Elaine Supp loves to fish and is thoroughly enjoying this year’s fall salmon run on the Salmon River, with several huge salmon to her credit.
However, the 35-year-old Pulaski woman is absolutely disgusted by thoughtless anglers who litter the river’s banks with tons of trash during the fall salmon fishing season.
“These fishermen claim to be sportsmen, outdoorsmen and that they love the outdoors and fishing – and yet they don’t really care about the river and how it looks,” she said. “You can’t just blame the out of towners. Locals do it, too. There are slobs everywhere.”
Supp, a one-time,national snowboarding (boardercross) champion who now shares her fishing adventures on her “Fish Girl Outdoors” Facebook page, decided this fall to take matters into her own hands after seriously getting into salmon fishing for the first time. For the past four Mondays, she has posted a #cleanupyouract notice on her Facebook page, along with message that she’ll be on a certain part of the river each time picking up garbage. She has shared the message on various other Salmon River fishing-related Facebook pages.
Since she started doing, Supp said she’s received “hundreds of messages” from people thanking her. Others, she said, have been inspired, telling her that they went up on other evenings and picked up garbage themselves. All Season Sports recently donated some garbage bags for her and other volunteers to use. A local drift captain also volunteered to pick up bags of collected garbage left long the river’s shore and take then it to the local transfer station.
This past Monday evening, she inspired three local anglers – L-R, Travis Hoyt and Mitch Butler, both of nearby Williamstown, and Justin Bristol, of Richland — to spend more than an hour picking up trash along the river banks on the backside of the ballfield (the Clam Shell, ice skating rink area) on the river near the downtown Pulaski area.
Somebody just left it
“I’d like to see it become a movement,” said Butler, whose bag included yards and yards of line and hooks, beer and energy drink cans, various papers and wrappers and a broken table apparently used for cleaning fish that was just left by someone. He finds it hard to believe that various anglers are just too lazy to take out what they bring in.
“Look at this,” he said, as he picked up a huge wad of fishing line. “It’s like raking leaves. It’s everywhere.”
Garbage and more garbage
Jon Conway, a Camden, N.Y. resident, has been fishing the Salmon River each fall for the past 15 years. He sent the above photo to NYup,com showing a pile of garbage and fishing line he spotted on the river in Altmar. He wrote: “It was right under the bridge on the small island there. Went to the other side of the river where parking lot is located, more trash then this on the other side, even though there are garbage cans over there. Brought this home with me to throw out. Seems like it gets worse every year.”
Supp said she was pushed over the edge when she recently got a new puppy and took if for a walk near the heavily fished Trestle Pool area of the river.
“The area is beautiful, but then I realized there were so many hooks, line and broken glass on the ground. Stuff everywhere. If a kid, or an animal gets caught up in this, they’re going to get hurt. I had to do something,” she said.
A line-cutting ring
The two collected four large bags full of garbage, which included yards and yards of braid line, illegal-sized hooks that were apparently intended to snag salmon. Supp wears a special “line-cutting” ring one of her fingers that she uses to cut braid or other line that she can’t break with her bare hands that she picks off the ground.
Can you believe this?
At one point, she and Pisik happened upon a trashed camp site about 30 yards off the stream that was littered with all sorts of empty aluminum and plastic containers, paper wrappers for various snacks and junk food, a semi-burned tarp and blanket, soiled socks, underwear and pajamas – and a sort of bathroom area that was covered with human waste and toilet paper.
“You believe this? There’s some things I won’t pick up,” she said. “And besides, I didn’t bring any gloves.”
Trying to pass on father’s lessons
She said her father taught her to love and respect he outdoors and “I want to pass it on.”
“If this continues, though, whether it’s on the Salmon River or elsewhere, people are going to start posting their land and not going to allow people to fish on it any more. And then, people will start complaining that there’s no place to fish,” she said.
She noted that the roadway that leads to the north side of the Trestle Pool on the river is littered on both sides by slobs “who just throw their garbage out their windows as they’re driving in and out.”
For the love of fishing
Supp loves to promote fishing, particularly among young girls, whose photos she said she runs on her Fish Girl Outdoors Facebook page. In this shot above, she recently helped this young angler, Giannia Gillette, 4, land her first salmon on the Salmon River,
One Monday evening, one of the anglers on the river noticed her picking up garbage and asked if she was being forced to do community service.
“I told him, ‘Yes, I caught too many fish so I have to clean up the river,” she said.
Courtesy of New York Upstate and David Figura