Friday, September 11, 2009

Wall of Shame

In an effort to make fishing better in Colorado anglers need to trumpet the good and shine a huge spotlight on the bad. Changing the poor mentality of people in our natural areas is the only chance we have to stop the abuse. And that is exactly what it is…ABUSE!

Having said that I submit to you a photo of “bait dunkers” fishing right next to the no fishing sign off the first big spillway up Waterton Canyon.

A great rule in life is “Pick your battles wisely”. When confronting violators the same rule applies as not everyone is going to be agreeable to you pointing out the regulations. These guys could have easily pummeled me if I got too pushy. So what does a person do in this situation? I could not just walk away. Instead I employed a little subtlety.

I pulled the bike over and went right up to the sign and started taking pictures. When the two made eye contact with me, I pointed at the sign. The two “anglers” (and I use the term loosely) turned away quickly as if they were oblivious. At that point I pulled out my cell phone to notify authorities. All of this was done at a safe distance from the perpetrators but they could see what I was doing. Unfortunately the canyon has high rock walls and my cell phone couldn’t get service.

So I played up the call as if there was someone on the other end. The perpetrators got the idea and started moving up into the areas that were actually legal for them to fish. 9 out of 10 times there is a safe and polite way to point out abuse or violations. Calling the authorities is the recommended approach. Sometimes the response is quick and sometimes it is not. For state parks, national forests and other state run areas, the number below is your best bet.

1-877-COLO-OGT, Verizon cell phone users can dial #OGT

Good luck and good fishing.

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