Alright here is my 2 cents since we are all fired up here. We can all sit at our computers and fire off blame towards others, but how many of us have actually done anything to change the way that we ourselves fish? Last season I took a long hard look at the way I fished winni and I decided to change that. I had been, in the past, out on the water for 6 hours in the morning and 4 in the evenings when I could get out there. This past season I changed that. Now I will only fish a few hours in the morning and I will pack it in if I start hammering them or get into the smaller fish. I have cut out my evening trips all together for salmon, now I fly fish for bass with poppers, and if you haven't tried that yet please do it is a frigging blast. I read the salmon pledge and I get it and I changed the way I target salmon.
Why hasn't anyone blamed Cannon, Big Jon or Scotty yet? Years ago there were no downriggers and most of us do not enjoy bringing in a 2 pound salmon on 8 colors of lead. Salmon used to be a spring only thing with our fly rods and tandem streamers and when the water warmed we all turned to other species. So do we blame all the technology too or ourselves for not using it responsibly? I have been out with a guide and it was an extremely valuable trip because not only did I learn more about how to catch salmon and lakers, more importantly, I also learned conservation. Pointing fingers at the guides and blaming them for supposedly depleting the fishery is akin to blaming a farmer for growing crops. Why the hell would either want to destroy what there lively hood is based on? Not to mention they were the ones on this very board leading the charge for better fish handling and selective harvesting. Should we blame the bait shops for selling us such wonderful lures that catch fish? Do we blame our coffee makers for fueling us with the caffeine needed to fish at 430 in the morning? Blaming the derby and those who fish it is also a waste of time. The money that both bring in do wonderful things for the community and the fishery. I have this strange feeling that F&G is watching both derbies closely and would get rid of them if they were or turn out to be the problem. But, yes some of us chose not to fish the derby this year for a multitude of reasons. Yes some of us do think that the derby has an impact on the fishery just as some think that fishing in August has an impact. Here is a novel idea, whichever hypothesis you subscribe to adhere to that idea and stick to it. Do not fish in August if you think that is where the harm is being done. Don't book a charter if you think that is the problem but for crying out loud do not begrudge someone for standing by their beliefs who don't fish the derby or won't book a charter or fish in August. Blaming this website is silly at best. Everyone of us has benefitted and become better fishermen(women) from the posts on this site, but it is up to us, individually, what we do with that information. Do we go out and catch 35 2 year olds in a day or do we pack it in after only a couple? I only ever see the same handful of people posting on here day in and day out and yet there will be 150 or so at the gathering so there are a ton of lurkers on here who just take the info and run with it. But, if people pay attention around here, you may have noticed the tone of this board has changed over the last 2 years from how many did we catch, what were we using, how deep and where. Now most of us and especially the guides are stressing better conservation, better management and better handling of the fish. You all may have noticed that some of us have stopped sharing completely. Is this what we really want? Finger pointing and blame or do we want to actually become better anglers?
In Hal Lyon's book he brings up a point that I think many of us are missing, I know I certainly was in my earlier fishing days. What Hal Lyon's book says is, "In every activity where strength is required, sensitivity also is required. Without it the strength will remain in its raw state as brute force. Sensitivity and spirituality are much more important in angling than brute force. This is one reason why in their twilight years many fishermen become anglers and gravitate toward catch and release and fly-fishing".
So take a look at yourself and ask if you are a fisherman who wants to rack up numbers to brag about or are you an angler who just has a spiritual connection with the act of fishing itself. I know what I used to be and I know what I am now and I will say that I catch a heck of a lot less fish but I truly enjoy it a whole hell of a lot more now.
So enough already with blaming everyone but yourself. We can all change the way we treat Lake Winnipesaukee and if you really take a look around you will see that most of us have begun that journey.
Well I guess that was more than my 2 cents.