Opinion: Hooked on Fishing?

Chris Peterson, Hungry Horse News, Columbia Falls, Mont.
·2 min read

Apr. 7—Last week FWP commissioner Brian Cebull suggested that using drones on stillwater, like ponds or lakes, might be a good way to get kids hooked on fishing.

You know, because learning how to actually cast or be patient is just too damn hard for kids nowadays. Why with a drone, you could scout the water real quick, drop your line and haul your catch back in just minutes.

Of course, the whining of the drone motors might be a little distracting to anglers not fortunate enough to own a $500 fishing device, but who am I to judge?

Those kids with their cheapo rods and reels can go someplace else if they don't like it. That's what I say. Since when was fishing ever about contemplation and quiet? Well, it mighta been that way in the old days when we used to tie a line on a stick with a hook and worm, but those days are loooooong gone.

Now it's about instant gratification. This is the generation of InstaTube. If it can't be plugged in or recharged, well then heck, it just ain't worth having.

And the fish won't mind being hauled in the air for 500 feet back to the shore. Why a little fresh air ain't gonna hurt those fish.

I jest, of course. This fishing with a drone is just an awful idea.

I spent the better part of my young life fishing as many days as I could. It wasn't just about fishing — I let almost every fish I ever caught go, some of which were longer than my skinny arms — it was about learning about food webs and the tree of life and how easily we can screw it all up with a spill or two. (My favorite creek growing up had an industrial plant parked on its banks and a sewage treatment plant that didn't always treat the sewage).

But Cebull's take didn't really surprise me. He strikes me as someone not really interested in fair chase, which is why the state is considering the rule change.

But I also own a drone. I'd like to think I fly it responsibly. Which is to say I don't fish with it and I make sure no one is around when I do fly it, because yes, I know they're obnoxious, nevermind the antithesis of fair chase.

I bet if I hovered it over Cebull's front porch for awhile it wouldn't take long for him to get out his shotgun.

Drones have a way of bringing out the best in people.

If the cops came, I'd say I was just, um, looking for largemouths — bass that is.

Chris Peterson is the editor of the Hungry Horse News.