View Mobile Site

Get wet & dirty

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED May 15, 2011 11:26 p.m.

Oftentimes you hear old timers lamenting about how “the fishing ain’t as good as it used to be,” or the hunting, the gold panning, etc. It sort of reminds me of Will Rogers’s observation that “everybody complains about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it.” Conservation of our outdoor resources, however, is a different story. You actually can make a difference. There are a host of organizations that do all sorts of projects improve our fishing, hunting and overall outdoor experience.

Ducks Unlimited provides nesting grounds for ducks, geese, and a host of other critters, local fishing clubs do stream improvement projects on numerous waters. Groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation acquire habitat that increase elk herd. The Tuolumne Trust and Nature Conservancy helps acquire more lands for public access. Overall there’s a host of ways that you can put your talents to use in actually doing something to make the outdoors a little better. I recall one time working to build “Trout Houses” on a broad shallow stretch of river that had no cover for fish to find refuge; we would construct “Trout Houses” by placing large rocks in a V pattern in midstream. At the end of the weekend we were dog tired but within weeks nice-sized trout had moved in to take up residence in almost every one of the trout houses. It gave me a great sense of satisfaction to see someone catch a dandy trout in what had been barren water only a month before.

It doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 80, there’s a way you can help. Your muscles might be sore for awhile, but the good feeling lasts for years. In addition, you meet a lot of like minded people and have fun working with them to improve our world a little. If you’d like to help make things better instead of just complaining about it, there are lots of places to volunteer. If you’re an angler, contact your local fishing club, in Tracy, Stockton, Modesto, or almost any other town. If you’re a hunter contact the Elk Foundation, Deer Foundation, Ducks Unlimited or California Waterfowl Association. If you want to help, but you’re not sure how, contact one of the broad general conservation groups, like the Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, or Sierra Club.

One of my favorite hands-on conservation groups is the Tuolumne Trust. While they have offices in Sonora, Modesto and San Francisco they almost always have something going out on the river. There are clean-up days, music festivals, and their annual Paddle to the Sea event actually gives you the chance to get in a canoe or kayak and experience drifting the river. Let me give you fair warning. Once you try it, you’re likely to get hooked much like those magnificent trout and bass. Want to give it a try? Come out and join me on Monday, May 23, at the Old Fisherman’s Club on Highway 132 between Modesto and Tracy. It’s completely free, and there will be food and drink and all sorts of river talk. Start time is 5 o’clock. Actually you won’t really get wet and dirty on the 23, but, we’ll expose you to the virus. See you at the Old Fisherman’s Club on Monday!

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...