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Washington Steelhead, IGFA and Joan Wulff

Tell me that the most recent issue of Fly Rod and Reel hasn't printed what I am sitting here reading, oh my GOD! After such a stellar issue last month, dedicated to steelhead, FR&R just took about 5 steps backwards and took Joan Wulff with them. In this industry it is easier and unfortunately safer to steer clear of hot topics, leaving them open to debate amongst many who are seeking guidance on these issues from those they trust and respect. I would wager thousands of anglers are looking for someone to be an authority on the topic and yet has anyone besides a handful of conservation organizations in the region been willing to step up to that plate? No for fear it might, "offend and turn off prospective customers or existing ones..." author will remain anonymous and clearly a glass half empty type of personality. Rather it should maybe be viewed as if you are passionate enough to stake your reputation on the well being of a species that doesn't speak English or any other language to my knowledge, for the betterment of society and those who rely on them for their livelihood, maybe you will attract like minded clients/customers and turn existing ones into life-long believers with you. Unless you live here in the Pacific NW, have had your life affected by these magnificent fish and what they endure to become a part of that said life, then you don't have a right to say, endorse or have anything to with the future of these species. Nothing! Why does Joan feel the need to associate herself with this unfortunate story? For her to introduce such an article shows the uninformed and removed state of those who do not live and breathe the plight of these fish day in and day out as a part of working in this industry and more importantly in this region. In fact it is quite cavalier for her act this way while at the same time have this in every FFF Flyfisher magazine: magcover_joanwulfffff1 Can you be anymore hypocritical...this is not what these fish or this industry needs. We need well respected and world renowned anglers and conservationists to positively politicize acts like this for the benefit of the fish. While on the subject, why does the IGFA have, allow or even accept applications for species in peril? World Record status of steelhead and other species around the world that are in serious trouble with regards to their long term sustainability should simply be put on hold or closed to change until they have regained at least a portion of their former populations. As an organization that is supposed to represent our industry they too should have a higher standard and conscientious view of what it means to remove such a species from the gene pool. The mention that this was the largest steelhead ever caught by IGFA records also shows a gross negligence in making sure they have compiled what is out there on record so as to give a more competent detail of their history. Hey, IGFA, I did some of your work for you: Idaho State Record http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/fish/steelhead/ New York State Record http://www.outdoorsniagara.com/new_york_state_record_steelhead.htm British Columbia Records, scroll down to Area Records http://www.noelgyger.ca/ bc_33poundsteelheadkispiox RELEASED! skeena_recordsteelhead1 RELEASED!! I feel sorry for someone who needs to have their namesake based on the killing of such a magnificent fish. Especially when looking to the not so distant future could find that is was also the beginning of the end of their race. Hind sight being 20/20, that might have been a good question to ask yourself before giving it the granite helmet huh Pete. I would hope that when I die, my kids and with luck grandkids will look at what I believed in and fought for and be proud, knowing I was attempting to allow them the same pursuits I enjoyed growing up. NONE of us out here believe the "it was bleeding" story. I have not seen one picture supporting this claim to be true and by the undertones in Pete's article, he knew exactly what he was doing, where is the closest certified scale IGFA will accept that I can find...absolutely deplorable. And as for Joan Wulff, make up your mind. Do you "Hold the future in your hands, and then release them" or do you kill them and grab the worthless little bit of history and run? What sort of lesson does this teach our up and coming generation of anglers? I am sorry to say I lost much of the respect and admiration I had for you. As for FR&R, by simply printing the story without a side bar of comment by the magazine, you have endorsed this. A publication of this stature should be first in line to “police” such a story by putting the right spin on it. Only hope is to have it create enough awareness to help alter the policy here in WA but I wouldn't hold my breath. WDFW shoulders a good portion of the blame for this as well. Several years ago they took a step in the right direction by making ALL wild steelhead in Washington mandatory catch and release. Pressure from a small town called Forks made the entire fisheries management board back off this decision, allowing 1 wild steelhead be kept and we have been in a back peddling tailspin since. Their disparaging numbers currently compared to historical figures should easily warrant such a decision. I LOVE this industry. I have dedicated 20 years of my life to it and to helping others marvel at its wonders and will continue to do so. But at times I am floored by the selfish nepotism abound in certain circles of our industry and it is time to grow up. I will end this on these words: "We have reached the time in the life of the planet, and humanity's demand upon it, when every fisherman will have to be a river-keeper, a steward of marine shallows, a watchman on the high seas. We are beyond having to put back what we have taken out. We must put back more than we take out." The Longest Silence - Thomas McGuane Was this too harsh? Tough, it needed to be said and thank you Dylan for pulling on the reigns.
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