I’ve had several conversations recently about the increased pressure of the Truckee. Everyone has their take on how we got here and what should be done. A subtle hypocrisy exists in most guys that think the river should be closed off to outsiders, because that should conveniently start after they get rolling.
Guys talk monetization (guides), immigration (bay area weekend warriors), and conservation (press those damn barbs down, son). Their concerns are more than fair even if there proposed solutions aren’t.
I don’t know the answers. I do know that a handful of guys that don’t subscribe to the “Santa Cruz-esque, don’t surf my break bro, or I’ll slash your tires” type of attitude are the reason why I started fly fishing in the first place. I know I would have started sooner if every fly guy I ever crossed paths with wasn’t an ass. I also know that if no one pays attention, the Truckee is destined to go the way of countless streams in the west…used, abused, and then forsaken. My dad fished this river. My son does now.
I’ve kicked around a few ideas on how to help the river’s condition.
1. Tubing companies should do a drink count when parties put in upstream, and then request to see empty cans and bottles when the rafts are turned in, or the party is fined a small sum.
2. Give monetary rewards year-round to grass roots groups that bring back certain benchmarks of trash and/or targeted non-native vegetation.
3. Steep fines for guys that hike over or fish to marked spawning redds.
4. Stock the river away from the parks so that the juveniles have a chance to scatter before they get hammered.
My hope is that we figure out a way to embrace newcomers while educating and teaching sustainable practices. I’m trying to do my own part by catching and releasing the hundreds of fish I’ve caught in the last few years and supporting organizations that are lobbying for protections where they are needed. I grab a plastic bottle or beer can on my way out. I head out when the water gets too warm. These are small things that help in small ways. The river may not be mine to keep, but it is mine to care for.