I'm curious... about some views...

Let me preface this by saying I do NOT have all the answers and would love to see some relevant statistics on this subject matter…
However, it has come to my attention that there is some really whacked ideas out there about what is ethical and what is not just reading through some of the posts to Rainbow’s pictures. I really don’t have a question, just would like some opinions – on the healthy debate side. It seems to me that most fly fisherman are fairly eco-friendly and for the most part try to do the right thing. There seems to be some that are very quick to judge one for having a good time.
I believe fly fishing is a blood sport – pure and simple. Even more so than spin fishing. Let me qualify this. Yes, most fly fisherman practice catch and release, but fish mortality does occur. It is something you have to deal with if you take part in the sport. More to my point is the things that happen before you even hit the water. There are people that get up in arms about the accidental death of a fish – do to improper handling, a deep hook, etc, etc… but do these same people think about the thousands of animals that are killed each year to create your flies? How many rabbits have their faces cut off so you can fish a Hare’s Ear nymph? For that purist dry fly fisherman: Your hackle does not come that small naturally. These chickens have endured many generations of chemicals pumped into their bodies, selective breeding, and poor living conditions so that you can tie that no. 18 Adams. Even the most popular fly tying outfit sends their work overseas to Sri Lanka where the workers are paid horribly (around 50 cents per hour).

So I ask this: Do you really think our views are ethical or eco-friendly? Or is it just a selfish impulse that makes us want perpetuate fish runs so we can always be able to partake in this sport?

I am not tying to belittle anyone or slam anyone. I just wanted to think “outside” the box for a second and get other views on this subject.

… Still looking for answers…
Nice post and I'm sure it will have big responses. I'm struggling with many of the same issues - applying them to my life in general. What tough questions. Achieving a balance seems impossible to me. Turn one way and you upset something else.

Do I drop my suburban and get a Prius? Am I getting a bike to commute to work to justify my larger vehicle or get in shape?

I like steak, but is there another form of protein that is just as gratifying to consume? Does it have to be gratifying to eat, or gratifying I am not supporting the cattle industry?

What petrochemicals and compounds are put into the air to make your fly line, fishing rod, fly reel - what land is exploited to get the minerals to make your hooks?

Where do you find the balance? How do you measure it? Is it a give and take so that your footprint on the planet ends up being a net of zero?

Jim W


Ignored Member
Man, what are you doing? Don't give PETA anything more to use against us. Don't ever mention those chickens or rabbits again. :EEK


...has several mistresses.
NICE!!!!! Get ready for what is to come! Here are my two cents! Yes, to fish or pursue any animal for sport is terrible! C-R hurts! No matter WHAT anybody says! The fur, the feathers, sure they all come from science and engineering. Can I do anything about that? NOPE! Do I want to hug trees, eat soy, tofu or otherwise to live the perfect existance with Ma Nature? NOPE! Do I jump all over those that kill a fish with over-handling? NOPE, ANY HANDLING IS OVER HANDLING AND I AM AS GUILTY! We are MAN and WOMAN! For that matter, our need to hunt and gather is in us, we do it for fun now, not for source (Could be why we are an overweight nation) BUT that is another topic! WHY DO OTHERS BECOME CRITICAL? I say because there is some un-written rule out there somewhere that has been passed along to be as ethical as we can to make up for the destruction we have done to this earth and nature! Do I take extra time to be careful? YES! Do fish die at my release? I AM SURE THEY DO! I see them swim away, who know what happens when they get home! Do hundreds of Oversees kids working for pennies on the hour bother me? NOPE! What can I do about it? Look at the history of corporations doing this, the people that fight it! Who wins? The corporations! By adding to it, am I helping the cause? NOPE, but I sure like to buy a hackle for 69.99!!! So, I conclude my now 10 cents this way: STOP CRYING, BITCHING AND BOTHERING EVERYBODY ABOUT WHAT YOU CALL ETHICS! IT IS A MATTER OF PERCEPTION! ETHICS TO SOME IS TO EAT HORSE, TO OTHERS IT IS WRONG! MAKE YOUR OWN REALITY, OBEY THE LAW, RESPECT OTHERS REALITY! Too early for a beer yet?



Active Member
Watch out...LOADED POST :AA . I can see the responses being pondered already and wording being put on paper. I try not to think outside the box because it just gets me in trouble. I keep it simple....I fish where I enjoy to fish, I release the fish the best I can given the situation and circumstances, I keep if I intend to eat, I spend money on equipment to support the industry, I buy my license and permits every season, granted I do not catch many fish but I enjoy the times I spend out in the middle of a river :THUMBSUP .

I guess I didnt respond well to your post but my point is that I enjoy fishing and hope that it is around for my daughter to enjoy also. That may be the politically incorrect aspect but thats my personality I guess :DUNNO .

Im interested to see the repsonses to follow.

OOPS... I came off a little weird there... I am not crying.. I have been fly fishing for over 20 years now and have no plans in stopping. Just wanted to bring up some points to counter this purist god's gift to the world I have encountered lately.


On the NF Stilly the other day with my wife catching whitefish. YES whitefish, and some loser gives us a ration of verbal abuse because we are using an indicator - and in his little world it was not flyfishing. My take: We were catching fish and he was not.

Some people are just losers.
For me, catch & release has nothing to do with "morality." I don't release trout because I think its "wrong" to harm them. I release them for one reason only -- to preserve the resource, so that I (and others) can come back another day and catch it all over again.


"If I don't catch them today, I'll catch them another day." Art Flick
Good post with food for thought for those concerned with the "ethics" of fishing. I for one just want to have fun and enjoy all that fishing gives me. I try to do that within the confines of regulation and try to support the fishery and those who support it whether that be to refrain from targeting fish were it is illegal, purchasing licenses, supporting flyshops and conservation organizations, or just offering my opinion where I think it may do some good without too much offense. My mom use to say, "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." Along that line, I think encouraging and rewarding good behavior is a whole lot more effective than condemning bad behavior.

My opinion would be that for sportsmen involved with being considerate to the environment and animals flyfishermen would have to be near the top of the pile.

Unless you are a vegetarian, it is easy to justify the use of animals for tying materials. For example, it is the joke that rabbits reproduce rather freely, so some would say it is not all that bad to make use of them for making flies.

The issue of how much money/working conditions overseas workers make is always an interesting one. It has been proven that most of these jobs are the best available in the area. Capitalism is not always easy to understand, but its strength is the fact that it does offer opportunity of all who choose to pursue it.

On a lighter note, I have given up the use of moose hair and now use my own hair for tying tails, etc.! Hey, small steps to self-reliant fly tying......


Active Member
I moved to this state from Michigan three years ago, and not until then was I confronted with catch and release. I understand why it is necessary, however, it is a "belief"...or a religion. With that said it should be treated as so amongst anglers. Religions vary from each believer...from non-practicing CR to CR fanatics...to each his own, but with the respect and knowledge that not everyone is a desciple of their "personal" belief.


Man, this is a good one! I am much older than most of the guys on this board and represent a generation that for the most part didn't litter, do grafitti, use an otherwise perfect body as a billboard for permanent, ugly 'art' work, didn't self inflict wounds and then hang tacky metal trinkets from the holes,or screw up their minds and bodies with the latest designer drugs. Essentially I have been an eco- friendly dude for my entire life, long before eco-friendly or dude were even coined as buzzwords. So when I hear some of these self-rightous holier-than-thou twits go off the deep end because someone killed a fish or committed some other "non-eco" infraction I am just amazed. They live on the same planet, eat the same foods packaged in plastic, put the same gas in their SUVs(no,they are not all driving Metros or riding bikes) and generally contribute to the economy in much the same way as everyone else. That is , they use products that industry creates, we all do. I saw how ridiculous this has all become a while back when the great flourocarbon scare surfaced. We are being castigated for even using the stuff and should we accidentally or otherwise let some sink to the bottom of a lake we are led to believe we have done irreparable harm to the environment. As they say on Cartalk on PBS,"BUUULLLLLLL----!" Get a grip, industry puts hundreds of thousands of tons of pollutants into the atmosphere every year and you want to get on my case because I drop .001 of a gram of floro into a lake? If you want a reality check go see(and smell) how the plastic is made that is in the keyboard you are typing on. Or do a follow-up on what happens when you discard your present computer and upgrade to a new one.
Sure C&R hurts fish, often kills them, particularly when we or some TV show host holds the fish out of the water for a minute and a half while taking pictures or telling the TV audience "what a beautiful fish this is". Imagine that the fish caught you and is holding you under water while he focuses his camera and saying to his buddies "Look at all the great Orvis gear on this speciman!".
Yeah, I think that fly fishermen taken as a whole are both ethical and eco-friendly. If flyfishermen are all you can find on this earth to wring your hands about, you really need an activity of some kind to make better use of your time. Maybe it's time to take up C&R flyfishing...............Ive
Flyfishers like to bandy around words like "ethics" and "stewardship" and "conservation" and "preservation" and "resource" and "environment" when what they're often talking about is merely managing a particular fishery. "Concern for the resource" often turns out to be rather lazy thinking. In an ecological sense, you're not "conserving" or "preserving" any kind of a natural "resource" when you return a stocked triploid rainbow or exotic brown trout back in to Lake Lenice; you're taking part in an arguably responsible fishery-management scheme, conserving fishing-opportunity at best.

Now of course it's a little different when you return a wild rainbow back into the Yakima, or a steelhead back to the Skagit, or maybe decide to forgoe even a C&R oportunity where the fish simply can't take any pressure at all, no matter what the law says. And I don't even want to imply that responsible fishery-management isn't worthwhile, even if that's all it is. My point is: try to think clearly and understand the difference. If you release all the trout you catch at Rocky Ford Creek, then turn around and support chinook-hatchery programs in Puget Sound, or take part in a fishery on the Methow that impacts endangered wild steelhead, I'm not sure I'd call you an environmentalist, or even someone overly concerned with "conserving" a "resource."

When you get up on a high horse about somebody mishandling or killing a fish, you should be sure about what it is you're actually defending. Lots of things may be worth defending, but it gets harder if you muddy up your case with more than your due. And remember that claiming the moral high ground generally requires a little climbing.

I've got plenty of my own ideas, prejudices, and crackpot theories. But I always like rigorous thinking and clearly articulated arguments. Scott, you sound like a guy I'd like to fish with.
Nothing will get a keyboard to tick than a thread like this. I like to keep it simple. I do not try to change other peoples minds. They never change unless they want to be.

If I am consumed with what other people think or do, then I can not focus on myself or my fly fishing. I may not be able to change the world, but I can change myself. To think I can change everyone else is a behavioral problem more suited to a therapist. That kind of thinking belies a serious social problem in that focusing on other peoples problems, just takes the cross hairs off your own sorry ass.

I have faith that myself and everyone else, will do the best they can, for their given situation and experience.

I also have faith that the state is managing the fisheries, the best that it can. Which means, all I have to do is follow the law to the letter. In other words, if the law says I can kill it and eat it, then it’s going to end up in my septic tank.

To allow other people’s thoughts to have an adverse effect on me, is to allow them power over me. And that would suck!



Active Member
I am usually passive on most posts that tend to stir the pot and refrain from comment, but please do not chastise someone and classify them with individuals you refer to as idiots because they have used a "perfect body as a billboard for permanent, ugly 'art' work". I have a tatoo and more than likely will get another before I leave this body. Does this make me an idiot?? I experimented with "the latest designer drugs" during my adolesence. Does this make me an idiot?? I practice safe C&R to the best of my ability and enjoy flyfishing more than anything, except my wife and daughter. Does this make me an idiot??

To each his own in whatever the topic but I do not call anyone and idiot because they look different than me or have done things I do not agree with or partake in activies I did not. Did you wear bell bottoms, grease your hair, smoke cigarettes, drink beyond your level, or have unprotected experiences?? Do these situations make you an idiot?? No, they in fact make you a better person and from these things you learn a valuable lesson called life :pROFESSOR .

We just need to go fishing and enjoy it, protect it, and cherish it so that our children can do the same. There is nothing we can do to stop the destruction. If we are lucky and everyone contributes we may be able to slow the process. Only time will tell no matter what you and I do.