The third fly fisherman from this area is so disgusted he said he was moving to Tennessee, leaving New York for good. This guy is a New York hunting and fishing guide. He said that between the lack of ruffed grouse habitat, the poor stream fishing, and now Gov. Cuomo’s SAFE ACT, he has had it. You can’t make a living being a guide if there is nothing to guide to.
He asked me where I was fishing on the Boquet. I told him and he said he hasn’t caught a fish in that area in six years. This is the second time I have talked to someone about this one beautiful section. The same answer: no fish!
Another thing we all noticed, the lack of fishermen along the stream. Maybe it’s because they are smarter than I am. If there’s no fish, then there’s no reason to fish. I guess when I leave home to go fish, I’ll just say I’m going water whipping instead! The truth hurts sometimes!
No fishermen means, no local economic inputs. Isn’t that what tourism is supposed to be about, supporting local economies? Hunters and fishermen contribute millions to support habitat and fisheries management. License fees in this state, plus the taxes we pay on guns, ammunition and fishing equipment amount to millions. Local restaurants, gas stations, and motels all benefit from hunters and fishermen who travel in search of an adventure.
As a retired conservationist and I mean a real conservationist — one who believes in the wise use of natural resources, including wildlife and forest management — I am disturbed at the lack of natural resource management in this area. Any trout biology book or wildlife management text will be filled with page after page about how to improve a fishery or wildlife habitat by cutting trees and allowing sun to reach the earth to provide energy to young plants. Streams need young shoots of willow and dogwoods growing along the banks to help solidify the stream banks and provide vegetation that will bend over with ice flows.
Rich Redman is a retired District Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and an avid outdoorsman. His column will appear regularly. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.