Over the last few years, i have really come to appreciate just how lucky I am to live here in Reno, as it relates to fishing. Not only am i located within a few hours of dozens of major rivers, hundreds of lakes, and thousands of creeks, but also a time of improving water conditions and river awareness.
However, there are some big challenges that us avid fisherman will face in the coming decades, very large, and sometimes scary ones. the questions becomes how do move forward, what kinds of action needs to be taken now, in order for things to be just as good or better than they are now! i recently had a conversation that opened my eyes, there are people who believe the best action for our local rivers is to purely do nothing, no restoration, no regulations, merely to "hide" our local rivers. They claimed unnecessary publicity was the sole cause of river degradation, and the way to fix it was merely to stop talking about our rivers. and that government can do no good at all in terms of setting river management policy, or actively restoring our local waters.
This idea of 'lets go back to the way things were' is not the way forward. lets take a look at a few of the major challenges that we will face here in the western united states, and some ways that we work to counter them. doing nothing is the worst possible angle to take. creating an active community of local fisherman that can take action, and force our local/state agencies to do the same is an invaluable tool, and i hope to use the Truckee River Fisherman in such a way. David Bobizen has been a friend to this page, I'm hoping to reach out to him, as well as some of our friends in NDOW, TU, and the nature conservancy, and create real change in our rivers here in Nevada, and in the west.
Here are some of the serious problems we may face:
- Population growth; Our region is growing. Reno has doubled in size since i was born, many of you have seen it triple, or more! its something we cant change. with social media, and an increase in fishing popularity, its unavoidable that our rivers, lakes, creeks will become more crowded, we cant stop it.
* fixes- we cant slow down the growth of fishing in our region, nor can we hide rivers (for very long). However, we can restore rivers that have seen serious degradation ( Truckee, west walker) and create " new" places to fish from old. increased C&R zones, fly fishing only sections, and lower limits on take.
- Pollution; although huge, huge strides have been in our region on increasing water clarity, and reducing pollution. Trout are sensitive fish, and with more people moving to our region, increased pollution could be a problem.
* increased public awareness, community clean ups, revised and strengthened regulations to help prevent industrial pollution.
- Drought/ climate change- putting the climate change debate aside, change always happens. we have droughts, and climate change will likely impact our region, from reduced rainfall, to warmer temps, huge changes may be in store, and they will be hard to predict, but some measures can be taken now, to minimize their impact in the future.
* its hard to make it rain more, but we can conserve water, make grass illegal, reduce farming, and learn to better manage our reservoirs, using newer more reliable weather prediction models.
- overfishing- Although many people who read this probably practice C&R, the majority of fisherman do not. In a healthy river, fish can be harvested, but there are many rivers and lakes in our region that could easily go from stable to unstable, from any one or all of the condition listed above. Policy/ Regulations will need to be crafted to ensure its helping, and not hurting our waterways.
* Regulations that work to protect rivers like the Truckee, while keeping access to take fisherman. using urban ponds, as our take fisheries. lower take limits, size restrictions, are all possible answers.
- Education; this one is key to ensuring that we can meet the challenges that we may face. becoming educated about all the topics above, and about trout, will be a huge advantage, along with promoting knowledge and information about our resources.
Through my next few blogs, i will identify some of the challenges, and ways i believe we can fix them. i by no means and expert, and would love input. good ideas, information, perspective are always wonderful to receive. what i will not accept are people hoping we can just go back, put our heads in the sand. i want to see our region get better, and ignoring these problems will not achieve that goal! Feel free to contact us on the Facebook page, or reply here. i would love some input! thanks so much!