After Maryland’s big push to get anglers to buy new boots and ditch their felt soles (link here!) in the name of preventing the spread of “Rock Snot” It seems they’ve not done their homework when it comes to their fish suppliers. From the Maryland DNR’s own site, they report on the issue briefly and discuss plans to expand their own hatchery operations. Article here.
All of this brings up the idea that they could save a few headaches and money, something all government agencies are worried about lately, by creating more catch and release water in the state. As a teenager in NJ I got to see, first hand, as a large section of a local stream was converted to catch and release. Attention from caring anglers and other wildlife lovers increased and efforts to sure-up streambanks and trash clean-ups were instituted. The river today still has it’s problems but less trash and more fish still has me dreaming of the town I left almost 10 years ago. Simply, it was a beautiful stream filled with wild fish!
I’m sure I’ll make some enemies by saying that I support conservation efforts that lean towards catch and release streams as our region becomes more heavily populated and pressure on our resources increases. This isn’t news to people who know me. I spent my weekend at my part-time gig teaching the “Fly Fishing 101” class at my local Orvis store and the idea of “catching fish to eat” inevitably came up. It’s a common thought with anglers new to fly fishing and I find myself defending catch and release regularly. To my excellent student I said “if we all kept them, there wouldn’t be any fish left” and the discussion seemed to end at a pleasant stalemate.I hear a lot of anglers say “I went fishing a few times but I didn’t catch anything…” when asked about their previous experiences. Some of that may have to do with the trout out-smarting the fishermen but I have to think that in some circumstances a healthier population of fish could have helped. With all the streams in the immediate metro area and beyond, I can’t help but imagine rivers where the focus is on total-stream-health and not putting fish on someones plate. I understand that it takes generations to change a population’s mode of thinking but at some point we all need to change. Introducing problems like Dydimo and Whirling Disease happens by many different means. It’s not JUST felt soles of fishermen. As we can see, even the agencies that are supposed to be looking out for us can screw up and transport these sort of aquatic illnesses.
Have you ever eaten one of those Purina fed stocked trout? They taste horrible!