Saturday, March 31, 2007

Save The Metolius

Any of you that have fished this river know what a special place it is. You can fish there and not touch a fish all day but feel like your day on the "Met" was one of your best days of fishing ever.The Metolius is just that kind of river!
So here we go again! Another threat by those with no soul and those who care for nothing but their pocket book! Friends we might as well face the fact that this kind of stuff is something we will always have to deal with as long as there is pristine and unspoiled waters.

The following is from Joel LaFollette's Royal Treatment Fly Fishing website

Once again greedy politicians are trying to steal from the public. This time it’s a group of county commissioner looking to cash in on county owned land in the Metolius basin. They’re proposing a sale of two pieces of county owned land for development into destination resorts. One piece of land rests on the hill on the east side of the Metolius basin. This is not where Oregon needs another golf course.

The Metolius basin is a special ecosystem that needs to be protected from this type of development. It is a fragile balancing act that nature has carried on for a millennium and we have already tipped the scales on more than one occasion. It has taken generations to understand how we affect our planet and the Metolius basin and the clear, cold river that flows through it have helped us with that understanding. We have learned that nature does a better job of fish production that we do. We have learned that water quality is important to all living things and is more expensive to restore than protect. We spend millions now to rebuild watersheds and the process takes time. Protection of a watershed offers instant results.

The environmental impact from water use, increased traffic, loss of habitat, chemical run off, increased fire danger and other issues make this a risky proposal for such a delicate area. It is not worth the risk. Jefferson County is facing hard times. Employers are moving out of the county and unemployment is high. Commissioners are looking for a quick fix. That’s not the right way to do anything. You just set yourself up to have to do it all over again the right way. It ends up costing much more. The number of family wage jobs destination resorts bring to an area is minimal. Housing for the workers willing to take the lower paying jobs doesn’t exist. You only have to go as far as Bend to see that there are not enough workers to fill those lower wage jobs. The cost of housing is too high to support a minimum wage work force.

The commissioners are really only looking to increase the county’s tax base. They are not really concerned with the employment picture of their county. Of course to the unemployed worker it seems like there is hope in this proposal, but it is false hope. There will be no winners if these proposed resorts are allowed to be built. In fact we will all lose. Oregonians will have lost one of the most special places in their state. All for a few pieces of fools gold.

For more information on what you can do go to

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Joys of Trout...Cutthroat that is!

With apologies to Arnold Gingrich for plagiarizing the title of his classic fly fishing book I felt compelled to discuss with the myriad of you fans of the "Quiet Pool" why I am attracted to these fish!

First of all they are the last wild coastal trout on the west coast not counting Alaska. Very little is really known about their habits and whether some or maybe all try to migrate to saltwater. And just what do they do in salt water? Do they stay in the estuary or do the full ocean thing of their salmonid cousins. Again not much data there for us to cling to except for the volumes of information we do not know about these wonderful trout.
For you that have actively fly fished for them know the ferocity they will attack a fly whether it be on the surface or sub-surface or deeply sunk. For the life of me I cannot fathom the need to fish a deeply sunken fly for these fish but to each his own I guess.
What I do know is what they mean to me. They mean a warm summer evening on my favorite coastal tributary where I can lose myself pursuing them. I seldom see any one else fishing for them and that is just fine although I like nothing better than introducing other fly fishers to them....go figure!
They also mean the wistful end of summer when the leviathans of west coast fresh water fishing, namely chinook salmon, start their death journey up their rivers of birth.
It signals the end of the cutthroat season on the north coast and the beginning of the long dreary months of fall and winter in the Pacific Northwest. It's a time of year I dread and find myself getting nostalgic at that time of year because it also marks the conclusion of those warm days on the Deschutes.
So here I am about two or so months away from the Memorial Day opener. There won't be any big rush to the coast by the Portland Metro hordes (Thank God) but the fact that there are some who think this trout should be made harvestable makes me sick! As does those who think it's great sport to use bait and small hooks for these fish!
This winter I've seen many large and robust cutthroat trout as I pursue winter steelhead so that makes me optimistic for the coming season. So it's back to the tying bench because you never know how many Reverse Spiders I might need this year.

Friday, March 16, 2007

It's So Close I Can Smell the Sage

Are we finally getting that taste of spring that the weatherman keeps promising? I can hardly wait for my first trip of the year over the mountain to the Deschutes. The long and dreary winter is hopefully behind us and now the real fishing for me begins.
I've gone out a few times this winter, mostly with conventional tackle and have managed a few hatchery steelhead that way and while it is fun it is not very satisfying due to the fact that I find it no challenge anymore. While I'm not claiming to be some gear fishing master I have been doing it during the winter for more years than I care to admit. It's an uninspiring way to fish and if my winter steelhead fly fishing skills were better then I would abandon it altogether. I have abandoned my pompous attitude towards them and started to fly fish with an indicator this year for winter steelhead so as I become more skilled at this technique I will put the gear back in mothballs.
All that aside it's spring now and what is so positive about that fact is the weather can only get better and I am excited about that! Rattlesnakes, locked gate and the Rainbow Tavern here I come.