The Future of Fishing

As the number of anglers increases and the funding for fisheries management decreases we are faced with a serious situation. Here in California the State hatchery and stocking programs are finding it difficult to provide enough quality fish to meet the demands of the fishing public. There is an obvious twofold solution to this dilemma.

One is for additional stocking from the private sector. Groups like "Adopt A Creek" in Bishop supported by donations from anglers and local businesses, The Chamber of Commerce in Mammoth Lakes supported by local tackle shops and many boat landing operators and resorts engage in rearing and stocking trout. The fish they stock are catchable and, in some cases, very large, three to five pounders are not uncommon.

The second and equally important action is to concentrate the stocking efforts in areas of good accessibility for anglers. We should avoid stocking in areas that are not commonly used by the average fisherman and where the impact may have an adverse effect on native and wild fish which would ruin fishing for all. If State and private programs try to spread out their stocking programs to all waters of the State there's not going to be enough fish to go around and the quality and size will decrease. The obvious answer is to establish more wild trout areas. The wild trout program sets aside certain waters to be self sustaining. These areas are open to angling under special regulations, usually catch and release with artificial lures and barbless hooks. Some waters are restricted to fly fishing because it has the least impact on the fishery. This type of fishery is of immense benefit to all anglers. It provides fly and lure fisherman the opportunity to catch and release wild trout year after year without taxing the stocking programs and provides bait fisherman more and larger stocked fish in the waters they fish.

Everybody wins!

As an angler you can make the fishing future bright by helping out in several ways. Be sensitive to the environment, don't leave any thing behind. Report poachers and polluters by calling (888)-334-2258 in California.If your in another State check with the agency there that controls this and you will probably find a similar service. Keep only the fish you need and learn to release fish properly. Write to the Department of Fish and Game in California, or the agency responsible in your State, to let them know that you want sound management of your fishery. Tell them how you feel about private stocking programs, tell them you want more wild trout waters established and to concentrate on stocking a higher quality and quantity of fish in the stocked waters. And remember to support the local businesses where you fish. Besides finding that the prices are not that much different than the big city stores, you might get some priceless info about the fishing!

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