It happened when you bought your first fly rod and bought your first fishing license. Too bad, you need to get involved in protecting the thing you love, your addiction, your lifestyle. Yeah, some of the gear you buy that is imported has an excise tax that directly funds conservation, but you’re still obligated to take some form of affirmative step to conserve and protect the water, species and ecosystems that fill your time.
You don’t have to spend every second weekend on a stream restoration project, you don’t need to drastically change your lifestyle, you don’t need to buy a Toyota Prius to help. Join a conservation group, like Trout Unlimited, Recycled Fish, the Coastal Conservation Association or the Bonefish and Tarpon trust. They are all solid organizations that have the resource and the sport at the forefront of their interests. After you join, attend a meeting or two, you’ll meet some great people…most of the time it’s like group therapy or AA for fly fishermen…you don’t have to suffer this addiction alone…
So, you’re on a limited budget and sending a check to an organization isn’t going to happen just yet. Simple, when you go fishing, pick up at least one piece of litter some ignorant piece of sh!t left and dispose of it properly, and don’t add any more litter of your own! That means, when you tie on fresh tippet (especially fluorocarbon) stuff the old tag in a vest pocket. Don’t leave old leader packets on the ground. Basically if it doesn’t grow there on it’s own, don’t leave it there. We all like to go to some amazing and wild places to fish, seeing that Wal-Mart bag there is as appropriate as a fart in church, take it with you even if you didn’t leave it there.
Regardless of what you can afford, stay aware of what’s going on in and around the places you fish. That means read/watch/listen to the news and stay up on the current events. If you’re into wild salmon fishing, you better be paying attention to what’s going up in Bristol Bay and the fight to stop the Pebble Mine project. If you hunt brookies in the western 2/3 of Pennsylvania of West Virginia, you better be well versed in the threat that hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale gas play has on your favorite blue line haunts. If you think gulf redfish are all fine and dandy after the BP spill, you haven’t been paying attention. If you see something bad going down where you fish, tell someone. Keep your state’s DNR, and environmental protection agency hotlines in your phone. If someone was stealing your crap you’d call the police. When someone is polluting the stream you fish, they’re stealing your fishery, our fishery.
Yeah, I’m being preachy, but I don’t care, you can’t just expect that someone else is going to save the places you like to fish for you. You need to do your part. I’ve added the groups I mentioned above to the links bar on the side. Check them out, now!