To complete a school science project, my grandson Ben interviewed me about my attitude and the practices I follow to help keep our environment clean. His inquisitive mind quickly honed in on some of my extra-curricular activities, particularly fly fishing. What impact, he wanted to know, does my I involvement in the sport have upon the rivers and Denver streams I fish, and what effect to I have on the fish that live in these waters?
Reducing my own pollution footprint was first to come to mind. Of course it was a given to Ben that I would be careful not to leave any of my own garbage in areas I fish, and that I got extra points for cleaning up after other less conscientious anglers. What else, he wanted to know. I talked about catch and release approaches I took in much of my fishing, and my adherence to all the rules and regulations put in place by regulatory agencies to protect fish and fishing habitats. Ben’s queries tweaked my curiosity so I told him I would look into this a bit further.
Thinking back to some of the discussions I have had with staff at the Minturn Anglers fly shop in Denver, I realized that there is more I could do. Increasingly, environmentally sensitive fishing products are showing up in fly shops. Here are some examples.
- Rubber soles on waders are slippery on wet rocks, so were replaced with felt soles that provided more traction; however, felt soles were found to transmit noxious microorganisms between streams; the current environmentally sensitive approach uses sticky rubber soles
- Monofilament line that gets tangled in brush under the water and in trees on the bank stays around for around 600 years according to some estimates; a new fishing line is designed to keep its strength for about a year of use, and any left in the water or banks will degrade in about five years
- Over the years lost fishing sinkers and jigs made of toxic lead has affected the health of countless water birds, fish and other animals; “green” fishing equipment that uses tin or steel has helped reduce this environmental hazard
When I passed this information on to Ben, he beamed. We are both looking forward to getting an “A” on this project!