|PHOTO: Mike Malijan, Skagit Valley Herald|
At issue is "whether anglers fishing the river are heeding the department's warnings about illegal snagging, trespassing on private property, littering and other unacceptable behavior." Those issues have been a problem for a number of years, fish manager Annette Hoffmann said.
"We don't want to punish anglers who act responsibly and follow the rules, but the length of this season still depends on our ability to maintain an orderly fishery," said Hoffmann.
This is the time when I stand up and cheer for what's derogatorily called the "nanny state," an appellation wingnuts picked up from the Brits to describe what they consider an overbearing government presence in everyday life.
But if anglers act like spoiled brats -- trespassing, shitting, littering, snagging -- who else but the fish cops are there to take away their playthings?
In years past some "sport" fishers left massive messes on the Puyallup, prompting the tribe to threaten closure actions and a local fishing club to organize cleanup actions.
This year, the fishing frenzy over returning pink salmon have led to enforcement against "sport" fishers who snag their catch rather than use baited hooks. (Seattle salmon snaggers nabbed by WDFW)
Of course, there will never be enough fish cops to go around all fishing locales so it will have to be up to the real sport fishers to self-police fellow anglers, self-support placing trash containers and toilets, and provide education on best angling practices.
Or do you expect the nanny state to do that, in this day and age?
Let's license and treat sport fishing as a privilege, not a God-given right. Let's have sport fishers step up and do what real sportsmen do: be good sports. If not, close the playpen.