PM Steelhead Stripped of Eggs – left on the bank
So this is obviously a pretty hot topic that has made the rounds for the last week. For those of you that don’t know there were a pair of dead female steelhead found in the Flies Only/No Kill stretch of the Pere Marquette river. The fish were not only dead, but they were sliced open, stripped of their eggs and then the rest of the fish was laid to waste on or near the bank.
Obviously this is an enormous violation of legal and ethical boundaries, and has added additional fuel to a fire that is already burning between fly fisherman and bait fisherman and individuals that utilize chumming as a part of their arsenal. I want to be absolutely clear – I am well aware that it is not just bait fisherman that utilize chumming practices, there are avid fly fisherman that I have witnessed employing the practice as well.
It is impossible for any of us that are not the offender or personally know the culprit responsible for this action to know the exact motive behind the pillaging of this resource, and we can only speculate. I have read and heard several different conclusions and opinions on this deplorable act, encompassing a wide range of potential scenarios.
However, I recently encountered one particular explanation for the act that simply put, chaps my ass. Here is the link to the article: Great Lakes Edge. There are several fallacies and allegations made in this particular piece that it is incredibly hard to know where to even begin discussing it.
Direct quotes from the author are in bold italics:
“Let me be the first to say I do not support the killing of fish unless they are going to be eaten.” So maybe I’m reading into this a bit too much here, but you are saying that it’s acceptable to kill a fish in a no kill section as long as you are going to eat it?
I am getting sick of is all these fly guys jumping on the ban wagon of that the person killing these fish in the PM flies only are a “center pin fisherman” or a “spinning fisherman.” First of all, I think you mean band wagon. Second of all – where are all these fly guys doing this at? I’m pretty plugged into the fly fishing world, and I can honestly say that I have not seen any comments from a fly angler accusing either a center pin or spin fishing angler of this act. I have seen on several occasions the issue brought up regarding chumming – but never direct accusations of center pin or spin fishermen.
“If you ask me, I think it is a stunt of a fly guy who is killing all these steelhead to make us bait guys look bad. That fish was probably killed, had the eggs stripped and then put in the snow next to the house just to get everyone riled up. People must be really bored.” WHOA! So, let me get this straight, the author comes out and says that he is sick of center pin and spin fisherman being accused, so he in turn makes a completely wild accusation and proclaims that it was most likely a fly fisherman the committed this absolutely deplorable act? I don’t even know where to begin or end with this one. Is it really possible to thing that a fly fisherman would go to such drastic and severe measures to add further fuel to the fight against bait fishermen?
“What I am also sick of is these fly fishermen making them selves’ sound so elite. Like, they are a lot better than us bait fisherman.” Ummmmmm, ok. While I do believe that there are a few individuals out there that maybe give fly fisherman a bad name because of an elitist attitude. But, I truly believe that this is certainly the minority of the fishermen and the author is simply making an incredibly “hasty generalization” by grouping all fly fisherman into 1 singular group. While at the same time he is grouping all fly fisherman into one group by proclaiming them to be elitist.
“Who gives a crap what you fish with, as long as it’s legal. I could care less if you fish a fly rod, a pin, mooching, or a Barbie rod. I question a lot of fly fisherman and there ethics. However, if it’s legal, why should I judge how you fish and try to make it illegal? I use to fish beds but then I figure out how to float fish a 5 eggs bag in a deep hole and catch steelhead consistently. To me, it’s a whole lot more fun then flossing fish on beds, or fishing a fly for that matter. Like I said though, who am I to judge how someone fishes so who are you to judge how I fish.” So fishing with a barbie rod is ethical? Even though the potential damage that will result to a fish from being fought way past the point of potential recovery is ethical? What is troubling is the fact that constantly throughout the article he is passing several judgments, then goes on to say “who am I to judge how someone fishes so who are you to judge how I fish.” Simply put this is a “do as I say, not as I do” approach.
“So please fly fishing buds, back off of the blaming and picking at us. It’s only dividing us more and will never work because I will always fight for my right to fish the way I want and that is using bait under a bobber Lets work together to end poaching and just enjoy being on the river with each other.” I agree, and I urge each and everyone of us to be the change that we would like to see in others. That starts with each and everyone of us as individuals.