The loss of a spot...

b_illymac

Member Active
#1
I was maybe 23 or 24 when my friend dragged me out of the house hung over to go smallmouth fishing one early spring day. We drove down to a small gravel launch in a cut in cascade valley and were soon throwing crankbaits to a spot we now simply call the rock pile right offshore. It was March 1st.

When she hit that afternoon it was like a freight train and it took a lot to get her to the surface. She to this day is my biggest smallmouth at 6.1 pounds.

Over the years I would hit this spot for early morning or late evening topwater and during the spring smallmouth spawn. The spot does get hit by a lot of gear guys in fancy boats but I prefered just paddling my small Nucanoe along the shore and picking the docks and cattails apart with my fly rod. I almost always was rewarded.

The last few years I have noticed a spot next to the ramp. A parking spot that is almost entirely out of view due to brush and a few trees. Every time I fished late someone would be there. The amount of litter and trash became unreal. But I still enjoyed this spot 5 minutes from my current house and overall felt safe parking along the main road. I never had any problems.

And so yesterday with a few hours to spend on a nice afternoon I loaded up my son in hopes of hunting down a big prespawn smallmouth with my flyrod. As we rounded the corner in my old truck I saw a shiney new 6 foot tall fence.

The entire area is blocked off. The next door neighbor apparently owns the parking area and 2/3rds of the ramp and the small slice of public has an even bigger second fence connected now with 3 large stop sign size red dots? I assume to signal keep out. Liam and I stopped and got out to look it all over. He didn't really understand at 4. How could he?

I knocked on the neighbors door with Liam to see if maybe I could still slip my canoe in. A small elderly lady opened the door and explained why they shut down access. "Too many lovers late at night, McDonald packages left, rowdy parties, garbage and filth." Needless to say she recommended we go to the park to put in. I tried to explain why Liam and I wouldn't put in at the park (crowded and not where I would want to fish) but her mind was set. I dont blame her.

During the ride home Liam asked to fish a handful of other lakes but I explained that the drive was too long for the window of time we had.

Obviously this spot is still open to me if I want to motor around in the bigger boat. But it does sting a little to have an access point so close to home shut down. A spot I have known quite well and wanted to enjoy with my son yesterday...
 

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
#3
Sadly that happens more & more, @b_illymac and for the same reasons. I lost access to several prime spots over the years due to some of the sins you cited plus repeated illegal dumping. The land is controlled by the Feds, but even they grew tired of contending with the pigs who trashed the area. Over the years I sent names. addresses, plate numbers, & photos identifying the "dumpers" to the authorities, but they refused to act. Now the entire area is fenced well away from the water; my aging knees compromise my ability to haul or carry a floating device in there now. I reckon it's deemed easier (but certainly not more appropriate on public land) to keep everyone out than it is to prosecute the chronic offenders. Sad indeed.
 

longputt

Active Member
#4
I have some private land that has access to fishable water and you can't believe the damage and cost I've incurred to repair fences, gates, buy signs and dispose of trash. I've closed it.

In fact, not only have I closed it but I don't even use the access! Once someone sees you they just think it's open and follow you in or come back the next day saying "I saw someone here yesterday so I thought it was OK." So even though I'd like to, I can't fish my land or give permission.

It's incredible.
 

Old Man

Just an Old Man
#5
There used to be a spot on the Main Stilly like that. A farmer opened his land up for people to use and they trashed it so he shut it down. It was a good place for pinks. It had a long beach like setting . But kids would party there and we all know how sloppy kids are.
 

longputt

Active Member
#8
A very unfortunate sign of the times. A lack of respect for private property. It seems to be getting worse.
I'm not convinced there is a "new" lack of respect. I think there are just so many more people it's inevitable. There's always been a few who trash things but "the few" has become too many.
 
#9
Littering is against the law. Law enforcement is lacking in our public places.
Private land is a different story, enforcement is up to the land owner, trespassing is against the law. If the land owner calls the law and nothing happens, some is really wrong, danger, danger!!!
 

GAT

Dumbfounded
#10
I can't tell you how many favorite steelhead, SRC, salmon spots I've lost over the years to the sudden appearance of No Trespassing signs.

The last straw was when someone posted one of my all time favorite places to fish for anadromous fish on the Siletz. You had to climb down a steep (straight down) trail to reach the water... basically a cliff.

The high water mark was at the base of the cliff so the land owner only owned the decent... about 10 feet wide. He posted a cliff!

That did it. I stopped steelhead fishing the day the sign went up and I've only gone out a hand full of times since the sign was nailed to a tree.

I really miss those favorite spots because some were on small streams with solitude and picturesque views. Some of the signs indicated "no fishing, do't even ask". So I didn't.
 

Buzzy

Active Member
#11
@b_illymac - its not hard for you and I to understand why your rock pile access is now fenced off, too bad Liam has to learn how the general public gets hosed by actions of a few turds of society (society?).
 
#12
Something we are missing from b_illymac's original post is "taking a kid." We wonder why kids play video games but when I was a kid I could walk down the street and catch a fish. Some of my favorite youth "urban" fisheries are housing developments, parks too crowded to back cast and most are closed for no trespassing (both public and private lands).

Fishing has become an event...travel long distances, hire guides, book hotels, eat elaborate meals, buy flies, buy boats...
 
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Dan Page

Active Member
#13
There are many aspects to this issue.
I grew up on a family farm in the Midwest that had about 1/4 mile of river frontage on a bigger river. We always let people fish with permission. They had to go through 3 to 4 gates that were used to contain livestock at different times of the year. As time went on the inevitable happened, livestock getting loose and having to gather them back up, litter accumulation etc. etc. So after restricting access to less and less people trespassing became a real problem with more vandalism, more littering, stealing firewood, etc.
To actually prosecute someone on the grounds of trespassing is very difficult and almost impossible. My sister lives there today and after much legal advice and many challenging experiences has posted the property but basically cannot stop trespassing. Trespassers trespass with little consequence.
The bottom line here is lack of self responsibility and respect for others, and the resource. Is part of human nature I guess.
 

GAT

Dumbfounded
#14
I know why most land owners closed off their property to assess to the rivers and it was usually a result of someone trashing their place. Others, the ownership changed and the new owners wanted the fishing spots to themselves. Which is all I can figure happened when the guy posted his cliff... no one had been trashing the cliff.

So it goes. It's unfortunate but it is what it is.
 
#15
There are many aspects to this issue.
I grew up on a family farm in the Midwest that had about 1/4 mile of river frontage on a bigger river. We always let people fish with permission. They had to go through 3 to 4 gates that were used to contain livestock at different times of the year. As time went on the inevitable happened, livestock getting loose and having to gather them back up, litter accumulation etc. etc. So after restricting access to less and less people trespassing became a real problem with more vandalism, more littering, stealing firewood, etc.
To actually prosecute someone on the grounds of trespassing is very difficult and almost impossible. My sister lives there today and after much legal advice and many challenging experiences has posted the property but basically cannot stop trespassing. Trespassers trespass with little consequence.
The bottom line here is lack of self responsibility and respect for others, and the resource. Is part of human nature I guess.
Except, if someone hits your cow on the highway, try proving a trespasser opened the gate and it wasn't your negligence. When I find cut wires I lose sleep over what could have happened.
 

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