Where does good fishing begin for you? When you get to the river or your favorite high-country lake? We're all familiar and well-versed with what to do when we get there - don't spoil the water, leave the area cleaner than you found it, take care of the fish.
But have you considered where good fishing begins, closer to home? Outside your front door, there's a lot of opportunity to make and keep fishing good by being good stewards in non-fishing activities. For me, there's few areas of my life that don't touch flyfishing - between guiding and working with conservation groups, it seems like even when I'm not on the water, I'm doing something that has an impact on good fishing.
I live just above the Snoqualmie River, in a wooded, suburban area just 25 miles east of Seattle. I grew up here, and where my home sits now, surrounded by wildlife. Black Bear, Deer, Elk, and Coyote are the biggest game in the area. I can hear the Coyote bark at night. The "lost" domesticated animal flyers you see posted on mailboxes and around the community are truthfully nothing more than a subtle announcement that something out there ate little Fido or Fluffy for lunch. It's the reality of living in a wildlife area. It's not "wild" here, like many places I visit to fish and hunt, but we inch closer and closer. There's rumor that the Teanaway pack of Wolves uses the Interstate 90 corridor to move between the Cascades and Puget Sound. These big animals are here, and we are living along side them.
But the biggest and smartest animal here in these woods doesn't always play fair - in fact, some of us are making it harder on the wildlife to stay wild, and the root cause is simple - managing our garbage.
There's a wetlands area 50 yards away from my front door, surrounded by homes, and a park with soccer fields, tennis courts, and playground equipment. Look a little closer, and you'll see the dirty secrets the wetlands hold. Garbage. Dirty diapers, light bulbs, plastics - the stuff we throw away and the animals drag into the wetlands in search of something to eat.
These wetlands drain directly into the Snoqualmie River. Very few of my neighbors fish, but their actions directly influence the fishing in the Snoqualmie. Garbage has no place in our wetlands. We have to do better. This is where good fishing starts. In your neighborhood.
Right outside your front door, the promise of good fishing depends on the first steps you take when you head to the water. Look around - are you taking care of fishing close to home as well as away?