It is about a lake in California but it points out the need to clean up after ourselves at our favorite fishing holes. There is no reason to give people any more reason to curtail our fishing opportunities.
Lake Merritt is reportedly the oldest wildlife refuge in the US and is located in the heart of downtown Oakland. I think of it as the equivalent of Central park, only on a drastically reduced scale.
We are currently dealing with a Nature Center Director who, with the support of the local Audubon and one other neighborhood organization and is calling for the immediate closure of the lake to fishing due to a ‘drastic increase’ in the number of birds either becoming entangled in tackle or swallowing hooks. He reports 7-8 entanglements in the past 3 months.
We have received letters from a City Council member and a Congresswoman urging the immediate closure of the lake. The letters are being directed toward our Director and Regional Manager.
While no one would argue that bird injuries or deaths are a good thing, the pro-bird lobby in this case seems to be uninterested in talking with DFG (wardens or biologists) or angler groups to find a solution.
There is some question as to whether the birds are actually being injured in the lake or are incurring their injuries elsewhere and coming to the lake.
There seems to be a good deal of hearsay and little documented facts.
While the letters are specially blaming the Fishing in the City Program, we question if there is a correlation or not. This lake has not had a fishing clinic in over a year and has been only marginally stocked for over 3 years. Anglers are catching 16-25′ RB trout right now. (I know this is unbelievable, but I have seen to many photos to doubt it).
There is also no attempt being made to look at other solutions to include education, signal, alternate tackle etc. It is being set up as an all or nothing battle.
This is really unfortunate as at the heart of this is an issue that could serve to unite people rather than divide them.