Can we please stop asking this divisive, short-sighted, counterproductive, and insulting question?
I get asked fairly often if Trout Unlimited is a “conservation” entity, or an organization rooted in “fishing for trout.” Aside from TU, I am also asked whether I think there’s a genuine conservation ethic among most trout anglers, or if we’re just in it for the joy of pulling on fish.
Whenever I am asked these things, I often just bow my head in sadness and disgust.
Because throughout my entire lifetime of fishing, writing and advocating for the environment, the most abundantly clear lesson I have learned is that you cannot have one without the other.
It’s like peanut butter and jelly. You can go one way, or you can opt for the other, but only when you smash ‘em together does the real result come together in a way that delivers results.
It’s when you start implying that people should choose between conservation or fishing that we lose the flavor and effectiveness of the entire schmear. And as someone who has been hawking the PBJ approach to fishing and conservation for my entire career, every time I sense the notion that it’s one or the other, that’s a gut punch. It’s draining and even insulting.
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