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March 11, 2008

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Where Has Fishing Gotten Better?

Are there any places that are better for fishing now than they were 10-20 years ago? You know the story ... "Man I remember when you could fish here and throw dry flies all day, and catch big rainbows, and never see any other people ..." I'm sick of hearing (and thinking) that.

We've dealt with droughts, and whirling disease, and pressured waters that get hammered, over and over. And the days of knocking on the door and asking for permission to fish are all but over in many places. Yeah, I'll admit to feeling some writer's guilt for having kissed and told.

Maybe you can lift me out of my doldrums. Do you know places where the fishing is better now than it was? It's an intentionally loaded question. You don't have to name names.

I will add this: The signs of good things ahead are everywhere. The Great Lakes region has seen big snows this year; looks like the lakes will avert record low levels and rebound some. We have good snowpack from Montana through Colorado, signaling healthy river levels for the season ahead. It appears that wildlife officials might even have a solution in the works for whirling disease.

But what's the good news, now?



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No way dude. Get out of the house and let's go fish and find the spots.


texas coast. redfish populations were decimated due to nets/commercial harvesting in the 80's, until the net ban. now supposedly it's as good as back in the 50's, so some of the old timer's say...


Nice, Joey ... I'll agree with that one. I'm feeling better already.


Clear Creek, along I-70 between Denver and Loveland Pass. Each year it gets better as the tributaries get cleaned up from mine waste and some help from Wildlife. Even caught a greenback cutthroat there last fall.


True enough, TVN. I'm about to start smiling soon.

Alex Pernice the fly rod winner

The fox river in the last 2 years i have cought less than 30 dink smallmouth.
Last year i found an old cabin near a water outet the first fish i pulled out was a 21 inch smallmouth, that is now sitting on the wall of my room.
My mom thinks im nuts... My dad prasies me.

O I forgot last year in total i cought about 150 big smallies.

tim romano


Perhaps you should have left it. You know, strengthen the gene pool...

Alex Pernice the fly rod winner

Tim it was a state record...
(too bad my dad had to use his name)
I felt bad but tecnicly i have a record fish. Thats why i got it mounted in the river i fish you are lucky to catch a 16 inch fish.

Alex Pernice the fly rod winner

O yea kirk i feel bad for you the last 7 days i was fishing here its high 40's and 50's and im catching fish!!!


that's lame, Alex. maybe if you and other people didn't kill fish for no reason, they could actually get even bigger. although despite that, it doesn't sound like there is a lack of fish there.

as moeggs

The damn dams on the Boardman river(Michigan) are getting closer to being a thing of past. Once this happens, we will have several miles of improved trout water! No tailwater fishery here folks. The tailwater is too warm and too much sediment.

Alex Pernice the fly rod winner

Joey my lifelong goal was to catch a record and i want people to believe me
you cant just takee a photo and show it to the dnr now can you? thats why i mounted the fish it had died while they were looking at it.


We are having THE best speckled sea trout bite out of last thirty years here in eastern NC. It's not even limited to one little area either, anywhere you cast, you've got a chance to catch a citation fish (4+ lbs.) If I were to bet, I would say the state record will fall this year, I've already seen three 10 lb fish, as well as one horse that if the fellow had weighed him probably would have gone 15. And the state record is only 12 lbs 4 oz.


Huh, it seems like some of the best back seat fishing is occuring from some the moral high horses that are being being rode rough shod over one persons great accomplishment. Don't appologize, from the sounds of the fishery that fish was at the end of it's life cycle. Fish are renewable, like trees, and we forget that some harvest is completely acceptable.
If you can't say something nice......


I'm with Alex.

Alex Pernice the fly rod winner

Thanks Kirk.

Andy Montana

The fishing here in San Diego Bay (also Mission Bay) and in our surf along the coastline all the way to Oceanside could not be better. No crowds, lot's of fish; light tackle (5-6 weight) and a wide variety of fish from Surf Perch to Halibut to an occasional Bonefish. Our Spotted Bay Bass,and Barred Sand Bass catches can number well over 50 on many days during the year. You can also fish the surface for Bonito. And it is a year round fishery. It's a lot of fun. 20 years ago this kind of fishery did not exist. The Bay is Back.



what is this, only nice opinions allowed? i thought this was a free country.

that fish being at the end of it's life cycle is pure speculation. a lot of old fart anglers are at the end of their life cycle, can we justify getting rid of them??

and 'great' accomplishments are purely subjective. records are stupid, and killing fish to establish records are an irresponsible waste of wildlife resources.

fish are not as renewable as you may think, look around, if you haven't noticed. the whole reason for this post is that worldwide, there are very few places that have fishing better than they were before that have sustained any sort of human impact. native wild trout fisheries (as well as old growth forest) almost don't exist anymore in the lower 48 because of this 'renewable' resource point of few. it's ok to kill trout and destroy habitat because we can just restock them or they will grow back?

yes, some harvest is acceptable. i would qualify eating a fish as harvest. killing a fish to satisfy an insecure disposition is another thing.

sorry, alex, i don't know you and don't have anything against you. you said it yourself, you felt bad about killing that fish, and your gut instincts are correct. trophy hunting/fishing is about ego and nothing else. not saying anything is wrong with it, but it's an old fashioned way of thinking that in this day and age needs to be re-evaluated.

in any case, i'm just giving you shit for giving me shit a few posts back, lol...!


tim romano

I'm with Joey.

Well put. Couldn't have said it any better myself.

Alex Pernice the fly rod winner

Lol joey But yea i do agree it is a waste
that the fish died but it died while we were waiting for fish and game to come look at the fish. We had it in a live well and it just...well...Died.


alex, sorry for giving you such a hard time. the thing is that by fishing and releasing, we are really harrassing these fish. best thing to do is leave them alone. but yes, we have it in our genes to hunt/stalk prey. the best we can do is be as responsible as we can be.

the thing about records is that all they do is encourage someone else to beat the existing record. not sure what the point of it is. for me, i enjoy the personal challenge of catching a big fish. but to want to catch a bigger fish than someone else? i don't give a crap what someone else does, i'm not in a competition.

i know a few people who have beaten the state record redfish on fly over and over (in texas), but they refuse to kill the fish. they are perfectly secure knowing for themselves they did it, no need to prove it to anyone.


Aw c'mon! If I have an excellent year, I might catch 50 fish. Last year I threw everyone back. If I caught a state record bass or brook trout, I'd probably keep it. We're not talking about creatures that live all that long. with the ospreys and bald eagles, that fish could be gone anyway. Also, most people up here are keeping the mid-sized fish for eating and letting the big spawners go.


When I was 13, a fish didn’t count (not against any records, but, more importantly against what Grandpa caught last weekend) unless it was gutted, on a paper plate, and covered with Saran Wrap in the fridge. Thus, I was a bona-fide trout assassin. Attitudes change as you get older, however. I’m not Jacques Cousteau, but I think I do my share now for fish conservation. Heck, I just told 5 million people about the salmon threat from the proposed Pebble Mine, and today called the tarpon spearfishers “neanderthals in neoprene.” By the way, your collective response to that issue, thus far, has sucked. I have one eloquent, dead-on reader comment there.

My point is this: I’ll stand by Alex, because Alex is our future, and he’s no different than I was, more years ago than I’m willing to admit. I want the pilot light to burn, without us old farts beating the young guy down. The best thing that could happen for this sport – our legacy – is to have 100,000 Alexes get fired up about flyfishing and carry a positive agenda forward, long after we’re gone. If he collects a few wall-hangers along the way, I’m fine with that.

We have (no pun intended) bigger fish to fry, and those guys who shoot and kill tarpon just for the thrill of riding the massive death-shakes of the silver kings worry me much, much more. Think about it. Then get real.


kirk, getting fired up about fly fishing and having wall hangers don't necessarily have anything to do with each other.

yeah, one wall hanger doesn't really affect anything by itself, just like throwing one cigarette butt into the river won't do much harm.

but, how would you like a 100,000 alexes coming over into your home waters and collecting a few greenback cutthroat 'wall hangers'???

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