Anglers go to the water because they need to. Our lives are composed knee-deep in lakes, rivers and the sea. We all have our favorites: steelhead chasing a swung fly; permit cruising the flats; wild brookies in tiny mountain creeks; pike slashing out of weedy shallows; brown trout, tight to a grassy bank, deliberately sipping a beetle after refusing a dun.
Pursuing fish means measuring the season by hatches, runs and migrations rather than by the calendar. Anglers witness the intricacies of their waters and understand what it takes for these incredible ecosystems to thrive. They see firsthand what’s lost when they are allowed to collapse and recognize that it is up to those of us who love these beautiful places to protect them. Sometimes, this demands looking up from the water and speaking out for what is right. This November is one of those times.
Politics is a nauseating enterprise in America, but this year there is no choice but to get involved. Our home waters cannot survive four more years of Donald Trump’s ransacking, polluting agenda. His relentless assault on our wild places, clean water and climate must be stopped.
Trump’s record presents an appalling list of reasons to vote against him. As anglers, we know that healthy watersheds and functioning ecosystems are among the greatest gifts we can give our children and the subsequent generations of humanity to follow. We are voting for their sake in November.
This disaster must finally be off the table. Anglers know that Bristol Bay’s salmon must be protected at all costs. The president has received accolades for his sudden change of heart on this terrible project, a common-sense perspective shared by everyone except the feckless executives at Northern Dynasty Minerals and their lapdogs in the Alaska State government and the US Congress.
The Trump administration has only paused the project for 90 days. It is a transparent attempt to earn goodwill during an election year. The Obama administration had stopped the misguided project dead. The only reason we are even talking about it now is that Trump resurrected it. He can’t be trusted to do what is right for Bristol Bay. There would be no reason for Trump not to approve the mine during a second term. In stark contrast, Joe Biden has stated unequivocally that the Pebble Mine is finished if he is elected.
The Trump administration has already opened up millions of acres of public lands for new drilling and extraction. It has illegally shrunk the Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by nearly half and has opened the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling.
Trump’s former Secretary of the Interior appointee, Ryan Zinke, lifted protections on millions of acres of western sagebrush lands, opening these delicate areas to oil, gas and mining companies. He did the same to massive sections of California’s protected deserts. Last fall, Trump requested that the Forest Service exempt Alaska’s Tongass National Forest from the Roadless Rule, a move that could open the world’s largest temperate rainforest to more widespread logging and energy development.
What else would be sold during a second Trump term? Trump has shown has no understanding of the value of biodiversity, ecological connectivity, outdoor recreation and its economic benefits, or climate change mitigation provided by our public lands. He, and his industry cronies, don’t recognize the opportunity for these vast lands to protect and restore some of what was taken from America’s Indigenous peoples.
Anglers, environmentalists, hunters, hikers, climbers and everyone who loves our shared wild places need a president who understands the true worth of our public lands, not one who is drooling at the prospect of auctioning them off. Americans need a president who sees protecting our public lands as an expression of patriotism. Or, at the very least, we deserve a president who can at least pronounce Yosemite correctly.
Healthy fisheries and communities depend on clean water. Much like with the Pebble Mine, the only reason we are now fighting a proposed copper mine in northern Minnesota is because Trump resurrected the project after the Obama administration decided not to renew the foreign-owned mining leases and instead directed the government to study intently whether the potential for 500 years of toxic pollution from the mine was too much of a risk to the Superior National Forest and Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness watersheds.
Trump’s administration recently refused to breach the four Lower Snake River Dams, a move the Army Corp of Engineers acknowledges is the most critical step to preventing salmon and steelhead in the Columbia–Snake River Basin from continuing to slide toward extinction.
In June, Trump gutted the Waters of the United States rule, a regulation put into effect to support and expand the Clean Water Act. In a devastating blow, the new regulations remove critical pollution protections for millions of miles of streams, wetlands and groundwater. This shouldn’t even need to be said aloud, but America needs a president who will enforce the goddamned Clean Water Act.
All along our coasts, anglers have watched the Trump administration threaten ocean habitats and fisheries. Trump lifted fishing protections from the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, a 4,900-square-mile section of the Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast. While fish populations struggle for recovery in the Atlantic, Trump opted to allow commercial fishing into one of our most important ocean sanctuaries.
In an executive order issued in May, Trump started a process to open all federal coastal waters to expanded fish-farming operations. Previously, Trump had lifted oil-drilling bans for 125 million acres of the Arctic Ocean put in place by the Obama administration. He has gone on to propose opening 98 percent of federal waters, up and down the East and West Coasts, to offshore drilling.
As part of its profound commitment to making it easier for corporations to pollute American lands, water, air and cities, the Trump administration has pursued an unprecedented war on environmental regulations and standards, rolling back more than 68 environmental, land and water protections with 32 others in progress and many more planned.
These rollbacks allowed more pollution from vehicle tailpipes and mercury from coal-burning power plants. They eliminated required reporting of methane emissions for oil and gas companies and changed how refineries monitor pollution in surrounding communities. They allowed more air pollution in national parks and more leaking and venting of hydrofluorocarbons from refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. The administration withdrew guidelines for federal agencies to include greenhouse gas pollution in environmental reviews and postponed a rule limiting greenhouse gas pollution from airplanes. They relaxed rules intended to protect farmworkers from pesticide exposure and approved construction of the Dakota Access and the Keystone XL pipelines. The grim list goes on and on. Anglers, and all Americans, must stop this wholesale assault on our clean water, air and land.
This administration has been a nightmare for the world’s effort to finally respond to the climate crisis. Trump has called it a “hoax,” abandoned our commitments to the Paris Accord and protected the fossil fuel industry at every opportunity. As anglers, we know the threat climate change poses for our fisheries and waters. Snowpacks and glaciers are receding, higher temperatures heat the water to dangerous levels and support deadly algal blooms, forest fires rage out of control, and the ocean’s food chain is disrupted as waters acidify.
Climate change is accelerating, and the Trump administration only works to speed its progress. One of the very best reasons to vote for Joe Biden is his team's comprehensive plan to fight climate change. The plan seeks to clean the electric grid by 2035 and move the country to a zero-carbon energy system by 2050. It would invest trillions of dollars in clean energy deployment, research and development, and electric vehicle adoption. The plan has guidelines for new energy efficiency standards, decarbonizing industrial processes, a smart grid and regenerative agriculture. It directs government infrastructure spending to account for climate impacts and makes large investments in an ambitious list of other required technologies.
Biden’s plan recognizes that now is the time to face this crisis and meet it with the urgency and scale required. We simply cannot allow Donald Trump to hold back progress any longer. Four more years of his climate denial and irresponsibility is unthinkable and would have impacts that last centuries.
Green Jobs for the Future
Trump brags about running the country like he ran his businesses. Unfortunately for us, that’s exactly what he’s done. His endless gifts to polluters, tax breaks for the wealthy and reprehensible response to COVID-19 has ruined the economy for millions of Americans and literally killed more than 200,000 people. Biden’s plan to rebuild the shattered economy is a green recovery wisely built around the necessary fight against climate change. Transitioning our energy system to zero-carbon energy and transportation, and repairing and building the infrastructure required to meet the climate crisis head-on, could mobilize the American workforce for decades.
Biden’s commitments to expand protected public lands, stop Pebble Mine and reestablish pollution regulations means the diverse economy built around outdoor recreation, sustainable fishing and regenerative agriculture will thrive. Outdoor recreation employs and supports millions of Americans and provides crucial economic activity for rural communities and many businesses. Anglers know these jobs don’t exist if the land, water and air are polluted and the fish are gone.
Anglers Need to Vote
This November, the stakes of America’s presidential election couldn’t be higher. Anglers and those of us who want to see our public lands protected, clean air and water prioritized and climate change addressed need to send Donald Trump, and his despicable agenda, packing.
Please make sure you are registered to vote. Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 but squeaked by with an Electoral College victory on the back of slim margins in a few key states. Many of these states are now in contention, but anglers must have their voice heard. Talk to your friends, family and fellow anglers about the election and its environmental consequences, especially if they are undecided, don’t usually vote or voted for Trump last time. When Trump is finally out of office, we will all deserve a deep sigh of relief before we get to work repairing the damage he has caused. Anglers will need to be ready to demand the next administration keep its promises to fight climate change, build a green recovery and protect our public lands and waters. That said, it probably wouldn’t hurt to spend a day fishing your favorite piece of public water.
For a full list of Trump administration rollbacks and deregulation, head to our interactive info-graphic, Tracking Trump's Deregulation: 2017-2020.
Brad replied on Permalink
I’m disappointed Hatch has allowed political rhetoric onto its pages. I was here for the fishing not to be told who to vote for.
Connor replied on Permalink
Agree, this website is utter garbage lately.
david W robinson replied on Permalink
Thanks for signing the Outdoors bill President Trump
Thanks for funding the Everglades President Trump
Thanks for saving Maine Fishermen President Trump
Thanks for leaving the Gulf out of drilling President Trump
Put the opposite side from you on the site and in the Magazine or just make great movies and get out of politics
Alan Reyes replied on Permalink
And, the Hatch is censoring any comments that disagree.
CHARLES A COLLINS replied on Permalink
Caring about the fishery and the resource unfortunately means being involved in the politics of the resource. It used to be a subtle nuance between the political powers and was only an occasional issue at the local level. Your devotion to the sport is disingenuous if you are unwilling to defend the resource. you have to give in order to receive.
TB replied on Permalink
I agree with the above comment. Having a one-sided opinion editorial to all your readers as if his information is fact rather than opinion is not what readers come to your page to see. As an Alaskan hunter/fisherman who is intimitely familiar with both Pebble and ANWAR, I disagree with much this author has to say. Reguardless of our opinions, we get enough political rhetoric from the regular media to last a lifetime.
Chris replied on Permalink
Brad, I am disappointed that you fail to see that the things we hold dear as fishermen are being destroyed right before our eyes by the Trump administration. We can't close our eyes and pretend that this destruction is not happening. If you and your kids want to fish in the future and if you value clean water and wild places, you must face the fact that we need to stop this ongoing environmental disaster by voting Trump out now.
Anonymous replied on Permalink
You and your progeny will lose fishable waters if these policies continue.
ROBERT s replied on Permalink
I agree keep your political content off this site I will decide who to vote for. I neither need not want your opinions
Frank replied on Permalink
If the federal govt. had their way, they'd kill the fishing industry much like they are doing to the hunting industry. Be careful for what you wish for.
Alan Reyes replied on Permalink
President Trump actually stopped the Alaska Pebble mine.
What America and trout cannot survive is leftwing Democrat socialism. Wherever socialism happens, the environment is destroyed. Montana has voted Republican and the mountain west has voted Republican and Alaska votes Republican for years and those states actually protect the trout. Go to Democrat states and the rivers are polluted, the trout are dead.
Vote Republican for the environment! Vote Trump!
Chad Shmukler replied on Permalink
Unfortunately, Alan, that's not accurate. Trump didn't stop the Pebble Mine.
It was the EPA during the previous administration that stopped the Pebble Mine, vetoing mining in the sensitive headwaters of the Bristol Bay region under the Clean Water Act. It was the culmination of a process that included "years of scientific examination, economic analysis, consultation with Alaskan communities, and comments from hundreds of thousands of Americans." For all intents and purposes, that should have been the end of Pebble Mine.
Unfortunately, after taking office, Trump's EPA *rescinded* that veto and once again opened the door for Pebble Mine.
After allowing the process of making Pebble a reality to move farther forward than it ever had, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, earlier this year, denied the Pebble Mine permit application in its current form. It did not shut the door on future permit applications. Nor did Trump's EPA reinstate the Clean Water Act veto.
This did not stop Pebble Mine, it merely sent the Pebble Limited Partnership and its (foreign) parent company — Northern Dynasty Minerals — back to their desks to draw up and submit a revised permit and mitigation plan, a process which is currently underway.
Ron Bowman replied on Permalink
In my best Paul Harvey voice, here’s the rest of the story!
Ron Cable replied on Permalink
This political vitriole is entirely out of place in this forum. Go grind your axe someplace else.
James replied on Permalink
Scott Guilmartin replied on Permalink
Agree with previous comment.
john doe replied on Permalink
Here Here. Moral outrage is only when your "Ox is being Gored"! There are unintended consequences of over regulation from region to region. A broad generalization doesn't work for either point of view. Please, lets talk about fishing and leave editorial comments to the pundits since "first liar who doesn't have a chance".
Tpak replied on Permalink
True sportsman must agree with your article. There are issues more important than your tax rate. Well done.
Glenn Dotter replied on Permalink
Not when my tax rate prevents me from fishing and hunting.
TC replied on Permalink
I don't come here to get your political views. I come for fishing tips and suggestions. And while you're entitled to your opinion about Trump here is mine about the left. They want to end free speech, freedom of religion, end the second amendment, end due process, and re-segregate America. I have far more evidence of these travesties than you do of Trump's war on the environment.
Anonymous replied on Permalink
You took the words out of my mouth! This is truth!
Anonymous replied on Permalink
Truth. Well said
Glenn Dotter replied on Permalink
After flyfishing for 60 years, I have watched our streams become cleaner and cleaner. No single political ideology made this happen. We have continually asked ourselves how do we coexist safely. It appears certain segment of flyfishers resist this at all costs. It is their way or nothing. Environmentalists resist thinning of beetle kill forests here in Colorado and the result is 100's of ground of acres and miles of streams destroyed. Neither Trump nor Biden can fix this alone. It is up to us "We the People" to find our way to coexist together
The article is definitely a left leaning our way or the highway article. As a veteran I defend the writers right to Express his opinion. I just wish they would respect the rest of ours as well. The readers commenting here are not opposed to a clean environment. We love our sport. We simply feel there is a balance that can be struck between all the issues.
Will Williams replied on Permalink
Sorry to see this one-sided political opinion on a "fly fishing" site.
Anonymous replied on Permalink
Would appreciate no politics involved in articles!! I got into Fly Fishing as a way to escape and relax, to clear the mind and you throw it right in our face. We can’t watch Sports, Movies, anything anymore
stiflr replied on Permalink
Thank you for this Hatch!
Please don't ever let the triggered snowflakes stop you from standing up for and writing fairly about something that we all hold so dear.
Keep America Green!
STFU replied on Permalink
Just deleted my bookmark to this site. Good luck dividing
half of your readers. I would ignore the political stuff if
the other articles were informative or entertaining.
Mark replied on Permalink
First , great article. Thank you.
I have been watching Biden fill his cabinet with some interest. Greg, can we look forward to a similar article in 2023 when things don’t change or barely change? Both Trump and Biden’s are clowns and beholden to special interests.
I found the article linked below interesting. Especially the part about Republicans not supporting the mining effort. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-northern-dynasty-shares...
Ian Padron replied on Permalink
What about the millions of anglers who support the Trump administration? Add Hatch to the growing list of far left echo chambers in the outdoor rec space.
Anonymous replied on Permalink
I'm an avid fly fisherman and conservationist. Not radical environmentalist. I support Trump 100%. Let's compare the sons - Don Jr and his passion for hunting and fishing to Hunter Biden and his passion for corruption, cocaine and hookers. I think the Trump family stands on solid ground when it comes to wise management of natural resources.