Trout Unlimited teen essay contest honorable mention
Editor’s Note: Trout Unlimited’s annual Teen Essay Contest, like many things impacted by Covid, took on a different look in 2020. Our youth camps across the country were cancelled so we opened up the youth contest to all comers. Kyle Livinghouse’s entry was picked as an honorable mention by the judges.
By Kyle Livinghouse
Ever since the age of eight I have been fascinated with the great outdoors. Whether I was flipping over rocks looking for toads or fishing in creeks and small ponds as a kid, nature has always strongly impacted me.
I picked up on my passion for fishing when my father gave me a push button rod and I quickly grew to love the sport. Fast forward to today and I now utilize everything from baitcasters to fly rods. I take advantage of every opportunity to go out fishing. The idea of being able to disconnect from the rest of the world and focus on one thing is an amazing feeling. Another aspect about fishing that I enjoy is the community of people around it. I am always meeting new faces and learning new techniques and ideas. I have learned the importance of conservation and how everything we do impacts the environment and underwater world.
As I grow and continue to fish, realizing the damage we cause to the environment is a true eye opener. Merely taking a short trip over to Lake Ountelaunee or even the Schuylkill River, you can see the trash and plastic buildup every where. These two locations in Berks aren’t even where it stops. Any fishery I go to in this region has some sort of litter regardless of how remote. I frequently carry a trash bag with me to clean up my favorite fishing holes, but despite my efforts, the litter returns. People are not taking conservation seriously, and this realization has forever changed my life.
Within the last few summers, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel with my fly rod and bass gear to several destinations around the United States. To name a few, I have been to Lake Fork in Texas for bass, Kodiak, Alaska, for salmon, and even the Salmon River, New York for….you guessed it, salmon.
Traveling to these places allowed me to see firsthand how excellent the different fisheries are around us. Thinking about all these amazing places, it occurred to me,” We have to protect these as much as we can.” With this in mind, you can start to change your whole perspective, as anglers, or even just as people. Why let something so precious slip away when you can take personal action? Starting this very moment, you can do something as simple as collecting your old fishing line or any other trash you find in various locations you visit.
This simple act can make a huge difference in local waters and bring us one step closer to improving the environment. Conservation isn’t just about picking up trash or recycling; the concept goes much deeper than that. It involves your thought process and how you treat the environment around you. Something as simple as spreading the word of how important it is to keep our fisheries clean, you are taking part in the movement.
Almost every time I am out fishing, whether it’s for bass with streamers in Maiden Creek or for trout in a deep-hole on the Manatawny, I meet people with similar ideals. As fishermen, we are always adapting, not just in fishing techniques but also with the environment and its rising challenges. I feel it is important to meet people with similar principles and ideas so you can learn new things and help pass this information to future generations.
Being an angler will always be an essential component of who I am. And I will strive to continue to grow with the sport upon every outing. As my knowledge about conservation continues to grow, I look forward to future fishing experiences and opportunities to pitch in and make a change. It doesn’t take much to start, and every little effort is needed and appreciated. Become apart of the change and help keep our local waters beautiful.
Kyle Livinghouse is a senior in high school in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania.