Monday, June 9, 2014

Tragedy of a Wild Fishery

Typical High Mountain Stream
When I was a youngster my Dad and I used to hike about four miles into a small tributary of a river that had a wonderful population of wild Cutthroat and Rainbow trout. You seldom saw other hikers or fly fishers which often gave us the unique opportunity of having the stream all to ourselves. Dad’s philosophy back then was to only keep a few trout to eat and release all the others. Catches of 15 or 20 fish were common occurrences. For a 12 year old youngster it was an enchanting experience. However, on one particular trip my exciting adventure came to an abrupt end. 

As we were fishing downstream one day, we heard some faint noises off in the distance and the further we waded the noises got louder. Finally, we discovered the cause of the disturbance when we climbed upon a bank and peered across the stream. A construction company was building a new road that was paralleling the waterway. Dad turned to me and bluntly said, 

"Well, we won’t be fishing this river again!"

"Why, Dad?”

"Son, because when the road is done they’ll build campsites and charge fees. Then, people will eventually catch and kill all of the natives and then they’ll plant hatchery fish.”

Unfortunately, over the years this is has been a common practice that has occurred on many wonderful streams and lakes in our Country. Wild fisheries should not be depleted at the expense of progress. Our natural resources should be protected and maintained for future generations.

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