Class War on the Batten Kill?

Orvis, conservation groups and fly fishing purists are trying to discourage the state of Vermont from stocking the Batten Kill with sterile rainbow trout (see Public and Corporate Opinion Reverses Batten Kill Stocking Plans; note: the stocking plan hasn’t actually been dropped, despite the Boston Globe‘s reportage). Others say that when the river fished best for fly fishers, the river was heavily stocked. And some bemoan the loss of fishing for the “common man.”
It’s not a problem that is easily solved. “Vermont Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Wayne LaRoche is expected to decide sometime early next year whether to go ahead with the stocking plan, which is part of a broader plan to restore habitat on the river. The goal of the stocking is to put some fish in the river that people can catch while the wild and native populations rebound on their own. State officials know that no matter what they decide, people will be upset.” Article by Wilson Ring of the Associated Press.

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  • Out of all the streams in VT, only 5 are managed as wild trout fisheries.
    The state already provides the catch-and-keep crowd with multiple lifetimes worth of water and regular dumpings of finned fish sticks.
    The Batten Kill is one of the state’s last remaining fisheries for those of us who enjoy the challenge of wild trout, regardless of how much money we may or may not make.
    While I disagree with anyone who calls this a “class war,” I’d say that if anything, stocking the Batten Kill could be seen as “reverse class persecution.”
    It seems to me that VT Fish and Game is biased against those of us who fish for sport and enjoyment of the outdoors. Stocking the Batten Kill would be another example of the state’s disregard for the environment as well as true sportsmen and -women.

  • Good point, Luca. Of course Vermont is the only state that still allows the shooting of game fish, so we shouldn’t be surprised at an official statement in favor of less careful regulation.

  • The “why can’t our kids fish” class card was played out on the Upper Sacramento a few years ago when the catch & kill section was lengthened by a couple miles.
    Of course, there weren’t any kids fishing the section – it was an “apple pie” issue with little substance, but like most apple pie issues, it features a strong emotional appeal and can’t be argued.
    With so much water available for C&K and so little reserved for wild fish, let’s hope Vermont gets this one right…

  • … and if only kids still fished ….