Posted by: Kirk Deeter
August 29, 2012

Our National Parks Are Gifts for All Anglers

What a tremendous gift our forefathers gave when they set aside America’s National Parks. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel throughout the country and fish in a number of exciting locales, but there’s just something special about being in places like Grand Teton, Yellowstone, The Everglades or Rocky Mountain National Park.

They each have a distinct feel, a certain crisp smell in the air, and the sounds of pure nature. I have often thought that you could blindfold me and “beam” me into the backcountry mangroves of the Everglades, or the second meadow on Slough Creek (Yellowstone), and within seconds, I’d know exactly where I was.

The appeal of the Parks—specifically fishing in the parks—isn’t necessarily about solitude. As anyone who has visited Yellowstone in August can attest, our Parks can be busy places. (It’s an odd feeling to sit in a traffic jam caused by bison.) Still, with a little planning and a willingness to hike off the beaten path, one can find himself or herself totally isolated, fishing a pristine brook or lake all by themselves.

No, for me what sinks in most when I’m in a National Park is the sheer volume of unspoiled natural grandeur. Giant, sweeping valleys… massive mountain ranges… dense subtropical swamps… all completely unscarred by the likes of billboards, telephone lines, and condominiums perched in places that offer the best views.

And the best thing of all is knowing that the Parks will stay that way forever. We all own them. I take great solace in knowing that my great grandchildren will be able to visit the Tetons and see them exactly as they appear here.

And the Parks are also home to some of America’s most fragile populations of native fish. Greenback cutthroat trout aren’t usually that big, and they usually aren’t that difficult to fool. But catching them (in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado) is one of the greatest thrills to be had anywhere in the world.

So if you haven’t done so yet, be sure to put a visit to one or more of America’s National Parks on your fishing “to-do” list. Fall is one of the best seasons to make that happen.

Kirk Deeter is the editor of TROUT magazine.

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0 responses to “Our National Parks Are Gifts for All Anglers”

  1. RMCallaway says:

    Kirk, nice enough article, I hope it inspires some more visitors to our National Parks. I agree with your last sentence as well. Fall certainly is one of the best seasons for fishing, especially my favorite sport: surf fishing. Sadly, the current mis-management of Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreation Area may very well prevent me from pursuing surf fishing there this year. It seems the NPS there don’t want visitors to access the 70+ miles of seashore. Pedestrians and Off Road Vehicles can not reach some of the most productive and renowned surf fishing spots in the world. The wild beauty of the shore is spoiled by closure signs and roped off areas denying people access. Those that do pay the off road vehicle fee are essentially herded into small areas of beach, even further spoiling the beauty for visitors.
    This forum is too small to go into great detail about the events at Hatteras that led to the excessive closures, suffice to say a quick google search of “Beach Access Cape Hatteras” will bring up 337,000 hits and the excessive rules are so infamous in their severity that Congress just recently passed a bill repealing the current Beach Access Rules at Cape Hatteras and the Senate now has a companion bill (co-sponsered by senators from both parties, I might add) in committee that seeks to do the repeal the rules as well.
    Thankfully I descend from a long line of men who have enjoyed and passed along their love of the outdoors and the importance of stewarding its resources. I never keep more than I need and always practice catch and release when I am only seeking sport. I tread as light as possible, and always try to leave the wilderness in better shape than how I found it.
    I too am glad our forefathers set this land aside for our use, with that said, on the flip side of that coin, I seriously do not believe they set apart from us so no one could use it.

    Tight Lines,

    R. M. Callaway

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