I have fished the salmon run for 20 years, less anglers then and more time to enjoy the fight with smaller diameter mono line was a bragging rights back then. we usually use hardware , where everyone could land more than one with enough space for privacy. there were lot more fish then compared to today. Only unethical issues before was when a person slit the female for its roe then dump the body to rot. This unethical practiced spread more obviously today to hundreds of new entrant to fishing, creating more pressure to the fishing season, and more garbage The fish numbers have significantly decline as Humans repetitively destroy our natural resources. Fish numbers at Kawartha's lake have significantly declined today compared to 20 years ago. It was easier to catch fish with limited knowledge, skill, and used less good equipment back then, since lots more fish and less anglers. Less traffic and gas price was way cheaper then as well.
There was limited internet information back 20yrs ago, we just go fish almost every weekend, regardless of condition. When the first UofT Fishing board came out, a one liner chat style way of communication was develop that brought GTA anglers together. It was the most exciting thing happen to Toronto fishing, we were all communicating and sharing openly our honey hole, even with GPS coordinates. Until it got shut down, since many spot being contributed were unreliable, and members started fighting and cursing against each other. Then reliable spot gotten crowded.
I was lucky to pick up and learn from an ethical angler on how to fish Salmon or trout using artificial lures back 20 years ago. He would only acquire roe , when a female being landed from a spoon lure , started squirting out roe profiously. Since there were lot of fish being landed during the season, we never bother and no urgency to kill any fish. Landing 50+ fish a season casting lures on pier system, was our norm back then. We never use skein before, so I never used skein in 20 years I had fish for salmon.
During just past Salmon fishing season. I witness two Canadian white Anglo saxon guys who moved from the crowded river area of Ganny river and sneakily/suspiciously came behind to the Factory channel area, they slit the female fish ,took out the roe, when they saw me fishing alone, they ask if I wanted the fish, added comments that they still had some fish inside their fridge. I told them why they killed it anyway. they just shrug their shoulder then dump the body on the river. I also asked them how they caught that fish, they said it was fresh skein. What they were trying to promote to other inexperience anglers was only fresh skein from fresh harvested female was the best way to catch fish.
Imagine this kind of unethical practiced ............Multiplied that by 100 people .............times many years .................Equals lesser fish every year. I have not harvested a female for more than 10 years. Always release them, content to use artificial, even if it meant less fish. Most important is to locate the fish anyway, the lure or bait is just secondary to a fishing success.
I salute those who rather use artificial lures, or beads or home made streamers to catch fish, this is the real fun in fishing, creating/improvising our own lure, to fool the fish with our creative abilities. Landing a fish is result of our being street smart . It is actually cheaper and less time consuming for me to go to a chinese grocery and buy a fresh fish, then for me to go catch one. The butcher even cleaned the fish for me.
I hardly even touch on the Garbage Topic created by anglers!