Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Keep It Secret, Keep It Safe

Is it secret? Is it safe? Or did you sell out your favorite fishing
spot to Sauruman and his orcs?
Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien will recognize the title of this post. Gandalf has returned from doing research about the ring and is very concerned about its security.  “Is it secret? Is it safe?” The same thing applies to fishing. There are some valuable resources out there that need to be kept quiet. Yet some people don’t seem to have the ability to recognize that.

Winter in Vermont makes for tough fishing. Most streams are closed to fishing, but a few remain open. That is of course when they aren’t locked tight with ice. So, good places to fish are limited. Add to that a fairly limited run of cooperative salmonids and you have a situation where a lot of anglers can be on relatively small water. Increasing angling pressure on small streams is never a good idea to begin with but it is especially poignant when there are only a few streams available to anglers. Does anyone actually think it is a good idea to name places to fish in this situation?

Think about it this way too: if you blab to everyone on the interwebs about where you caught your last #########, you are putting pressure on the place that YOU are fishing. Is this smart? Back in the day if you told someone you didn’t know well and they told other people it was like that old shampoo commercial. Fishing reports could spread quickly by word of mouth and inside a week or two a spot could be overrun. Nowadays with the ease of communication provided by the internet it doesn’t take that long. It can be like telling a bunch of frat boys that there is free beer. Of course what they aren’t telling the frat boys about the beer is that there is only a six pack when 100 guys shows up…

Use your head when you are in this situation. It is very easy to tell everyone where you are fishing. But is it smart? Nope. Think about what you are doing. You could be psyched about fishing at the same spot the next day but, oh look, there are 6 people fishing in my spot. How did that happen? Or even worse, you have been telling people to fish somewhere that you don’t fish and have heard about by word of mouth… so you have screwed over people you don’t know. Really wonderful thing to do to others…
What??? How do people know about my spot?
Oh yea, someone blabbed...
Don't be a dummy....

One thing that anglers in Vermont really should remember is that this isn’t huge state with a lot of big water. We don’t have the Madison, the Henry’s Fork, the Salmon River, etc.  The rivers we have (and especially smaller streams) can’t absorb an extra couple of dozen people a day. There simply isn’t any place for them to go. And that is when the season is open. Right now, I would estimate that maybe 2 percent of all water in the state is available to anglers and much less of that is fishable with a fly. Sending a bunch of people to VERY limited areas is not a smart thing to do.

Follow Gandalf’s advice to keep it secret and keep it safe. Don’t be a schmuck and ruin good water just for the sake of looking cool or looking like you know a lot. Keep it quiet and have fun on the water.  Take pictures that don’t let people know where you caught the fish. Be smart. 


  1. Gee Drew does this mean we won't here from you in the month of jan.?

  2. I understand your feeling, believe me, I really do, but on the other hand, you don’t even know what angling pressure is. Come to Belgium, where every inch of water in the entire country is publicly announced on numerous blogs and sites. I don’t think you even realise in what kind of angling paradise you live in! I envy you man, and you’re complaining,… and you shouldn’t. Everybody belongs to this world, and the world belongs to everybody, whether you like it or not! Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t like it either, but there’s really nothing you can do about it, and it just keeps getting worse and worse!

  3. Drew,

    Just found you site, like this post. I live in Idaho with the rivers you mentioned. 63% of the state is public owned, yet, some of the best fishing for me anyway was below a tail water, for trout and an active paraplegic fisherman it was great. Past tense because the bonehead crowd grew to great about the same time I became in love with carp. So now if I fish for trout and another favorite salmonid, the whitefish, I'll do it in the winter for the access, (the rivers are lowest,) and the solitude. Even then I have places carp are active all season long, thanks to springs. Plus my portion of the state rarely is shot down by a hard winter, we are not Vermont. I have a fued with a local outdoor columnist who is totally kiss and tell, his arguement is the internet. I believe he's a moron. And, we don't live in Europe, our angling has grown separately, may we always be able to complain about moron writers legitamately.