Guest Blog by: Eric Allee , Colorado 6/22/2017
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love connecting with friends and family. I love connecting with others that share my passion for the outdoors and now photography. I hate everything else about it.
The anti-CPW vibe that continues to grow in some circles has me concerned. The reason it has me concerned is these ranting and raving sometimes threatening Facebook posts are counterproductive to everything some of us have been working on for years. These asinine posts that are beginning to pop up more frequently do absolutely nothing but stir up a hornet’s nest of folks screaming at their keyboards with frustration. Is there anything easier than sitting at a keyboard whining?
Normally I don’t pay attention to crap like this, but the fact that some of these groups are growing rapidly frustrates me and here’s why. The CPW is constantly asking for our input and opinions and we as anglers who chase species other than trout flat out don’t show up. Keyboard warrior nation has been given opportunity after opportunity to show up, but as a whole we don’t. Years ago on this forum a gentleman was trying to revive the Muskies Inc. Chapter in Colorado. Lots of interest, lots of people wanting to advocate for their preferred species, but when it came time to show up. No one. I can’t remember what issue we were talking about but someone said trying to get all of us (multi-species anglers) together for anything is like trying to herd cats.
Before you guys whip out the pitchforks I want you to ask yourself a question. Have I done anything to make a positive change to fishing in Colorado? A facebook post or forum post where you get “likes” or “Fins up” doesn’t count. Have you gotten off your ass and actually communicated with the CPW or an elected official to get your voice heard? Joey Willey has and I respect the hell out of him for it. He’s not happy about what’s happening in his back yard with Rifle Gap and Harvey Gap and I can’t blame him, but his dedication to what he believes in goes past the internet.
Before you follow a person or group that advocates rioting (yes I actually read that on Facebook) over fishery management you don’t agree with keep this in mind. The CPW donates hundreds upon hundreds of rod and reel combos a year to kids. They’re continually reaching out to our youth to get them and keep them involved and engaged in the outdoors. Go to the ISE for instance and you’ll see the CPW set up with displays to educate youngsters about hunting and fishing, and also a big tank where they can catch fish. They’re also the folks at state parks that are willing to put their life on the line to save you if you catch yourself in a bad situation. Couldn’t tell you how many on the water rescues I’ve seen over the years at Barr Lake alone. Then you have a number of rock star biologists who’re thinking outside the traditional box with some bodies of water and creating amazing warm water fisheries! I could go on and on about how many great things the CPW does and all the wonderful people who proudly work for the CPW.
Is the CPW above being criticized? No. However, there’s a difference between criticism and threats. There’s also a difference between someone attempting to work with the CPW and make a positive impact and someone looking to gain notoriety for blindly bashing the CPW. The growing trend on social media and even here on FxR with bashing the CPW accomplishes nothing. If anything it turns people off who might have an interest in actually showing up to a meeting, not just venting on a computer.
If you have concerns and you want to voice your opinion there’s been an open invite for years! Attend a meeting and by all means do more research than liking a few Facebook posts. A lot of these issues that are stirring up the most buzz are extremely complicated that involved multiple agencies and there doesn’t seem to be any wiggle room. Does it make it any easier on the anglers concerned with Rifle Gap and Harvey Gap? No, but it might help them with who they need to contact about it, and it isn’t the CPW.
Last but not least the recent picture that has been going around social media with the fish taken from Rifle Gap. Did it frustrate me too? Of course. I do however understand that when you have hundreds of people working for you not all of them will always put their best foot forward. We’d all hope that they’d realize what a sensitive time this is for many anglers on the western slope. I understand they’re only doing their job, but I would have hoped there would have been more respect displayed for the anglers sitting front row watching a fishery they’ve loved for decades forcibly change.
I hold anglers in the highest esteem and still believe the vast majority of us want to contribute to positive solutions. What’s been trending lately isn’t that.
Fishing has been a passion of mine ever since I can remember. I’ve committed myself to helping others not only catch more and bigger fish, but also enjoy themselves more while doing so.
Flyrodn, CO 6/22/2017 3:42:41 PM
Well stated Eric. Unfortunately it's a lot easier to bitch and moat than it is to take the time and make to the effort to change things. I might add to those who do give input and then things don't change to their liking, know that you were heard. Just because CPW or anyone else for that matter doesn't act on your input in the manner you like, doesn't mean you weren't heard. Hell, it happens to me all the time.
Skookshunter, CO 6/22/2017 6:09:02 PM
Good post Eric. Hopefully I'll see you and a few new faces at future meetings.
Goosehunter82, CO 6/22/2017 6:21:53 PM
I don't always agree with all of your posts but you have some great points in this one. Ranting gets us no where. As to the CPW and the youth of course there going to give away free rods and reels the the kids. That's there only hope to stay in business. Reminds me of a history lesson back in high school. They were making reference to a guy named Hitler.
JOHN_COSprings, CO 6/22/2017 7:01:41 PM
Great post Eric. I know the tireless work and effort you do behind the scenes to advocate to both CPW and the public, for those fishing here in Colorado. Fins-UP man. However, the hate we are seeing posted on social media, in public, in meetings, extends far beyond just fishing topics. It would seem a large segment of the country is simply unable to accept a rationale debate, dialogue, or discourse on any topic they disagree with. If their views are not heard, or they cannot shout or shutdown views they don't like, they are turning more and more often to violence, be that physical, emotional, the use of identity politics, or the trolling and defaming of anyone and everyone on the "other" side. Sad times we live in. More coffee required !!!
Goonch, CO 6/22/2017 7:43:10 PM
Great read Eric, I agree with you in most respect. Social media etiquette is something that certainly needs to be addressed. Becoming threatening on social media is anything but productive. And bashing the CPW will get us nowhere fast. The CPW is not entirely at fault for whats happening at Rifle Gap, there are other agencies involved.
However, if that picture wasn't posted most people would have no idea whats going on. It is not like the gill net and shocking operations are well advertised. As far as I knew there had been 97 fertile Walleye killed early in the spring, Any and all operations conducted since then have been kept under wraps. When the recent picture did surface it stirred up some ill feelings. Right or wrong some people who feel passionate about the subject got fired up.
When I saw the picture I started a thread in hopes of reaching more people. I made sure to choose my words wisely in hopes of starting a constructive conversation. Maybe if more people are informed and moved to action changes can be made? Maybe that's wishful thinking, I just hope I don't have to witness the demise of my favorite fishery.
I think you are spot on though, action speaks louder than words. I have already reached out to Joey and I will start attending meetings and contacting the right officials. I am not a sideline type of dude but I am new to this stuff. If anyone has information about meetings or who to contact that would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the article Eric, tight lines boys!
culinarypunk, WY 6/22/2017 9:12:03 PM
Eric, how long can an angler watch cpw make mistake after mistake (in the anglers eyes) before going mad!
Blue Mesa? Elkhead? (yeah, elkhead is due too the feds)
How long can anglers take watching their money spent by throwing it into a wishing well?
Eric Allee (TigerHunter), CO 6/22/2017 9:41:24 PM
By all means I don't want anyone to be quiet when they're frustrated, but if you're going to take the time and energy to speak your piece why not do it in a setting where it could potentially make a difference or in a setting where the CPW can at minimum defend themselves. I'm not a CPW apologist or anything, but the threats I've seen on social media the past couple weeks are weaksauce at best. I try not to lose track of the fact the CPW is an agency filled with hundreds of people. Father's, mom's, son's, daughters, etc.... as much as I care about fish, I still care about people more. I feel like as a whole the angling community is better than bullshit threats for more "likes"
Abel1, CO 6/22/2017 11:46:53 PM
I agree good read Eric and I also agree with Ajax on another thread. I wasn't under the impression anyone was threating violence but in this day its not uncommon I guess. As far as keyboard warriors though I guess for me its a way of getting a few minutes worth of attention and perhaps that someone may be listening that I would never get at one of these meetings. I realize no one cares but it makes me feel like my voice has been heard. As far as the CPW I hold them 100% responsible. I pay their wages with the purchase of my fishing license. They are my voice and I expect them to make it heard. I have a lot of responsibility in my job yet I have others I have to answer to. You know how many times a day I get my butt handed to me? I have made the mistake of saying I am doing all I can but my hands are tied. Their answer is "you are the representative" get it done. Now I can sit there and quiver like a bowl of jello like most of upper management does because they're afraid of their job or I can take the fight beyond them and get it done. Everyone seems to have thrown their hands up in the air. Beating a dead horse/trivial/let it drop and even being referred to as griping from someone I have a lot of respect for. When someone grows a pair and appears at one of those meetings and wants to listen to those of us who "do" care I'll show up. They aren't even taking the time to blow smoke up our a$$. You want us to back off then do something besides take/take/take.
redleader, CO 6/23/2017 3:43:26 AM
The isis leader of the anti dpw movement with a new coalition group. Ice over the top does no good. Click unfollow- leave group and don't allow to be added.
Fordo, CO 6/23/2017 6:42:57 AM
The beauty about social media is that you can just swipe a site right off your phone with just a touch of a finger, or you can just click the red x at the top right of your screen, and bam its gone! If it bothers you, don't read it.
I can guarantee this is exactly what just about any official with in the CPW that has the ability to make a difference has done. I was shocked, when one of them we had chased away before showed back up on here recently to make some comments to clarify the pike bounty at GM.
All in all, The people who could actually make a difference don't give a hoot about what is said on social media. They view or perceive the guys that take to social media with complaints, insults and rants as a bunch of foolish Ding Dongs . Those posts are definitely anti productive and do not represent the angling community that is opposed to anti preditorial school of thought within the CPW,
When it comes to Harvey, Rifle, Elkhead, and the bounty at GM. By far, these posts on social media do nothing to properly reach out to the Federal Authorities concerned with the Endangered Fish Species Act. Bashing the CPW on these lakes is like a dog barking up the wrong tree. Most of these "keyboard warriors" don't understand that its the Feds who control the situation. The CPW are just boots on the ground acting under a federal mandate. These guys who think they are raising hell, kickin ass and takin names on the internet have only made the rest of us look even worse that might have a chance to get something changed on issues not having to do with the Endangered Fish Species Act., such as the protection of trophy lake trout
Coyute, CO 6/23/2017 12:40:18 PM
I like your response Abel1. Since the merger, the agenda at CPW has been a cluster and leadership lackluster. A lot of times the 'public response' portion of any gov't decision making is merely lip service. The DOW has done a lot of great and commendable work over the years but since the merger it seems like boondoggle fever has been rampant. I have faith in CPW but sometimes it wears a little thin. Bringing attention to a problem is a good thing. Advocating riots and other horseshit isn't.
redleader, CO 6/23/2017 2:24:23 PM
I've been involved in fishing issues with the dow since the early 90's, been to lots of meetings, written letters, started petitions that had over 1000 signatures, spoke at commission meetings etc. I definitely have issues with some of their policies I don't agree with but the Only way to make a difference is to show up at meetings with a good attitude and do everything you can Without being an Asshole to turn the tide. Through efforts I have put in I am proud of the fact we have a great fishery at Granby, Williams fork is the only lake in the state that has a Slot for Pike and we have multiple successful Kokanee egg taking areas, all things I advocated for.
We didn't get everything we wanted and there are still problems but the constant vicious attacks from certain individuals only hurt the cause.
Abel1, CO 6/23/2017 6:51:17 PM
Bingo! There you go redleader. There's a bone. How about slot limits on pike instead of bringing them to extinction? Anything over 36" goes back. We all dream of catching the Zelinski size pike. You want to keep them in check then take the smaller ones and leave the rest. Better still how about slot limits on "All" fish? There are several options but they aren't entertaining any of them.
redleader, CO 6/23/2017 7:56:13 PM
At Williams fork the long standing slot limit for pike is 26"-34"s. The slot would have gone away if not for standing up for it during a dow meeting that was proposing removing Pike limits statewide. When they wanted to raise the limit on Lake Trout there from 4-8 fish I proposed a 1 over 24" and at least ended up with a 1 over 30".
At another meeting the DOW biologist wanted to remover the 26" to 36" slot limit for Lake trout at Grand lake, that was unanimously shut down by attendees and it was agreed at Granby if they raise the limit on 'lake trout we will get a 1 over 22" limit added.
FishAtron, CO 6/24/2017 2:46:28 PM
Lol this is like a really boring reality show. "throws a piece of popcorn in the air and catches it with his mouth".
westsloper, CO 6/25/2017 2:53:02 AM
Thank you for the post Eric and the kind words. I do want everyone to know that I'm not "anti CPW". I'm thankful for the good work they do, I know that they are just doing their jobs. I do think that they can lose sight of what's good for, not just fisherman, but for community's that depend on monies brought in by fisherman. Rifle for instant is a already struggling community. Small businesses have a hard time making it here do to the ups and downs caused by the energy industry. People come from all over the state and neighboring states to fish our little lake. They spend money in our community that helps our small businesses thrive. By devastating the population in our lakes and rivers they are essentially taking money out of our pockets. So my feeling run deeper then just being pissed that they are ruining one of my favorite fishing spots. I do urge everyone to attend CPW meetings and write their senators or government officials when they have a issue or concern. My Facebook post was done partly out of anger and frustration, but it was also done to raise awareness and to get people involved! We have to start speaking up if we want change, sitting on our asses isn't going to change anything!
I will be meeting with some CPW employees and hopefully a biologist on Monday, they reached out to me this morning wanting to talk things over.
I would also like to thank everyone that has shown support!