My Turn: Bait or fly Fishing should be for all
There seems to be a growing debate regarding fishing on the Truckee River. At the risk of sounding ignorant, what is so terrible about using bait, catching a limit of two fish and taking them home to eat? Isnt that the way children learn to fish? Who among us has not gone backpacking or camping and at the end of the day had the pleasure of frying a fish that was caught? How many families in need have occasionally sustained themselves by catching a fish for dinner? Id rather eat a fish out of the Truckee than buy one at the store and wonder where it came from and how contaminated the water was where it lived. I just dont understand. Were talking about trout, which are common, not the last polar bear on the planet.Fish are prolific. The Truckee River has proven to be a great fishery. The river is resilient, teeming with food for the fish, and the trout are healthy and thriving. Even after a drought year the fish survive and reproduce, thanks to deep holes along the river. The fact is that the Fish and Game biologists did not recommend changing the fishing regulations below Boca. It would seem that the two-fish limit would preclude the river being fished out. The truth is that rainbow and German brown trout are not native to this river. They were introduced years ago from a hatchery. Until very recently, a local fly-fishing group stocked a section of the river every year. The attempt to re-introduce Lahontan cutthroat failed and was stopped because rainbows and browns are much more aggressive and abundant.A recent letter to the Sierra Sun made some inaccurate assumptions regarding bait fisherman. Most men and women are not fishing from a lawn chair, littering the shoreline, nor are they flinging beer cans to and fro. The people I know that bait fish are walking the river, moving from hole to hole, covering up to two miles as they move along the river. They release many more fish than they keep. A lot of bait isnt swallowed, many fish are hooked in the mouth. These people care about fish just as the fly fishermen do.As a person who works with children, I am concerned about the hours they spend playing electronic games and watching TV. Our children are losing their connection and understanding of nature. As a child I fished with my dad off a pier at the coast or occasionally at the edge of a pond. I still remember being thrilled by catching a fish and taking it home to be cooked. I havent fished for many years, but I cherish those memories. Being in the woods, camping and fishing were part of what bonded our family. Experiencing nature helped shape who I am. Id rather see the river being enjoyed by all and parents taking their children fishing. Everyone should be able to fish on the river. Fly fishing or bait fishing should be nothing more than a personal preference.Jamie Cole is a Truckee resident.
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