Monday, July 20, 2015


Often, I think about how lucky I was to fish in the golden age of freshwater fishing.  Having the opportunity to fish Internationally for over 30 years, I have seen many fisheries come and go.  Gone are great lodges such as Nejalini Lodge in Northern Manitoba where monster lakers and pike were landed.  Lake Guri Lodge, and the Casiquire systems in Venezuela have either closed or are off limits to Americans due to political conflicts.  Here was great peacock bass fishing and payara. The Rio Unini is perhaps the best river for monster peacock bass is off limits to fisherman due to it being designated a national park by the Brazilian government.  When I started peacock bass fishing in the early 90s, 100 peacocks per boat with many exceeding 15lbs were caught daily.  Very few fishermen were hunting peacocks at the time and the majority could be landed on topwater woodchopper type lures.  Today, with hundreds of outfitters hitting the river systems, the pressure was more than the peacocks could handle.  They have become use to the noise of choppers and are now caught on jigs.  Days of large peacocks daily are gone and if you land a 20lbs during the week you are one lucky fisherman!  Weather patterns such as rainfall have changed in the past few years which cancelled a few years due to high water.  That along with the raising and falling US dollar has made it very tough on outfitters. Prices on these trips have rising drastically!  The years of monster Masheer in Nepal are practically over due too much harvesting of the big ones!  The best tigerfish can be landed in Tanzania if you want to pay a house mortage to get a booking or the Congo if your brave enough.  Char fishing on great places such as the Coppermine, Chantley Inlet, and the majority of rivers on Victoria Island are a thing of the past due to expense!  Massive Great Bear Lake in the Canadian NWT is now down to 2 full time lodge and a few have closed in the past 10 years again due to expenses.  La Zona on the Uruguay River on the border of Argentina/Uruguay is still redhot for golden dorado.  How long will this last?  Only time will tell.  Thailand is a safe cheap option for monster fish if you do not mind fishing in stocked ponds.  The majority of these species are practically impossible to land in the wild.  Alaska offers many opportunities but the days of great monster king salmon are over.  Often the Kenai River is closed due to a limited amount of kings entering the river system.  Arapaiama fishing in Guyana was redhot for about a year, but now many places are government protected.  The days of landing 200lbs+ Nile Perch are gone due to over harvesting.  Murchison Falls in Uganda still offers a decent shot at a 100lbs+ but who knows how long this will last.  The silver salmon fishing on the Alaska Peninsula is second to none, but few lodges exist.  Gone are the days of camping at Amber Bay.  Today, Gary LaRose's Pumice Creek Lodge is one of the best remaining lodges on the Peninsula and Gary only knows how long the lodge will remain in business.  Suriname offers practically unfished opportunites for monster Lau Lau and wolffish.  Once the crowds invade who knows if the fisheries can handle them.  The monster bass lakes in Mexico such as Lake Huites have come and went.  Plus, I don't think Mexico is the safest place on earth these days!  In the United States, the majority of state fishing licenses are at all time lows.  Many fishermen are still in the practice of keeping every fish landed and now with restrictions on harvest have given up and just went to the fish market.  The average age of most fishermen who buy a license is in his mid 50s!  Guess youngsters are too busy texting or playing games on their IPod. I was so lucky that my mom would take me every weekend to our local pond and dad would take us on yearly family fishing vacations to MN or WI.  However on a positive note, the Great Lakes fishery are the best of times.  Monster musky, walleye, smallmouth and others are in its heyday.  Great fishing still exists in LA for big bull reds.  So, I am sure glad that I grew up in the Golden Years of International Freshwater Fishing.  Only God knows what the future holds!

1 comment:

  1. Great essay. There still are trophy fresh and saltwater fish to be caught here in the USA. Those exotic places are getting very expensive.