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Fly-Fisherman Applauds

October 20, 1985

Thank you very much for that excellent article on the Sierra Pacific Flyfishers Club workshop ("Fly-Fishermen Workshop Is a Lure" by John Dreyfuss, Oct. 7). While not a member of that club, I deeply appreciate what it is doing to educate the public to fly-fishing and to the need for preserving the environment.

A fly-fisherman for more than 30 years, I find that in 1985 I must stretch my efforts more than ever before to escape the ever-present vestiges of human pollution of the natural environment. Wherever I go, no matter how deeply into the Sierra, I discover evidence of garbage defacing the scenery. Beer cans, paper plates and paper cups appear everywhere. Once, a few years ago, while fishing a relatively isolated section of the San Joaquin River that was secluded by cliffs on both sides, my booted foot hit something in the stream. Water suddenly filled my boot leg. When I stepped from the stream, I discovered that an old beer can had cut a gash into my instep. Luckily my heavy socks had kept the metal from penetrating my skin.

While it is a good idea for fly-fishing clubs to go out on expeditions to clean up the mess along our streams, it would be more appropriate for the purveyors of the products that people guzzle to conduct intensive programs of their own in this regard. Why don't the breweries organize to promote greater consumer awareness of the horrors of pollution? Why should only the fly-fishing clubs and Forest Service carry the ball in alerting the public?

Perhaps it might be possible, some day, for a recycling outfit's truck to follow the Fish and Game trout tank when the latter visits a stream to dump its weekly diet of fish. Then if all of us put down our rods for a moment to collect a few discarded beer cans, we might offset the cost of our fishing trip by selling the cans to the recycling folks. I don't think we will begin to get the message until it becomes practical for all of us to clean up the junk. Maybe the brewers and recyclers can collaborate to help us get the job done.

There is little hope for recycling fish through catch-and-release and for working to preserve stream ecology if the greater mass of backpackers and fly-fisher persons out there simply refuse to bring back what they hauled in with them. My hat's off to the Sierra Pacific club, but cleanliness and respect begin in the home. For those who never learned it, only the dollar will help to reach it in later life.

SHELDON J. KARLAN

Buena Park

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