A client asked to be taken trout fishing next week but it has been pretty dry all summer and hot this week. I had my doubts but thought I should check. Drove to the river put on my waders and headed off fly rod in hand. The water was low as expected but not to the drought levels we had last summer. I made a few casts in the first pool and caught a nice brook trout (about 14 inches for those who wonder) when I brought it to hand the fish was actually warm to the touch. Telling me that the water was warm enough to stress this pretty fish and all of its relatives.
I spent the next couple of hours poking around and seeing what the possibilities might be. First an observation that no one had fished these pools (or at least left any boot tracks) since I was there with a client at the end of May. Which brings me to the privilege part. What a privilege in this day and age it is to live a short distance from a river with native wild brook trout in it and to have it pretty much all to myself. Not only my fishing pleasure but to be able to share it with folks from around the country who do not have such a fabulous resource nearby.
Now to the hard part; the responsibility. After one fish I determined that the water as too low and warm for me to stress those fish any further. My responsibly to the resource is to be as sure as I can be that I am not harming the overall population. Simply put I needed to switch my client to a resource that will not be impacted by our activity. Luckily, I have stripers in the saltwater and bass in the fresh to switch to and it sounds like the switch will be easily made.
The responsibility does not end there. I am also responsible to be certain my clients are safe and that they understand our role in making sure that the resources we enjoy are kept healthy. To me this extends to making sure everyone has a license because those fees are the funding stream that ensures good fisheries (and wildlife) management along with the enforcement that makes sure the rules are followed. I recently overheard a young guide tell his clients that they did not really need licenses on their trip with him. What a missed opportunity not just to put a few dollars into the system but to take a minute to explain how it all works and the important role the anglers play.
Maine Outdoors has always put supporting the resource first (why we include licenses in every trip) as a critical responsibility to go along with the privilege of being a guide on the incredible natural resources we share with all of you every day.