Lost Resource

By Robert Piorkowski - September 1, 2000
In my area, there are numerous ponds where I like to fish and spend a little quiet time. Specifically, one pond is located five minutes from where I work. Including driving time, I get to spend 20-30 minutes fishing at any one pond. I've spent many lunches wetting a line and noticing that the time had passed in a flash. It's not like fishing the big lake, or Canada, but it's relaxing and enjoyable.

Most times I know what to expect when fishing a familiar pond. I can usually expect some fellow fisherman, changing water levels, sunlight conditions, species, and productive baits for catching. Something was different on a recent visit to the pond by my work. Before I could setup my flyrod, I noticed a peculiar sign posted at the waters edge. Was the sign directed at me, or were others causing problems? I didn't really know the cause of the posting. All I knew was now there was a sign at my pond stating "No Fishing or Swimming". This was a shocker and a disappointment. I couldn't believe it, I've been there many times over the last two years and now access is denied. Like anyone else, I admit at first I was angry. I then realized that the pond never belonged to me, I was borrowing their resource for my enjoyment. Anger faded, and I was thankful for the memories.

My Ex-pond is about three acres in area, and located behind an office building adjacent to County Forest Preserve property. The pond had a perfect location, easy fishing access, close to a forest preserve for wildlife, and loaded with crappies and bluegills. I know bait fisherman visited the pond, but I enjoyed flyfishing with surface poppers. I've had lunches where I never saw a fish, and days of 10 bluegills in 10 minutes.

By driving around the area, I have found ponds by chance and through the use of maps. On numerous occasions I found a pond on a map, but when I pull up to fish, there is a "No Fishing" sign, or its private. With that I keep searching. The Ex-pond is easily visible from the highway, and should've been a target for fisherman. For me it was easy find, good location with healthy fish. I have found several productive ponds by getting off the main roads, and driving into subdivisions. Lots of ponds are hidden, but still provide public access.

With denying me access to fish, I think the loss is to the owner of the pond. I consider myself a caretaker of my fishing locations. I practiced new techniques, and only took home photos and memories. I also picked up bait containers and trash left by other fisherman. By fishing, I'm not a threat, I'm creating the image of what the pond represents.

I know losing access to a pond is a piddly, minor thing in the great scheme of life, but its still a loss. There are a few ponds I fish where I can prevent this same thing from occurring. I plan to find the owners, discuss access and how it can be protected. I have no problem picking up trash or even doing a little grass cutting to preserve a good fishing spot. If the owner wants some fillets, then I'm the man for the job. If you have a similar fishing spot you want to preserve, I suggest you take steps to prevent your lost access.

I had considered contacting the property owner of my ex-pond and offering to teach him/her flyfishing in exchange for access. They get to learn casting techniques, and flyfishing, and I get the privilege of continued access. Chances are they probably don't fish, or wouldn't be interested in my offer. I'll even teach the class right on the pond so they can see the potential located outside their windows. Imagine being stuck in an office all day, but spending your lunch time flyfishing. To me this sounds like a good way to release work tensions. Forget aerobics or power lunches, how about a casting lesson with fish included?

The day I saw the No Fishing sign, I headed back to the car and drove to another location. I had less time to fish, but it still was a "Fishing-Lunch". Maybe I'm looking at the problem the wrong way. There are always several solutions to any problem. I wonder if employees get access to the pond? I have seen employees having lunch next to the pond and enjoying the scenery. Maybe employees have full access and get to boat, wade, and use float tubes on the pond. What a benefit! Hopefully, I could trade 401K benefits or vacation time for fishing access. I have one final thought on being denied access to the pond. I wonder if the company has any job openings??

Good Fishing!

Author Robert Piorkowski
Robert Piorkowski
Rob is a Field Editor for Midwest Outdoors Magazine, Featured Columnist for BigfishTackle.com, Contributing Writer for Illinois Outdoors and works as a Environmental Project Manager near Chicago, Il. When not casting for bass out of his boat, you'll find him wading local rivers searching for bass with a flyrod. If you have any questions or comments regarding this article, contact Rob at rob_fishon@hotmail.com