Fly Fishing Culture: A Guide And An Elitist

Karl Weixleman snipped from youtube

As Karl would say at the end of this youtube video …sometimes you got to get a little wet.

We don’t know Karl and we won’t judge him, but it looks like a recent (and excellent) article he wrote for Fly Fisherman is getting him a little wet right this very instant.  Karl Weixleman isn’t very popular with the locals in the Erie area.  The once President of the Pennsylvania Steelhead Association and Erie steelhead guide opted to fish for a living year round (no one can blame the guy there) by hooking up with the elitist – Donny Beaver who gains “long term interests” in properties near good fishing streams and secures them with money.  The problem?  The problem is these streams were streams you used to be able to fish.  The problem is public access is diminishing as private access is increasing.  You have to pay to play and only money or a knack for trespassing can get you a spot  on some of the best sections on these incredible streams (we do not endorse trespassing) So much of Donny’s business/fishing philosophy stand against everything we stand for here at the CRO.  I won’t judge Donny (who has way less twitter followers than us) or his business Homewaters Club, for all I know he might be a great but misguided guy afraid of scores of people destroying the streams he loves.  If that is the case, then Donny,I disrespectfully disagree.  I won’t judge him but I will outfish him…every time…country club fly fishing with other elitists makes one soft.   The elitist culture is fueled by land grabbing maneuvers by clubs like this one.  There isn’t a person in Erie who doesn’t wish the streams were less crowded.  I get that…the allure of fishing in solitude is tempting and when stumbled upon is a dream come true.  This still doesn’t mean it should be a luxury that only money can buy.
Back to the story. Karl joined Donny’s team and spent some years guiding territory which expanded from Spruce Creek to State College to Erie and now to Colorado.  Eventually Karl saw the light when his personal fishing opportunities on club waters came to an end.  Karl to his credit quit and spends his summers working in a lumber mill, still guiding in the fall, winter and spring on the waters of Erie.
He wrote an article about the whole thing in Fly Fisherman April-May 2013 called Confessions of a Guide.  It is a must read.  He said on a forum linked in the next sentence, “I wrote the article for several reasons. One, to bring further attention to the degrading business practices of privateering enterprises on our tributaries. Two, to give the state a kick in the ass and seek alternative methods of opening up private property to public fishing. As soon as the article came out I immediately put in the hands of the Executive Director of the PFBC. I know the power the pen can yeild, it made a lot of positive things happen when I was once the President of the Steelhead Association.  Also, I was bluntly honest with everything I wrote, in fact it was heavily edited in order for the magazine to avoid possible litigation. ”   You can read more on the topic here 
Karl’s profile is FLYFISHERIE on the forum linked above.  It gets a little gritty so buckle your seat belts before jumping over.
Fortunately for you the PA Fish and Boat Commission has been working their tails off to provide you with more and more access to streams and it seems like Karl has been helping them (way cool Karl!!!).  They (the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) have even successfully won court cases against private clubs on your behalf, so next time you feel like complaining about the extra charge for your Lake Erie Steelhead Permit just go ahead and shut your mouth.  

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