If this is not the place to debate or talk about selective fisheries just say so. This is the best site on fishing period and don't want to see it turn into an out of control site.
But I believe that we as fly fisherman need to take a real good look at our sport an why there is such a undercurrent of grumbling that seems to be getting louder especially in the NW.
First of all being involved politically on the side of working conservation I agree that selective fisheries work. Just one look at the great rivers in Yellowstone Park and Rail Road Ranch on the Henerys Fork are proof. Many years ago a lot of us worked hard for these rivers to become selective and yet remain open to the public.
I fear now though under certain situations a strong back lash
to the great efforts made around the country to improve the health of our rivers. Yes there is a lot of propaganda going on by the C&K folks but I'm seeing some truths surfacing in that propaganda.
Out here in the NW there are flyfishing clubs pushing for more and more fly fishing water only and selective fisheries. This is fine when there is a need to maintain great fisheries or to protect one that is in trouble. But I'm seeing public lakes that can only support hatchery trout and blue gills going selective. There is absolutely no reason for this, remember the kids and the bobber thing, remember how we all started to fish. Maybe these fly fishing clubs think they are doing something positive but they are not.
When the upper Madison River from Hebgan lake to the junction in the park was made selective we understood the majority of fishermen who lived in the area and came there to fish were selective fishermen. What I'm seeing here on Stilly and some of our lakes is unfair to most.
The WSC is a group of conservationists who want to save Wild Steelhead. We are flyfishermen, gear and bait fishermen. I believe that there are more gear fishermen in the WSC than flyfishermen. We are a unity and being a unity we have a chance to do our part to save native fish.
How do I explain to a gear fisherman why he can't fish the NF Stilly in summer? Or why Fly fisherman only can fish in May. We have so many good gear fisherman out here who are so careful releasing fish and who are as good a conservationist as any of us. Yes there are bad gear fisherman who could endanger the very fish we try to protect but as we can see on Stilly we also have some bad fly fisherman too.
A selective fishery with single barbless hook lets all types of gear fishing take place and makes for some form of unity. The Deschutes River in Oregon is such a river and I've enjoyed the friendship of many of stranger fishing gear and fly on the same stretch of river.
The NF of the Stilly must be open to single barbless hook on any type of gear. And I believe it should be the fly fishing community who should push for it. If the river is not healthy enough to support a more open minded type of selective fishery then maybe it should not be open at all. How can any of us look into the eye of a gear fisherman who is conservation minded and tell him the way he fishes is not good enough to fish on the Stilly and yet we want their support of state wide catch & release.