Everyone who has ever enjoyed the thrill of fly fishing understands that this sport entails much more than casting a line to a potential catch.
Sustaining the places we use for recreation and work is vital to ensuring that the ecosystem remains a healthy place for us to enjoy, as well as a place where future generations of fish and anglers alike can thrive.
I am always baffled of how often, on my walks back to my truck after fishing, I manage to fill my net and empty sling pack space with trash found along the riverside. Now, it‘s obvious that not all this debris is the product of fishermen. But, littering has a huge impact on the quality of our rivers and streams.
Throughout this past fall, I managed to pull out of the Ashuelot River alone the following: 3/4 of a mini–Yamaha trailer, a few metal street poles and countless bottles, cans, and trash.
I have begun to bring an old shopping bag along to maximize trash pick–up along the way. Now, I am not saying we should put down our rods and become eco-warriors, but, it’s important to think about what we are getting in order to appreciate how fragile it really is.
Local Trout Unlimited chapters are great ways for anglers to get involved with the sustainable side of our sport. My home chapter in Connecticut, Candlewood Valley Trout Unlimited (CTVU), is always doing stream/river rehabilitation activities solo and in collaboration with other local chapters.
Your local chapters probably participate in similar activities, and these are excellent opportunities to give back to the rivers and streams which provide so much for us.
Really, though, it’s up to us as anglers on the front lines of river to do our part, as small as it might be, to keep the places we fish.
Something as easy as making sure those nipped tippet and leader pieces are properly disposed of can go a long way in ensuring micro-plastics don’t enter our rivers and streams.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but, I believe fishing karma does exist, and taking care of the places that take care of you is the best way to get that good karma on your side. Those 4+ pound browns and brookies won’t survive in the Swift, Housatonic, Sugar, or any other river or stream if we do not do our part as guardians of the water.
Until next time, tight lines!