Re: An Ethics Question
Something more to add to the discussion. If I was fishing a high traffic area that showed signs of wear and tear from human activity, I am not going to touch anything. Many of the streams and rivers and ponds in my area can be thick and overgrown.
Many stream enhancement efforts in the area remove considerable over growth to improve circulation and water flow. I always carry a sharp fixed blade knife so I can make a clean cut. I don't like the snapped off look that tears the bark and hurts the tree branches, and leaves unsightly visual pollution. Plus I'm not cutting limbs every time I go out. I may have cut a few twigs over the whole season.
I'm sure many spots in the U.S. can be fished pretty hard. For every 1 Canadian fisherman there are 10 American fishermen. This changes the equation and protocols. Heavy use areas require a more no trace approach.
Here where I am the Morell River is the hardest fished river. I don't even bother to fish it much, just because there are so many fishing it. Plus I can do without the sometimes crusty die hard guys who can get pretty grumpy about "their" spots. I would rather go some place else and have it all to myself , not because I am selfish, but because there are enough good spots or so few fishermen here. I rarely see anyone when I fish.