Fly-fishing: Shad ban is wrong

The DEC has banned recreational fishing for shad, which is a sensible response, but will continue to
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Categories: Sports

I love fly-fishing for shad.

Many times shad have saved me from going fishless when targeting striped bass. They hit the fly readily, fight hard and look kind of like little tarpon. I’ve caught them in the 20-inch range on Long Island in the spring and fall.

As most anglers know, shad can be found well inland of the coast — far up the Delaware and Hudson rivers, for example. But now, because of an unfair and illogical decision by the Department of Environmental Conservation, you are no longer allowed to fish for Hudson River shad — unless you have a commercial fishing license.

Declaring that the river’s shad population is at its lowest point ever, DEC has banned recreational fishing for shad, which is a sensible response, but will continue to

allow commercial fishing, which is an outrage.

It’s bizarre in and of itself. It also bodes ill for the goal that I and many others support of game fish status for striped bass — that is, ending commercial fishing for stripers and only allowing rec­reational angling.

As we see it, when a resource is limited, the public should get first crack at it. This is the way we as a nation have allocated most of our wild fish and game for more than a century. Allocating all of the harvest to a few commercial enterprises while denying it to recreational, personal-use anglers is just plain wrong.

“It is unfortunately clear that all directed fishing for shad should be stopped in the Hudson River, and we know that recreational anglers will willingly support this measure,” reads a letter of protest from Stripers Forever to Gov. David Paterson and DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis. “But the very idea that a citizen of this country should not be able to take home even one shad per season so that a handful of part-time commercial fishermen can set gill nets to catch enough to sell is counter to the very foundations of our free society. Essentially, the DEC is privatizing this resource.”

TU FLEA MARKET

A reminder: The annual Clearwater Trout Unlimited chapter’s flea market will be Saturday from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Sovereign Best Western Hotel, Western

Avenue, Albany.

There will be fly-fishing and fly-tying stuff galore, plus hundreds of books on hunting and fishing, old lures, dozens of rods and reels, fly, spinning and bait casting tackle, art work and fly-tying demos. It’s a good place to spend the Saturday before opening day chatting with fellow anglers and stocking up on tackle.

Admission is $3; children 16 and younger get in free.

FLY-FISHING LESSONS

What I tell people who express interest in taking up fly-fishing is this: If you like fishing, you’ll love fly-fishing.

If you’re in that category, I encourage you to go for it. However, fly-fishing is a little more comp­licated than other methods; the casting takes some getting used to, and the terminology sometimes needs some explanation.

Here’s a great way to get started.

The Clearwater TU chapter will offer fly-fishing classes for beginners or experienced fly-fishers who want to sharpen their skills.

Expert local instructors will cover casting techniques, wading and water safety, equipment set-up, equipment selection, stream entom­ology and “reading the water.”

The final class will be held on the Battenkill River May 13; the other seven will be at the Capital Region Maritime Center, 901 Mar­itime Drive, Alplaus every Tuesday April 1-May 13.

Classes will run from 7-9 p.m.

The cost is $135 for TU members and $150 for non-members; the non-member rate includes a one-year membership to TU.

For information or to sign up, contact Rich Bogardus at 377-1022 or Dick Hermida at 399-6272.

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