This last summer a game warden came to the area on the Big Thompson where I was fishing. She was nice enough. Had all my items where I needed them, so it was pretty easy to take care of showing I was legal to fish. It was catch and release area....first time I have ever been checked, so it does happen.
She came to the back of my car with all my fishing stuff and just had a gal to gal chat...just like this day.
In this same spot a few weeks later I came upon a truck with out of state plates, pretty common at this turn out, easy to get to so those that don't know Colorado would pull right in, very accessible. So I am up stream a bit, fishing solo that day, and using my good manners on spacing. I see these guys casting out lines with spinning reels. Hmmm I think, those legal? Guess so, it is a lure on the end, but this big ol' treble hook on the end. Ouch. So I keep on working a school of nice trout and MYOB....sometimes you have to just do that, stay out of others way.... But then they catch a nice rainbow. Take it up to their truck, wave it around, dangling in the air...for quite a long time. I am livid. Finally after about five minutes they get it off the hook, with a lot of work, and toss it in the air and into the water, splash....
Poor fish. I am certain it would not have survived.
No cell service in this spot. I wonder what one does. Take down a license number, type of car? Call it in when you can get cell service? How do you prove it? Sure can't start pointing a cell phone video at them, if you are lady alone....
It is people like this that just make me so sad for the fish that we love so much. When I land a trout I am at every moment trying to keep the little guy alive while setting him free...that is my main goal. I hardly take the time to stare at the colors on my favorite, the brookies...but I want too, just stare...they are so pretty....then I stop and say "yikes, get this baby back to the water...now!"
Next time Ms. Warden comes up to chat I am going to ask her what to do with those kind of people that fish in the manner the men above here fished in...without putting myself in a fix at the same time.
One thing that I know about the game wardens, just say the answers to the questions...don't deliver too much info....I have heard possession can include your freezer...now mine has no wild fish by the way...I let them all go. Unless I would be camping and it would be legal to keep, then they are delightful.
But I have a hard time in this point in my life about bonking a trout on the head and ceasing the life...20 years ago I could....then one day I looked a brookie in the eye and thought again...thought about living under the ice all winter, being tough and smart, and being put in a freezer and forgotten...so set them free from that day on.
I like that I can come back in a few days and fight the same fish...something about that is fun. I tell him, "come on fishy, let's play the game, I catch you, you fight me, I let you go, and we meet again next week"....unless he gets smarter.
And once he tastes steel, he is gone for the day... gotta love a smart fish.