A key question about native trout, posed in Angling Trade’s fall 2015 issue:
But do anglers really care? And, for an outfitter or guide, do native trout fisheries help pay the rent?
I’d say some anglers care, but many couldn’t care less about native trout.
I think native fish are gems. We are fools to ignore how significant it is that these creatures are still around, and in those few remaining places they’ve always been, despite the best efforts of mankind to fuck up nearly everything for them.
Greenback cutthroat on Colorado’s Front Range, Gila trout in New Mexico, Westslope cutthroat in Idaho and Montana, Yellowstone and Colorado River cutthroats in Wyoming, bull trout, native salmonids, and of course brook trout in the East all live in habitat under constant pressure from development, demand for water, pollution, and climate change. Things aren’t getting better overall. There are some pockets of improvement, and a few more areas that are holding steady, but mostly, it is a story of relentless decline for native trout.
Go read State of the Trout on Trout Unlimited’s website if you don’t believe it.
As always, it’s a question of what we value. It is great to read about some of the outfitters and anglers in the Angling Trade piece who value native fish, but it is certainly not the majority’s view in our society that we should preserve the places that support these species. If it were, we wouldn’t be reading articles like this.