Thoughts on killing the record steelhead, fallout and ruminations:

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Zen Piscator, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. Mark Moore Just a Member

    Posts: 744
    Vancouver, Wa.
    Ratings: +70 / 0
    OK, so after I post I start looking all over the web for this story and what I see is INSANE!

    People are threatening this guy's physical well being, I mean come on people this is out of control. None of us where there and know the truth about the condition of the fish. The poor guy won't be able to go out in public for years.

    Irrespective of what he has posted about the circumstances, which seem credible to me, based on a simple Google search I discovered the guy is a serious, committed conservationist. He belongs to a number of conservation organizations and even petitioned the state to plant carp in a local pond.

    Breathe people, breathe.
  2. Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

    Posts: 3,076
    Missoula, MT
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    I don't care if the act was legal. It was the wrong thing to do. It reminds me of a favorite passage in The Earth is Enough by Middleton:

    "Everything went black and then a sun like no other sun i had seen, a sun of boiling reds and rusty oranges, rose over a land I did not recognize. Suddenly there was a naked creature with long black hair and somber eyes standing at the edge of a great green forest that stretched without a break to the horizon. The creature has an eagle feather in its hair.

    "Preacher, I knew instantly that that creature was man. It was us. Nature had spit us out as if we were something sour, unnatural, tainted, grotesque. And the creature took the eagle feather from its hair and flung it to the ground, stomped on it, took an oath of revenge on the earth, the earth that would not let him back in. The man had a troubled heart and sought to soothe it by conquering the earth, subduing it. He would be the highest creature of them all. He would be king, the earth's master. But you know, your Eminence, even his own kind would turn on him, bring him bad news. Soon, that dolt Copernicus would tell him that this world wasn't the center of the universe, that everything did not revolve about him in a contrite submission. And that dumpy, scruffy-looking limey Darwin would spring the surprise of evolution on him, kick him out of the lap of the gods and into the trees with the apes. And that nut case Freud hurt man most of all, shattering his moral heart and mind, letting him know that he was instead a creature of considerable perversion. A troubled creature indeed."
    -Elias Wonder, 1969
  3. Flyborg Active Member

    Posts: 2,313
    Kalama, WA
    Ratings: +604 / 0
    The general irrational response is warranted. Lack of a response would just insure that people continue to do this and think it's OK (see Buck's post above. In what world does legality=morality? Ignorance is not an excuse.) In essence, this guys being martyred for a good cause. We clearly can't win politically, so the state has forced us to create a social awareness that killing wild fish is not OK by other means. Violence? That's what people resort to when they truly believe in something. Not much is going to change that, and rightly so. Violence is the one thing that keeps the true issue, overpopulation, from further destroying everything. We're just animals trying to pretend otherwise.

    The good news is that a lot of people will think twice before doing this again. Which is, after all, the point.
  4. slippery_whippet Member

    Posts: 229
    Sedro Woolley, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    What you obviously don't understand is that asshole shit all over all of us and that you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. It may have been legal, but when did that make it right.

    Thank you Zen for being part of the solution and helping get the point across.

    --SW
  5. Mike (Doc) LaCombe Member

    Posts: 417
    Port Orchard, WA
    Ratings: +11 / 0
    It's sure great that none of the rest of us live in glass houses. It sounds like no one else has ever done anything they regreted. Enough is enough. I'm sure everyone has gotten the message. Release ALL wild fish and if you don't sure as hell don't tell anyone about it.


    Saint Michael
  6. seatownbrock Still in the 206.....

    Posts: 128
    Burien, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    This guy bonked a legal fish for gods sake. I can understand that people are emotional over the issue at hand, but this is getting blown a little out of proportion.

    Let's all remember why we are here... We take great joy in throwing artificial hooks towards fish and giggle with glee when the sharp hook goes through the fish's face and is now under OUR control. Once the fish is exhausted and unable to fight anymore, we lift it from the water or not based on our clear state regulations, take a picture and place it back in the water to swim off like nothing ever happened. We then gloat in the fact we only tortured it and didn't kill it and place ourselves on a moral high ground above those evil men who legally kill these beloved creatures.

    Give me a break, we need to be emotional about our resources, but lets direct it in the right direction and go after the retention issue instead of going on a moral crusade against a conservationist who bonked 1 fish.
  7. Buck "Ride'n Dirty."

    Posts: 1,475
    Seattle, Wa.
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Blah Blah, what about tribal netting? That's the real fucking problem.
    Zen, are u serious about killing fish, don't fish.
  8. Flyborg Active Member

    Posts: 2,313
    Kalama, WA
    Ratings: +604 / 0
    The "glass house" argument is the battle cry of moral relativists. Doesn't really apply in a debate of right and wrong.
  9. Andrew Kirkland cuttlover

    Posts: 59
    Bellingham, Wa,
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    For this reason he should have known better! With this logic if someone is a philanthropist they have the right to kill someone, just once, because of all the good they have done prior to committing murder.
  10. Flyborg Active Member

    Posts: 2,313
    Kalama, WA
    Ratings: +604 / 0
    Tribal netting is a part of the problem that we have very little influence over. What we can influence is C&R practice and attitudes of fellow anglers on the river. Are you oversimplifying the issue on purpose? Or are you just venting some personal beef with Zen? I know you're not dense, just trying to figure out why you're trying so hard to be.
  11. alpinetrout Banned or Parked

    Posts: 3,899
    Hiding in your closet
    Ratings: +75 / 0
    That's exactly why very little progress is ever made in anadromous fish recovery. Everyone wants to blame someone else. There's no one "real fucking problem", there are dozens of contributing factors and we all contribute in one way or another, some more than others.
  12. Citori Piscatorial Engineer

    Posts: 1,208
    Federal Way, WA
    Ratings: +121 / 0
    All the ills of the world are no excuse for doing what you can do personally when you can do it. The discussion this event has engendered brings value. More people understand about not killing wild fish and that it is wrong - no matter who does it, when they do it, and for what reason.

    The killing of this fish is done, and cannot be undone. But perhaps the next one won't be killed. Good for us.

    The two things that separate us from lower life forms are opposable thumbs, and our ability to learn. Let us learn... and use our opposable thumb to release wild fish.

    My $.02
  13. Jim Speaker Active Member

    Posts: 2,215
    Mill Creek, WA
    Ratings: +518 / 0
    Naw, I actually liked that part. Just because someone is capable of running into a burning building by being bipedal, and capable of whatever else due to opposable thumbs, doesn't alone make them of more significance, and does not mean they would actually do it. I wouldn't figure on that dude running in to save me from a burning building - unless he was sure that the Mayor was gonna offer him the key to the city or something.

    I actually observed a rainbow trout at rocky ford use it's snout to keep it's mate upright after someone released it and it was too tired maintain... the other fish was literally nudging it to keep it upright - and it worked. Another fish revived that fish. Another time I hollered at some migrant fellas that had several bait caught rainbows in a bucket and convinced them if they didn't return the fish to the water and leave that I would press dial to 911 (I had no cell service) - one of the fish was extremely difficult to revive and after about 30 minutes or so I finally had it swimming freely but it would not leave my side, apparently equating me with safety and survival rather than predation. I had to thrash a bit and scare it to convince it to move to deeper water where it wasn't so damned warm.

    I think these small examples, and the behavior of game birds that mate for life, and many other examples show clearly that the size of the brain, or overall complexity of the organism, is not key to the commission of acts that we as humans would deem compassionate, and are more likely deeply ingrained instinctual reactions that just work in terms of survival. I agree with the above quote since natural selection unchecked would surely over time weed out idiots like this who are incapable of managing resources - ah, but the caveat, unchecked... as our current state of technology has made it so even the dumbest and most incapable human animals that are born in this day and age manage to live and reproduce.

    Well written Zen.

    A tad more than my 2-cents.

    (as I was writing I had not seen your opposable thumb comment, Citori, that was not a jab at you in any way, just making sure that's clear... :) )
  14. herl Member

    Posts: 877
    the other washington
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    To reiterate what I've said before.. I would urge people not to get caught up in the 'moral' or 'ethical' argument. Those could be justly argued by either side.

    C&R is may not be morally or ethically superior to catch and kill BUT it is a vastly superior conservation tool.

    It is all about common sense, practical results and the preservation/restoration of the species.

    The great, well-enforced C&R waters of the world may suffer from overcrowding but they will be the very last places to loose their wild fish.

    Eric
  15. Buck "Ride'n Dirty."

    Posts: 1,475
    Seattle, Wa.
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    If so many people here are upset about the catching of wild steelhead, then why is the "WFF Hoh Down 2009" going on when the natives are in? If your interests are in wild fish conservation, then you ought not to catch them to begin with. Again, the guy caught a legal fish, and said the only reason he killed it was because there was a bleeding gill. He apperently belongs to several fish conservation organizations, why can't we take him for face value?
    Many Tribal Gill Nets kill fish of this size daily. They are decemating our fisheries, yet people feel the need to bash one guy, when the real problem could be taken up with more appropraite people. If I catch a wild steelhead, and it's legal and I want to kill it, I will. If I felt different about killiing a fish, I probably would try golf.
  16. Mark Moore Just a Member

    Posts: 744
    Vancouver, Wa.
    Ratings: +70 / 0

    Zen, I truly respect your ability as a fisherman as I have, over my time here, searched a number of your posts. And 'Borg, as I live in Vancouver, I may actually run into you on a river someday.

    However if overpopulation is the problem and man (as species vs. individual) is destroying the planet, then I respectfully submit my nomination for the two of you to be immortalized as the first to voluntarily give their lives in the name of steelhead recovery. You will have my undying gratitude.

    It is specious to argue that because an individual fisherman killed an individual fish, glorious as he may have been, justifies your utterly self centered rage that said fish will no longer be able to propagate progeny for your "ethical" brand of recreation. Give me a F----n' break.

    I genuinely hope when you are this mans age and have the life experience he has that you are never presented with a situation where you have to make a similarly difficult decision.

    Get off your high horse or put your gear away.
  17. Backyard SANCHO!

    Posts: 1,690
    The River, WA.
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    10 of us were camped on the hoh that whole week/weekend when this happened.

    I can tell you with out a doubt, that fish would have gone back into the drink if any of our boats rolled up on that catch.

    But, if it takes one dead fish to make 1000's to not make the same mistake... something good came out of it.
  18. Jim Speaker Active Member

    Posts: 2,215
    Mill Creek, WA
    Ratings: +518 / 0
    Because every picture prior to sticking his hands in its gills didn't have blood. Gee... Sounds to me like this conservationist specializes in conserving smoke to blow up peoples' asses. Nice that he showed his true colors before the end, at least now an honest obituary might be written.

    Edit: sonofa... that was post 999??? and now I'm at 1000??? I was trying to save that for a report. Damnit. Well, guess I'm a "senior member" now. :rofl:
  19. Jergens AKA Joe Willauer

    Posts: 2,141
    Twin Bridges, MT
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    Just out of curiosity, have you ever caught a native, winter fish on the fly? or any gear for that matter? this is not meant to be a jab, just trying to understand your mentality towards this issue.
  20. Flyborg Active Member

    Posts: 2,313
    Kalama, WA
    Ratings: +604 / 0
    We already have.

    I wouldn't be able to enjoy the empty rivers then. Besides, you should be happy there's such thing as a "gun toting liberals" like me :)

    No, it isn't.

    Age isn't some magical elixir that grants wisdom. I hope I am presented with a similarly difficult decision, and I hope age doesn't wear away my wits so much that I would do the same as he did.

    With regards to this statement, it's all perspective...