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  • Local waters, special places…

    Conversation in a fly shop yesterday - and like other chats we have in local fly shops, no conclusions...but worthwhile thoughts on both sides.

    What about those books and the Internet “telling all” about local waters?

    Pros: would include all the time-saving advice – location, technique, and even which guides are/are not recommended…to those new to the area.

    Cons: Any?
    No habitat, no hunter.

  • #2
    I have mixed feelings on it! With so much information now available in print and online, some of the easier areas to reach were bound to get hit hard. I don't mind sharing general info on large systems, but I keep the more sensitive fisheries to myself and closer friends. I like the satisfaction of self discovery...the journey is more important than the destination! One example is the Anchor! I use to love fishing that water, but probable won't go back out of respect for the fish. The king fishery is crazy out of control and the river is being loved to death. Everyone could see it coming with a short season, not much fishable water and easy access. Throw in lead and guides with van loads of people and we have the Russian River. In this case, change the regs and I think you could thin the crowds to people who actually fish. I will leave that's for another debate!

    Comment


    • #3
      I pretty much hate folks spewing about great fishing they have in particular spots, I think its fine to point folks in the right direction like "the susitna river has rainbows, look for places salmon spawn to catch them" or even help folks with the kind of water to look for, but to post on the internet or write in a book what rock to stand on really sucks. Take Quartz Creek for example, I never saw anybody fishing it before 2000 when "internet 2.0" came around, with bulletin boards and such
      I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

      Comment


      • #4
        I often am asked where I caught a fish. I always tell the truth


        "in the water!"



        Or the other one "what did you catch that on?



        "My rod"



        Sorry I had to do it. But really I think people tell the masses too much. Personally I dread the Daily News headlines that seem to pop up telling everyone to go here or there. It really bogs down a fishery.
        Thanks, Matt


        My Site

        Comment


        • #5
          Dilemma

          Great thread guys. I'm with you.

          I would love to start submitting articles to fly-fishing magazines. What better way to put my English degree to use than to get paid to write about fishing. The problem is, I don't want to sell-out the last few uncrowded places I know in Alaska. I have a favorite walk and wade stream, somewhere between Fairbanks and Homer :rolleyes: that sees very little pressure except in the peak of the salmon spawn. I know there is decent to excellent fishing in this stream all summer and well into late fall. I'm sure I could easily get an article published on this stream if I took the time to write it, but would it be worth the couple hundred bucks and miniscule amount of fame I would earn to find my favorite stream choked with people in June and July, when I used to have it to myself?

          I guess my degree will keep collecting dust. I'd rather have a few uncrowded places left than fame and fortune.

          Comment


          • #6
            Scott I think the best fly fishing writing is about streams like that but alluding to where they are giving subtle hints as to where it is that only someone intimately familiar with the area will pick up on.
            I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

            Comment


            • #7
              Relentless...?

              I've certainly profited from available print/digital wisdom and appreciate it. I still garner what I can. But this conversation was one of those, "can it happen here?" moments.

              Maybe not. But although they describe what's seemed a remote reality, fly fishing magazines and publications by Trout Unlimited, frequently include stories about distressed Lower-48 fisheries; often distressed partly related to population swell.

              In this state, it's simple to spotlight the population growth centers. Only a small leap then to see how growth might pressure small fisheries. A cascade of issues can follow in predictable and relentless sequence -- fewer fish, decline in quality of fish and fishery (litter, water quality, erosion), land use conflicts, ...issues seen on some Lower-48 waters. Not inevitable, but not good if it somehow takes hold and goes unchecked.

              Another thought -- where you going to fish when you get old?

              Optimistically, we will all have a say in how fishing grows, around the local fisheries and remote waters too. This all shed a new light on LItoAK's TU thread from January (http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...d.php?p=407418). Altogether just seemed like something we might profit from pondering. Until breakup at least!
              No habitat, no hunter.

              Comment


              • #8
                But this conversation was one of those, "can it happen here?" moments.
                It already is happening here.

                Even on this very forum.

                The following is part of my response to a similar thread a while back, and something I feel very strongly about as a guide, a fly-fishing writer, and above all, a fisherman.


                As a group, fishermen have always protected their privacy and secrets. It is, in my opinion, one of the very few traditions that has not grown stale or age-bound on many different levels. The useful knowledge that is passed down from those that come before us does not come at a small price, and the fee is usually paid in respect for the knowledge granted, and the understanding that the information given is not of the garden-variety, give-it-away-for-free sort. Weather patterns, run timing, "hot rocks", good spots, secret patterns...This is the sort of thing that passes between folks after bonds are made, the forging of friendships via knowledge held in fairly tight check.

                As with many things, these traditions are rapidly eroding, but there seems to be more of a willingness to give away knowledge in the "age of the internet", no matter the perceived value of the information. "Friendships" based on interactions over the ether, and the latent willingness to appear knowledgeble, can often have disastrous results. Consider the effects of the internet on many small-stream or low-population fisheries in the lower 48...even here in our home state of AK. Folks grumble about how they can't find a place to fish, that their favorite hole, lake, bay, or river always seems to be "too crowded". Then consider the fact that there aren't more fishermen than in the days of old, but they always seem to be at the better holes, lakes, bays, and rivers.

                Part of the journey we call fishing is the acqusition of knowledge, and part of that knowledge acquisition is, and should be, of the "DIY" sort, the "hike up your boots and get to it" variety. While we all know that No Man Is An Island and many things learned are learned from others, there are many aspects of learning for oneself that are far superior to being "spoon-fed", being handed learning without being able to fully comprehend the price behind such knowledge.

                The internet is a wonderful place to meet folks, and a great place to trade information. Never before has there been a resource and knowledge base so wide, so far reaching as to encompass almost every aspect of our sport...with this power, never before has there been the consequence of a few typed words having such an impact as well.

                Respect the knowledge each of you has. If you find yourself in a discussion with someone that you feel is worthy of hard-earned information you might have, by all means give it discreetly to them, with friendship and respect in kind. Respect the tradition of secrecy and privacy, and if you do choose to share your prize, don't shout it out above the crowd for all to hear.

                Remember, you can't see all the ears in this room.
                sigpic

                Comment


                • #9
                  G Smolt,

                  Great thoughts in the post before me and very eloquently put.



                  My 2 cents,

                  Take someone fishing with you, email them the gps coordinates to your favorite fishing hole, Xerox a copy of your map with good areas marked, who cares? Help those that seek it. Especially if it is someone you think will value and respect the place as much as you do. Sadly, this is not always the case. One thing I don't think is a good idea is posting specific info onto a forum like this. I have been guilty of it a time or two, but generally try not to do this. Just because someone enjoys fishing, does not mean they are true stewards of the land. I wish this was not the case, but it is unfortunately. Telling someone your favorite fishing hole is like letting someone take your sister out to dinner. Prudence and caution are in order

                  The same would apply to anything being printed. Reading a recent issue of "Fish Alaska", I cringed when I saw the name of the river featured in a float trip article. Won't even repeat the name here, but the article would have been every bit as informative and enjoyable had it read, "Float Trip in Bristol Bay", rather than revealing the name of the river. If this continues, at some point in the future, Alaska rivers will have beer cans and cigarrette butts lining their banks like so many in the lower 48. I can't afford to fly to Kamchatka twice a year so I hope this does not happen. Heck, I can barely afford to fly to Alaska.

                  Share your info, but do it selectively. Who knows, that same person may return the favor one day. Even if it is months or years down the road. Chalk it up to good karma. I prefer telling folks looking for info to get some books. I make suggestions on the books that have helped me the most. If that same guy picks up a book or two and does some indepenent research, I will be more inclined to offer more info if I have it to give. If that guy sends me a pm or email and I detect some passion in his pursuit, I will pretty much tell all.

                  Knowledge is not mine to hoard. I got it from somewhere or someone else myself. I just try to give it to those that deserve it and seem to have a deep respect for our natural resources.

                  Float trips is my thing and a few times each month I get emails and pm's requesting info. Usually someone planning that first float trip. I gladly give them all the info I have. Quite often, I get a trip report sent to me afterwards. One just last week was from a guy that took his 10 year old on a arctic float for caribou and dolly varden this past Sept. I helped him out with the logistics, food ideas, and fly fishing aspects of the trip. Long story short, they had the trip of a life time. A trip his son will not soon forget. A classy sort that gets info, takes a trip months later, and still remembers who helped him out along the way. Situations like this validate my thoughts that some folks deserve the info in the first place.
                  The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Population Density

                    I think the key to this discussion is population density. As I've mentioned in a couple of other posts, my Dad and I fished our way up through Northern California, Idaho and Montana a couple of summers ago. We ended-up on the Madison river on the 3rd of July. That's the busiest weekend of the year for the small town of Ennis, yet we only saw three other boats all day on the section of river we fished. We also fished other famous rivers such as Idaho's Silver Creek and the Big Lost, as well as the Beaverhead and the Ruby in MT. We fished various other lesser known streams as well, but the thing that amazed me about all of the rivers fished on that trip was the absence of crowds. We had some spectacular fishing on some of the most famous rivers in the west and only once or twice had to drive to the next turn-out to give an angler some space.

                    My theory: there are fewer rivers easily accessible by road in Alaska, so they get hammered by locals and tourists alike.

                    In short, if you know a small stream that has avoided recognition, keep it that way! By all means, share your knowledge, but only after you have really come to know that the person your sharing it with will respect the value of the stream and the necessity for keeping it sacred.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Good thread

                      Originally posted by Scottsum View Post
                      I think the key to this discussion is population density. As I've mentioned in a couple of other posts, my Dad and I fished our way up through Northern California, Idaho and Montana a couple of summers ago. We ended-up on the Madison river on the 3rd of July. That's the busiest weekend of the year for the small town of Ennis, yet we only saw three other boats all day on the section of river we fished. We also fished other famous rivers such as Idaho's Silver Creek and the Big Lost, as well as the Beaverhead and the Ruby in MT. We fished various other lesser known streams as well, but the thing that amazed me about all of the rivers fished on that trip was the absence of crowds. We had some spectacular fishing on some of the most famous rivers in the west and only once or twice had to drive to the next turn-out to give an angler some space.

                      My theory: there are fewer rivers easily accessible by road in Alaska, so they get hammered by locals and tourists alike.

                      In short, if you know a small stream that has avoided recognition, keep it that way! By all means, share your knowledge, but only after you have really come to know that the person your sharing it with will respect the value of the stream and the necessity for keeping it sacred.
                      I agree with Scott completely… I’d say there’s definitely more anglers today than in the days of old (especially in Alaska). Take the Anchorage/Matsu area – 360,000 people (nearly twice the population from 1980). I read the other day that on average 20% of the Alaskan population fishes (and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s higher). Right there you have 72,000 with rod in hand. Fishing season is all too short, especially when you consider run timing from region to region. Then add in non-resident pressure. In 2006 there were 137,000 resident fishing licenses sold, and 156,000 non-resident licenses sold. Considering the vast majority of anglers are still limited to what is a very limited road system, it's no surprise you can’t find any solitude. And no wonder more “secret” spots are seeing more pressure as more and more people try to find escape from the crowds, whether it’s by walking, floating or flying - or that these roadside fishing guides are such money makers.
                      These comparisons to the lower 48 and all the problems down there are interesting – not saying a lot of areas don't have major problems, but having spent the first couple decades of my life fishing WY, CO and MT, I found out after moving to Alaska that I never had a clue what crowds really were. What I considered crowded fishing back in my home turf is nothing compared to many of the fisheries here. (And on a side note… the amount of litter and trash in AK still blows me away.)

                      I’ve actually been thinking about this thread for a couple of days, and have really enjoyed hearing everyone’s opinion. A few more thoughts:

                      Internet…
                      Love it or hate it, the internet/technology/computers have changed everything. It’s an incredibly valuable resource for researching new areas, but for the same reasons it’s made everything so much more readily accessible. You can download any USGS map every published for free. You can find trails and roads into rivers and lakes thousands of miles away via Google Earth. Nothing is that secret anymore – so if you find a hidden stretch of water do all you can to avoid drawing attention to it, because the odds are stacked against you. And I’d wager everyone on this forum is guilty of having said too much at one time or another.

                      Regulations…
                      Talk about a tell-all. If you want to find some new water to fish in an area, just grab a set of regs. More than likely every river stream and lake in it has its own separate description. I understand the logic behind it (limited impacts, harvest, spawning disruption, etc.) But with so many limits and restrictions it pretty much forces people to fish here now and then later. And what’s with weekend king fisheries? It’s already illegal to harass fish. There’s annual limits. What’s the reason for making everyone crowd together three days of the week? (other than the obvious reason that funds are lacking to try and enforce the regulations all week long.) But I’m getting off the point – you want to find some water to fish, regs lay it out for you. Talk about a double-edged sword. On that note… F&G knows a lot, and the funny thing is that it’s their job to share that information if you’re willing to ask.

                      Books…
                      IMO, people write these how-to books for two reasons. One, they see a niche or something lacking, “I wish there was a book that described a bunch of floats down different Alaskan rivers. Hmm… I bet other people would like a book like that too, and since there’s not one I guess I’ll get busy writing it.” Two, they know enough about it they figure they can get a little recognition, cash or both. “I’ve fished all over Alaska and know a lot about it. I think I’ll write a book and maybe finance my next trip.” Or some combination… “I bet if I did some research and compiled all the public access from Fish & Game along with chatting it up with the locals plus some personal experience I bet I could write a heck of a roadside fishing guide.”
                      I honestly don’t think most of the tell-all books tell all that much you can’t pick up a dozen other places. Personally, I think you can get a lot more reading about fish behavior, habitat, feeding cycles and fishing techniques than “how to fish such and such river.” And with what’s already been published on floating rivers (whether for fun, fishing, or hunting) all the major systems are pretty much already public knowledge (for a small price).

                      Commercialism…
                      Some of the often repeated advice I got when moving to AK in regards to fishing and hunting… “Hire a guide your first trip or two out to learn the ropes, learn the country.” Not trying to ruffle anyone’s feathers, but guiding has major impacts on fisheries. And especially when you consider that Alaska is synonymous with fishing and a lot of people’s livelihood in this state is based around tourism and fishing in one way or another. Look at a map, find a river, google it (thanks again internet), and I bet there’s a lodge or guide who will take you fishing there. And seeing that there are so many guides and lodges, there’s probably some pictures of huge fish on their website/fliers/ads to entice you here rather than there (and in turn show you just what this river or that lake is capable of). “Hmm… let’s see… the regs describe some stream called Quartz Creek. Google search... Holy cow, there’s quite a few people who will take me fishing there… and from the pictures on their websites there are some nice rainbows and dollys in that country. I think I’ll make an exploratory trip down there next weekend.” You can’t exploit a natural resource for profit without having an impact on that resource. Beyond that there’s been a major shift the past few decades from fishing as a means of providing food and recreation to making money – be it from new “miracle” lures to name-brand sponsorships to tell-all books to transporters and equipment rentals. If there’s money to be made in some regard to fishing, someone’s tried to do it. Not saying it’s good or bad, but it definitely affects what information is available to the public at large and what waters are now accessible.

                      The future…
                      Even if the population is growing in Alaska, nationwide there’s an alarming decline in fishing, hunting and outdoor activities, especially among young people. As mentioned already, it’s our job to be stewards of the land, and part of that is helping each other and getting others interested in fishing and hunting. When it comes down to a river up against a mine or a dam or hydropower, that river better have some good friends. The world is smaller than ever, and the same fate that has met once prolific streams of California, Oregon, Washington and BC can still happen here. It's good to have friends.

                      Personally, when I get old I’ll probably retire to the family cabin back in Wyoming. Hopefully there will still be some trout in the water. Wyoming is a terrible place… it gets too cold in the winter, too hot in the summer, and the wind never stops blowing. I don’t know why anyone would ever want to go there.
                      Pursue happiness with diligence.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Montana's the same

                        You're absolutely right Wyo2AK. The people who complain about crowds in the states have never seen the upper Kenai in late August/ early September. Before our trip in '07 I was genuinely worried about what I'd find in my favorite Montana streams after 10 years away. What I found was that the fishing hadn't changed much. There were a lot more housing developments in the area, but apparently all the .com'ers from California (who ruined the real estate market in much of Montana) don't fish.


                        Montana and Wyoming are similar. I don't know why anyone would want to live there, but I wish I had a family cabin there to retire to... Is 36 old enough to retire?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Wyo2AK View Post

                          When it comes down to a river up against a mine or a dam or hydropower, that river better have some good friends. The world is smaller than ever, and the same fate that has met once prolific streams of California, Oregon, Washington and BC can still happen here. It's good to have friends

                          Great point made here and that was a wonderful post man. Well said.

                          For anyone that has not seen it, visit the Sportsman's Alliance for Alaska website. There is a link on the site to weekly Ebay auctions raising money for the group. Lots of generous donations are being sold and there are some great deals to be had. Aside from that, you can feel good about where your money is going and what it is being used for. They are fighting the Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay as hard as they can. They could use everyone's support.

                          http://www.sportsmansalliance4ak.org/








                          .
                          The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Tradition... hard-won knowledge... wonderful post ...

                            from G_Smolt: excerpts:

                            As a group, fishermen have always protected their privacy and secrets. It is, in my opinion, one of the very few traditions that has not grown stale or age-bound on many different levels. The useful knowledge that is passed down from those that come before us does not come at a small price, and the fee is usually paid in respect for the knowledge granted, and the understanding that the information given is not of the garden-variety, give-it-away-for-free sort. Weather patterns, run timing, "hot rocks", good spots, secret patterns...This is the sort of thing that passes between folks after bonds are made, the forging of friendships via knowledge held in fairly tight check...

                            As with many things, these traditions are rapidly eroding, ...

                            Part of the journey we call fishing is the acquisition of knowledge, and part of that knowledge acquisition is, and should be, of the "DIY" sort, the "hike up your boots and get to it" variety. While we all know that No Man Is An Island and many things learned are learned from others, there are many aspects of learning for oneself that are far superior to being "spoon-fed", being handed learning without being able to fully comprehend the price behind such knowledge...

                            Respect the knowledge each of you has. If you find yourself in a discussion with someone that you feel is worthy of hard-earned information you might have, by all means give it discreetly to them, with friendship and respect in kind. Respect the tradition of secrecy and privacy, and if you do choose to share your prize, don't shout it out above the crowd for all to hear...
                            No habitat, no hunter.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As the problem of too many fisherman in too little a space increases. I think the fisherman should have a drawing permit system on some of the more popular and sensitive systems, like we hunters do in some areas. It might help alleviate some of the overcrowding.

                              Comment

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