FLY FISHING AND RESOURCES
I grew up having my life shaped by the fabled rivers and streams of the Catskill mountain region in New York State; I was exposed to and learned from the wisdom found in the writings of fly fishing icons many generations before my own. The works of famous authors such as Schweibert, Flick, Lyons, Bergman and Nastasi, extend far beyond the lasting influences on the tactics and methods used to catch the elusive trout of the region, but convey a love and respect for the waters of a region that have shaped their lives. It is not just these famous names found in the book collections of devoted fly fisherman around the world who have found escape, harmony and a deeper connection to the rivers of this area. But the anglers like you and me who have spent countless moonlight evenings stalking wild trout in the classic pools and runs made famous by their writings. Like so many other anglers, the life altering moments and memories I have created while immersed in the fabled waters of the region has given me an un-paralleled respect and appreciation for the rivers, forests, trout and anglers who have spent their lives as stewards of the Catskill’s public lands and resources.
As an eastern transplant who now makes his home in Montana, I have been fortunate enough to spend countless hours utilizing the resources and fisheries of the greater Yellowstone region, not only for their recreational value, but to make my living as a guide. My experience fishing historical rivers such as the Delaware, Esopus and Beaverkill, along with being exposed to writings of Catskill legends has given me a deeper appreciation for the unique rivers and wild places of the west.
Over the past few decades we have seen an explosion in the world of fly fishing in terms of popularity, accessibility and resource pressure. Fortunately, as an angler in the rocky mountain west, we live in a time period, amidst living legends, who have shaped fly fishing throughout the region. Great names such as Rene Harrop, Craig Matthews, Tim Tollet, John Bailey and George Anderson have not only had significant impact on how we fish the rivers of the west, but in our attitudes towards the resources, we so dearly covet. These men and other iconic figures in the west have made groundbreaking contributions to fly fishing in their region, in a time before there were fly shops on every street corner, fishing blogs on the internet and lines at public boat ramps. We can and most likely have all learned from their dedication, devotion and contributions they have made in terms of flies, techniques, philosophy and resource advocacy. It is now the responsibility of younger generations to protect and sustain the resources that they have made so accessible to us through their experiences and teachings.
Our public lands, mountains and streams, not unlike, those found in the east are under significant distress. The fundamental difference however, is that the legacy and fate of the rivers in the west has yet to be written. We are living in an incredible time in history, a time when a certain amount of foresight, community organization and involvement can shape the future health of our rivers and public lands to sustain their vitality for many years.
As our population increases and fly fishing as a sport becomes more popular, the threats to our public lands and water resources dramatically increase. Population encroachment, off road vehicle use, energy development, and sheer neglect pose significant threats to the region. One of the biggest threats to our public lands in the Rocky Mountains is coal and energy development. Coal currently accounts for 50% of the country’s electricity and is extremely dirty and expensive to mine and transport. Montana, Wyoming and Colorado have some of the largest coal reserves in the country and are being exploited at an alarming rate due to governmental de-regulation for the most part. Coal from the Rocky Mountain region is shipped to coal fired power plants in over 30 states throughout the country, therefore affecting us all. Coal fired power plants are the largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, by emitting sulfur, nitrogen, mercury and carbon, that ends up in the air we breathe and rivers we fish. By reducing the amount of energy we consume, implementing energy efficiency standards and developing renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass we can significantly decrease our dependence on coal, while creating new jobs.
Once our public lands have been developed they are gone forever. Whether you grew up in the Rocky Mountains with these wild lands as your backyard, transplanted here as I was, or vacation here once a year, it is all of our responsibility to ensure that the rivers of the west remain healthy, viable ecosystems. As a whole the fly fishing community has a significant amount of power and influence over the fate of our public lands and resources. By having a vested interest in the health of our resources, staying informed and working with other anglers, we have the ability to put forth efforts at every level to influence and enact policy affecting our watersheds. By organizing local environmental campaigns, lobbying local government officials and taking our case to the state legislatures we can preserve our public lands and waterways for future generations as they were intended. Please do your part to protect the public lands and watersheds not only in your backyard, but in fragile environments around the country.
For more information contact Trout Unlimited at tu.org or the Sierra Club at sierraclub.org
Written by Steve Galletta
Categorised in: Fishing Reports
This post was written by Bighornangler