Ladyfisher
This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

June 25th, 2001

Exactly Where to Fish


One of the joys of being the publisher of this website is the books which show up here on a regular basis. Some from publishers who are sponsors, some from publishers who aren't yet sponsors (but I wish were) and sometimes just a friendly gesture from an author.

The latter was the case when Fumbling With A Fly Rod, by Ian James dropped in a few days ago. I'll do a review on it soon (it's great). But it was definitely de je vous reading one story in particular where he and a buddy traveled hours out of the way to fish a place not very well fished (because all of the local places were overrun with fishermen) to find a bunch of anglers already fishing there. Seems they found the place via a MAP on the Internet.

Boy did that strike home. Many years ago JC and I were employed by a Michigan outdoor television program. Our job was to find where the 'action' was, film it, script it and have it ready for the weekly show. We stumbled on a spawning run of rainbow and brown trout, filmed it, put all the parts together and made a great segment for the show. The following weekend the place was stomped flat by anglers. It was stomped flat for several weeks. We didn't go back.

We also didn't do that again!

In fact, I highly resent any writer who has to have the personal adulation (self imposed of course) to point out the exact place, the drift, the seam, the fly, the exact rod, line, leader - everything he used fishing that place. As if the writer was the only person with the ability to figure it out - or was so superior he had to tell us all how good he is.

Revealing exact locations somehow just isn't kosher. Recommending a river, (like the Yellowstone, Penns, Bow etc) is ok, but not the second bend above the gnarled tree next to the fence.

I have no problem saying the rivers of Yellowstone Park are probably your best bet this summer if you want to fish the west. In the same sentence however, I will not give you the gloom and doom about how bad the fishery/weather/drought is or will be. Having lived in Montana for a good number of years, I do know there are places that will not be affected. With a little digging you can find them as well. Trashing the fishing anywhere is irresponsible - especially by the print magazines doing gonzo journalism - too often it just isn't true! The negative impact to the local ecomony is unforgiveable.

I don't know if you've noticed, but even in our Eye of the Guide series, you won't find exact directions or locations. Close enough to get you in the ball game, but beyond that it's up to you!

As long as I'm airing my dislikes, I'll add the pushy guides who show up on the water with their clients (called sports) and try and move those already there out of his way. Usually with, "Move over, I'm guiding here." Which actually means, "I'm much more important than you are, so bugger off." Since I was a guide I probably resent that more, because it is totally uncalled for, rude, arrogant and obnoxious. I've only had it happen to me personally once. I didn't leave, move or even be terribly careful where my backcast went. Opps!

The guide is getting well paid to put their client on fish. They better know where to do it without tromping on the rights of others. It sure doesn't make for a very good sportsman-like example either and I rather suspect those who act so stupidly also don't respect property rights either.

Seems that there should be a bit of an air of mystery about where we fish. Sure we take friends (or that one trusted friend) to our favorite spot, but we trust they won't blab it to everyone they know either. JC and I had to promise one friend to never disclose the location of one of the few places left locally where one might get into a silver salmon from the beach. We've been there a few times, never saw another person, and told no one. And that's the way it will stay.

The Internet surely can be a useful tool, one which entertains and informs us. But if you're looking on FAOL for a map to that secret special fishing hole, you're in the wrong place. I hope you've got yours well committed to memory. I do. ~ LadyFisher

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