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Thread: What's the Cost to Fish

  1. #1
    Member Wyatt's Avatar
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    Apr 2006

    Default What's the Cost to Fish

    Have any of you wondered about the effects tying materials have on fish? I read how plastics cause lots of heartburn to birds and other sea life, but I have never seen a study regarding lost lures and flies. I'm mostly interested in plastic beads that get ingested, but I guess chenille, Flashabou and anything else not biodegradable would put fish at risk! The evolution of tying materials has really accelerated over the past couple decades and I find it harder and harder to call these new offerings flies considering all the plastic. I would guess most of us are careful about the disposal of fly line, but do we think twice about what's tied on the end of the line. I know I sure see guys losing a ton of flies over the course of a day! I would bet the larger flow rivers flush pretty good and traditional flies probably just rust away amongst the rocks where fish don't give them a second thought, but beads not so much. Maybe trout can pass 10mm beads no sweat; I don't think I will start opening them up to find out!

  2. #2
    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Dec 2007

    Default My $.02

    I really don't worry too much about trout ingesting loose plastic beads to an extent that it's going to adversely affect fisheries. Trout use their mouths the same way you and I use our hands. And just like you and I can tell the difference between a hard plastic bead and a real salmon egg by pinching it with our fingers, trout can tell just the same. There's a reason we have to set the hook when we get a take - they don't hold onto a plastic bead for long. From the moment the emerging alevin use up the last of their yoke sack and have to start foraging for themselves, trout are mouthing what floats by to see if it's edible, and spitting out what isn't: sticks, leaves, rocks, styrofoam, etc. Occasionally trout fool us into thinking they're dumb, but trout aren't dumb.

    True, plastic beads aren’t biodegradable. And looking at a river like the Kenai, more plastic beads are probably lost each year in that river system than most. But again, compared to all the other environmental threats potentially affecting our watersheds and fisheries, I put plastic beads pretty low on the list. The bottoms of rivers are constantly changing and adjusting. High flows speed up this process and certainly help flush out the system, but the stream bed is always in motion. My day job is being a hydrologist and geomorphologist, so I spend some time dealing with sediment transport in river systems. And just beads on your line occasionally chip and break, I’d feel comfortable in guessing the same thing happens to loose beads. Within days or weeks they’re going to crack and be broken down by the natural river processes. True, there’s still tiny pieces of plastic within the watershed, and maybe they do impact insects or some other part of the overall food chain (it’d be a bit presumptuous to assume otherwise), but overall the plastic used to make beads is pretty inert. But by the time the beads wash down to Skilak or the Inlet to become buried in silt, I would wager the overall effects are pretty inconsequential.
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

  3. #3
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    power commuting twixt the valley and anchorage


    Kind of an interesting thought. There is a bit of bad publicity for fluorocarbon tippet, it doesn't biodegrade and I know of at least one shop that won't even sell it.

    In western NY a friend of mine caught a big fish that had 9 flies snagged throughout its body. I've seen a lot of flies outside the body, never thought about the ones inside it.

    I let my little boy bonk a rainbow that had a worm hook in the gut and the mono was, well, trailing the fish. It seemed to be ok otherwise.
    My only gear sponsor is the salvation army - Dick Griffith


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