Mickey’s Oneida Lake Report

The righteous angler, or you can lead a fisherman to water, but you can’t make him think.

When it comes to moral equivalency among anglers, one should ask, is it the fisherman who throws artificial lures made from metal or plastic in order to gain substance, less righteous compared to the angler that requires lures fashioned from the ruminants of live or dead animals, IE:  worms, trout flies, yes trout flies or minnows in order to lure fish solely on the basis of sport. In some countries like the Netherlands, the catch and release ethic is considered inhumane, tantamount to torture. The angler is required by law to dispense his catch in a humane manor or risk being subject to fine or imprisonment. Is it better to release a fish so it may be caught again another day? According to Lee Wulff it is.

Make no mistake, like hunting, fishing is a blood sport. Being subject to the angling culture as long as I have, fifty plus years, has given rise to cynicism, familiarity breeds contempt and all of that; especially when confronted by the “double standard”  encouraged and nourished by the class distinctions among what should be the fraternal brotherhood of anglers.

As a fly fishing guide and former president of the Central New York Fly Fishers, FFF, I resent the portrayal of fly fisherman as snobs, as much as I despise the idea of bait anglers being characterized as despicable.

OK, maybe a little friendly rivalry. Football players show no sign of discontent for the sport of basketball. Golf enthusiasts are not offended by baseball. One could say the ball is their common bond just like the hook is the common bond between the Bass angler and the Carp fisherman or the fly fisherman and the deep sea angler.

There are numerous instances of elitism within the fishing community, fortunately these isolated examples do not represent the entire angling population. Its fishing, plain and simple, no matter how you slice it and dice it.

Anglers of all genre share in the most fundamental motive, that is to “catch a fish”.

It’s mans basic instinct to hunt and provide, whether we eat the fish or not; we live by rod, line and hook. There should be no moral dilemmas when it comes to angling. For all practical purposes there are only two types of anglers, ethical and non-ethical; those who respect the resource and play by the rules and those who refuse to.

For some reason, petty rivalry is a stage some anglers have to go through.

Witness, A.J. McClane of Standard Fishing Encyclopedia fame and his more tolerant and inclusive approach to the pursuit of angling, one that mirrors the philosophy of what Thoreau embellished when he stated “most men spend all their life’s fishing without realizing it’s not fish their after”.

It’s unfortunate that Oneida Lake Ice anglers are being challenged by a difficult season.

Mid-February presented some opportunity along the Eastern portion of the lake. Sylvan Beach and Lewis Pt provided anglers with perch and walleye. How long this will last is up to Mother Nature. We could end up with January weather in March?


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