The joys of Licensing

I am starting the process of purchasing all new licenses for the upcoming season.

Officially, my Nevada license does not expire until the 28th of February.  Since they are normally available for sale on Feb 1, I grab it at that time.  At $41 for the season, it is the least expensive of the annual licenses and can be done online.  There will be no gap in my legal fishing status in NV.

California is a bit different.  Since I have to purchase a non-resident license, it is both costly and a pain to get.  More on that in a moment.

What started this thought process was the hoops that i just went through in Colorado for a simple day tag for my day on the South Platte.  When I arrived in Deckers and went into the fly shop, they only accepted cash for licenses.  Having just spent some good cash the night before, I was paperless in a paper only store.  But no fear, you can order your license over the phone…yes…phone.  After a fairly quick and simple info gathering process, the phone agents reads you an EXTREMELY long (27 digit) code and you are supposed to write that code on a piece of paper and carry that as your license.  Wow!  A fishing license on a post-it note!  My question on this system – how does the warden verify that the code is valid and not just some long 27-digit code someone wrote on a piece of paper?

Back to California, my most expensive annual tag.  Not only is the state that brought us Silicon Valley still using an antiquated paper system, but they do not allow licensing agents to charge appropriate fees, making it a loosing proposition for them to sell licenses.  Getting a license becomes a cash only transaction.  I know that they have a new online system this season, but you still can only print a temporary and they still mail you an official paper license, and they tack on extra convenience fees (which agents are not allowed to charge) making an expensive license that much more expensive.  No thanks on the electronic system at this time.  I go give some cash to my local fly shop and get some additional supplies at that time as well.

In contrast, my annual Utah license is half that of California, all electronic, and they allow me to print my own.  They even have me saved in the system from previous purchases, so typing in my DL number brought up my info for a quick verification.  Easy and simple is my opinion of their process.  Why get an annual UT you ask – well I fish there enough days each season to justify the expense, and in most years it saves me a few ducats over paying for days a la carte.

Who knows what other licenses I will acquire in 2010, but so far I have three in the pouch and we are barely into the second month of the year.

Save the Mokelumne

EBMUD is attempting to get approval to raise the height of Pardee dam.  If they succeed, miles of the Mokelumne river will disappear under the raised dam.  In my humble opinion, the potential recreational opportunities provided by the expanded dam will not even come close to the destroyed recreational opportunities buried under feet of water.

I understand the argument that several years of drought have depleted water reserves for Bay Area and Southern CA water users, but I propose that BEFORE we spend billions increasing water storage and transportation, that we spend a few million educating people on water conservation.  I know that folks “think” they are conserving, but the majority do nothing.  Most waste considerably more than they should.  We need education programs, subsidies or credits for installing water saving devices, and in certain communities, restrictions and enforcement.

For more information, please read Mikey Wier’s blogs on this topic here and here.  You can also find more information on the Foothill Conservancy’s website as well as over at Friends of the River.

U.S. Senate Introduces the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act of 2008

On September 24th, Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Christopher Bond (R-MO), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), and George Voinovich (R-OH), introduced the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act of 2008, a comprehensive strategy to allocate conservation dollars for effective restoration of our national waterways.

Commentary from Senator Joe Lieberman:
“The National Fish Habitat Conservation Act, which I introduced today along with Senators Bond, Clinton, and Voinovich, will revolutionize how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approaches fish habitat conservation.   With 40 percent of our fish populations in decline and half of our waters impaired, the current fragmented approach to fish habitat protection and preservation has clearly not worked.  This bill encourages collaborative regional conservation efforts that bring together federal government agencies, state and local governments, conservation groups, fishing industry groups, and businesses.  I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to enact this critical legislation to help restore fishstocks across the country.”

For More information

BRTF and Proposal 2-XA

Proposal 2-XA Video

Although this does not directly affect us here in the Sierra’s, I feel that as fishermen, we all feel the pain when something like this happens. Just imagine if your favorite fishery was taken away.

Life for the salt water fishermen who fishes off the coast of central California may change in the near future. The CA DFG, heavily influenced by several large environmental groups is considering a massive closure of off-shore fishing to boats, consumptive divers and people fishing from kayaks. Proposal 4, if passed, will have a tremendous impact on sport fishing in California.

Two groups of concerned fishermen have banded together to create an alternative proposal called Proposal 2-XA. At the forefront of 2-XA are the members of Coastside Fishing Club and the members of Keep America Fishing. These members propose that 2-XA offers the best balance between recreation and conservation. One member is quoted as saying:

As a group, we believe that conservation of our natural resources is key. As consumptive users, it is in our best interest to conserve resources. Of course, the scientists that sit in cubicles and Ivory towers truly want to study nature as if she has never been impacted by humans. Since we are on this planet, then that is impossible.

If proposal 4 is passed “as-is”, that could set a dangerous precedent in the state of CA. Who knows which watershed will be in the cross-hairs next.  With a strong precedent set, it will only become easier to take away your fishing privileges. Shutting down fishing in the name of conservation could become an epidemic. Is this a case of environmentalism gone wild?