Pay To Fish?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by LCnSac, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. LCnSac

    LCnSac John or "LC"

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    I'm one who would sooner pay to fish on private land on a stretch of river in a crowded area than pay for most private lakes.

    As to guides, they can be useful for new waters or for transportation. Some people use them every time they fish, and I think they're missing out on a lot. The only place I use a guide repeatedly is the Lower Sac--and that's for transportation and rowing.

    Once in a great while they will teach you some invaluable techniques, but in my experience that is rare. I avoid them if I can.
     
  2. chief

    chief Active Member

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    I have a lot of experience with pay to fish operations, both as a customer and an operator. My experience is limited to lake fishing operations. Typically the DFW won't issue a stocking permit for rivers, so what you are paying for is private access, but the fish are typically either wild, naturally reproducing, or stocked by a government entity. In rivers the fish have the opportunity to move around, so it is not a controlled environment like a lake.

    In lakes the experience varies widely depending on location, scenery, stocking process, fish strains, etc. Most guys who are paying to fish want to catch big fish. How the fish get big is the key to the angling experience. If they are stocked as mature fish, they will fight poorly and often have tell tale signs like squared off tails from rubbing on the hatchery pen walls. If they are stocked as fingerlings (or juveniles) and grow up in the lake, they will typically fight like naturally reproducing fish. The strain of fish, food sources, and growing season all impact natural growth. Typically genetically engineered fish like triploids grow large but fight poorly. Diploids are often harder fighters but don't grow as fast and don't live as long. Certain strains, like Kamloops, Eagle lake, etc. have a reputation for being acrobatic and taking line. Some lakes have the biomass to grow big fish and some are less fertile. Adding feeders to supplement the natural food is another tactic that can work well as long as there is enough natural food to keep the fish moving around, and not keying solely on pellets.

    Catching a variety of fish is also fun for a lot of people, so stocking Browns, Brooks and Tigers in addition to Rainbows can make a pay lake more interesting. From my experience, just because you have a lake to yourself doesn't mean you are guaranteed lights out fishing. The odds are in your favor, but you still have to dial it in, and some days the fish just don't want to cooperate. Weather still plays a role, and fish can get selective if there is an abundance of natural food around. Also, in the good lakes they are managed to balance angler success with optimal fish growth. It is not a matter of just dumping in so many fish that even an idiot can catch them. This will possibly be fun in the short run, but eventually they will overwhelm the food source and become snaky poorly conditioned fish. A healthy lake will typically have 3-4 classes of fish that are being caught during the day, and the big ones will be as well conditioned as the small ones.

    Not everyone is inclined to invest $100 - $200 for a day of fishing, so pay fisheries aren't for everyone. And great days can be had on many of our public waters. But having a lake to yourself, surrounded by beautiful scenery, and catching a lot of fish with a chance for truly large fish, and sharing it with just your friends, can be a pretty special experience. I find the good pay lakes are worth the cost every now and again.
     
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  3. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    I have a few times, but generally not. I prefer public access waters and self guided. If you think about though, guided trips are running north of $400 and many of these pay to play lakes or streams offer a day of high quality fishing at 1/2 the price or less.
     
  4. deansie

    deansie Member

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    Were they part of this club/ membership?

    http://rmangling.com/

    When I lived in Denver and was a DINC (Dual Income No Children) I seriously considered this route as my neighbor had recieved a membership via a christmas present (we were both in our late 20's). Don't automatically write off the group as old, rich white guys drinking scotch and smoking expensive stogies because they are on private water. In a state liKe CO with the water laws, IMO if you have the funding to pay for it (or recieve via a gift) it actually opens up a lot of water to you and is far cheaper than guides, especially if you know what you're doing.

    That being said, there is tons of good public water out there but you have to hunt to find it, which sometimes is more fun than the actual fishing. For what its worth, the most stuffy, "old school" fishing environment I've been on was on a public stretch of the Au Sable this past spring in MI...thought I was on a pay for spring creek in England with all the tweed and cigars I saw on the river.
     
  5. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    I've been to several "pay to play" lakes. All were Project Healing Waters related mind you. I don't know if I'd have gone if it wasn't. It was fun. I like saying it's like going to a whore house. Just get your guaranteed fix. lol
     
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  6. Peyton00

    Peyton00 Active Member

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    I agree. NO WAY IN HELL.... i would rather drown powerbait at a free access lake.
    I am thinking about my grandpa, and how embarrassed he would be if i went to a pay to play fisherie.
     
  7. Kyle Smith

    Kyle Smith DBA BozoKlown406

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    I utilized my state's wonderful stream access law to wade along Thompson Spring Creek on the Milesnick ranch. Man was I glad I didn't pay $100 for that shitty night of fishing!

    I have mixed feelings about the MZ pay-to-play operation closing down. They were good stewards of two important lower Gallatin spawning tribs. But I no longer feel unethical slogging through the muck to get up their creeks!
     
  8. james.jimenez

    james.jimenez Active Member

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    DAMN!!!

    And I get pissed when I pay the Korean $10 to fish for a day....
     
  9. Mark Kulikov

    Mark Kulikov Active Member

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    We all pay to play with our taxes, I just don't want to pay it twice. As Kyle stated above, with the Montana access rights, I've not found a need to even look at one of the pay to fish places.

    Sent from my little square phone thingy...
     
  10. Lugan

    Lugan Joe Streamer

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    I also get the Hancock pass annually. That unlocks a big array of lakes and streams that don't have extraordinary fishing, but do have extraordinary solitude that's close to my home. I'm happy to pay for that.

    I've also done a pay lake 3 times that is spectacular and I might go another time or two, but by then probably it'll be boring.

    Someday I'd like to pay to fish a beat on an English chalk stream, just because.
     
  11. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    I've gotten over my aversion to guided trips. So far all of my trips have been with old buddies (Scott at the Confluence in Bellingham) or Friends-of-Friends (Tom Bullock in Clarkston, Rip King out little old Walla Walla). I consider them friends as well now.

    Pay to fish? I would if I wanted to fish it. It's all about me.

    At least my fishing.
     
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  12. Brookie_Hunter

    Brookie_Hunter aka Dave Hoover

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    I'm sure I'll never get the urge to do it. Just something about it rubs me the wrong way plus I'm too frugal with my money to blow it on something like that. I fork out enough each year buying annual or short term fishing licenses in usually two or more States plus a bevy of access passes (National Parks, NW Forest, Discover Pass, etc). While catching large fish is certainly nice that's not why I fish. I like the solitude and exploration aspects of it the most. On top of it, there are hundreds of public water streams that I haven't yet fished in this State, let alone elsewhere, to keep me busy.
     
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  13. Vladimir Steblina

    Vladimir Steblina Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working

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    I close out the spring fishing season by spending four days at a private lake. It is a good way to end fishing for the season.

    There are plenty of public lakes that are quiet with nice fish. But that experience of finding an uncrowded, public lake with large fish is the exception. And you never know when it will become the next internet hot spot.

    The other nice thing is that catching large fish is what fishing in the west was about until a few decades ago. I know people that no longer fish in Montana since the fish are so small these days!!

    Is it worth the money. Yes, now that I am spending money rather than saving it!!!
     
  14. underachiever

    underachiever !

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    If you enjoy the fishery I suppose it's up to the individual to decide if it's worth the $. It seems most pay fisheries are lakes and stillwater fishing doesn't have much appeal to me. I don't understand the feeling some have towards guided fishing. For local rivers I wouldn't hire a guide but if I'm traveling it's always nice to see a river from a drift boat and hiring a guide is far cheaper than buying a boat, the vehicle to pull it and paying for a place to keep it for the 360 days it doesn't get used. If a drift boat is involved my wife will also participate if even only as a passenger in the boat.
     
  15. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    As old as I am, I have never paid to fish anyplace. But I'm not a big fish person. I'm just as happy with fish up to 16" as most people are with a big fish. Small fish on a small rod is what I'm happiest with. Plus fishing alone. And I get to fish alone a lot. Just about every time I go out. It's quiet and you can listen to the sounds of nature.
     
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