With the snow piled up to your knees, you can’t see it right
now, but believe me, I know it’s there. It will pop up like trout
lilies along streams in my backyard and in yours. Like Dutchmen’s
breeches, it will spread.
But unlike those wildflowers of the North Country, we’ll want to
pick up every single piece and, in many cases, recycle, or simply
dispose of it responsibly.
Once again this spring on streams everywhere, you’ll find trash.
People leave it where ever they happen to be. And for the life of
me, I don’t know why. All the time, I’m reading cases of wildlife
conservation officers citing people – fishermen – for stream
littering. What, if anything, were they thinking? Finish a can – be
it soda or beer – and throw the can in the weeds? C’mon, we can do
better than that.
Some of our backcountry trips take us into the wilderness where
it’s not too far fetched to think that we’re one of the few people
to have trod the nearly non-existent trail. Only to find a potato
chip bag crunching under our feet.
And it’s not just food wrappers that find their way into the
environment. One of the biggest offenders is probably fishing line.
I see it everywhere; lying on rocks, wrapped around trees, still
tied to the lures that made their way into the bushes.
If an empty soda can is light enough to carry home, how much can a
wad of monofilament weigh? I was forever dropping mine as I changed
flies and tippets (eventually leaders when I ran out of tippet). It
would fall to the rocks and brush; and I can attest to its
invisibility as I spent time searching the ground. I’d shove it
into my pocket only to have the whole wad fall out again as I tried
to add just one more piece. A couple of years ago, Steve got me
this great little doohickey, the MonoMaster, that sucks in the line
and holds it until you can get home and dispose of it properly. How
cool is that? I’m sure it has its limits; I haven’t tried to jam in
one of my patented wind knots after cutting it off the reel – those
fit nicely in a pocket.
If you’re having a really bad day, the knots go all the way to your
fly line. When that’s toast, a company out in Montana can use it to
make lanyards, bracelets and sunglass holders. Flyvines uses
recycled line to braid the items – the product, no doubt, of a long
Montana winter with not much to do. But it’s better than chucking
it in the bushes before you move to the next fishing hole.
At the very least, this year make a concerted effort to pack in
what you pack out – from the smallest monofilament to the wrapper
from your lunch.
Better yet, take a bag with you and pick up anything you see. Seven
cans or bottles will get you a replacement for that fly that you
put in the tree.