When We Love Too Much…Salmonids

Dave McCoy is the owner of Emerald Water Anglers, and is an ambassador for both Patagonia and Thomas & Thomas.

In a long conversation with filmmaker Mark Titus, he reflects on the business and sport of fly fishing in a time of climate change and the risks of species extinction.

Dave is a committed environmentalist and business owner who has given a great deal of thought to running his fly fishing business while working for the preservation of threatened fisheries and their habitats. As a thoughtful person, he is also a realist – recognizing that preservation of fisheries comes with adverse impacts to business that will require new ways of thinking to preserve both the sport and the business.

There are places he no longer fishes or guides given the collapse of fisheries he previously visited. And he is strong proponent of keeping fish wet – meaning, hooked fish need to be kept in the water, not taken out for the hero shot. Memories can be forever – without the need of a photograph of a stressed fish that will have a dramatically increased risk of mortality by being taken out of the water. And he agrees in the discussion that with climate change and collapse of Pacific Northwest fisheries, it may be time to promote fisheries such as bass, carp, and pike as alternatives to threatened species.

And Dave suggests that it may be time to look at the overall experience of fly fishing rather than how many fish are caught.  That means that being out in nature; appreciating the wildlife seen; and enjoying the fly casting itself, can be the measures of a successful day, without catching a single fish – something I’ve long thought.

And he didn’t mention it, but I’ve long believed that April Volkey’s rule for steelhead fishing should be observed by everyone – particularly for all threatened fisheries: catch two and go home.

This is a terrific interview that touches on many subjects, including misplaced concerns about tribal harvesting of salmonids; the need to rethink business and travel; and the end of a long-held beliefs about recreation. Challenging ideas and reflections are made, and it it is worth your time to listen.

You can find it here.


Author: Tom

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