I have often wondered just how much abuse a lake can take. Many of our favorite fishing lakes were established in the 1920s and 1930s as a source of drinking water or hydroelectric power generation. Often this created governing bodies with responsibility for the care of the lakes intended purpose.
Fast forward to the 21st century and these lakes have evolved into not only sources of drinking water or electrical energy, they have also become prime places to live and play. The shoreline is often consumed by housing. The lake is now home to thousands of docks and boats of all types. Weekend activity on these lakes is almost totally unmanageable from the standpoint of traffic on and off the impoundment.
We are very thankful these lakes continue to thrive, but concerns are continually being raised about the overall health of these waters. Fishing pressure in some waters has been known to almost eliminate what were once trophy opportunities. In many cases boat launch facilities are undersized or poorly maintained as a result of budgetary restrictions. Some state governmental oversight groups have increased usage fees and placed horsepower or speed restrictions while others have mandated electric watercraft only. At the same time, they may have reduced the number of permits required to use the waterway. It should also be noted, most of these governmental organizations have not kept up with hiring an increasing number of law enforcement officers to monitor these facilities. Seeing a natural resources office on the lake is becoming more and more rare and I see this as an unfortunate thing.
Many of our lakes are now considered overcrowded. With this overcrowding comes an increasing chance for pollution opportunities. Sewage disposal systems are not as current as they need to be. Indigenous species continue to be assaulted by ecological factors like invasive grasses, imported fish, or shellfish. Although some of these imported species were intentionally placed in these waters, the results have been nearly catastrophic to native species. Grasses valuable to fish are being eradicated as a regular practice to keep waterways clear or perhaps to make sure the drinking water or electric power generation systems are not affected.
As bass anglers, we might view this as an impasse. We believe our plight needs to be corrected sooner than later. I am suggesting this is unlikely on its own and we must become part of the solution instead of sitting on the sidelines and complaining. I don’t have a clue about how to resolve a problem of this magnitude, I only suggest the future of bass fishing on our favorite bodies of water is uncertain in the long run. We have to accept we are going to have to change our ways to accommodate the needs of the future. This may be through increases of license fees, usage fees or watercraft limitations. Whatever it is, we will have to become part of the solution. If we don’t participate then a governmental group will make the decisions for us. This would not be a good thing. Moving forward we will not always get our way, but have to be willing to work within the process to become part of a compromise solution, if such a thing exists.
This blog post is not a Chicken Little scenario but merely an observation of someone who worries about paying forward the blessings of bass fishing to the next generations. Here in South Carolina we have not experienced too much over governing of our favorite lakes. However, I have read many discussions and articles describing some of the restrictions anglers have to endure. I certainly would not want this kind of invasive action in/on my waters, but sadly it could be in our future.
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