It’s seven o’clock in the morning and radiant light is in play and the shadows are long. I’m aft in a large pontoon boat on Heron Lake near Chama, New Mexico, a stone’s throw from Colorado. Light winds fetch up little silver waves that slap at the hull. I’m baiting white shoepeg corn bathed in anise oil on a Double Whammy lure. It’s an interesting concoction that smells like quesadillas of corn tortillas and biscochitos blended together in a tin can. It’s a pleasant smell, but doesn’t necessarily make me hungry.
Law of Nature
The Endangered Species Act and Forty Years of Fisheries Conservation
Previous generations of White Mountain Apache believed that to eat the brilliant gold fish flecked with black spots that was once so abundant in their streams was to risk getting spots on their faces. While the fish played no role in its traditional diet, the tribe in a prescient act was compelled to start protecting it in the 1940s. White settlers who fished for the trout had decimated its population; streams were subsequently stocked with non-native trout, which further displaced the native fish. By the late 1960s, its range had been reduced from some six hundred miles of mountain streams in southeastern Arizona to less than 40. In 1973, the Apache trout became the first fish listed as an endangered species.
Not all those who Wander are Lost
Those steeped in the RV lifestyle have a perspective all their own. Some make a life in an RV, while others go at it part-time. According to Camping World, an estimated 200,000 Americans are full-time RVers today. Many of them are getting away from suburbs, taking to the road and traveling the country. For a select few, they are making their mark in conservation, volunteering at one of 70 facilities in the National Fish Hatchery System. The RVer-volunteer workers spend anywhere from a few days to several months out of the year volunteering their time and skills to help run the hatcheries. In return, they are provided with a space to park their RV, as well as septic, water and electricity hook-ups.
A small staff of scientists in Bozeman, Montana, are doing big things for conservation and commerce. The Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership moves fish drugs from the theoretical to the practical. Here's a snapshot, by the numbers.
President Hoover and Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
For eight years through the 1920s Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover, oversaw the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries (it became the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 1940). A fitting charge perhaps, for a man obsessed with angling since childhood.
Hoover never lost interest in fishing, often escaping the stress of the presidency wading the Rapidan River in northern Virginia. In the last year of his life he published Fishing for Fun--and to Wash Your Soul. Given his ardent interest, it's no surprise to see archival images of him on the shores of Pyramid Lake in Nevada, fishing for Lahontan Cutthroat Trout.
It's pure speculation, but once senses that he would take great satisfaction in the conservation successes achieved by the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex in bringing a fish back from near extinction.