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No Apologies

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
I was at a meeting where use of the lake, where I fish at noon, was being discussed. We had several people there with various interests. Funny how a body of water can have so many people determined that their use of the water is the very best and everything else is a waste of time.

We had people who wanted no motors used on the lake; people who wanted to use any size motor and at any speed; people who want to water ski; people who want to use jet skies; people who want only fishing; people who want fishing banned from the lake. Out of this group was supposed to come some sort of use plan for the lake.

The main idea was to open up part of the lake for people to water ski. There would be no "Jet Skis" allowed on the lake. This would keep some tourist dollars in the area as several folks go to other lakes to do this. One part of the proposal was that the water skiing would be from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. This would leave early morning and late evening for the fisherman to use. This is the area where most of the walleye are during the summer.

The jet ski folks went ballistic. The only thing that helped was that it would take another application to get that done on this lake. The other thing was that the area being opened up was not really large enough to allow both of these things.

The fishermen were not totally appeased, but were happier to know that rip rap along the shore was part of this deal. Also that there are times that they could fish in this area.

The no fishing folks were not happy with anything that had to do with fishing. They were trying to take the meeting over. They wanted fishing banned. I finally got frustrated and told them to go to the State Legislature and get a law passed. Nothing that we did there could have any effect. Here is where the rub started.

They yelled at me because I fish. I told them I had a licence in my pocket that gave the privilege of doing that. Fishing, in that case, was a legal activity. Yelling at me was not going to do any good.

Then one of the fisherman said that I was being snobbish because I fly fished. Why did I do that? Fly rods were for trout fishing. I asked him why he did not. I enjoy fly fishing and that is why I do it. I also pointed out that fly fishing had a much longer history that spin casting and bait casting. I don't think that I convinced him of anything. It is hard to get various groups to come together for how to use the water.

It did cause me to think some about this and where I stand on all of the issues. I did come to a few conclusions.

The first is obvious, not everyone is going to be happy about what is done.

Second, I don't apologize for fishing. If you don't like it it's your problem, but leave me alone.

Third, I like to fly fish and I do it. If it is not your bag, then fine. Don't hassle me for it. There is room for all of us to fish the way that we want to.

I will not apologize for fishing. I will not apologize for fishing the way that I do, or for working to make conditions better for fishing. I do not get into discussions if fish feel pain. I do not discuss the morality of fishing.

We all need to enjoy the time that we can have on the water. As fishermen we need to recognize that ours is not the only use of the water. I have decided to take the pro-active stance.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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