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I've wanted to write this post for a long time now. It's a difficult subject and I have put a lot of thought into how I would like it to come across. My hope is to lend perspective and not start a huge argument or hurt anyone's feelings....with that, I'm sure there will be a bit of both. I hope that folks read this with some objectivity and perhaps consider what you really want out of your favorite pastime.

Fishing has always been in me. Many of my best memories involve a rod, reel, and a body of water. Most of them include catching fish, whether it be big ones or lots of them....once in a while, even a skunk trip holds a special place.

11 years ago, a member of this forum sold me my boat. It replaced my old one and it motivated me to up my game. I was always passionate but never influenced by anyone to really push to be a better angler. I had fly fished and bait fished and nearly everything in between, but most of the time, I was going to a place I knew pretty well and doing the same 5-6 things I always did to get into some fish.

During the purchase of the boat, this guy tells me to check out coloradofisherman.com. I was active on the internet already and thought it would be cool to see what it was all about. I joined up in early 2007 and immediately loved the information, social interaction and the way it felt to share stories, techniques and pictures with fellow fishermen. I loved it almost immediately.

I don't want to take too much time explaining the inevitable life cycle that comes with this, but here's the short version;

Pure joy, realization of a place you belong

Makes friends that become fishing buddies... fishes more than ever and can't wait to tell the internet of successes

Comments on most threads, provides reports on nearly every outing, carelessly shares locations and detailed techniques

Gains tons of knowledge on top of what one already knows and starts catching more quality fish and learning the best of techniques

Blows up spots sometimes thinking that's not a real thing

Encourages others to join and report

Others blow up same spots, sometimes keeping trophy fish out of the very waters you lead them to

Goes out on a weekday to favorite spot to find 5000 other people in same spot.

Reports less as the realization of what has happened sets in

Criticizes others for doing exactly what you used to do

Loses some friends over disagreements about stupid things on the same site that provided so many friends

Watches as tons more people move to CO, join fishing forums and make the same mistakes....

Goes to a huge lake that has always been popular, but it's huge.. it has plenty of room and fish, right? It's ok to see 14 boats in one cove, right? This can't possibly be overfished, can it? How the f*$:* did this happen.


There are lots of versions of this story and not all end up with the same realization as I did, but many do. More and more, I find myself saddened that folks don't quite get how the internet is damaging our sport. Fishing has always been a tad secretive and the best of fishermen seemed to have the most secrets. In the past, sharing those secrets with a small few would mean little. Now it only takes one friend of a friend to share it on the internet and it can grow exponentially.

Right now, I know at least a dozen people from this site that are in the business of self-promotion in the fishing industry (I do notice that most move off of here for a bigger venue). Some are very talented at one thing or another, others are not (some have NO business showing themselves fishing). Nearly all are willing to sell out information in the name of themselves or in the name of getting cheaper gear etc. So many want to be a "star" in the fishing world and they crave the attention so bad, there is little that they won't do to get themselves recognized. Whether it's in a professional capacity or just to pump up the ego, the internet is being used as a means to make a name for themselves in one way or another... and it's costing us all.

What started as a few folks sharing info has come full circle at this point. Facebook has made me realize how huge this problem has become. I know of dozens of people who have 2-3 facebook pages that do all they can to get more followers. Each time a post is made and one of those followers "likes" the post, every person that follower is friends with, sees that post...that doesn't even take into account when folks share those posts. I mean, how many times do you see just a person's name typed into one of these, so that person can see the post as well... again, all of that person's friends also see it and potentially spread it. Please consider what I am saying here.

I've witnessed small ponds absolutely blown up in a matter of a week because of this type of thing. I've listened to great anglers tell me that I'm wrong (simply because they need that attention)... I've also seen those same anglers struggle at places they used to slay because the pressure has increased so much.

I get that it's fun to share fish pics and I am not innocent in this whole thing. With that, I am asking that people be a tad more conscious about what they post. It's SO SO easy to take pictures of your catches without showing the body of water or worse, the exact spot you were fishing. When videos are made, maybe not sharing every detail is not a bad idea. If you are fishing small waters, maybe consider that they are small and somewhat isolated for a reason.

Give it some thought, folks. Reports can be done and shared in a way that has a less negative effect on the body of water. There is no body of water in CO too big or too remote to not be negatively affected by constant internet hype. As our state increases in population, regulations increase and public access is restricted, the problem is only going to escalate. Ask yourself if you really need that attention, and if you do, does it have to be at the expense of the body of water.

I love this place (CF and CO in general). I have made life long friends as a direct result of being on this forum as well as a giant handful of acquaintances whom I really dig. I enjoy the pastime of hanging out here and discussing stuff, especially fishing stuff. Maybe I'm an optimist, but I think there is a way to have places like this that provide so much, and still keep things a little bit quiet. I hope you will consider what I am saying.
 

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I went through the same cycle you described. I've been fishing quite a bit less now that I have a one year old daughter, but I still find myself posting every once and a while. When I do, I often get questions about the trip and I'll answer them depending on the person.

I can't agree with your more about facebook, fishbrain, instagram, etc... However, It's not something that is going to change. The best thing one can do is educate those that hotspot, but they generally don't listen until they have the same experience.

I saw a great example of this from a Colorado fishing guide last night. I don't know him or the team personally, but they shared photos of a bragging board from a smaller body of what in Colorado. The photos consisted of lakers over 15lbs and stringers full of big pike. In my opinion the guides intent was in the right place. He shared the page for purposes of telling people that catching and killing fish of that size and nature are not easily replaced and to put the fish back instead of killing it for the picture at the bragging board. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people will see that post and say "holy ****, look at those fish! I need to go get a picture with one of those."

Thanks for the post.
 

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a great post Jason, I have seen the same thing. I have tended to back off on my information given out. I don't mind telling the water temp or conditions, but if you want more info I might answer a pm or tell a bit more on the phone, but you wont get much information if I don't know you and have fished with you or you are recommended by a close friend of mine. I have one guy that calls me 3-4 times a year and pumps me for information and he doesn't get anything that would be called what he could call helpful. he has a big mouth and likes to tell everything he hears. I found out by giving him some misinformation that got back to me in less than a week
 

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a great post Jason, I have seen the same thing. I have tended to back off on my information given out. I don't mind telling the water temp or conditions, but if you want more info I might answer a pm or tell a bit more on the phone, but you wont get much information if I don't know you and have fished with you or you are recommended by a close friend of mine. I have one guy that calls me 3-4 times a year and pumps me for information and he doesn't get anything that would be called what he could call helpful. he has a big mouth and likes to tell everything he hears. I found out by giving him some misinformation that got back to me in less than a week
Sorry...I'll stop buggin ya:peace:
 

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Its made worse by the fact so many of our bodies of water are ponds and small lakes. I'm on the Texas site alot but fishing reports there tend to be about 30.000, 50.000. 100.000 ac lakes-big difference.

I've been fishing some small ponds/lakes and have noticed the crowds have increased and so has the trash. Theres not much we can do about it-maybe theres nothing we can do. The catch and keep mindset is strong here among many. I've fished in alot of states and can honestly say I've never seen as much trash as we have here and as many people who don't care about the rules and regs.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Its made worse by the fact so many of our bodies of water are ponds and small lakes. I'm on the Texas site alot but fishing reports there tend to be about 30.000, 50.000. 100.000 ac lakes-big difference.

I've been fishing some small ponds/lakes and have noticed the crowds have increased and so has the trash. Theres not much we can do about it-maybe theres nothing we can do. The catch and keep mindset is strong here among many. I've fished in alot of states and can honestly say I've never seen as much trash as we have here and as many people who don't care about the rules and regs.
That's a mouthful. It pains me to see guys take pictures of fish from tiny ponds. They get beat up so fast if everyone sees that stuff. The trash is definitely a concern too. I used to take a bag of trash out with me nearly every trip to my local ponds. For some reason, I slowed that practice. I need to do it again.. It sucks that it only takes 5 min to get a bag of trash picked up around these ponds.

That said, folks, think about it. Do you really need to show the location in the background of your pics? Does that add to the prestige of the shot?
 

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Yeah...sucks. It's the natural life cycle of a fisherman who is new to the internet. I like posting fish pics and reports as much as the next guy....but I have to be responsible anymore....only post on private sites and post chopped backgrounds. Actually, in the past few years I have made it second nature to take pics from above. Kind of a downward trajectory so that background isn't in view...only water. It's gotten pretty bad. The trash is unreal like Kirby says. Completely shameful.

It's an unfortunate fact that when you post just about anywhere online, it's going to get viewed a bunch of times...and likely by lots of people you won't anticipate or approve of. Even word of mouth/private sites reporting gets you in trouble sometimes. Like walleye seeker says....some dudes are nice guys but just can't help themselves when it comes to telling people about fishing locations, etc. And some just need that glory no matter what, and at whatever cost....or want to be pro staff or editor or whatever...selling out everything they know for their five minutes.

There's really nothing that can be done except controlling yourself and what you put out there. Educating people oftentimes doesn't come across well in E-translation and people just think you are a douchebag for it....or simply just don't care...or are just meat hunters. The internet is unstoppable.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I would like to add that most of the guys who are really seeking attention, also help the sport a ton. They volunteer, teach and provide entertainment to those who can't always get out. Many of them are very nice people. I don't think all of the negatives are necessarily intentional, but they are very real.
 

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As far as facebrag and the net, people are so full of themselves that their egos get left behind.
The trash problem will continue until the powers that be change the game. Like I've said before close the parks, lakes and post up signs that say if it gets trashed it will be closed temporarily for clean up. The more it happens the longer the closure. Open to other ideas.
Yea we all pay the price, all ways will.
 

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i saw this happening just a couple years after i joined this site.. and it happened on the "private" sites as well, those peeps steal info just like everyone else does. we all have been guilty of fishing in another guy's "spot" and if you say you never have you are a liar... in my opinion if someone shows you their "spot" it is your responsibility to keep it to yourself, it is not your spot to share. and it's just as easy to tell someone that when they ask where you caught that fish, just tell em it's not your spot to share and if they are a respectable fisherman they will let it go at that. if you take people to a spot that someone else showed you well then that is an ******* thing to do and those are the peeps i won't ever fish with again and if i'm ever asked by the good fishermen on here about that i have absolutely no problem telling em who the guys are that have snagged spots before so they don't waste their honey holes on helping jerks out. put in your time on the ice or water and you will figure it out on your own.
 

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I got lucky. I joined this site within one or two weeks of me moving to Colorado and starting to fish so I think the cycle will be different with me.
 

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I don't know if anyone noticed, buy several years ago I quit posting photos of the fish I catch. even then i took some pics at home to post. I think the last photo taken at the lake was of my oldest grandson with a 5 lb wiper when he caught his first fish all by himself. he was about 7 then and he just finished high school 2 weeks ago
 

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I like posting reports. Sharing experiences.. I really enjoyed the years of posting about Yvette's and my adventures. I also like seeing other's reports, people's catches...etc. I could really care less about where the fish came from. Already have too many places to fish and not enough time to get to them all to care about someone else's spot. I don't mind helping people with techniques. Really, most people don't listen anyway...or even if they do won't try it enough to become successful.

I definitely know that spots can be blown up, and small bodies of water decimated. I also know that most people that ask for information could really give a chit about you in "real life". I use to give out locations and get butt hurt when I found out others had shared those locations. Now, I realize that if I give anything away, I shouldn't realistically expect those people not to share the locations with their friends. In fact, I'm putting a pretty heavy burden on them asking them not to do so. They're going to do it anyway and they just won't feel comfortable around you knowing they did. So, if you give it away, realize it's a gift and those you gave it to can freely do with it as they choose. Hopefully, they choose wisely.

For example, I have many, many high mountain lakes that I spent 35 years hiking to in order to find out what lurked below. I know at my age, I won't be hiking in to too many more. I don't mind sharing that information with someone that has a like passion. Otherwise, someday it just dies with me. In fact, I enjoy hearing of their success. Of course, I wouldn't just give the information to anyone.

Here are a couple of quick reports. Went out last week and caught twenty, twenty five twelve inch wipers. Nothing picture worthy. Went to Pueblo today with a buddy. Long day..fished hard from 6 AM until 8:00 PM. Caught 130 to 150 walleyes, some bass and a few crappies. Not one walleye was over eighteen inches. But, had a great time,

For me, it all boils down to fishing is fun. It's the only reason I do it. The forum...I've made a couple of really good friends ... many more acquaintances. I used to have fun on the forum...then it really wasn't any fun anymore. When I came back, I figured if it wasn't going to be fun...Why bother? So, I'm just here to have a good time. And, I'm just going to be myself...win...lose ...or draw.
 
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