The Swift River and a Wasted Fish

I was down at the Swift this past weekend. I didn’t see a fish in several of my favorite spots. Really reliable spots. I sat down and watched for a while, too. Nothing.

Which is why, when a fellow angler just down the river told me a nice ‘bow was just frozen in the snow, I got pretty peeved.

I have no problem with harvesting for the sake of eating. Or even the occasional trophy. But I can’t abide wanton waste. Maybe it was dropped on accident. Hopefully. Something probably ate it, so, it technically didn’t go to waste, but it’s one less fish to target in a pressured system. Sucks for all of us.

Fish found in the snow by the Swift this weekend. What a waste.

Make sure to say something if you see poaching or waste. To maintain the great quality of fishing we have, we all have to be pretty conscious of what we do.

I don’t want us policing each other because we should be acting like responsible adults on our own behalf. Hunters and anglers are often in the position of getting away with small things like fishing a three-fly rig when there is a two-hook limit because there is no one around to see.

But, public lands degradation often comes from the “death by a thousand tiny cuts.” Aldo Leopold has a great quote: “Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching–even when doing the wrong thing is legal.”

In less preachy news:

I heard from friends that, above the Route 9 bridge, there was some decent to spotty action near the Y-Pool. Some use sub-22 nymphs and midges, others swing a soft-hackle. I almost never fish that upper section of the river, but maybe I should have this weekend.

And, I have no idea what this week of up and down weather has done to the lower stretches. The upper section will fish just like it always does being buffered by that bottom release dam, even with this upcoming rain.

Tight lines, everybody!


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3 thoughts on “The Swift River and a Wasted Fish

  1. With the money and effort poured into our fisheries to keep them going it is a shame to see a wasted fish. Unfortunate that many don’t see the consequences of their actions. I have come across many who see it as just one fish.

  2. Joe, I love the overall message of this post. Public lands are suffering a slow death of a thousand cuts. Much of it stands with the policies of the current administration, but I also feel that fishermen are responsible as well. Leaving trash behind, exceeding limits, and fishing out of season are some of the things that fishermen do that give themselves a bad name.

  3. Great post, Joe. A great reminder that we need to be mindful.

    I have to be in a special mood to fish the Swift, which means I rarely go these days. Personally, I choose to go 100% barbless. I usually leave early the high-traffic areas. The handful of stretches that reliably holds any modicum of fish just gets absolutely pounded. Like you, I spend more time at the lower stretches, away from the crowds.

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