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Old 04-21-2009, 09:53 PM
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Default You have to read this

I am making a post regarding a thread in the Fly Fishing News section of these forums. In the past I have made some posts that demonstrate my sometimes self righteous opinions but in this instance I hope to find some common ground with the people here. The following is a quote from the forum. You can find this thread and from there read the article about this contest in its entirety.

After the quote is my response that I intend to edit and deliver by registered mail to the Director of the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.

[QUOTE=Fish Bones;57450]BY KEVIN WOODRUFF Wyoming County Press Examiner A local fly fisherman has achieved his dream of participating in the National Fly Fishing Championship. Wesley Congdon, 19, of Dundaff, will compete with the best fly fisherman in the United States when he takes to the waters in State College from Oct. 31-Nov. 1. He found out this past Friday and said that he was ecstatic. "It was pretty cool to ...


*(By Hardyreels)

I read the article regarding the upcoming fishing championship to be held I presume on Spring Creek in State Collage Pennsylvania with less than pleasurable thoughts. I was born in Williamsport Pa. and fished Spring Creek at least 50 or more full days per year from 1980 until I moved permanently to Alaska in 2004. During those sixteen years I fell in love with the Creek as would any outdoorsman & naturalist who spent that many days of his or her life intertwined with a particular environment. Understanding the fragile nature of spring creeks in general I am shocked to learn of this upcoming event. I must warn readers that I am not a fan of the concept of turning trout fishing into a competitive sport.

Two things alarm me when I think about the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission allowing tournament style fishing to occur within this irreplaceable habitat.

[First] The dates chosen (Oct. 31 – Nov. 1st) fall during the Peak of the spawning season for the wild brown trout that are the most prolific species in Spring Creek. This is what the Pa. Fish and Boat Commission deems as Heritage Trout Water and with good reason. In Pennsylvania Heritage Waters receive no stockings of fish and rely on natural propagation in order to maintain the population of those waters. These are No Kill fisheries. Spring Creek is the crown jewel of Pennsylvania as far as fish per acre. Why in the name of God not have the competition in June during the Sulfur Hatch!

[Secondly] I would humbly submit that to bring an inordinate level of media attention to the fact that large numbers of fish and especially ‘large’ fish can be caught at a time of year when most people have hung up their rods and are spending weekends watching football could have a damaging ramification for the creek and the spawning fish.

Not that I would be suggesting that anyone would fish the redds for brown trout of proportions unheard of to most people who are not familiar with this fishery. Although if I were to suggest that this would be the result of this folly, the stress placed on the fish at this crucial point in their annual life cycle will no doubt affect the future of the fishery. Of course we all know that no one would be unscrupulous enough to snag fish off a spawning bed just to get a photo op with a trophy brown trout.

I am not meaning to infer that a 48 hour tournament will forever affect the creek but that drawing what I have referred to as an inordinate level of attention to Spring Creek at this time of year is both uncalled for and unacceptable. I will put forth that I believe that the dates were chosen because of the availability of large fish that tend to migrate throughout the stream channel at this particular time of year and therefore are more vulnerable. In closing I will say this to the organizers of this circus and to the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission; Shame On You Both for your seemingly wanton disregard for this magnificent fishery for the want of publicity. As for my assertion that anyone would actually snag fish; I live by the simple premise that I expect the worst and anything better is truly a blessing from God!

Ard Stetts
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Old 04-21-2009, 10:11 PM
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Default Re: You have to read this

Hey Ard,
I wonder if these guys have anything to do with it: TCO Fly Fishing - George Daniel
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Old 04-21-2009, 10:25 PM
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Default Re: You have to read this

I'm speechless Ard.
Do you have a link where we could express our concerns?
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Old 04-21-2009, 10:40 PM
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Default Re: You have to read this

we had one of these events a couple of years ago in MY "backyard" national park. the competitive concept was completely foreign to me and i must admit the idea rubbed me the wrong way. i'm not a member but word was local fly club people were mixed about it. some were aghast, others thought it curious, others didn't care.

before i knew it, the trials had come and gone. no swarm of media to infect our lovely river and from what i heard, they had a tough time (heh heh heh)

still, i hear your concerns. i imagine money has a LOT to do with it behind the scenes but take heart, these are not your BASS-like tournaments. let us know of any reply to your letter.

eric
fresno, ca.
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Old 04-21-2009, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: You have to read this

I agree 100%. thanks for posting.
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Old 04-22-2009, 12:44 AM
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Default Re: You have to read this

Quote:
Originally Posted by fyshstykr View Post
I'm speechless Ard.
Do you have a link where we could express our concerns?
I will get an e-mail address for PF&B Commission and it's director. I will have that up on the thread and PM it to members tomorrow.

I know that I could easily be thought a knee jerk anti progress environmentalist but I know what I'm saying here. I fished that creek in November every year and I don't remember the time I ran into another fisherman. November in Pa. can be wicked. Cold weather with rain or freezing rain / snow is the norm there. I don't mean to say this in a disparaging manner but many people are ignorant of the spawning activity of brown trout. Many anglers in Pennsylvania don't realize that there are significant wild trout fisheries in their state. For the good of the fish I wish we could keep that blissful ignorance.

When I think of an angler lured out on a late fall day by something he saw on TV. wading right through a freshly tended spawning bed I find that vision disturbing. I have met many people who don't know that fish lay eggs in Pa. let alone what the nest may look like.
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:02 AM
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Default Re: You have to read this

Ard,
I agree wholeheartedly with your stand on this issue; the timing for holding this competition couldn't be worse. Do you think these dates may have been set by design of the sponsors; it makes for great viewing when they cover the story on some outdoor show. Sounds like the local Chamber of Commerce is probably involved in this as well; think how many more fisher folks will come and spend their money once they know what this area has.

When you think about it, how hard will this competition be; we all know how aggressive Browns can be during spawning time. It's a shame when a government body goes along with this kind of activity.

Dan
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:20 AM
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Default Re: You have to read this

When fishing competitions take place on waters supported solely, or mainly, by wild fish, I see no good in it. Bass and walleye tournaments have spread to Lake Erie. A place where they once were not held. Bass and walleye are often horsed in and can recover more quickly for release. Usually, however, they're kept in a live-well for measuring and later release. I don't see trout, especially those stressed from the rigors of spawning, surviving this type of treatment. I suspect the fish in the Pa tournament will be measured then released. But will they be properly revived? Or will they be turned loose very quickly in the interest of the "fisherman" getting back after more? Will the fish be handled carefully? People in competition can let the heat of the moment displace common sense. Should this tournament go off, hopefully it'll be a one hit/miss wonder.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:24 AM
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Default Re: You have to read this

I saw the FF'ing Masters Competition of OLN/Versus a couple years ago. They
have a judge standing by with a measured board, and the fish are released
fairly quickly. The whole thing seems kind of silly from the start. Fishing should
be relaxing, at least IMO.

I would call TCO Fly Shop in State College, and ask about their involvement.
They've been pushing themselves across PA in the past few years, and the
store manager at the State College shop is involved in these tournaments.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:33 AM
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Default Re: You have to read this

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
I will get an e-mail address for PF&B Commission and it's director.
The Director is Douglas J. Austen, Ph.D. He prefers to be addressed as "Dr. Austen". I don't actually know his email address, but if it is structured the same as the email addresses of other F&B managers and officers I do know then it will be djausten@state.pa.us.
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