I moved here from Utah last fall; I have done quite a bit of fishing in Utah for the past decade, in California before that, Ohio for 13 years, and I learned to fish when my Dad taught me in Michigan to fish for largemouth bass using surface poppers, quite a time ago. I've been a certified hunter safety instructor (a volunteer position) for many years now, teaching hunting and trapping ethics and more.
Today I spent my first day fishing in Alaska - frankly, I'm appalled.
My halibut trip was blown out by the weather and I had my first Alaskan fishing license burning a hole in my pocket - I couldn't let it go unused, since I hadn't been able to justify to the wife so far about paying nonresident fees for 'going fishing'. I went to Bird Creek midday today with the family.
From the bridge my family and I immediately noticed one kid in his early teens that was hauling fish in more often than any other 20 anglers put together, that were in sight. He would typically catch a midsize fish (can't say for sure from 70 yards upstream, but I'd guess Pink, about 24"), take his hook out, and would fling it back into the river sideways; the fish would often 'skip' like you would a flat rock, a couple of times, decending into the river half a dozen feet from the kid. Then he got worse. He catches one, clubs it, then reaches into his fish pile to throw an obviously dead fish into the river. The kid looks to have two adult fishermen with him; they don't appear to straighten the kid out at all.
I walked upstream. Within 15 minutes I see an angler right in front of me reel in a Pink, step on the fish with his boot (crushing the fish's head, it appeared), and removes his hook. He then casually kicks the fish back into the river, but misses it mostly; it was too shallow to be washed downstream, and the fish wasn't moving. 5 minutes later the dead fish is still within 2 feet of the angler, as he continues to fish.
What's up with the complete disregard for our public resource? And the law?
Speaking of which, the law can't show up too often, if ever, or this sort of extremely-poor-ethics would not happen.
I believe fishing should be a family sport - one that helps to bestow a sense of responsibility for the resource - respect for the animals we respectfully persue, kill, and eat, without wasting it.
I am fairly upset right now about this, and could go on, but I'll spare you my further thoughts on this for now, except one:
*You* are allowed to fish public waters here in Alaska because the U.S. Government (not Alaskan government) sees fit to allow you to. (The Supreme Court could someday pull some dumb manuver like to designate all hunting and fishing to be cruel, unusual, barbaric, or anything.) Most of U.S. citizens (yes, we're talking Outside - they have the say-so) do not hunt nor fish. So your ability to continue to pursue your sport lies in the hands of people that do *not* enjoy your sport themselves. And you **** betcha that if they saw a video tape of what I saw today, at a major fishing destination in the Anchorage area like I was at today, you might not be enjoying your sport much longer. People, we have to show everyone that we will obey the rules - *someone* is *always* watching!
Call me a Utah-rube/cheechako or whatever you want, but tell me this: do you agree with me, or these people I complain about?