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Don’t Say Any More You’ve Said Too Much Already

11/11/10 – How much information is too much information. When is it OK to post about a fishing spot? If you put a spot out on the web is it ruined forever? Will thousands of people descend on that spot and fish it out? Ask yourself are you one of the people who Kiss and Tell? Would you risk hurting someone’s reputation so you could brag about your personal exploits? Probably not or if you did in later reflection you’d probably feel bad. To Kiss and Tell is generally considered bad form and doing so often has bad repercussions. Yet people do it every day when it comes to fishing.

In fact, I’m going to do it right now. With a high degree of confidence I can tell you that next season if you punch N45-52′-35.84″ Big Eddy, Millinocket, Maine Areaby W69-07’48.77″ into your GPS and go there you have a good to better than good chance of catching a fish. Not just any fish but a Landlocked Salmon.

But I really don’t feel bad giving up the location of Chewonki’s Big Eddy Campground – chances are you’ve heard of it before. But chances are you haven’t heard about N45-44′-2.0″ by W69-2′-44.5″ and there’s an even better chance you won’t go there even when I disclose the location.

No, not many people will drive miles of dirt road, boat and then hike to get to the confluence of Tumbledown Dick Stream and Nahamakanta Stream. That’s a lot of work for a sometimes on sometimes off fishery that seldom produces a trout over 12″ and so I don’t worry much about giving up that location either. But if there were 20″ brook trout there I’d worry about giving out those coordinates.

So does that mean there are degrees of Kiss and Tell when it comes to fishing because often there’s no consequence to fear. Tumbledown Dick StreamI guess it does but who gets to decide when it’s OK to tell about that wonderful day of fishing? I guess you do. At least until you post that information the web. Then your audience gets to decide as many who have posted locations and gotten flamed for it can tell you.

I’m not sure about all fishing websites but I do know that on many Fly-Fishing sites disclosing too much information will get you hate mail. Fortunately postings that tell all aren’t that common. But it’s been a learned response.

Often in the “early days” of web forums (1995 or so) people put up detailed information and didn’t feel bad about it. They didn’t feel bad because they believed only fellow fly-fishers look at this stuff so it’s OK because a fellow fly-fisher won’t hurt the resource. BUT, it turns out not all fly-fishers are protective of our fish resources and additionally other fisherman (some legal and some illegal) sometimes take a look at the fly-fishing websites.

So it does pay to hold some information back. Especially when the location information would reveal a fragile or easily accessed fishery. But what happens when nothing is held back and the location of a sensitive or unknown site is mentioned on the web. Well, nothing good happens. But it’s not the end of the world either. Perhaps that location will get pounded for the next few weekends. Perhaps the fishery there will collapse under the pressure but unless people hit it soon and hard that information will go away.

Despite what you may hear out there information that is disclosed on the web isn’t there forever. I know that for a fact because I’ve gone back and looked for information I’ve posted and can’t find it. I’m sure nobody else is going to find it either even if I give them good search words. Why can’t they find it – well because nobody has the time locate information that is on the 254th page of a Google search. It’s too much work. Most of that secret information has already been out there for years. All anyone needed to find a location was a TOPO map (remember them and the big cabinets stores kept them in) and a compass. But it was a lot of work and that kept many locations safe.

Information overload is another thing that keeps some locations safe. If you’ve got a list of all the Brook Trout Class “A” ponds (never stocked) or all the Class “B” (not stocked in over 25 years) you’ve got too much information. I mean how do you sort through it all. I haven’t been able to and I have the list. Well, actually anyone with web access has the list if they’ve downloaded Google Earth and then they follow this link to the Maine IF&W website. From there you can launch the Maine Fishing Guide and get stocking records, boat launches, roads, sporting camps, lake depths, topo overlays and tons more of information.

Check it out – you’ve got all winter to look 🙂