I understand and appreciate your passion for protecting our sport; thanks for taking the time to post such a thorough reply. You can be assured that it's our heartfelt intention to be a resource that does not promote exploitation while promoting enjoyment of the sport.

Juro
 

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An independent perspective

I have been on this forumn for 11 months and am an avid trout and steelhead fly fisherman in the great lakes area

I can honestly say I have not received nor gave anything more than general information on river fishing locations during the past year and most of the fishery locations that have been mentioned have already been publicy advertized through other communications mediums: magazines, TVs, internet sites etc..

I don't think I have gained any new secret fishing locations on this site that I could not have found in other communication mediums..

What I have gained is much independent expert knowledge on various fly fishing techniques, equipment, and other related fly fishing topics than any fly fisher can apply to their local fly fishing pursuits.

Perhaps we do need some formal communicated rules though on the posting of fishing results and locations etc. which there are on other fishing sites, and which are enforced by the administrators.
 

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Gentlemen,

Although I agree that Spey Clave is one of the more tasteful and constructive “fishing” sites on the internet and shows by its level of class the amount of work you fellows have put into it, Dana’s earlier post indicates that he is all too aware of the supremely bitter irony of creating and maintaining such a site— just “being there” is enough to create the terminal buzz which promotes the ever-diminishing aesthetic returns on the rivers he loves so much (too many bodies) and the resulting viral disease that too many bodies carry (etiquette trampled beneath an army of aluminum cleats). Where to go from here?

I wish I could share Juro's larger-than-life optimism that low-holers and hole hoggers can successfully be socialized. But I can’t - I’m a cynical realist and know full well that 99 % of low-holers are not new to the sport and know exactly what they are doing and how to go about pulling it off. They are strident opportunists who take advantage of the rest of us “nice guys” who choose not to seek confrontation on the river. They know most of us were brought up not to fight in church and this is their trump card.

Perhaps you know that when purchasing a beat on some of the Scottish rivers, the ticket you receive prior to the start of your fishing day comes complete with a map (where you can fish and where you can’t). It also contains very specific behavioral guidelines as to what you may do and what you may not do while pursuing your sport.

There is a clear concise list of directives that include no low-holing (wait at the top of the hole for the next angler to move down through it) and an admonishment that each angler must take at least one step downstream between each cast.

On at least one of the rivers I have fished, the guidelines also stipulate not only the type of line you may use (with attendant maximum sinking rate) but also the acceptable angle at which you may cast your line across the river!!!

Can you imagine people adhering to this type of manifesto on a river in the Pacific Northwest? My guess is that Brits accept such rules and regulations without a whimper because they are fundamentally a matriarchal society and mother knows best.

I used to write for several Northwest publications. I always got away with writing about “how” and “why” and was able to finance my growing collection of rods and reels with the money I made from those writings. Much to my chagrin, however, one day one of the publishers began making noises about wanting to see some “where” and “when” articles. “Common”, he said. “You fish all over the place and do so more then most people would admit to in polite company….. How about some nuts and bolts articles about “where” and “when”?

He became insistent and it was at that point that I put my sporting journalist’s pen down. I have not picked it back up since, despite the fact that in those days, I was technically living at poverty level.

I don’t know where to go with the etiquette question, gentlemen (and yes, this post should probably be over on the "etiquette" thread at the very least).

But I’ll admit to being one of those guys who doesn’t like screaming in church. So I try and out-walk them. If that fails I try to out-last them. Sometimes I’ll even try and out-wade them (I have thrown away several drowned cameras as a result of that gambit).

When all else fails I spew my vitriol on an internet website. But no matter what I say or do, I have a blood-oath with myself which I have never yet broken. I never ever say “where” and I never ever say “when”. Why? To do so would be a clear breach of etiquette.
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Care to expand on that OC?

If the reinforcement of the angler's natural tendency to befriend fellow anglers is so much the very core of evil as you constantly rant, then what brings you here?

If I pull the plug right now on this forum, will it really help lessen the numbers of people in "your" waters? Is there not some benefit in that you might know them, or wish to know them, because of the courtesy you may have extended, or been extended here?

I am confused by your judgement. Please explain.
 

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Juro,
1st off let me thank you again for having such a site as this for me to rant. I am a firm believer that you are not in this for the money. If I ranted as I do here on the other site mentioned in this thread I would have been gone long ago. Over there money is more important than preservation. I like the democracy we have here. Thank you again.
My last post was that of comaraderie. From all that I've heard about you and Dana is that you both are fine people and fine fishermen. And from the wonderful stories you tell from time to time a lot of us that are in our 50's or older know you were brought up on the rivers to fly fish with observation and tradition. My statement in my last thread was just that, I see in Dana that he is understanding that someone with name and resources can be not such a good thing for fly fishing if used in a certain way. With you juro I'm not so sure with all your good intentions and love for sharing fly fishing you do.
But I have hope for you, I really do you are a good man.
There is no doubt that the internet fly fishing sites play a small part in the mass marketing of fly fishermen but it is growing. The big game is not the internet but the industry that has changed from a cottage industry with owners that once cared to corparations who don't. Do you understand that and exactly what they are doing? But we as fly fishermen have resonsibilities also. I'm as much to blame for the situations we have now as anyone. There are solutions. We as individuals can as some have said start by being a little more quiet with info. Why is there a need to tell someone that if you fish here at a certain tide with a certain fly that you may do all right. Why not let everyone find their own wealth of knowledge just as I'm sure you do because you understand how to find it on your own, and enjoyed finding that knowledge on your own from the day you started fishing.
As for the "your" waters? Shame on you, I would expect that out of some but you know the same people that I fish with and know darn well this is not about my waters.
So let us get on with the debate of what to do. Personally I tried your way for many years but things continued to change I'm affraid for the worse. Lets agree to respect the two opposite ends of the debate but lets not pussy foot around the issues. As far as this fly fisherman is concerned Walton and H. Brown are rolling in their grave and I'm not sure if they are crying or laughing their a-- of at us.
Sorry if you took the post personal, You should be proud that your site is home for the concerns of a growing # of displeased fly fishermen.
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Marketic,

You are absolutely right about the when and where articles. Telling people how and why is very different; but it doesn't sell more equipment or more subscriptions either.

All one has to do is look at the brands that we consider to be high end, quality eqpiment. How many of them are not part of a corparate conglomerate that is more interested in this quarter's profit margin and total sales than in the genteel art of fishing with a fly. There are damned few fly fishing manufacturers that are cottage industries today (feather merchants are an exception that come readily to mind, but there is not a lot of dollars in a pound of feathers either, RIO also comes readily to mind). And the corparate conglomerates usually are run by folks who don't fish at all, they golf instead.

Yes, I know that Sage, G.Loomis, and T&T produce some very nice rods and reels. But they are all part of large corporate conglomerates now as well.

Is it posible that we have met the enemy and he is us?
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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OC -

Thanks for taking the time to explain and please understand that your previous 10 words left quite a bit to interpretation. I did not take it personally any more than you presented it clearly; but direct identification as such deserves an explanation.

Likewise I am sorry you took the phrase "your waters" personally. I lived in WA for 12 years trying my best to fish every corner of the western part of the state and found the only places where I could feel angst about crowding were those areas where people were not willing to explore beyond their own comfort zones. Many of my favorite spots are rarely visited by others, and when I return there I still hit fish in them, all by myself. These spots are just as productive both in terms of redeeming qualities for the angler as well as number of hookups in both seasons. Heck I don't even have time to fish but a few when I visit there are so many. But I enjoy fishing the popular holes too in a different way and I enjoy the folks I meet on the river anywhere I go with very few exceptions.

As far as your mention of a tide and fly implies striper / east coast saltwater fishing - knowing you are an experienced striper fisherman I could also say "shame on you". You know as well as I that everything changes in hours, minutes, sometimes seconds in this fishery and it matters very little what you say about the east coast surf scene with few exceptions. One situation where it did make a difference became our poster child for not talking years ago, and the only spots you see now over on the striper board are those folks knowingly offer because it doesn't matter. Northeast coastal fishery is a diamterically different situation than the Skykomish, Sauk or Skagit.

I am not selling out spots by any stretch of your imagination, only camaraderie like this very discussion between you and I - and there is no need to target me with your flyfishing big business paranoia. I am FAR from big business, in fact I have done nothing but give and give into this zero profit venture.

I will continue to believe that friendship among anglers is part of the solution, not the problem. I am glad that you feel there is hope for me. I think there is hope for you too. :devil:

Enjoy your soapbox!
 

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I am wondering what the meat of this arguement is. Is it that the people who live near a river and are able to fish it regularily, should keep their knowledge secret so that no one else will find out about it and try to fish it? Further, if you keep your knowledge secret , those who do come will be unsuccessful and leave never to return? This is etiquette?
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Another thing I don't get about this argument is the feeling that camaraderie can only mean revealing secret spots, nothing else. For the record, I am absolutely against sharing specific information pertaining to locations on-line - although it seems some are quick to wrongly construe camaraderie as "disclosure of spots" for some strange reason :confused:

Furthermore I maintain that on-line communities like the Forum and Speyclave should not be cited as causes or contributors of the doom and gloom being portrayed.

The bulk of the crowding is occurring on the spots everyone and their sister already know about and no one here is responsible for that.

The energy spent complaining here would be best directed to the offenders themselves. I for one am sick of the impositions that we are the cause of crowding on the world's waters.
 

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As you said there are many waters you fish that are not fished much and are good. But do you not agree that the possibilities are great if someone on the internet or a magazine or tv show found out about those spots that they would be exploited too? That is how spots like the Snake have become exploited by someone going public. The famous Mr Black who was the first to explore the snake area over fifty years ago with a fly rod and is now in his 80's was devistated this year by what has happened to the river. A wonderful man, one can only feel sorry for him he has been such a wonderful friend to all without exploiting the river.

I only mentioned tides and such because of an experience I had back there this year but it goes for all the different sites where people don't realize how damaging the giving out of info is. How do you think a guy who never goes on the internet but loves to fish feels when out of nowhere 10 or 15 people show up where he just started to fish. Those who found out about the spot because someone on the internet mentioned they had caught fish there the day before. Chances are most of those folks would not have been fishing there and would have still been fishing but at least they would have been spread out on their own and enjoying exploring the coast to find fish. As you know I visit the striper board often because of how much I love striper fishing. I like everyone over there they are good people but it does disturb me that they are so giving with info because of camaraderie. The tradition of striper fishing has always been in the secretiveness. The reason was simple, too many people could ruin a good thing. I'm sure you are aware that there is a dislike out your way for the internet fisherman, I don't know how big it is but it is there. An example, Fished a spot I fished as a kid some 25 years before. learned by just going out and fishing that that spot would always hold one or two big bass at the start of an incoming tide for about 15 minutes Never fished it as a teenager with a fly rod because I didn't think you could land a big bass on one. Had already over a few days time caught one nice bass at each turn of the tide then went home or to a different place. One evening at 1:30 AM left the house walked out to the spot to catch the tide, triped over every rock there was, it was dark, no one around. Waded out second cast big fish on played him and started to walk him into the shore in the dark. As I landed the fish a voice say's, "looks like a nice fish.
Scared the hell out of me, didn't know anyone had walked up behind me. Two guys in their 30's, fly fishermen, they helped me measure the fish then off it swam, biggest bass i've ever caught on a fly by far. I was pretty happy and the next thing I know these two guy's are grilling me on how I found out about this spot, they had never seen me before. Told them I grew up here and fished it often years ago. They ranted for 20 minutes maybe about how all these internet fly fishermen are screwing things up, nothing but a bunch of lazy bastards.
Anyway Juro, what I'm saying is there are people out there who don't believe in internet fly fishing because of the effect it has on fishing. You must understand that the internet can not only have a good effect on fishing but can have a bad effect also.
So what will you say/what will you think when you go back to one of those special spots you mentioned above and there are 4 guys fishing it and you find out they found out about it from some internet site, or some fly fishing rag?
As for being paranoid I don't think I am, but maybe, don't even think it is a consperisy just modern day marketing practices that are not so good for the traditions of something that has been held on dearly too by many. We are seeing the effects of over population in fly fishing and we are trying to come up with answers. We are not cranks, we are not nasty old men, we are good people, we are friendly people but who realize the new era of fly fishing is not working for all but those who are making money off it. We believe that the old tradition of having a good trusted friend to fish with and share was social enough. Didn't mean we didn't like the others that fished. Don't know if the fly fishermen of old protected what they did conciously or not but I do know that it worked and what we have now is not.
Soapbox, HMmmm?
 

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Nevada Caster-

Your question about what the meat of this thread might be is entirely warranted. However, I sense you might be confusing senseless chest-pounding braggadocio with etiquette when in reality, they are at opposing ends of the color spectrum.

Etiquette as you know is a social covenant stipulating a code of behavior. How one behaves in a gathering of his peers (like on a particularly fruitful fishing hole) tends to reflect each fisher’s social skills and whether or not a code of behavioral ethics was properly instilled during the formative years.

Low-holing is gross opportunism and is crumby behavior. It shows contempt for one’s peers ( “…..it’s true I shut the bar down last night with my buddies and slept in, but see if I’m going to stand in line with those fruit-cakes up at the top of the hole to wait my turn…” and also shows contempt for fishing traditions and the common courtesies that have developed with those traditions. It is for that reason that many rivers in the U.K. provide each fisher with a list of specific behavioral do’s and don’ts. Low-holing as mentioned in an earlier post is clearly a don’t.

Another don’t is to monopolize water, also a clear breach of etiquette. I would wager that at least some people on this Forum have in fact done this, knowingly or unknowingly, especially those who fish with friends. It’s real easy to work through a hole with one or two of your buds, each cycling his way back up to the top to do it over again, knowing that in effect you have scared away other fishermen through strategic body placement. It’s subtle, yes, corking off a hole, everyone smiling, everyone showing proper river etiquette by moving through the hole, altruistic behavior at its best, sort of.

The flip side of the etiquette coin is the chest-pounding kiss-and-tell, all too common in hunting and fishing internet sites these
days. There are websites galore that absolutely relish this kind of talk. Gone is the “why do we do this” as OC points out in numerous posts. It’s all about “where and when and how do we get it NOW, lots of it now!"

One fishing site in particular defines the absolute nadir of taste and goofiness when it comes to perverting the intent of the Information Age. The webmaster has an 800 number stenciled onto the gunnels of his drift boat in big eye-catching font advertising his guiding outfit. The more chest-pounding stories he can relate on his site about where and when and how big and how many results predictably in more “fishermen” standing on the banks of his rivers which of course means more eyeballs glued to his 800 number as he ferries his clients gaily down the river with a digital camera duct-taped to his forehead. It’s purely an economic gambit, driven completely by greed but artfully camouflaged in a velvet jacket of social activism, ostensibly to “protect the resource”.

So the worse and more egregious one side (site) gets, the more strain it puts on the other (etiquette gets put to the test) . It's demonstrated with rats all the time in laboratories—put enough of them in one place and they’ll start chewing each other’s legs off.

So, the “meat” of this thread and other parallel threads like it currently on this forum is to approach the Information Age with a degree of caution. What is etiquette? Proper behavior, yes. Perhaps we can also include the following: the proper and prudent dissemination of information that won’t result in legs being chewed off on the river bank.
 

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#&%*@^# Caster
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My whole problem with this thread is this. I do not think what we had in the "good old days" worked like you keep saying over and over. If it did work so well then where are the fish?

I am 26 years old and have been fly fishing for arounf 3 1/2 years. Grew up in alaska where I spin fished mostly as a kid. Hopefully one day I will see fish numbers return to those of the good old days but realistically it will not be in my lifetime even if things start turning around tomorrow.

My feeling is that the hyper secretive nature you keep proclaiming as the answer is what got us to this point in the first place. If you do not have people on the river/lake/ocean you have no voice. The rivers in CA/WA are now just shells of thier former selves due to people being quiet and keeping the rivers to themselves. If nobody knows about them then how can we help them when they get in trouble. Look at the OP closures that just happened. This was spearheaded by fisherman. 20 years ago I guarentee nothing would have been done.

This is about the fish remember? Those extra C'n'R fisherman we are now seeing on the water are a good thing. The more people we have identifying with a watershed the better I feel it is for the fish. We have tried your way and it did not work.

No I am not for giving out secret spots but in most cases talking about a resource is a good thing in my opinion.

-sean
 
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