Written by: Morgan Tarbutton
Healthy water means healthy fish. The majority of us enjoy fly fishing not only for the continuous challenge of the sport, but for the intense immersion in nature and the magnificent beauty of our surroundings. As we try to immerse ourselves into the wilderness, we notice birds singing, the water flowing around us, and hopefully, the gentle sound of a hungry fish rising to the surface. However, there is another world right under your feet that affects your fishing more than you realize. The microbes, insects, vegetation, water temperature, and purity of your fishing waters are what make it possible to support fish of any species. Being aware of what insects lie beneath those rocks, where fish spawn, and how to try and protect these little lives will not only make you a better fly fisher but keep You from being the invasive species.
We love to see snails, larvae, and other insects in our waters. This bug life is what keeps wild and stocked fish plentiful, playful, and displaying those amazing colors year round! Everything in the river is part of a cycle. Everything, including us, relies on the rivers for food and drinking water. By participating in active cleanup–like picking up trash wherever and whenever you can–you can help keep your local and downstream waterways clear, healthy, and producing more of what we love for generations to come!
You can also participate in a river cleanup with a local fishing club or group, such as Trout Unlimited, Nature Conservancy or RiverKeepers. Show up and vote during town council, county, and state meetings, advocating for better policies on water rights, pollution dumping, and grants to raise public awareness. Just a few votes can make a big difference–say changing a daily bag limit from 7 per day to 3 per day.
Try to post all events to Facebook and Instagram to get as many people interested in involved so that we all can help protect what we love!
Morgan Tarbutton is the Outdoor director for Chetola Resort, in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.