My views on sharing fishing secrets.
Everyone has "secret spots"- fishing "holes", creeks, streams or rivers that they think they've discovered or would simply like to keep to themselves. There's nothing wrong with that. Some folks in New Jersey though seems to think that the whole state is once big secret spot. They have enough trout fishing for themselves and no one else- thank you very much.
During the summer of 2002 I thought I might have an opportunity to fish close to my brothers' New Jersey abode. Remembering that Fly Fisherman magazine once wrote an article on NJ fly fishing, I logged onto the VFS (Virtual Fly Shop) East Coast fishing board to ask if any one remembered what issue that was. What transpired is provided below in a post I made to the NJTrout board soon after.
NJ Trout Post Written Spring 2002
I’m a non- board member who has been lurking for a day or so. Why am I lurking? We’ll I posted a question on the VFS board about a NJ stream covered by Fly Fisherman Magazine. I had planned to fish the stream a couple of years ago but didn’t get the opportunity. I’d recently moved and couldn’t find the article so I posted to the regional board asking if anyone could give me the stream name or the FFM issue.
The very first response was to Njfred telling him “to keep (his) mouth shut”. An anomaly or perhaps in jest I thought. Then the other responses came in, all of which, except for NJ Fred and one other, were rather negative. The silence on this issue was deafening.
NJ Fred suggested to come here. So I did and thought I was entering the fly fishing twilight zone. What’s the big secret I thought to myself? I can understand wanting to preserve delicate streams but my initial impression was that NJ folks must be lazy, selfish or both. Selfish because not every fly fisher in the world is going to instantly trample on their little slice of heaven or lazy because their little slice of heaven can take the pressure they apply to the stream but no one wit more. “Why don’t folks just travel a bit to fish healthier rivers if things or so bad”, I thought to myself. I regularly drive 12 hrs round trip to fish one of our states best rivers and guess what, when I do, I find I have it mostly to myself- even on holidays. If the streams in NJ are really that fragile, why not work to improve habitat or close the streams to fishing all together? That would be the noble thing not the “stay out of NJ” vibe I feel.
I have “secret streams” here too. Streams that I love to fish, that are frequented only by bait fishers, that fly fishers would trample to death if they knew how good the fishing can be. Do I tell people about this place? More importantly, I take people there. I figure if they’re really interested in fishing the water (as opposed to just knowing it’s there) I will take them and show them how to fish it). I think I even mentioned it once on the Internet. I don’t mention it on the Internet now, its not been publicized.
I have mentioned it in a San Francisco fly shop before. This was the kiss of death for my home river but my secret stream's remained rather obscure. Why? Who knows, it’s a brushy stream with planted fish and on the way to better places.
Since my home river has been outted, I mention it when ever anyone asks me of a good place to fish, close to San Francisco. Is it crowded, you bet. Have the bait fishers found it? You bet. What have I done about it? We’ll for my own solitude, I fish it when others don’t, early in the morning and during high water. I also bring a bag with me and pick up all the trash I find. One day I filled 3 bags. I only brought one with me but happened to find a bag when I needed one. I also report the bait fishers by calling the poaching line. Was/Am I put off by the crowds, sure I was but then I realized something….these fish are here for everyone’s enjoyment, …I can still catch more fish here then most and I can still find solitude by moving away from the popular spots.
I’m getting preachy here but my point is, if someplace is commonly known in the state or been outted in a book or periodical, then why all the resistance. At the least, one could simply point to the pertinent reference. I fish for Golden Trout here in the state and know of several “road side” Golden Trout spots. Do I post them on bulletin boards, no. Self-sustaining Goldens are every bit as fragile as Brookies but I wouldn’t hesitate pointing the curious fly fisher to the appropriate printed materials. I also talk about them on my web site where I have a link to a site that lists every stream and river in the local mountain range and the species of fish found within (though I don’t come out and say this link has a list of all streams and….). If someone was willing to do a little work, then I’m willing to point them in the right direction or better yet, meet with them and show them. Why the hesitancy here? If someone can simply open a book, map or call the local fly shop?
Oh, by the way, for all the folks complaining about all the “new” fly fishers since “the movie”. From the time the movie came out, until 1998, the number of regularly fishing fly fishers increased very little. (Most folks bought gear and let it sit in their closet, maybe getting out once a year if they were lucky.) I did an industry study last year, where I talked to fly shops, magazine people and the people at AFTTA, that was the general consensus. I think that AFTTA’s new data shows that the big rise in fly fishing has come in the last 3 years. (Maybe it was the Subaru commercial.) Thought I’d add that little tidbit since I read somewhere that that is a pet peeve of folks here.
Coming down from soap box.
Jim “Jimmer” Lowe