Saturday, August 6, 2011

It May Be Legal, But it Sure Isn't Ethical

I'm out running errands today and while in the Califon area, I decided to drive along the South Branch of the Raritan, where the road parallels the river for a mile or so.  The river is very low, and the water temperatures lately have been in the low to mid 70"s most days.  Poor conditions for trout, particularly if they are stressed from fishing.  If left to themselves in the deeper holes and cooler stretches, they will survive quite well.

The river level is low, so low in fact that the tops of many rocks are high and dry, when typically they will be under water.  The water is very clear and trout are easily spotted as they hang just above the bottom barely moving.

In one stretch I observed two guys in the water standing next to a large, half exposed boulder about 25-30 feet off the mouth of a major trout spawning tributary.  On the top of the boulder they had a pale blue, plastic bait container, and they were casting their wormed hook right up into the mouth of the creek.  I've been fishing near this creek for 25 years, and in the conditions we have now I have seen dozens of wild and stocked trout stacked in the deep mouth where it meets the larger South Branch.  Today was no different, you could see them from the road. The creek is cool, and the trout are there because it is a thermal refuge; a respite from the harsh conditions of the main river.  They are there as a matter of survival.

So why do these idiots think it is okay to fish for them? 

Are they starving and in need of food?  From the size of their waists and jowls, that was clearly not the case.  Is this the only thing they could do on a hot August day?  I doubt it, and in fact, they could have fished for warm water species if they were so driven to cast a line.

Some states have fishing regulations that prohibit anyone from fishing within so many feet/yards of where a tributary enters a trout stream in the months of July and August.  Why?  So dumb asses like these two guys cannot fish legally for trout that clearly do not want to be disturbed.

8 comments:

George said...

They know exactly what there doing and don't seem to care one bit. That's the part that kills me.
I saw something very similar the other evening while going for a walk along the upper parts of the SBR. The sad part is they had stringers in the water and I highly doubt they had stockers on the stringer. But like you said it's legal, just wrong.

Brk Trt said...

You see this happening on well stocked waters. There are those who fish these streams that don't know better or don't care.

I'm glad they don't like 5 inch trout.

Matt Grobert said...

They may not know any better, and that's why states have laws to prohibit fishing near the tribs and post signs nearby to alert anglers. On the other hand, it seems to me that it is obvious that the trout are "sitting ducks", which in itself is not sporting in the least. We too many laws on the books now that we can't enforce........topic for an other blog....you can't legislate behavior.

Jaybird said...

I know the spot , the sad part is , it was concealed a bit before a beaver and a new home owner cleared out some brush . That spot had a rough couple years between hot summers and a couple pike eating those stacked near the spring. But years ago I had some awesome fishing in that spot .

Anonymous said...

It is time now to bother the heathen known as the catfish, or the wonderful smallmouth and the ever fighting SRUCE RUN ROCKET!!!!! Leave the trout to the herons and minks at this time of year...I am jonsin' to wet a fly more than ever now, but i go with my friends and shoot the poo and catch sunnies and bullheads..loads of fun!!!!

Mr. Q said...

You should have posted a picture of them, then we would know who to give the evil eye to on the river!!!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps they know it is easier to catch fish that are easily seen and stacked at the mouths. Perhaps they no not what they do and are ignorant of thermal refuge and the trouts need. Perhaps they are just kicking the day away by wetting a line and 'looky over here bud", just stumbled on perhaps a lucky spot and surmized that the fish gods are now granting all there wishes.......
Damage and impacts to fish populations and there environs happen in many variaties. Stop and think, the next time salt is layed down for less than a inch of snow on the same road that you wittnessed such a hanus crime,(LOL) kids fishing. Inflictions are endless. Does'nt make it right, but endless just the same.

Urban Wild said...

I once saw something similar on the Beaverkill one summer; a bunch of trout hugged up against an outlet of the only cool water in the river. And some idiot was casting his line in there thinking he was going to hit the mother load. Fortunately (or not) the fish were too stressed to be interested. I shot the guy the stink eye and he sulked off, seemingly embarassed. Some people have no eithics whatsoever and will spout chapter and verse why it's their God-given Constitutional right to do such and such. As long as I live I will never understand that attitude.