Leaving only footprints

Opening Day for fishing in Connecticut kicks off on Saturday April 19. As someone who lives next to a trout stream, I both welcome and dread the day. I welcome it because I know how much enjoyment people receive from the tradition of waking early, embracing the day, and renewing their connection to the Earth. I think that is beautiful and wonderful. But I dread it because so many who venture out that day leave their garbage and fishing lines behind. While the garbage has it problems, fishing line is deadly. Last year, I wrote this poem after finding the third dead mourning dove hanging from a tree on the first day of the season:

Opening Day

worm line left dangling

strangling mourning dove

Our neighbor was able to save one mourning dove that we brought to Linda Bowen, an exceptional wildlife rehabilitator in Falls Village (for a list of rehabilitators and information on how to assess whether wildlife is distressed, click here). That bird, like the rest, was hanging upside down from a branch, fishing line tangled in its claws. The others could not be saved, with one hanging over 40′ above our driveway.

Then it’s the countless cans of food, plastic wraps, styrofoam and plastic worm containers, and a host of other unspeakables left behind by the water’s edge. So this year, I send out a simple plea to anyone who will listen and pass it along: that perhaps people can come out, enjoy the day, and pick-up after themselves. And leave only footprints.

And for those fly fishermen and anglers who have always left only footprints and find that special, and some say even spiritual, connection when drifting their lines, I look forward to seeing you embrace the day.

trout.jpg

To learn more about Opening Day, visit the CT DEP’s website.

If you enjoy fishing, check out these books:

Crazy for Rivers by Bill Barich 799,175 BAR. Booklist wrote, “This superb collection of essays will make readers crazy not only for rivers but also for trout and Barich’s vivid prose.”

Early Love and Brook Trout by James Prosek 799.175 PRO. Publishers Weekly wrote, “In an elegant work of prose and painting, Prosek dips freely into his past and recalls events ranging from notable hunts for brook trout–his favorite fish–to frustrated forays into teenage affection…Readers will have little doubt that he has made a lasting impression.”

A Fisheries Guide to Lakes and Ponds of Connecticut including the Connecticut River and Its Coves by Robert P. Jacobs and Eileen B. O’Donnell. 799.12 JAC. This guide covers more than 100 of the state’s public lakes and ponds, and ten locations on the Connecticut River.

Fishing Connecticut and Rhode Island: a Guide for Freshwater Anglers by Bob Sampson 799.1 SAM This is a guide to some of the most best locations in Connecticut and Rhode Island to fish for bass, pickerel, trout, panfish, Atlantic salmon, shad, pike, catfish, walleye, and carp.

Make Your Own Fishing Lures by Vlad Evanoff 799.1 EVA

The Practical Book of Trout Fishing by Charles Waterman 799.1 WAT. This is a complete guide to basic flyfishing tactics and techniques.

The Trout Fisherman’s Bible by Dan Holland 799.174 HOL. This classic book is a complete, expert guide to all kinds of trout, and the tackle, baits, lures, and skills required to fish them.

~Ann Marie

Ann Marie is the Library Director for the Oliver Wolcott Library.

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