How Much is Too Much?
If you're a fly fisherman, you love to share! We pull out our phones to show off our latest brown trout or the permit we managed to catch on a recent trip; we bring out rods we've put together or fly patterns we've just discovered. The closer you are to your fellow angler, the more information you'll divulge, fly tying nights at breweries also seem to get the information flowing. We follow a similar pattern with social media, sharing photos of our daily fishy lives; but when is it too much? What is an appropriate amount of information about your fishing trip?
We live in a world where fly fishing is becoming more and more accessible to people, you run into more people on the water than you used to, and at times you can see how that budding population has taken its toll. So, where is the line between sharing what you love and exploitation for "likes?"
In my opinion, it is totally possible to talk about fishing for native, wild brook trout, without explaining (in great detail) exactly how to fish a particular creek. You don't need to tell people exactly how many feet to walk down the trail before you get in, under what tree the largest brook trout is swimming, which flies to use (emphasizing the need to leave the barbs on because these are such large trout), and even ensuring your readers that very rarely will wildlife be spotted, so it's really easy to poach. Also, that photo of a 16" brookie that's missing a fin and half his gill plate, that you claim came out of this little creek, is just straight up false advertising.
To me, articles like that, are straight up exploitation for some kind of gain on your part. But ultimately, you're not gaining anything. Pretty soon, that great brook trout creek won't be anything more than just a creek. It will most likely be fished out, fished during the wrong times, and beaten down to nothing more than a trickle of water. What's sadder still, is that this little creek you pronounced to the world just underwent years of restoration, countless hours of research, and thousands of volunteer hours.
So, I wonder, was it worth it? Was seeing your name in print, getting your extra "likes" on social media, showing off to others that you're now some kind of "expert" so important?
I doubt it.
While I believe that fly fishing is a gift that we should share with others, it should also be shared with care and consideration. Some of my greatest fishing trips have been with friends who were kind enough to take me to their special spot, but make no mistake, I had to prove myself worthy first.
Let's all try and keep that in mind this upcoming year, always asking, how much is too much?