The California Fly Fisher Manifesto
I published the text below in this space exactly nine years ago. Since that time the magazine has added many new readers, which means it’s time to run it again, slightly revised, especially as my sentiments haven’t changed a whit:
I was asked at a recent fly-fishing exposition, “What’s your magazine all about?” This led to a short discourse on our goals of spreading anglers out across the variety of waters found in the state, improving the ability of fly fishers to catch the species they’re interested in (and broadening this range of species), creating constituencies to protect the places we fish, and celebrating California’s regional culture of fly fishing.
The conversation, however, got me thinking about what it means to be a Golden State fly fisher and how we might want to conduct ourselves in the sport. Here’re some thoughts toward what might be called “The California Fly Fisher Manifesto”:
You’re the one who defines what fly fishing is or isn’t. Experiment. Innovate. Curiosity can be as important to catching fish as a good casting stroke. Maybe even more important.
If a fish species will take a fly, then consider that species worth fishing for. You get no points, though, for hooking bats or dragonflies.
There’s a heck of a lot of water to fish in California. Which means there are few good reasons why you should feel crowded on a stream in our state. Take a hike. Take a drive. Explore. Maps are wonderful tools. So is the Internet.
You, as an angler, are responsible for the defense of
the waters and fisheries that you enjoy. The more allies you have, the better. Even if we fish in solitude, we are all in this together.
Because we are all in this together, be congenial to other anglers. Unless they’re poaching.
Yes, fishing is about catching fish. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also enjoy the scenery around you, the music of a river, or, when things get slow, a hamburger.
If it’s not fun, why are you doing it?
Publisher and Editor