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A Fisherman Out of Water… » A sad day on my favorite river…

Home » A sad day on my favorite river…

A sad day on my favorite river…


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I normally don’t let things get me down but sometimes something happens and it just tugs at your heart strings. I grew up less than a quarter mile from the Nooksack river. On this particular stretch, access is very limited(except by boat) and I tend to think of it as my personal fishing space. I don’t mind sharing it with the drift boaters and other locals but today I really had my heart broken.

Today when we arrived to fish this lovely water we were greeted by a gill net stretched across the pool. It was set in such a way that it blocked the entire pool and was sure to snag EVERY fish that cycled into the holding water…

It’s been about 15 years, give or take a few, since there was decent water within walking distance of my childhood home. This year was different. A beautiful stretch of water emerged from the spring high flows. It’s some of the best water I’ve fished all year.

I’m know there’s plenty of hatred already directed at Native fishing rights in Washington rivers. I’m not one of those “Damn Indians…” kind of people. I just have a problem with the methods being used. A gill net is such an indiscriminate killer it just makes me so sad to see it in my secret spot. The net was full of fish by the way the floats were thrashing around and being pulled under.

I’ve personally seen Sockeye, Kings, and Chums left to rot on the bank because it was illegal to retain them or they were just unwanted. Senseless killing if you ask me. Some Tribes in our state have started using more selective fishing practices such as fish traps. They’re able to take what they want and release the native fish unharmed. I encourage all of you reading this to read the rules for yourself and be vigilant. Report illegal netting. With so many cuts to government programs enforcement is a constant problem for the WDFW.

If we all do a little bit to work on this problem I’m sure some sort of solution can be found. I’m not against Native Americans taking their share of the fish. I personally believe they have every right to do it. I just wish they would stop using all or nothing techniques. I’d like my kids to be able to see fish in the rivers not just at the supermarket! Time heals all wounds and tomorrow the net will be gone but my special spot will never be the same…

Nick expressing his love for the gill net in our hole...


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