Fishing without a trace: Enjoy the sport without ruining it for others
Unfortunately, we’ve all been there. Casting from the stream bank on a serene spring evening, we round the bend to stumble upon an area that looks far out of place from the rest of its natural surroundings.
There on the bank overlooking one of the deepest pocket holes of the entire creek, we find an area devoid of natural vegetation, cleared by an inconsiderate angler who chose easier casting over respect for the land.
The ground is trampled down to the bare earth. Cigarette butts litter the soil, as do an array of fishing hook packages, Styrofoam worm containers and a Dunkin Donuts coffee cup.
Mere feet away lay the emptied out contents of a can of corn- a guesstimated 8-ounces of golden kernels scattered about the area. At least this person had the decency to pack the can out with him, but he forgot to take along the metal lid.
Not far from the corn kernels, two sticks are protruding from the ground, broken into the shape of a “Y.” Some fishing line is caught on an overhanging snag, and the loose end dangles in the breeze.
Most discouraging of this entire scene are the small footprints mixed in amongst the larger ones. While it is absolutely terrific to acknowledge a fisherman introducing a youngster to the outdoors, we have a responsibility to set a positive example and instill a respect for the land in future generations.
Many of the trout-stocked waters in our state flow along private property, and it is nothing but the kindness of cooperating landowners keeping those waters open and accessible to the public.
That being said, I am strongly urging all anglers, young and old, to strive for better stewardship of the land and waterways this fishing season. Be sure to leave things as you found them, and consider picking up any trash you may come across during your fishing adventure.
For the sake of our sport’s longevity and preservation, please do your best to fish without a trace, and if you happen upon a landowner in the process, be sure to thank him for his generosity.