This short video was shot by Peter Christensen during a hectic morning’s fishing at tapamthelodge.com in Nicaragua.
The Secret Life of Guides
They get paid to climb mountains and raft whitewater. But guiding isn’t all a dream—not with whiny clients, lousy tips, and the occasional colleague pranking you in a gorilla suit.
By: Christopher Solomon Apr 30, 2015
Chris Dombrowski, 39
Fishing Guide in Montana; author of Body of Water
On my first day, I took this couple down the Big Hole in Montana. The husband had a fly-rod outfit, but the woman had nothing. I had only one combo, but I said, “You can borrow my rod and reel for the day.” We fished through the morning and stopped to eat lunch on a high bank overlooking this nice run, so we could see if fish were rising. We got back in the boat after lunch and pulled away from the bank, and I said, “OK, cast to this left bank near the grass.” And the woman said, “Where’s my rod?” And I said, “What do you mean?” And she said, “Well, I just leaned it against the boat at lunch.” I started booking it upstream to see if the rod was still there, but of course it was gone, swept away in the river.
When I got back to the fly shop, I complained to my boss. He said, “If a guy falls in the river because he’s drunk, it’s your fault. If a woman gets lost in the woods while she takes a piss, it’s your fault. And if someone loses your rod, it’s your fault.” In our business, there’s a lot of truth in that.
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Photo above: Devon Scholl, of Brewerton, caught this 33-inch walleye during the spring of 2014 on Owasco Lake a week prior to the walleye season starting . He quickly released the fish after this photo was taken. Under a new DEC regulation that took effect April 1, he would not been allowed to take this picture with his fish. (Submitted photo)
Due to the increasing trend of fishermen catching “out-of-season” fish and posting pictures of their catches on Facebook and other social media, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has put a new fishing regulation in effect that makes the practice a “ticketable offense.”
The new regulation, which took effect April 1, is listed in the new DEC fishing guide that one gets when he or she buys a fishing license. It’s listed on page 52 under the “General Take and Possession” heading. According to the fishing guide:
“A person may not fish for a species (even if immediately released) during the closed season for that species on a given water. Fish caught during the closed season must be unhooked and released immediately. They may not be handled for any other purpose, including taking a picture.”
Taking a picture of an out-of-season fish can result in a ticket from an environmental conservation officer. The resulting penalty can be a fine of up to $250 fine, and/or 15 days in jail.
“It’s a ticketable offense. It’s all because of the social media thing and people posing with the fish for pictures. They often spend too much time dilly- dallying and don’t return the fish immediately to the water,” according to Lori Severino, a DEC spokeswoman. “This was designed to protect the fish species.”
Bottom line: one can’t take an out-of-season fish out of the water for any reason other than to take the hook out and release it. The penalty for holding that fish up quickly or leisurely (it doesn’t matter) for a picture is no longer allowed.
Situations where new law would apply include:
*Catching and photographing an out-of-season bass on the St. Lawrence River or on a Lake Ontario tributary in Jefferson County, where unlike the most of the state there is no off-season catch and release fishing allowed outside of the regular bass fishing season.
*Photographing an out-of season walleye caught on Oneida Lake or elsewhere.
*Catching and photographing an angler holding up a sturgeon he or she “accidentally” landed. (Sturgeon are endangered species and there is no open season in this state to fish for them.)
And needless to say, Severino added, “intentionally angling for threatened or endangered fish, or for fish during the closed season for that species” is also prohibited.
In situations where “catch and release” angling is allowed (such as for bass during the off-season in most parts of the state, or for trout in a stream designated as a no-kill waterway), the DEC fishing regulations state:
“Measuring, weighing and photographing the fish are permitted as long as the fish is not removed from the water for an extended period or handled in a manner that could cause harm. Fish may not be held on a string, or placed in a bucket, tub, livewell, or any other holding device.”